Sunday, the hurling match. Dublin vs. Kilkenny in the Leinster final. Kilkenny’s team this year is proclaimed to have the best team ever (although Kilkenny has been a hurling powerhouse and won the Leinster final the last seven years anyway). Our seats are under the overhang (thankfully, because it rained a bit), but close to the pitch. The two rows in front of us are filled with little boys (around 8 years old) who also play hurling, and who are rooting for Kilkenny. In front of them are two rows of little girls, a little older, all rooting for Dublin, of course. Almost all of us (from the summer school) are also rooting for Dublin because, hey, they’re the underdogs, and don’t Americans always root for the underdogs? The kids in front of us were fun to watch as they argued back and forth over the game and tried to taunt each other. The boy sitting in front of us asked his mom why the girls behind him were talking funny, she had to explain to him that we were from America. We ended up chatting with that family a bit throughout the game. It was a fun game to watch, and so fast that it was almost impossible to get any good pictures. IT was neck and neck for a while, but in hurling you can make two kinds of goals, one over the posts, and one into the net underneath. The top goal is worth a point, the bottom goal is worth three and much harder to make (but the ball is no bigger than a tennis ball, maybe smaller). Well, after Kilkenny made their first three-point goal, there was almost always a margin of a three-point lead, which quickly increased to 5 or 6 after Kilkenny made their second three-pointer. So, Dublin held their own, but lost in the end (17-25 or something like that).

Class this week was the usual, nothing too exciting, but as always, too long. I’ve decided that I’m not going to sit in on visual culture anymore, probably not literature either. On Thursday I sat in on the film class that the Madison and Michigan kids have to take to watch In the Name of the Father. It was an excellent film, starring Daniel Day Lewis, but if you watch it, be prepared to be angry and frustrated. For drama we read Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, also very good, but a tragedy. We had two speakers this week, Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, who read poetry for us and chatted with us about his poems, it was actually entertaining and enjoyable and I wish I had bought one of his collections to have him sign it. Our second speaker was Dr. Declan Kiberd, an expert on James Joyce’s Ulysses, but I didn’t get much out of that because I haven’t read it and don’t know much about it. It did, however, make me want to pick it up eventually, or at least read his explanation of the book Ulysses and Us. On Tuesday we had a field trip to Kilmainham Gaol (jail), which was quite creepy. They actually filmed most of the In the Name of the Father at that jail. As well as holding all the leaders of the Easter 1916 rising and executing almost all of them.

So apart from all the events, it’s been a bit of a slow and difficult week. I haven’t spent any time hanging out with anyone at the dorms outside of class. It is a bit isolating here, since only 3 of the 30 of us are homestay kids. Not to mention there are only six guys in the program, and I can’t say I love hanging out with a bunch of girls. I have been thinking quite often about how I would rather be at camp right now, but this is the decision I made for this summer and I will see it through. I do love Ireland, and if there were different people here I would probably be happier. Or maybe if I was more included on the happenings over on campus things would be better. Well, we are going to be in Belfast next week and we will all be staying at dorms and living with different people so we’ll see how that goes. It will be a nice change of pace.

The plans for Belfast are as follows. We leave tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:30 for Belfast. We have a stop at Castleward House and Estate on the way, hopefully that will be ineteresting. Then we get our welcome and get settled into our new rooms for the week. On Monday, it’s the Twelth of July Parade, populated mostly by the Orange Order, I’m curious to see how that will go. Then we have a city tour and a historical pub crawl. On Tuesday we have a poetry reading in the evening by a poet named Ciaran Carson. Wednesday is our field trip day out to the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge on the Antrim Coast. On our final evening, we have a guest seminar at the Stormont Buildings with a round table talk with the Representatives of the Northern Irish Assembly. The week should be quite an adventure- I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do anything the weekend after. Most people are going to Scotland, but I don’t really want to do that this time around. Well, that is all for now, and I will update again when I get home from Belfast :).


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