Classes started Monday. We traveled as a herd to our classes, feeling like little kids again walking to our school house. We passed the usual sights that are slowly becoming familiar to us in Dungarvan, such as the smaller cars, flower shops, bakery, “Jitterbean Cafe” (which we all love) and local pubs. We are slowly learning which roads to take, the quickest ways to go, and feeling more comfortable in our sense of direction. The class I am taking right now is symbology with Keiko, and it is different to be in the theater classroom for class. Another lovely difference we have come to enjoy is “teatime” during class. The classes here are much longer in order to get all material done in such a short amount of time, so we get a short break for tea and cookies! I think this might be something each of us will miss when the day comes to take classes back in Erie again! Perhaps Mercyhurst will consider tea time in the U.S.
Before and after class we have time to use the gym and pool at the hotel, and it has been very convenient so that we can stay active. I feel like we are slowly becoming a little community here. It is fun seeing each other walking around town or running into each other at the pool. One of the professors brought their family, and we have become specifically fond of their youngest daughter. It is fun to have a younger child around to see her innocence and excitement about being here. We agreed to “adopt” her for one day- and she became our buddy on one of the trips. On Tuesday many of us went to a film presented by the Irish Film Festival. It was an English film, showing the importance of education, especially for young ladies. I enjoyed it, and noticed some of the slight differences in the approach the movie was filmed in. They keep us very busy here with new things. Wednesday was our chance to go to “The Ring” which is a Gaelic community on the other side of the bay from Dungarvan. Here, the people speak the traditional Irish language. We took a bus ride and were accompanied by two residents of the community that knew so much history about the area. It was hard to absorb every story, but I did my best to take in as much information as possible. We stopped at the Famine Graveyard, or “Graveyard on the Mountain”. This gravesite was created and dedicated for the people from the local poor house in Dungarvan who died during the famine. I enjoyed hearing the Irish poems and history about the event and how it affected the community of the Dungarvan area. You can tell that this is really a part of all the people in Ireland. Continuing our travel, we saw beautiful sights of the ocean, horses, mountains and sheep. The green pastures looked amazing from this view. We saw other monuments dedicated to a Chicago mayor Daley, as well as other sights such as the traditional Irish television station.
It was here we made our final stop, and watched a documentary about the honor guard at President Kennedy’s Funeral. I never knew that the honor guard used at his burial was from Ireland and we enjoyed learning about how he had such a strong admiration from the country of Ireland. After, we got to mingle over cheese and wine, and get to know some of the interns at the television station. This continued throughout the night, and once again, I felt we had met a welcoming group of people by the end of the night. At Mooney’s local pub in “The Ring”, we enjoyed some traditional Irish music, along with amazing sights and an authentic old décor. It was impossible to look around without finding something different that caught your eye, made you laugh or intrigued you. There was even a pub cat that everyone enjoyed. We enjoyed a group of young people we met from the television station so much, that we continued our visiting all the way back to the hotel! Laughing and surely messing it up several times, a couple of us got to learn how to say “my name is…” and “God be with you” in the traditional Irish language. If only I could hold onto those saying longer than one night! Maybe they will have to come review with us again over a pint of Guinness!