Welcome to Ireland! – Paul McCusker

17 Oct

WOW!

Crazy to think that we have only been here one month and so many things have happened. Where to start… well I guess the beginning is a good bet. From day one being where I was supposed to be has been a struggle; fast paced city life is not my forte and we were thrown right into it. It is immediately evident to those around you that you are not from Ireland, I seem to get at least two comments on my shoes every night we go out. ( consequently I bought another pair to help me blend in )

So lesson number one dress!

Lets talk sports and the GAA. Learning New sports are one of my favorite activities so learning Hurling and Gaelic Futbol has been awesome! Visiting Parnel Park on our study trip was great; we got to spend the day learning about the history of the GAA and how the sports were played. I think that it is incredible that they have such a large player base for an armature sport. I am still on the search for Hurls, so far they have been very elusive and hard to find. Also I cannot justify spending 40 Euro on one.

Sight seeing! This has been huge, and when I say huge I mean like Cliffs of Moher huge. I was lucky enough to have my family visit me over the past weekend, this enabled me to travel a significant portion of the south. I learned many things from my trip, not only from what I saw and read but also from the people I talked to. First stop Doolin and County Clare. This is refered by many as the Irish music center of Ireland, and they would be right! 9pm makes the start of some of the greatest live traditional Irish music Ive been exposed to. Fun fact McGann’s pub has its sister pub in Falmouth MA which is twenty-five minutes from my house!

I was also lucky enough to visit the Ailwee Caves! One of the coolest parts about these caves are how new they are! Well by new I mean how recently they have been open to the public. They were first discovered by a farmer who chased his dog down a tunnel, he didn’t tell anyone about his secret for another thirty years!

I don’t want this to be an essay so I will leave you with links to my Vlogs, feel free to watch them and listen for the fact of the day at the end of each.

Places include:

Kilkenny Castle – Kilkenny

Horseback Riding – Doolin

Aran Islands – Aran Islands

Charles Fort – Kinsale

In conclusion the time I have spent so far in Ireland has been great. It seems that we have come during a time where there is plenty of cultural and political debate going on and the country itself is torn on different issues. I have run into multiple people who are more than happy to voice their opinion whether it be their dissatisfaction about the water tax or their opinion on having a society filled with “companies doing bad business”. Immersing myself in local life and color has been an amazing experience for me and I hope that the remainder of the semester continues to be as well! Till next time.

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