Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ireland Day 1!

Hello again! Because I am a bit behind on Internet, I will probably be a day behind posting per day. But don't worry, I will be sure catch up :-)

Day 1: Exploring Tralee!

Dear family and friends, hello from Old Eire! The past few days and settling in have been breathtaking so far. As I go through my notes, I can’t believe we have spent less than three whole days here!

This is the first view of the town that I saw after walking down from Kilteely House, the B&B where we are staying. We live right off of this mountain, and every day there is a different view because of the cloud cover, sunlight and rain. Speaking of, it rains all the time here!! One moment it will be cloudy and the next moment we are drenched! I love it!

The town: We are living in Tralee, which is the capital of Kerry, the county that we are staying in. The town has more pubs than any of the other stores combined, and is a great bustling place with a diverse array of stores and mountains in the background. To get to know the town a little better, Dorothy, Eleanor and I decided to have lunch in a cute French café (pictured above). We quickly learned that everyone here drinks tea with cream and sugar, like you would put in coffee- but much more delicious!

For class (because he could not figure out how to use a projector), our instructor from Ireland, Michael, took us to two amazing sites just outside of Tralee. First, we went to Ardfert Abbey, which was built shortly after the Druids converted to Catholicism and was once the Diocesan Center of Ireland. As with many sites in Ireland, the ground has been considered a Holy Ground for literally 1,000 years, and then when the Catholics came over, the sites were converted from Druid to Christian sites. This is one of the only peaceful religious conversions in the history of the world.

One of the trends we picked up pretty easily is the amount that these churches were also used as forts- from other churches as well as invaders. This particular church had battlements on top, and walls that come out at the bottom like a fort because one of its purposes was to withstand attacks from competing Catholics sects.

After going to the Abbey, Michael took us to the beach, as it was one of the only days that hadn’t rained at all. The weather is still extremely chilly, but in the sun, we were able to wear shorts.

Not only did Dorothy and I climb sand dunes (which were really cool!!), this beach has a historic purpose. In the back of the picture of the ocean, there is a “u”-shaped island and this island was the site of the Easter Rising of 1916, which catalyzed the official war between Ireland and Britain. It is hard to imagine that such a seemingly peaceful place was also the site of the beginning of Ireland’s greatest tragedy and strife.

After leaving the beach exhilarated, Michael took the class to a pub, and we all ordered Guiness (which apparently you have to do in Ireland). I am glad that I tried it once, but I’m definitely never doing it again because it is really, really gross. I’m sure that there are people who would disagree, but this is my blog and in my blog, Guinness is disgusting. That night, the whole class also went “pubbing.”

The pub culture in Ireland is such that you are supposed to go from place to place until you can’t walk anymore. While many people are great at this, my friends and I went for the experience, but turned in early (I know, boring) because we had a big day coming and because alcohol is both expensive and Guinness is gross!

1 comment:

  1. Love the pic of you at the pub. I wish I was there with you! Miss you like crazy!