Hey friends and family, this morning we traveled to Kildare to see the monastic settlement there and to climb one of the few remaining round towers in Ireland that allow access to the top. It took 6 flights of ladders to climb to the top. I would’ve made it to the top faster but I was stuck behind Evan. Although it was a rainy day, the view at the top was great and we managed to get some good pictures before the rain got worse. After we left the round tower, we went to the St. Brigid Cathedral and Visitor Center to talk to some nuns about Brigid and her life. We had a very interesting talk and everyone had a lot of fun there.
After we got back from Kildare, we got to rest a bit before getting on the bus and driving outside of the city to have dinner at the Merry Ploughboys Pub. While we ate dinner, we listened to traditional Irish songs, occasionally accompanied by a loud “WOOOO” from Keith in the back of the room.
Hey everyone, our ten days at Ireland are coming to a close and I am here to reflect on the past nine days we have had together. As the first day started we went to a nice breakfast place where one of our pilgrims; not to call anyone out KYLE, couldn't quite comprehend why the lady behind the counter kept saying toast. He thought that the lady was saying “cheers” in a very Irish manner. Throughout the week we have found tons of funny things in all the little things. About mid-way through the week Evan started craving chicken nuggets and made it his mission to buy and cook them at our hostel. On the seventh day of the trip we found super value that had a big box off chicken nuggets for three euros. As we were cooking them Evan started calling himself the nugg lord. As I took the fist chicken nugget he called me the nugg knight and I think you can tell where this is going. By the eighth day we all had a name; even father bob being the nugg priest.
I would also like to talk about the friendships we all have made durning this trip. It all started with climbing Croagh Patrick. We saw how nice everyone was and I think that really changed our attitude towards everyone else. I’ve heard that some groups have had a tough time getting along but the group I was with had no problems at all. We all got along and we all a great time that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
See you soon!
Today, we spent the middle of the day at Glendalough, which was a 6th Century site for St. Kevin’s monastery. On our return to Dublin, we went to tour a prison. It is the prison where the leaders of the 1916 rebellion were kept and executed so it is a very important and popular tourist spot this year on 100 years since the rebellion against England began.
It was cool when we walked through the prison and saw all of the cells. The prisoners only had an hour a day outside to walk around in a circle then back to their cells. From where the guards stood they could see all of the cells… but apparently if the prisoners bribed the guards enough the guards would just let them walk out the front gate! They also had what we call solitary confinement, but those cells were totally dark which made it even worse.
But my favorite part of the day would have to be laying in the rare warm Irish sun. We had a pretty cold day at Glendalough, but when we were waiting to get in the prison in Dublin some of us took advantage of a warm sunny spot. I also was in charge of cooking the meat for dinner today. I was glad to cook because we decided to make hamburgers! It made me feel at home because we haven’t American hamburgers in Ireland.
Just one more day left. See you soon.
We have thousands of pictures taken... so here are a few to give you some more looks at what we are up to in Ireland.
Hey guys! This whole trip has been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to share all of my pictures and stories when i get back. Today was definitely my favorite day because i was blessed with so many birthday wishes. When I woke up this morning, one of the first things I heard was “Happy Birthday, Libby!” from Joanna, Brooke, Molly, and Shelby, so that was the moment that I knew it would be an unforgettable day. As I headed downstairs for breakfast, I was greeted with many other people saying happy birthday! Then during morning prayer, the whole group sang happy birthday and I can say that everyone made this day very special. Once we departed from the Portrush Hostel, we made our way to Carrickmacross where we met a wonderful group of people. They welcomed us as their own and really made us feel like a part of their community. After we ate a little bit of lunch, the girls took us outside and taught all of us how to play Gaelic Futbol. It is like a mix of soccer and handball, but was very hard to learn. After playing outside and taking a lot of pictures, we all went back inside where I was surprised with a homemade birthday cake! I was definitely surprised and so blessed to be a part of such a fun day.
After we left Carrickmacross, we got on the bus and headed to Dublin. This city is so amazing and as I'm writing this, i am sitting on the rooftop terrace of our hostel looking out at the city. I look forward to a wonderful day tomorrow where we will attend church service at a cathedral and eat lunch at one of the best fish and chippers in the world. To end the day, we will spend a few hours shopping in Dublin and spending time in our hostel. I look forward to the rest of this journey but I can’t wait to see everyone when i get back!
