Archive | September, 2014

County Kerry

26 Sep

Just over 300 kilometers from Dublin, Killarney is a small town full of a wide variety of art, nature, and history. Located in County Kerry in the West of Ireland, Killarney and its surrounding area is truly a sight to see. From the Ring of Kerry to the Dingle Peninsula, the county is full of breath-taking views, along with quaint villages and towns dispersed among the county.

A common place to visit within this county is Killarney National Park, which is located at the foot of Ireland’s highest mountain range, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. The park spans across over 26,000 acres, and is easily accessible for everyone to enjoy. A common tourist attraction that yields many people each year, including myself, is Ross Castle. This well-preserved stronghold is located on the edge of Lough Leane, the lake just southwest of Killarney. Built in the 15th Century, Ross Castle provided a brief look into the past of Renaissance Ireland, as well as breathtaking views onto the Lake and around the castle.

Another popular location in County Kerry is the Dingle Peninsula. Regarded by some as one of the most beautiful places in Ireland, Dingle and the surrounding area provides awe-inspiring views of what many people, who are not from Ireland, believe Ireland to be. Rolling greens, staggering cliffs, and copious amount of sheep are just a few examples of what immediately catches the eye in the far reaches of the country. One of the most significant things, I found, is that when travelling through the small villages that line the Dingle peninsula, the road signs and advertisements all change to accommodate native Irish speakers. Being engulfed by the Irish language made me feel both foreign and intrigued at the same time. This being the last experience for me before returning home, it is safe to say that travelling to and around County Kerry is recommended for any mind-wandering traveller.

– David Byron

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Croke Park, Not Just A Stadium- Clayton Franzoni

24 Sep

Croke Park Medium cropped

When I first heard about our tour of Croke Park coming up in the near future, I was excited to see a massive stadium that was home to Hurling and Gaelic football. I did not realize the background of Croke Park nor the GAA, so I was only expecting a shallow tour about sports and the fans that admire these games. We entered the lobby area and watched a replay of a Hurling match and then proceeded to go on a tour of the stadium. Our tour guide was very informative and what she told us about Croke Park and the GAA’s history really shed light on how important this place was to the Irish people. The GAA was started by a man named Michael Cusack who wrote an article titled “A word about Irish Athletics.” This article was was published in the United Ireland and the Irishman on October 11, 1884. One week later, Maurice Davin showed his support for Cusack’s article and they held a meeting in the Haye’s Commercial Hotel on November 1st of that year. This meeting started the “Gaelic Athletic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of National Pastimes.” I believe the history behind Croke Park, specifically “Bloody Sunday,” is why the Irish people take so much pride in this stadium. “Bloody Sunday” occurred on November 21st, 1920 during a match between Dublin and Tipperary. At 3:15 pm, British forces raided Croke Park and began firing their weapons into the crowd and killed 14 people, one of which was Michael Hogan, a player for the Tipperary team. The Irish people were not the only people affected by this act of terrorism, the British public was also in awe of this unforgettable event. Croke Park is more than just a stadium. It is a national monument that is admired by people all over Europe. This day is remembered mainly by people all over Ireland and how it was a key factor in Ireland’s fight for independence.

Clayton Franzoni

A Town Like No Other (or how I staunchly refuse to just give a book report on the planned activities)

24 Sep

My Dad travels a lot for business, and he used to say that every major city was the same, and I always believed him. Now that I’ve been able to do some of my own travelling, I have thankfully busted that myth wide open. Every town was different, how the people move, how the city flows, the timing of the nights. Boston was vivacious, Philly was slow and stately, Sante Fe was rowdy and majestic. I haven’t quite got a lock on Dublin yet, but I can see that it too has it’s quirks and personalities. One thing that has struck me is how active the civilians are. The Bus system seems like a supplementary system in a town where literally everybody walks. Even on a Tuesday night the alleys of Temple Bar are full of Dubliners. Most cities in America have their stadiums on the outskirts of town or next to a busy highway system. Croke Park is in the middle of everything, right next to houses with a train leading right to the entrance. After visiting the Park I really got the impression that sports here are for everyone, they see it as an extension of their culture rather than a club for a select few. Causey Farms is another example. Causey Farms are a collection of fields and building on the outskirts of Dublin where citiers can discover some aspects of country life. While we were there, there were people of every kind imaginable. Old couple, young professional networks, middle-aged hen parties (that last one walked up slightly drunk as I was in my shorts washing of the bog mud). The people all over this city are full of energy and stories to share.  I look forward on continuing to discover this city and the layers of adventure it holds.

-Nick Markson

Blog Experience

24 Sep

The first time that I was told about a bog I remembered being slightly skeptical by what exactly was a bog. And when I found out later that we had to jump in one, I was extremely hesitant in plunging myself in a pile of mud. Nevertheless, once our group ventured to Causey Farm, I decided to experience this rare chance of jumping in a bog. The lady who led our activities at Causey Farm gave us more about the background information about the bogs and needless to say, I was quite enticed by the benefits and history of the bog.

