Until we meet again…

Yesterday was our last day in Bundoran. We spent the morning near Sligo visiting the horseshoe, Glencar Waterall, and a revisit to Drumcliffe. We never made it into the the cafe and gift shop the last time. A huge tour bus piled into it right before us when we visited.

The afternoon was quiet, filled with packing and last minute gift buying.

Paddy, Keith and the ladies prepared for us an official Irish dinner last night followed by a sing along in 51 Main Street.

We are off to Dublin today to see the sights there then we go home tomorrow. The trip has flown by.

Thank you Bundoran! We had great craic!

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Off to Donegal

Hard to believe that today is our last day in Bundoran. The 8 days have gone fast. It will be hard to say goodbye to our friends tomorrow morning and head off to Dublin.

Niamh returned to us yesterday, after her defection to the Kirkwood group for the weekend. Fickle woman 😀 good thing we adore Collie & John too. Seriously, yesterday we started out the day with a baking lesson at La Sabbia. We learned how to make scones, wheaten bread, tea brack, and soda bread three different ways – plain, savory with carmelized onions & rosemary and then a sweeter one with dried fruits. Of course we had tea and tasted them all afterwards. A big thank you to Dympna who came over to the restaurant to give the demonstration after spending the wee hours of the morning baking for the Wave Cafe.

After our baking lesson (& second breakfast) we headed out towards Donegal town. Along the way we stopped at Catsby Cave and St. Patrick’s Well. During the time period when it was illegal for Catholics to practice their faith, this was one of the places they met in secret to hold mass and Sunday school.

We spent the afternoon in Donegal, exploring the town. The highlight of my afternoon was finding the wool shop where I scored a kilo of pure Donegal wool 😉 For those of you that know me, I have recently learned to knit and I am completely addicted to it. I have started hoarding yarn in my closet for all the future projects I plan to start. My local Donegal wool is now my prize possession. I think I will wait until I become a bit more skilled before I pull it out of my yarn stash.

Lots of things to do in Donegal. Some of us toured the castle, others shopped in the local craft stores, some had lunch or tea. On our way back to Bundoran in the evening we stopped at Ballyshannon to visit Dicey Reilly’s. That is where they brew 2 local craft beers Donegal Blonde and Atlantic Amber Ale. Had to taste a little…

We had another fabulous dinner at La Sabbia. Poor Paddy, he must be weary of us running amok in his restaurant. After dinner, Helen at 51 Main Street showed us how to pour the perfect pint of Guiness, shamrock and all. We all gave it a go. It was great craic!

If all your friends jumped off a cliff….

Remember when you were little and your Mom asked you if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you follow? Well I know she meant it to mean you shouldn’t follow the herd blindly, but in this case the answer was, well YES!

Seriously, We had a great day again yesterday. Niamh was busy with the Kirkwood group from Iowa yesterday so we had a quiet morning. A few of us spend the morning on the Cliff walk around Bundoran Bay. It was breath-taking. Another small group explored the city. My girls slept in a bit. They investigated an Irish night club the night before and were up a bit late. Purely for anthropological reasons I am sure – or at least that is what I am telling myself.

Well I worked up a bit of an appetite walking the 6 miles along the cliffs, so I was more than ready for our Irish brunch at 1 pm. Paddy, Keith, and the staff cooked a real Irish breakfast for us. It was very tasty. La Sabbia has the best food in Bundoran and the friendliest staff.

Now to the exciting stuff. Most of the group spent the afternoon jumping off a cliff – well 3 to be exact. We went out to the beach and everyone had an opportunity to jump from 3 different levels. Everyone jumped from the lowest level, most from the medium one, and 2 brave souls jumped from the very highest one. Way cool.

We had a quiet evening after dinner. I think everyone was plum worn out!

If all your friends jumped off a cliff….

Remember when you were little and your Mom asked you if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you follow? Well I know she meant it to mean you shouldn’t follow the herd blindly, but in this case the answer was, well YES!

Seriously, We had a great day again yesterday. Niamh was busy with the Kirkwood group from Iowa yesterday so we had a quiet morning. A few of us spend the morning on the Cliff walk around Bundoran Bay. It was breath-taking. Another small group explored the city. My girls slept in a bit. They investigated an Irish night club the night before and were up a bit late. Purely for anthropological reasons I am sure – or at least that is what I am telling myself.

Well I worked up a bit of an appetite walking the 6 miles along the cliffs, so I was more than ready for our Irish brunch at 1 pm. Paddy, Keith, and the staff cooked a real Irish breakfast for us. It was very tasty. La Sabbia has the best food in Bundoran and the friendliest staff.

Now to the exciting stuff. Most of the group spent the afternoon jumping off a cliff – well 3 to be exact. We went out to the beach and everyone had an opportunity to jump from 3 different levels. Everyone jumped from the lowest level, most from the medium one, and 2 brave souls jumped from the very highest one. Way cool.

We had a quiet evening after dinner. I think everyone was plum worn out!

Leaving Our Mark

I cannot believe we have been here 5 days already! Well 6 if you count today as well, but it’s just getting started. I am enjoying some quiet time while everyone else sleeps in on a Sunday morning. And it is some well deserved extra sleep time indeed.

Yesterday started off with a fabulous lesson on the Gaelic language with Collie. We all learned our Gaelic names and how to spell them in Ohm, the root language from which Gaelic derives. Just remember when in country, no need to call it Gaelic, everyone calls it speaking Irish!

After writing out our names in Ohm, we learned how to have a short conversation with each other. We learned the Irish words for hello, how are you, and how to tell someone your name. Of course goodbye at the end and the ever important Slainte – comes in handy later 🙂 Collie ended our lesson by recounting an Irish myth. Hope we get a chance to hear another before we leave Bundoran. Collie is a great storyteller.