What makes up a Church? Their building history? Their Denomination? The size of their congregation? Their Minister? All of these ideas can be argued that they are the most important part of the church community, but in my opinion you would be wrong. I believe that the most important part of a church is the community of people that all attend it and worship together.
This could be vividly seen in the amount of people that showed up to worship together on this rainy Sunday Morning. The service was mostly the same as ours back home but it had a few distinct differences. For one that it was in a cathedral and the high altar was used. Some of the other differences were the size of their choir, use of Vergers, and using of Incense. Each of this uses of different aspects of the worship allowed us to fully experience the different worship style. And one of the most glaring differences between them and ODEC was that their choir sung most of the songs in Latin, which the latin students in our group found beneficial. After the service we went to one of the best fish and chip shops in the world. Which I believe the whole group found was the best that they had tasted.
But our day was not over as we shopped for gifts for two hours before we walked back to our hostel to prepare for dinner. Its time to eat so I must now go. Goodbye. Cameron Brunick
Hey everyone, this trip as been absolutely amazing for me and everyone else in the group as it has opened my eyes to new cultures and new people. It seems like everyone that we meet wants to share about their day or even their whole life story. They say it should only take abut “5 minutes” but it’s never true. Anyways, the time that I have spent so far is unforgettable. I love the days that we find somewhere quiet and journal because it allows me to finally relax (which it never seems like I do). Although I am far from home, the generosity of the people here allow me to feel closer.
Now on to today. Today was our 6th day here in Ireland and no doubt a great one. For the past couple of days, Father Bob has allowed us to sleep in later in order to get enough rest. However, we finally had to rise early. It was our last morning in the Portrush Hostel and I have really enjoyed my stay there. I especially enjoyed the times where we ended up staying up until one in the morning and Flex wouldn't stop talking. After eating breakfast and packing our bags for the two hour trip to Carrickmacross. After the long bus ride, we finally arrived at the community center in their town. This was especially important for me because I got to meet up with my parents’ close friends that I have known since I was little. Everyone in the community welcomed us as if we were a part of their family and had lunch with us just before we went out to the field. This is when all of us started to learn Gaelic Futbol. It is a mix between handball, soccer, and many other sports that we know and love. It was really good to see the whole team welcome us into their complex. After we went back inside to eat a little more, we finally headed off after taking my final pictures and saying my final goodbyes to Tom, Liz, and Sadbh. We took a tour about their city’s rich history, then we finally headed off to Dublin. I am not much of a city guy, but it was cool to see all of the crazy people all over the city. It has really been a good change of scenery other than the rolling hills with a ton of cows and sheep. I have rambled on enough and am definitely ready for bed. I hope everyone has a good night and I miss everyone at home. See you when I get back Alvaro! Evan Weintraub
Hallo, hola! Today was our fifth day here in Ireland, second full day being in Portrush. Really has been the trip of a lifetime. The people we meet everywhere we go are the nicest and most generous people out there. We've run into people on the climb up Croagh Patrick; which has so far been my favorite thing we have done by far, that we've stopped and had nice conversations about. Or the nice pastor that gave us a “five minute” history of Ireland and Clonmacnoise. We’ve come close as group more and more each day and have become like a family. Which in a ways is bad with us boys as we goof even more now. I will say that I do miss American food, but trying all the new foods our group makes is great. Especially since we have some gourmet chefs in the group.
So, today we went to the Giants Causeway and then the ruins of Dunluce Castle. After the days of being in the car for hour or longer cars rides and everyone saying 5 more minutes the whole way. It was nice that the cliffs were only 10 minutes away from the hostel. We decided to take the high path on the cliffs so we’d walk atop the cliffs at first, which in the end was a really smart plan. The view from atop the cliffs was breath taking and really made you appreciate nature and its beauty. It was a perfect day to visit the Causeway as the sun was out with little clouds and their was a nice cooling breeze blowing through the fields of grass next to us. Father Bob told us the night before that if it was dark and dreary, the cliffs weren't that enjoyable. We walked all the path atop the cliffs taking hundreds of photos I’d say (especially for me, my parents convinced me to take the canon camera but I didn't want to as it took up a lot of space in my bag. I’m happy they convinced me otherwise). We took a 30 minute break done at the bottom to journal, meditate, out on the rocks at the bottom of the Giant’s Causeway. I’m not the best at journaling for sure, I haven't written much down in it so far.
