Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Hello from Galway Ireland! Let me first begin by expressing how I have never been so taken aback by such beauty. Ireland is incredible, simply incredible. Sure! England has the Lake District which has a beauty all its own, but Ireland is in a world all its own.

We flew from London to Shannon yesterday and took a bus to Galway. Galway is famously known for the claddagh ring which originated here. We left London at 6 a.m. and eventually got to the hostel around noon. When we arrived our rooms weren't quite ready yet so we took a brief tour of the city followed by our first full group meal. That evening we celebrated our arrival at a few local pubs to really experience the culture.

The people in Ireland are so friendly and have been wonderful to interact with. The people in London are nice too, don't get me wrong, but sometimes it becomes evident that they grow weary of all of the tourists.

We rose early today to catch a ferry to the Aran Islands. The main island is only about 9 miles long and exactly the same picture of Ireland that most people have in their heads. Lush green, stone walls, quaint houses, plenty of pubs. When arriving at the island you have the option to either walk, bike, or take a small bus around. The original plan was to bike but the weather turned sour before we arrived. We bused instead and were able to get a full look of the island and some historical information from our driver.

The most incredible part of the island, according to everyone in the class as well as myself, are the cliffs. A short, but rocky, hike takes you to the ruins of a fort on top of a giganti cliff. The fort was built right on the edge of the island and in the highest point to prevent invasions. The view was magnificent. I couldn't resist the urge to dangle my legs off the edge of a drop that would surely be fatal if someone wasn't cautious. I don't think I have a very healthy sense of fear; it makes life more interesting.

Other interesting points of the island included low tide which opened up the beach for a colony of seals, a cemetery with graves over a thousand years old and craggy beaches rife with tide pools.

Spattered about the island were horse drawn carriages that tourists could take short distances. I found it necessary to ask most of the drivers the names of their horses. This list included Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, and Jimmy.

Many of the students stopped at a roadside cafe that was minuscule in size but no where short on delicious food. I enjoyed a cup of soup to warm me up, and found it so delicious that I asked the owner for the recipe. She obliged and I am excited to make it once I return to the states.

On the bus ride home I recapped with the students about the day. The weather was the only complaint.

Tomorrow we take a formal tour of the city, and the students will also be presenting projects they had worked on during the semester. On Thursday we leave for Killarney, our second to last stop.

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