I can’t believe we arrived in Ireland over a week ago. To be honest it seems as if we’ve been here for a month but I think it only feels that way because we’ve had a jammed packed orientation week.
To start out the week, on Monday, we had a scavenger hunt where we paired off into two’s and wandered around town trying to take pictures of certain landmarks or write down correct names of businesses and local historic figures. This was a great activity because it made us stop and get to know some of the locals by asking them questions about Dingle. At one point during the scavenger hunt a group of American tourists mistook my partner, Gloria, and I for locals which was funny because both groups wanted to ask the other for directions. In the end though Gloria and I won by one point and Sean Pol gave us two wooden signs that had a quote. Mine says: “Do one thing every day that makes you happy.”
We took a historical walking tour around Dingle on Tuesday which I found to be pretty cool. I was wary of it at first but our two guides made it fun by getting us involved and asking questions about back home in the United States which they tied into what we were learning. Plus, it was nice to see some new paths we can take in town and learn more about our home for the next three months. We also went and did the Slea Head Drive which is a scenic drive around the Dingle Peninsula and it has breathtaking views.
The aquarium was something I was looking forward to visiting ever since I first googled Dingle, Ireland. It’s one of the most popular attractions to see here along with Fungi the dolphin. Kevin, who is teaching the costal ecology class, showed us around the aquarium and talked about the different types of fish and also took us above the huge tank that houses two sharks, an array of fish, and a turtle. We went to the aquarium early Wednesday morning and then in the afternoon we went on another hill walk. I don’t think I can say this enough but every view I’ve seen has blown me away and to stand at the top of these huge hills being able to see for miles away is something I’ll always remember.
Thursday was more of a relaxing day. We discussed the book Wild and talked about the challenges Cheryl Strayed experienced while walking the Pacific Crest Trail and what her reasons were for deciding to begin such a daunting task. Dr. Reid made the connection that the length of time it took Cheryl to walk the trail is similar to the amount of time we are spending in Dingle. Her journey, although not the exact same as ours, can maybe be seen as an outline or an example for challenges we may face with ourselves and have to overcome while abroad.
To finish out the week we left early Friday morning for Galway. Along the way we stopped at The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. The Cliffs of Moher was a very cool experience. It was exhilarating to stand so close to the edge and look down. I was actually really surprised they didn’t have any railings and that they allowed everyone to sit right on the edge. The Burren was interesting to see as well. It was a giant landscape of limestone rock that you could walk across all the way over to the ocean.
Big Red at the Cliffs of Moher
On Saturday the girls and I went shopping in the city of Galway which was very festive at the time, decked out in maroon and white flags because on Sunday there was going to be a hurling match between Galway and Kilkenny (Galway sadly lost). It was exciting to see the community come together over an event. In almost every store we visited, someone in the shop would mention the match to us and see if we were as excited as they were. In the afternoon all of us went out to a pub to watch Gaelic football and I found myself enjoying the type of atmosphere created by all the people.
When we got back to Dingle Sunday afternoon I was looking back at everything we had done this past week and there was way more then I could fit into this blog. I realized that at just age 18 I have experienced and seen so much more then I could have ever even imagined.