These past weeks have been jam-packed with school work and tons of adventures! This semester has truly gone by fast and I hope to squeeze more fun into these last three weeks. But, instead of telling you about Ireland, I want to take this opportunity to show you a few of the things I have had the amazing opportunity to experience.
On this day, we rode horses on the beach! My horse's name was Champion and he was incredibly sweet.
During spring break I had the chance to travel to Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone! Hopefully the gift of gab is a true legend!
On this day I got to learn how to surf in Brandon Bay! Surfing is something I have never done before and to experience it in Ireland was an incredible experience.
This shows the famous Slea Head - the most western point of Ireland! It's amazing to see how the mountains meet the ocean on a beautiful Ireland day.
Lastly, today I had the opportunity to go to a Holy Well and have my hands blessed. These pictures are just a few instances where I am reminded of how lucky I am to be here and to have this experience. Ireland is the first country I have ever been to besides America, and I will miss these days when I leave. If you ever have the opportunity to come to Ireland, don't miss that chance!
Can you believe that we are almost half way through our semester here in Dingle? We certainly can't!
Our days here have been pretty full, between lectures and studying for multiple exams, and the occasional adventure. A few weekends ago, there was a big Gaelic Football tournament in Dingle which brought teams from all over Ireland and even a team from the UK. I only say part of one game but it was interesting because I had never need the sport played before. To me, it seemed like a mixture of soccer and volleyball because players can handle and pass the ball with their hands and feet.
Last Tuesday, we went on an amazing hill walk in the afternoon- it was a fantastic day and we were so happy to get to be outside and in the fresh air. We saw sheep farmers and their dogs rounding up a flock of pregnant sheep that were to be transported for the lambing season. It was obvious the dogs loved their job and they were so good at keeping the sheep in line. It was a bit comical how terrified of the dogs the sheep were- they would climb over each other trying to get away from them!
In Coastal Ecology, last Wednesday, we went to a rocky sea shore to do a field study. We observed and deducted the types of plant and animal life found there using keys which guide your deduction through basic questions about the organism in question. For example, the key would ask whether the organism had a shell or not, or if the sea weed was green, brown or red. I was enlightened about marine life in a way that I never would have gotten the opportunity to learn about with nursing. The ecosystem is fragile and an invasive species or a disease targeting one organism can effect the whole habitat and the things living there. It gave me a new found appreciation for hands-on learning too because we really had to observe and figure it out on our own and that was how we learned!
The nursing majors are currently very busy studying for our Health Assessment final exam (Tuesday) and Practicum (Thursday). It is still amazing to me that we covered a solid textbooks worth of material in only seven weeks! It's a lot of work but it is exciting to me that we are getting into nursing material and really starting to learn what it will take to be nurses.
Also, congrats to Sacred Heart for receiving an honorable mention in the 2016 Institute of International Education Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International education! Check out the link below if you would like a bit more information about this amazing honor.
Until next time!
We worldly travelers have returned from our weekend adventures in London, and restored our lives here, in Dingle. What a packed four days, though!
Almost immediately after nursing lab on Thursday, we boarded the bus to the Kerry airport and our London-bound flight. Our hotel was about a 3 minute walk from the High Street Kensington underground/tube (subway) station. Friday morning, we followed our fearless leaders (Sean Pol and Dr. Watson) on the short walk from our hotel to the High Street Kensington underground/tube (subway) station. About 20 minutes later, we emerged from the Westminster tube station and basically ran into Big Ben. We, of course, had to get our fill of pictures and selfies with the iconic scene, which was perfectly complemented by Britain's famous red telephone booths!
Eventually, we made our way to Westminster Abby, famous for the coronations of England's kings since 1066, and more recently, for the wedding ceremony of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was fantastic to see where the queen and her knights have private sermons, as each knight's coat of arms was represented with a flag and a decorated armored helmet above his seat. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to show of the abby, as photography is not allowed inside: but I assure you that it was beautiful and the history of the building and its country was very prevalent. It reminded me of how young our country is- the abby was home to royalty hundreds of years before the Americas existence was even realized by Western peoples!