Bogs are wetlands composed of a deposit of dead plant materials and were formed in Ireland over 10,000 years ago. Interestingly, bogs are very helpful in treating certain skin conditions such as eczema; many people from around the world come to Ireland to essentially bathe themselves in the bogs, and they have said that the bogs have cleared there skin immensely as opposed to the creams and medications they would get from a pharmacy. Bogs are also an excellent habitat for preserving artifacts. Bodies from thousands of years ago that are found in bogs are still kept in relatively decent conditions. I was surprised to see how well preserved the bodies were when I went to visit the National Museum of Ireland this past week. One of the bodies still had his hair intact and there were others whose hands and fingernails still looked perfectly preserved. This is primarily due to the cold, acidic, oxygen-free condition that persists beneath the bogs which prevents decay and preserves the human flesh.

After learning more about bogs since coming to Ireland, I do not regret jumping into one or getting the experience to see the preserved bodies in the National Museum.

Cindy Wang

My Newfound Respect for Irish Athletics – Kirk Coffin

24 Sep

A group of DBS students, myself included, recently participated in an extensive guided tour of the world-famous Croke Park Stadium. The experience was immersive, and gave me an incredible appreciation for Gaelic athletics that I will not soon forget. There are several pieces of information that I received on the tour which sowed the seeds for the great respect I now have for both the athletes and the GAA as a whole. The primary example of this is when I learned that the athletes in Hurling and Gaelic Football are not paid at all for their positions, and have full time jobs outside of the GAA. Having come from the U.S.A., where even college football students are petitioning to be paid for being on their teams, I found that very inspiring. This brought about the beginning of my appreciation for everything that Croke Park stands for, because it indicates that the players’ drive is not fueled by money, but simply by their passion for the game. The massive amounts of revenue generated by the events held in Croke Park are instead redistributed throughout the 32 counties of Ireland, to help maintain each county’s respective stadiums. This accepted concept in Ireland is refreshing, and directly contrasts with the contemporary American ideologies I have come to know all too well. The other main example that comes to mind, in regards to my budding respect for the GAA, is the deep, rich history riddled throughout Croke Park. There was talk of several sections of the stadium which were dedicated to certain important figures, all of which have their own story. The one I remember most vividly is the legacy of Michael Hogan, who was the captain and goalkeeper of Tipperary’s Gaelic Football team, and victim to British soldiers who opened fire indiscriminately upon the crowd on 21 November, 1920. While this was a great tragedy, it caused a huge uproar among the Irish population, and created an incredible revitalization in the GAA.. While there are many more instances of interesting factoids about Croke Park, these two stuck out the most and left by far the deepest impact on my perspective regarding Irish athletics. By L. Kirk Coffin III

Leather Jackets

24 Sep

Walking into the museum my main interest or rather what I truly wanted to see were the bog people. Why you may ask? Well that is because I was intrigued to see people who had been suspended in time there bodies being preserved over thousands of years, and being so amazingly preserved for their age. I walked to the glass and looked in to find half of a body still preserved and my first thought was that this person, this once human being, looks exactly like a leather jacket that I own. It baffled me to think this was once a person with a life, a family, and friends he lived thousands of years ago and I know absolutely nothing about his life. Although all I could think is that he looks like my leather jacket back home, I compared a once living person to a piece of clothing. Everyone in my group was taking notes and pictures on the known information of this person and only one thought kept crossing my mind a leather jacket. I knew the second I saw this person. On the walk home I kept thinking about this person and what their life was like, constantly asking questions like were they a good person, did they have a family at the time they died, what age did they die at? A life thousands of years old yet there this person was in front of my eyes, dead for so long yet in a glass container in front of me because his grave seemed intriguing to people. Left alone for thousands of years then discovered in a bog, and put on display for people like myself to take a picture and move on with my day like nothing happened.

BY: Alex Castellanos

Holy Howth!

24 Sep

The day started just like any other day. We got up early, tired and not really ready for a long day. I was in the last group to leave Blackhall Place for Connelly Station for our train out to Howth. I really didn’t know what to expect from this weekend excursion, but I was looking forward it getting out of the city for at least few hours. Once we figured out the train system, we set in for the short journey to the seaside town. As soon as the doors opened at our stop, our noses were assaulted with the smell of fresh fish from the market and the salty air that accompanied it. Before long, we had started our trek up to the top of the large hill that stood atop the village. The ascent was gorgeous. The sea stretched as far as the eye could see, coupled with green grasses and trees lining the roads up to the top. We stopped to take pictures at every turn because each stop was more incredible than the last. Once we finally got to the top, we took in the fresh air and sights for as long as we could, but I left with a couple friends and some ISA’s to explore more of the island. It was an adventure to say the least. We started walking around the island, which seemed to stretch forever. We were a stone’s throw from the lighthouse on the other side of the island before we decided we should figure out how to get out of there. ISA Brandi and I found an overgrown trail which eventually led us to a road, which in turn led us to civilization. I can honestly say it was the best 10 mile hike around Ireland that I’ve ever done, but I’ve got some time to change that.

By: Daniel Miller