Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farewell to Ireland

We have completed our 360 degree tour of Ireland, and after a day spent in Belfast to hear about "The Troubles",we returned to the fair city of Dublin for some last minute shopping and walks to Trinity College, Temple Bar and along the river. We had a great farewell dinner tonight and head to the airport early tomorrow morning. We will miss this beautiful island with all of its history, literature and thousands of shades of green. See you soon!

from all of us in the Ireland '09 trip.

Last day photos

From Elizabeth W., Caroline and Christine

Top 'o the mornin', parents! Those of you who have been keeping up with the blog posts know that we have done some amazing things on this trip, but today seemed particularly unforgettable. Our full Irish breakfast was tip-top this morning (not to mention free!)which was a great start to a long day. Then we drove to Londonderry and had a brief tour before going to the Tower Museum where we learned about the history of the city and the influence of the Spanish Armada on Irish history. We then went to lunch and had free time (SHOPPING!). Then we went to the Carrick-on-sur rope bridge where we overlooked the beautiful Irish sea. To our luck, we have had rare, sunshiny weather the entire time we've been here, which has made all of our excursions even more enjoyable. Next, we went to the Giant's Causeway which was a breathtakingly beautiful sight made even more memorable because we got the chance to explore freely the natural rock formation. We just finished dinner with the group and are now settling down for a good sleep before our last day tomorrow in Belfast and Dublin.
See you soon!

The Gals

The Antrim Coast and the land of Finn McCool

The Antrim Coast and the Giants Causeway provided some of the most spectacular views of Ireland that we have seen so far. The rope bridge was a particular favorite. Golden sunny days have followed us everywhere we go.

Got Maeve? ...a visit to Sligo and Knocknarea

Today (Tuesday) we visited Sligo to see the burial sites of W. B. Yeats at Drumcliff churchyard and the cairn at the top of Knocknarea, the burial site of Queen Maeve, the queen of the Druid chieftians. The hike was steep in parts, but worth every step of the way for the panoramic views of all of Sligo as well as Ben Bulben in the distance.

Knocknarea and Sligo

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Ring of Kerry

Friday, June 19, 2009

Busy Days in Kildare, Killkenny, Cork and Killarney

After leaving Dublin we traveled to the Irish National Stud Farm, then visited the nearby Japanese gardens (one of the most famous in Europe) filled with hidden tea houses and pathways. We then traveled to Killkenny to have lunch a lovely walk around town and the castle grounds.

Today we traveled first to Cobh (pronouced Cove)to hear about the emigration story of over 4 million Irish from this important port of call. (formerly Queenstown).
A fascinating story about the hardships they faced coming to America. The students were very moved.

After a brief stop at the Garden of Rememberance at Ringfannan, a memorial to the NY city firefighters of Irish descent who were killed in the 9/11 tragedy, we also stopped in Kinsale, a lovely seasside town filled with brightly colored buildings,art galleries and bookstores. We then took the hill up to Charles Fort (on of the few star shaped forts in Ireland) to see sweeping views of the ocean.

Finally, we had a lovely dinner at our first B and B, the Rivermere Guesthouse in Killarney.
We are right in town, so we wandered a few blocks away tonight to hear some traditional Irish music at a local festival. Lots of fun!

On to the Ring of Kerry tomorrow. I will check in again when I can.


Day 3 and 4 in Kildare, Killkenny, Cork and Killarney

Photos of Day 3 and 4 Kildare, Cork, Kinsale and Killarney

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 2 Adventures

We woke early to wind and rain,but had glorious sun by the afternoon. We spent the morning touring the city by bus with our wonderful guide James who took us through all the main streets, up to Dublin castle and out to Pheonix Park. We then stopped at St. Patricks Cathedral (like a smaller version of Westminster Abbey) and then headed to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The kids loved this exhibit and especially loved walking through the long room of Trinity College libraray.
We had lunch at O'Donohue's (a pub recommeded by Mr. Woodson) and then walked along Grafton Street. Then out again by bus to Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) which was originally a debtors prison and then a place where many of the Irish political prosoners were held. This was a very moving site. Back again to central Dublin for a pub dinner of Irish Stew and apple pie. Our day ended at the Abbey Theater to see "The Last Days of The Reluctant Tyrant." A complex and well acted play that the kids were ALL talking about on the tramride home.

Off to Kidare and the Killkenny tomorrow.

I will log back in when I can. Everyone doing fine and over jet lag now.