Well anyways, I'm extremely grateful for this amazing opportunity that I am having right now. Shoutout to my family back home and my Grandma Sally who I know is really excited to see my blog. Miss you all. God Bless.
Hey everyone! This is the 5th day, also known as the checkpoint. Half way through the
trip of a lifetime. Ireland has us all in a trance. I have never seen anything like this place. The people we have met are some of the nicest I have ever encountered. Although, I do have to say there is no place like home. I really do miss my family and friends. Everyday I am wishing that they could be here to share these beautiful experiences with me. It’s beginning to be more evident that I have some family right here with me. This group grows closer and closer everyday. We have been to some incredible places as you have read in previous blogs. My favorite has been Croagh Patrick. It was so invigorating to be there at the top with the guys. Looking out upon the mountains, knowing that God created all of this for us. I may have almost died from exhaustion getting to the the top, but it was completely worth it. I walked back down the mountain with Kyle. We took our time and that made me appreciate the beauty of the surrounding scenery.
Today, we went to Giant’s Causeway and learned about many legends of giants, of
course. We took around 30 minutes to sit out on the rocks and meditate or write in our journals. I really do not journal at all but I have found myself writing novels in my book. It is also extremely cool that we are here now because Great Britain has just voted to leave the EU. Northern Ireland voted to remain but overall England made the vote. We are here for the making of history.
Anyways, I am having an amazing time and am so grateful for the opportunity to be
here. Shoutout to my family, friends, and those who are special to me. I miss you all so much. I cannot wait to share my experiences with you! God bless. Toast!
Every day here in Ireland I fall further in love with the island. Whether it was when we visited Clonmacnoise, climbed Croagh Patrick, or talked about the different saints and historic sites in Ireland the trip has been amazing. Yesterday we learned the story of Brendan the Navigator, an Irish Saint, who is said to have taken a crew out to the Atlantic Ocean, put their oars in the boat out in the deep sea, and asked for God to take them where ever he pleases. After hearing this story of Brendan, who we learned likely traveled into North America in 575, I felt how during our trip we are putting our faith in God and listening to him in everything that we do. I have felt this connection with God especially when I look around at the beautiful scenery here in Ireland. Witnessing the awesomeness of God’s creation has really opened my eyes to not only how beautiful and powerful God is, but also how substantial community can be in keeping peace and growing closer to God. Last night we took a walk as a group down to the water here in Portrush where we talked about community. To give an example of the importance of community in growing closer to God, we all stood in a circle around Ryan (who was playing God in the scenario), and tried to walk in closer to him. Through this we saw that the only way to get closer to God was to also get closer to each other. As the trip continues, I continue to grow closer with the group going on all these adventures and learning about the Lord with such a great group.
Today, June 23, we learned a ton of information about the history of Ireland especially concerning the clashes between Catholics and Protestants throughout Irish history. We started off today by traveling to the town which shall not be named (London-Derry). I call it this because the name of the walled city has been disputed for decades, as Irish nationalists prefer to call it Derry while those loyal to the UK prefer London-Derry. It was fascinating walking on the walls and looking at one side, mostly inside the walls, which has the British flags and red, white, and blue, and then looking across the way and seeing the traditional orange, white, and green of the Irish flag. The history and controversy behind the city was amazing especially considering how prominent the issue is today. It made me look back at our conversation about community and how important it is that people find a way to get along even through our differences. Hearing about all the positive things going on in Ireland, how they are planning to combat the issue and improve relations, really encouraged me in looking at our community and building relationships together.
Now, after a long day of touring more amazing sites here in Northern Ireland, I sit here in our hostel in Portrush, hurrying to finish this blog post because Molly and Libby are waiting on me to play cards. Keith, Cameron, Brooke, and Scotty are preparing dinner (breakfast for supper) and hopefully there will be enough pancakes left over that Keith and I can juggle them (or at least try to). It has truly been a blessing making such an amazing journey with such an amazing group these past few days. Can’t wait to make more memories the rest of our trip. Love and miss everyone back at home! Kyle Long
Old Donation Episcopal Church