After lunch, our group visited the Florence Nightingale Museum, located in the basement of St. Thomas' Hospital, just across the River Thames from Big Ben and the Parliament building. Personally, I thought it was a wonderful experience as a future nurse- the museum does a great job of illustrating who Florence Nightingale was as a person, where she came from and how her ideas and policies changed nursing for the better. It brought tears to my eyes to realize how Nightingale began to revolutionize the public's view of nurses and the profession of nursing itself; Nightingale's own parents were horrified at the thought of their daughter nursing because nurses were seen as drunken, promiscuous, working-class women. Nursing was not a professor nor a calling for most- it was a job, one they did not take very seriously. Florence Nightingale believed she was called by God to nurse, so perhaps it was an act of God that nursing is as incredible and important as it is today. I am so grateful to Florence for starting the change in nursing which has become my calling as well.
Us Nursing majors with the Florence Nightingale bust at the museum.
On Saturday morning, Colleen Dalton, Alyssa Mickalauskas, Tracey Castelli, Corinne O'Toole, and myself ventured to King Cross Station and, more specifically, Platform 9 & 3/4. There we took amazing photos of us pretending to walk into the wall and even saw a mini Harry Potter!
After a quick lunch, we toured the Tower of London which is the historic castle on the bank of the River Thames near the Tower Bridge, and houses the crown jewels. It was fun to listen to our fantastic beefeater tour-guide talk about the historic prisoners held here, as well as their gory and sometimes mysterious deaths. I learned so much, not only about the Tower but of the English history. It made me very grateful to be living in the current time and not the 1500's.
Beefeater tour-guide with the Tower's famous ravens in the background
Me + the view of Tower Bridge from the wall of the Tower of London
We closed the Tower of London, as we left only because they were closing and it was getting dark. From there we returned to Westminster tube station to ride the London Eye. London is a beautiful city to behold at night, even in rain.
Sunday morning was quiet but enjoyable, as most of us wandered about the lovely area surrounding the hotel. The rest of the day was spent traveling back to Dingle. I speak for myself and others when I say, though we enjoyed London and even hoped to spend another day there, we are happy to return home to our quaint town of Dingle!
Ta ta for now!
Last weekend we took the seven hour bus ride from Dingle to Galway and stopped at the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren along the way. Although it was extremely windy, and it down-poured on us at The Burren, I'll never forget how beautiful it was. For me, the Cliffs of Moher had been on my bucket list and I could not wait to finally see them in person!
In Galway City I found a shop named J. O'Toole & Sons! Unfortunately, there was no family connection that I could find. But, is it funny that this place sells tools!
We spent our time shopping around for ourselves and family during the day and Saturday night we got to experience nightlife in Galway City. It was a nice change of pace from country town Dingle! There were a lot of people our own age and many more places to go. I got to see live music in the pubs and on the streets and talk to locals about Irish culture. This past week all of us have been hitting the books preparing for our first exam and on Thursday we leave for London! Although we are kept very busy, this experience is unlike any other!
Until next time,
Sorry posts have been few and far between- we have been very busy!
We took a trip up to Galway last weekend, on the way stopping at the Cliffs of Moher and an area called The Burren.
A camera really cannot do it justice.
It really is a cliff!
The Burren, meaning "the great rock," is true to its name- for miles rocks can be seen poking out of the ground and make running for the bus in a sudden and torrential rain shower quite difficult for foreigners... of course Sean Pol made it to the bus mostly dry while the rest of us were scrambling and soaked!
The gang :)
Galway was fun and exciting, with time spent shopping and exploring. The Galway Cathedral was magnificent! The stain glass windows were breathtaking and the marble made even whispers bounce around the columns and pews.
Our trip back to our Dingle-home was much faster and we were forced to return to the reality of school.
So far, though, classes have been pretty interesting and engaging. For us nursing majors, Health Assessment and Pathophysiology take up most of our study time- we can be found around our kitchen tables listening to Patho voiceover Power Points and collaborating to make study guides from the reading material.