Our afternoon was very busy as well. We spent an hour or two exploring Bundoran in small groups. Then the students and faculty members headed over to the Donegal Adventure Center (DAC) to create a mural. We want our new friends to remember us after we leave. What better way than to paint a mural? Some of the others in our group headed to Sligo to explore the city a bit more and another small group went to visit a local pottery manufacturer in Ballyshannon.

What a fabulous time it was deciding how to represent our college on the wall. The group came together as a team to decide how it should look, delegated different areas of the mural to different people, and then went to work. The end result above was fantastic.

We all worked up a big appetite painting. After another really tasty dinner at La Sabbia, some of the students were brave enough to try the ropes course at the DAC. They climbed the rock wall, repelled down the tower, and tried to walk the ropes. I am totally impressed with my girls. They rock!

But it’s not over yet! 51 had some traditional Irish musicians in the pub last night. What a treat to find out it was my friend Connie, who I met when I visited in 2012. It is nice to see old friends again. He and his partner sounded wonderful. Our very own Betty G. joined in on the keyboard and played us a few songs as well. And Bob & Susan H. showed us their dance moves by clogging for us and Connie and his friend played for us.

I do believe we have officially taken over Bundoran 🙂

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Visiting Northern Ireland

Yesterday was an informative day. We made the short trip over the border into Northern Ireland to visit the city of Derry. Derry is one of the few walled cities left in Ireland.

Our visit was very powerful and moving. We made the journey to learn more about the conflict in Northern Ireland and the peace process that started in 1994.

Our first stop was the Free Derry Museum. We learned about the events of Blood Sunday from people who were there the day of the civil rights march and participated in it. We heard the stories of loss. We listened to actual audio recordings from the time of the event. We viewed the objects that represent the people who were lost and the pain of a whole community.

It is hard not to be touched by these things. I had visited before and thought that this time I was prepared for what I would see and hear. I was wrong. It was just as painful this time as well. Such sadness, but the process of healing has begun. In that there is hope.

After we recovered from our visit to the museum, we took a walking tour of the murals and then had lunch at the Gasworks. It is a local cooperative of Bogside women who run a cafe and use the profits for the community – daycare, education, etc.

We spent the afternoon touring the wall. The views from the wall of both sides of the river we spectacular. And what a contrast from the Bogside section to the area behind the wall.

Our evening in Bundoran was fun as well. Another delicious dinner at La Sabbia. Too many more of these and I won’t fit into my seat on the plane ride home. After dinner we met the freshly arrived students and faculty from Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, the mayor of Bundoran, and Bundoran’s Tourism Officer.

We capped the evening off with some Reggae music from the Waggamuffins at the Atlantic Apartotel.

Yeats Coutry

Yesterday was all about Yeats – W. B. Yeats the Irish poet and statesman.

Our herd spent the day in and around Sligo experiencing history, literature, and a bit of shopping too. But first Niamh gave us a short informational lecture on W.B. Yeats, his family and the context of the time period in which he lived and wrote poetrty,

Our first stop on the way to Sligo was Drumcliffe Monestary, the final resting place of W.B. Yeats. We visited W.B. and learned that he was buried their because of his love for Ben Bulban, the mountain under which he rests. We explored the monastery and its grounds for a bit. My favorite item there is the high cross. It stands very regal and is symbolic of the melding of Celtic and Christian culture in Ireland.

Our next stop was the City of Sligo. We had lunch, we explored the city center, we shopped a bit, some of us visited the Model Art Museum, and others the Yeats Society.

Our last stop for the afternoon included a tour of Parks Castle. We enjoyed exploring the Medieval complex and grounds. Afterwards we took a trip around Lough Gill on the Rose of Innisfree. What a view. The landscape around the lake was phenomenal. As we rode around the Lake Isle of Innisfree our guide recited W. B. Yeat’s poems to use.

We returned to Beautiful Bundoran at dinnertime a hungry and bedraggled group. A scrumptious dinner at La Sabbia fixed that up in a jiffy! Our evening ended with some music in 51…

Oh Bundoran! How I missed thee…

We’re Here! It was a 24 hour travel day in U.S. time almost 2 days with the time change. We left New Bern, NC on Monday, arriving at the airport around 10:30 am Monday morning. We flew to Charlotte, the only place US Air travels to from New Bern and after a layover straight to Dublin.

Once we arrived n Dublin, we met our fearless leader for the rest of our Trip, mi cara, Niamh. She sped us off on our bus towards our final destination, beautiful Bundoran. It is a several hour trip from the southeastern coast of Ireland to the northwestern coast.

We stopped at the Hill of Tara along the way. It was rainy but beautiful as well. We investigated the historic church on the site and then climbed the hill to stand next to the coronation stone.

After getting our fill of Celtic history, we hopped back on the bus and traveled onward. We arrived in Bundoran a full 24 hours after we left home, which was 3:30 pm here. We took a small tour of the town and then had a nice dinner and settled in.

We off to learn to surf today, 🙂

Ireland or Bust!

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Only a few more days until the Craven crew hops on a big ole jet plane and heads out for an Irish adventure!

We are getting ready – packing our bags and finding our passports.  The last big event before we leave is graduation on Saturday morning.  Several of our Irish-bound students will be graduating, traveling with us abroad, and then heading out to one of our universities to finsih their 4-year degree.  Some will return for one more year, and others of us are permanent residents of the college as faculty and staff.

Hope you follow along with us as we travel….Slainte!

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Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Email: bellaceroc@cravencc.edu
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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