Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome "home" ... Ireland, day one

Is it purely the power of suggestion, or do I have an authentic connection to Ireland? I do know this. My maternal grandmother told me that "my grandfather emigrated from Ireland, so you are definitely Irish." This passing comment always hung around in my mind and seemed to fuel a desire to visit Ireland.

Once there, I felt strangely at home. From the hills meeting the Irish Sea to the quaint cottages and sheep on the hillsides ... it somehow felt right and comfortable. And I wonder. Somewhere in this green land, is there a cousin or two with whom I share a heritage?

Thursday, Sept. 25. We awoke at 5:15 a.m., left for the airport at 6:30 to catch our 9:30 flight to Dublin. Skirting Paris, we maneuvered through horrendous traffic but made it in time. Though the flight was only an hour and a half, there was plenty of time added in customs, walking and baggage claim. And, at last, we joined the other Taylor U. parents on a bus for the ride into Dublin.
No time wasted: first stop was Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, the lavishly decorated gospels produced in the 9th century by monks who largely comprised the early Irish church. Fabulously beautiful. They are displayed in the old library of Trinity, which dates back nearly 300 years. Take a look at the library's "long room" sometime online. I don't know why I didn't take any photos!

From Dublin our bus traveled south to Bray, a seaside town, checked in to our hotel and had lunch. The landscape was beautiful: we spotted the Irish Sea and more and more lush, green hills along the way.

Gaelic is still spoken in Ireland: most of the road signs bear both Gaelic and English. Here's the view from the 'Y' where Katie lives in the town of Greystones ... right down to the Irish Sea.

How's this for a view? Walk down the street where Katie lives and you'll meet the Irish Sea! There's a big harbor project going on in Greystones, so the view is not what it used to be ....

Here's the drive into "Coolnagreina," or YWCA: Taylor's freshman Irish Studies Program's home base for the semester. The building on the left is where the guys live. As we approached, the students stuck their heads out windows and came running down to greet us.

REUNION! After arriving and lots of hugs, we toured the place. Behind Katie and me is the main building of the 'Y' at Greystones. The girls live upstairs; study, living, kitchen & eating areas are downstairs. The guys live in a separate building and a third building serves as the classroom.
(The open window straight above us is right beside Katie's bed, in the room she shares with 2 other girls.)

We both had to pose with our Katie ... after all, it had been about 7 weeks since we'd seen her. Absence does make the heart grow fonder!
After sharing a delicious dinner of salmon, chicken, salads, vegetables and bread, we were treated to a short "intro to Ireland" program by the students. Then back on the bus for our first night at the hotel. As much as we loved seeing our college kids, it WAS nice to get to our own hotel room for the night!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i always stayed in the dorm when i visited My daughter.
When are you going to book your tickets to Fl?