This week has flown by, we’ve been so busy. On Monday after class we had a reading by Claire Kilroy (an award winning novelist) later in the evening. Tuesday we had a field trip to the Boyne Valley. Wednesday evening we attended a theatre performance at the Abbey of “The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant.” and Thursday we headed out for Cork! In a few hours today we leave for the hurling match at Croke Park of Dublin vs. Kilkenny. All very exciting.
The trip to Boyne Valley was fascinating, we visited passage tombs at Loughcrew which had intricate carvings inside and one of them is positioned so that during the equinox the sun shines directly into the tomb. (I took lots of pictures so you’ll get to see for yourself in a few weeks.) We visited the most famous tomb at Loughcrew, but there are hundreds across Ireland (I think the most famous one in Ireland is at Newgrange, which gets little up by the sun on the winter solstice). On a clear day, apparently you can see across to the mountains of each cluster of burials. We also went to the Hill of Tara, which has a burial mound called the Mound of Hostages. At Tara there is a stone that they say determines the rightful kind of Ireland because it screams out his name when he touches the stone. Finally we went to Trim Castle, which is an interesting castle because it was built up at three different periods under different owners, so it was made taller and taller. It was also interesting because it had many different sections that jutted out- not your typical four-walled castle.
The weekend in Cork was wonderful. The weather started out a little gloomy but cleared up quickly. The first evening that we were there, Thursday night, happened to be a karaoke night in the pub connected to our hostel (Bru Bar and Hostel). We sang lots of karaoke and had a ridiculously good time- we sang Summer of ’69, the Jackson 5’s ABC, and Allison and I sang Celion Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me. On Friday, Tessa and Anna and I went to Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney stone (very entertaining castle). We went to St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral when we got back, but took a nap after that. We got new roommates for our second night at our hostel- they were really entertaining guys from Sweden. They are more in love with Damien Rice than I am- Mattias (not sure if that spelling is correct) told me the story of how Damien wrote his song “Cheers, Darling” because of a woman he knocked over at some corner in Dublin and bought a drink for her at a pub. It was great chatting with them. Went to a few pubs with them Friday night, but called it quits much earlier than Thursday night. Saturday we wandered around the English Market and went to the Cork City Gaol (kind of a creepy place). To celebrate the 4th of July we ate lunch at McDonald’s then headed back to pick up our stuff from the hostel and head home to Dublin. At the pub and hostel we watched half of the rugby match of Lions vs. Springboks- two amazing tries by the Lions. The score was 3-15 for the Lions when we left, the Lions ended up winning 28-9.
Last night for dinner it was quite a gathering. Siobhan had one of her previous exchange students from Spain over, Vanessa, with her boyfriend Giarmo (no idea how to spell his name), as well as her friends Orla and Maeve, plus Kevin, Tessa, and I. We ate barbequed burgers and chicken- it was great conversation and an entertaining evening. Kevin performed some scenes from Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Kevin is extremely entertaining, it’s unfortunate that he never went into acting as a career.
This week we are taking a field trip to the Kilmainham Jail (which imprisoned and executed many political prisoners) and we have a reading from Nobel Price winner Seamus Heaney as well as a seminar with a scholar on Joyce’s Ulysses. We have a briefing for Belfast on Thursday and then next Sunday we will be whisked away to Belfast for the week! Three weeks of Ireland gone already. I still have to decide my plans for the weekend after Belfast; I don’t know if I want to stay in Northern Ireland and find someplace to stay up there, go to Scotland for the weekend, or head back to Dublin. I also have to decide if I want to go to London for a weekend or make other plans. I am thinking I will try to go to Killarney instead…but who knows.