Between the Jigs and the Reels

Goodbye to St. Paul’s

Today (June 26th, Tuesday) was my last day with my class at St. Paul’s! It was a wonderful day, but was full of sad goodbyes! My student’s gave me many many hugs throughout the day. I was also given Cadbury Roses (delicious Irish chocolates) and Tayto’s (the best potato chips in the world, strictly Irish) and a sweet card! Although the student’s didn’t really understand what was happening I enjoyed the hugs and the many “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGAN!“‘s I got throughout the day! (haha) At least I know they cared!!!!

I will miss St. Paul’s very much. I have learned so much from my teacher, Sinead, and her SNA’s, Michelle and Aoife, over this last month. The things I have learned will carry into my own classroom and will help mold me as a teacher and I will be forever grateful for the love and care the showed me through this month. I really look forward to being class links, or pen pals, for Sinead’s class whenever I have my own classroom at home in a few years!

Getting over the hump

We are a little over halfway done with our trip. Yesterday (June 25) was very rough for me. I was very homesick and wishing more than anything I could see Taylor or my mama or daddy. I don’t like being so far away from them. I was very emotional all day yesterday, but I feel better today and know that this is just a little slump that I will have to get over! I have 3 weeks left here and I want to make the best of them! 3 weeks seems like so much time and yet so little time. I know it will fly by and there are still so many things I have left to do and see!!!

Dublin

I spent my weekend in Dublin with 14 out of the 17 girls on my trip! 4 of us stayed in an apartment owned by one of my friends uncle’s who lives on the outskirts of the city. I was overwhelmed by the size of the city and ultimately fell more in love with Cork City the more time I spent in Dublin.

Friday

We arrived to Dublin barely in time for our Pub Crawl that we had booked. Our pub crawl took us to Porterhouse Central, a bar that brews its own beers in the heart of the city. A “shot” bar, a “cocktail” bar, and a 300 year old bar that used to service as a Supermarket and a Chemist were also parts of our Pub Crawl. All 14 of us took part in the pub crawl and it was a very entertaining night!

Saturday

The 4 of us staying together slept in until around 10:30-11:00, we then headed out on our way and found some breakfast. We then caught our bus tour around the city. The bus tour showed us the Guiness factory, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the President of Ireland’s house, and many other landmarks in Dublin. I didn’t get to see nearly as much as I hoped I would while I was in Dublin. So I know that I WILL be going back one day so that I can finish up my exploring! We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and shopping around O’Connell Street and Grafton Street. Grafton street reminded me of a less crowded version of Times Square with street performers and high end shops. We then met my friend Clare’s aunts for dinner at a great Italian restaurant. After dinner we could not help but stop into the Urban Outfitters store nearby and do some shopping. I ended up in bed fairly early Saturday night because I was worn out!

I began feeling a little homesick Saturday, it started to kick in that I still have 3 more weeks here and I miss everyone at home so much! I love it here and I am enjoying my time so much, but I am ready to come home and see the people that I love!

Sunday

I got to see my Aunt Debi and Uncle Jim, in Dublin of all places. We met and wandered around Grafton street for a bit and then had lunch. It was great to see a familiar face and to get a big hug! (The Irish aren’t big huggers) I’m not sure if this helped, or hurt, my beginning feelings of homesickness, but it was wonderful to see them either way!

I was so proud of myself Sunday because I found the bus stop, figured out what bus to take into the city, and found Debi and Jim all on my own! How’s that for learning to be independent?!

I arrived back HOME in Cork City Sunday night and couldn’t have been happier. As wonderful as Dublin was, Cork has become my home and I am beginning to learn that I will always be partial to this city whenever someone mentions Ireland. Cork City is to Ireland as Athens, GA is to America…. there’s no place I’d rather be.

History Day

Friday, June 22

I spent half of the day at St. Paul’s (even though it was my day off) because I wanted to see my students’ performance for History Day. Each class had a year, and they were supposed to prepare a drama or song to perform for the school and have everyone guess what year they were performing. One class did a skit a precious student dressed as a businessman, and then he ripped his shirt off and was wearing a superman outfit! The same class also did a Grease routine! It was incredible. My class dressed all out as Irish Football Fans, and sang the Ole Ole song I posted on my blog a few weeks ago! It was great! I got to be Irish for a day, as they dressed me up as well!!

I left the school around 1:00 pm and headed straight for my bus to Dublin for the weekend!

Rumley’s

Last Thursday, June 21, my class at St. Paul’s took a field trip to Rumley’s farm for the day. Rumley’s is a farm that lets its animals roam free in the pastures and allows children to come tour their farm and play with the animals. It was a fantastic day out with the students (minus the rain, but hey, it’s Ireland)!

The farm had a cafe and a shop that sold foods straight from the gardens and animals on the farm. I had a fresh, homemade hamburger and it was divine. By far the best hamburger I have ever had in my life.

I enjoyed the day I got to spend with my class playing and learning about animals very much.

Apologies

I apologize to all of those who read my blog. I know it has been a while since I have updated. The wifi in my apartment is very shotty so I have not been able to upload pictures to my blog at all, but most of my pictures of the trip so far are on Facebook. I am going to attempt to get caught up on my adventures within the next few days!