Last week, we met our music professor, who enlightened us with that fact that we will each learn a bit of Irish step dancing and how to play the Irish tin whistle (similar to the recorder). Our religion professor has been lecturing on the ancient Celts (of whom we have little historical information to go on because they did not record their own history or religious practices). Costal Ecology classes will be held at the Dingle Aquarium and students may have the opportunity to feed the penguins and/or rescue any stranded sea creatures should they get stuck in Dingle Bay.
I hope to post more frequently from now on, so please stay tuned.
Over and out!
Greetings from Dingle!
Upon our arrival to Shannon airport, Ireland greeted us with fog and rain, but as the Irish proverb says, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!" The rainbow above was a sight to be seen on our bus ride to County Kerry and the hills were dotted with sheep. I hope that the rainbow was a sign of good things to come while we are here! Despite the frequent rain, Ireland truly is a beautiful place- the shades of green that vary upon the hillsides bringing a sense of connection with the earth to on-lookers, and who cannot help but feeling closer to nature. Here, the houses are quaint and colorful, and seemingly no two houses are structurally the same. The extravagance of the United States, where 'bigger is better,' has not reached this sweet town.
Today, a small group of us had brunch at a small cafe in town. We've discovered that bacon here is not what we would get if ordered back home and that breakfast food here is much different to American breakfast food. Most shops and the banks are closed on Sundays (a good way to not spend money- you can't get it and you can't spend it!), but we visited the Dingle Aquarium and saw the rays and penguins get fed. On the way back to the cottages, we stopped at Murphy's for locally produced, handmade ice cream (a required visit if any of you come to Dingle). Overall, I would say it was a successful first full day in Ireland, and it's not even over yet!
Slán go fóill ("See you later!", in Gaelic)!
Yesterday we arrived in Shannon, Ireland around 7am, which would be about 2am back home. The bus ride from Shannon to Dingle was absolutely breathtaking! The combination between mountains and ocean was a sight unlike any other. Once we arrived at Dingle we had lunch and then unpacked our things and got settled into our cottages. Then we had dinner and walked around Dingle to take a small glimpse of the nightlife. At the grocery store Lidl near our cottage I got to see how different their brands of food are, but fortunately there are still American known products! Although I am still experiencing jet lag I hope in the next few days my internal clock readjusts. Today we will be going to the Dingle aquarium and preparing for classes to start tomorrow. Being here will take some getting used to but I know in a few short weeks it will feel like a second home.
Until next time,
My name is Corinne O'Toole and I am a sophomore nursing student at Sacred Heart University. I am excited to be one of the bloggers for the SHU in Dingle study abroad program for Spring 2016! Today I packed everything up and prepared to make this huge first step towards an unforgettable semester. Before now, I have never left the country nor have I ever been away from my family for this long. Even when attending Sacred Heart University at the Fairfield campus I am a short 50 minutes from home. Although I am very excited and grateful for this experience I admit I am nervous for it as well. I know for certain that this experience will change me forever in a positive way. In just a short time I will be back in the "homeland" connecting with my Irish roots, and I cannot wait to see what these next few months have in store.
Until next time,
Saturday January 9th, 2016- Fairfield, CT, USA
Hello all! My name is Rebecca Lee, and I am a sophomore nursing major at Sacred Heart University.
Today, the upcoming semester became reality- this afternoon, I sent my textbooks off to Dingle and started packing my largest suitcase for Ireland. With less than a week left before my fellow students and I cross "the pond," I find myself excited and nervous to start on this new adventure. Despite my previous travels to twelve foreign countries, I still feel the same butterflies that I felt before my first trip abroad. Despite my nerves, I find comfort in the fact that SHU in Dingle students and I will all be in the same proverbial boat while in Ireland... and that classes will be in English (thank goodness for that!). So until I report in from Irish soil, I hope everyone has a wonderful last few days of Winter Break and does a little Irish jig for luck in honor of the SHU students going abroad this semester!
Until next time,