Cobh Trip

Time is literallyflyingby me here. I cannot believe I only have 3 weeks left.

This past weekend we took a group trip to Cobh on Friday (June 15). Cobh (pronounced “cove”) is the harbour where the majority of Irish immigrants immigrated to America though in the 1800s to around the 1940s. The harbour was formerly named Queenstown. Queenstown harbour also served as the last port of call for the Titanic before it sank in 1912.

It was an absolutely dreadful day, weatherwise, so it was not very exciting to get outside and marvel at the beauty of the harbour because it was literally raining sideways. So we chose museum hopping instead. We went to the immigration museum at Cobh and saw exhibits about the famine and what that meant for the immigration spike out of Ireland. There were also exhibits on the common trend of exporting prisoners to Australia to live out their life sentences. (aka populating the British colony of Australia) We then continued on to the Titanic museum, which was just opened as a memorial to remember the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. The museum was very interesting and we got the see the actual pier that the Irishmen who boarded the Titanic walked on.

I had some “lovely” fish and chips by the water, and shared some “bangers and mash” with my friend Elizabeth.

Although it was cold and rainy, it ended up being a fantastic day!

200 Metres

I had such a fantastic weekend filled with all kinds of traveling mishaps and miscommunications! But the mistakes and stories are what make the best memories, right?!

First and foremost, my new friends Claire and Allison and I seem to have the same OCD, schedule oriented outlook on life. So naturally, we planned this weekend to the T to avoid major issues. We even took the time to go  by the Cork Travel Center to get someone to help us map out our bus trip and find the best hostel in the best location to visit both the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands in one weekend.

Story behind Confusion #1:

The girl at the travel center gave us a sheet of the bus schedule and highlighted the numbers and times that we needed to catch. We had one connection… she told us we were to take the Galway (051) bus to Limerick, and then switch onto the Doolin (337) bus, which would be leaving 15 minutes after we arrived in Limerick on the Galway bus. When we arrived at Limerick we walked the entire bus station and did not see the 337 bus anywhere so we went inside to grab some coffee. When we came back outside the 337 bus was still nowhere to be found, but there was the same bus we had gotten off of with the lights out, so it had no number. But we assumed, that’s the Galway bus that we just got off of, she said we would have to switch buses so it can’t be that one.NOTE:When traveling by bus in Ireland pay close attention to your bus’s number when it stops at way stations, the same 051 bus we were on changed to the 337 bus and everyone who was going to Galway had to switch buses… not us. Needless to say, we missed that bus and had to wait 4 hours for the next one. BUT gladly, I was with 6 of the most incredible girls in the world and it ended up being a blast.

Confusion #2:

When we called to book the hostel we asked the owner how far away from the Aran Island ferry pier he was… “a 20 minute walk”. We also asked how far away from the Cliffs of Moher he was …. he answered, “200 metres”. So, of course, when we got off the bus the first thing we did was head out on our 200 metre walk to see the Cliffs of Moher. 3 miles later we decided to stop in a restaurant and ask exactly how close we were to the Cliffs of Moher. We soon found out that there is a hiking trail that goes from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, the trail is 9km long and begins 200 metres from our hostel. Because we had already made it half way we decided to keep going and powered on until we got to what is possibly the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life. It was well worth it! AND I earned my dinner that night :)

Other than the confusions (which were just minor setbacks) we had a fantastic weekend! The bus ride was long, but incredibly beautiful as we got into the Irish countryside. The Cliffs of Moher were more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined. The wind was so strong we all joked about having to hold on to one another because we might get blown off the cliff. Friday night we ate in a pub in the town of Doolin, I had traditional Irish beef and Guinness stew and it was absolutely delicious, especially after a chilly and windy day. We also got to experience a traditional Irish “session” where musicians bring in their instruments, grab a booth and a pint, and play into the wee hours of the morning. It was wonderful to get to experience some traditional Ireland! Saturday we woke up and had scones in the hostel coffee bar, then headed out to buy tickets for the Aran Island ferry. It was a very relaxed day, we hiked around the island and saw some of the old ruins and stone buildings. We then stopped and had lunch and made our way back to catch the bus home. After some much needed rest Sunday morning, we all headed out to the pub to watch Ireland play in the Euro Cup last night at 7:45. They played terribly and lost to Croatia (who?!), but it was an incredible experience that I will never forget! I love the sense of nationality and pride in their country that everyone has here!

It’s been a great trip so far and I hope you are enjoying my little anecdotes. Thanks for reading!

Oh and also

This weekend we are going to stay in a hostel on Doolin which is supposed to be a fabulous small Irish town with great traditional pubs, music, and craic (atmosphere). Near Doolin are the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Both of which we will be visiting! Wish is luck!

We had our first traveling hiccup of the trip this morning. We were misinformed about our bus connection to Doolin from Limerick and literally watched our bus drive away without even knowing it. That was at 9:15 am. It is now 12:50 and we are waiting for the next bus to Doolin which comes at 1:35. Let’s hope we make it this time :)