All Good Things Must Come to An End. :(

Well folks, this is my last and final Ireland blog, and I must say I am very sad that I had to say goodbye to The Emerald Isle. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I’d really like to speak to whoever came up with this rule, too. Not only for this, but for all good things in life in general. So, seeing as how I didn’t post on Friday, I’ll start by recapping the last of my Ireland excursions.

Friday

We spent the day in the town of Audare. This town is quite a beaut. It’s a small, quaint, and dainty town filled with character and beauty. It reminded me a lot of Frostburg to be honest – filled with churches and pubs, local shops, busy streets, but not too busy at all. We spent the day walking around the town and looking in shops. It was a nice afternoon and a relaxing way to end our touristy adventures. You know what to do for pictures.

After we got back to Limerick, a few of us set out for out last shopping trip to satisfy our addiction to Penny’s. No, no. Not JCPenny. This store is like Target, but cheaper, and filled with the cutest clothes ever. It also has adorable scarves for only 3-5 Euro. Yes, ladies! That’s far better than what we pay here in the states. Trust me, I bought a few 6. Don’t judge.

Then, thanks to Dr. B, Dr. O and Steve, we all enjoyed a great evening at The Unicorn, which before your imagination starts running, I’ll clear that all up for you. It’s a restaurant. Along with all of the Irish GA’s that could attend, we ate dinner and laughed a ton. It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. Thank you to the three of you for such great food and a wonderful night! Afterwards, the group met one last time to reflect upon our trip and enjoy each other’s company.

Unfortunately, the rest of the night involved packing. And don’t worry, cause I know you all were, I somehow managed to fit everything – including all that I bought, into my suitcase and carry-on… All with 1 lb. to spare. Just call me your packing queen. :)

Saturday

After a 3 hour nap, we headed to the Shannon airport at a lovely 6am. We boarded our flight to Newark, New Jersey at 9am, and approximately 8 hours later, we landed in the good ol’ US of A, the sweet land of Liberty. The flight wasn’t all that bad. I managed to watch two movies, 4 Grey’s Anatomy episodes, two Nashville episodes, listen to music, AND play Solitaire. You’re probably wondering if I utilized this time to catch up on some much needed sleep, right? The answer to that question is a big fat I wish. I couldn’t sleep for the life of me, and yes, it was very unfortunate.

We then had a 2hour layover in Newark. And yep, you guessed it, our flight kept getting delayed and we kept changing gates. It wasn’t too horrible though. Regardless, the moral of the story is: Never fly to Newark… that is if you can avoid it. We landed in Dulles around 5, and 3 and a half hours later, I was at home sweet home. It was kind of nice to be back on American soil where there are free re-fills, salad dressing, and money that doesn’t confuse me. Though I didn’t miss the snow one little bit. And I must say, there really is no place like home. I sure did miss it, and mom and dad, too.

Sunday

My day has consisted of  sleeping from 11:30 pm (last night) – 1:30 pm (today) … Yes, that’s 14 hours of sleep. And Yes, I’m still tired. As they say, never wake a sleeping baby.. or exhausted 22 year old.

Final Thoughts of My Ireland Adventures

I am sad to report that while I was in the land of rainbows and castles, I didn’t find gold at the end of a rainbow or spot a leprachaun. I know, I know. It’s rather unfortunate. But luckily, I was very fortunate in multiple other ways. As I look back on the past two weeks, I can’t help but feel extremely fortunate to have been able to be apart of such a valuable experience in Ireland. If you recall, I had mentioned that the president of MaryI had said to us at the very beginning of our trip that, “Your life will be changed, and you will change many lives.” Well, I’m here to tell you that this wise man did not tell any lies. Throughout my time spent in Ireland, I found myself not only learning about the country, its history, education system, and culture, but I found myself learning about myself AND learning from the girls (and “the boys”) that I got to spend the past two weeks with. I truly believe that I have been changed. The Irish (children and adults alike) have opened my eyes to a whole new world, including teaching, and have ultimately set an example of exceptional character, kindness, determination, and hard work. My peers, who traveled 3,000+ overseas with me, have left me with wonderful memories that I will always cherish and hold dear, as well as, a new outlook on my own teaching. My professors, who are more than just professors, but more like family, have continued to be exceptional mentors who I can only hope to be like one day. Their wisdom, thoughtfulness, and dedication, is inspiring in itself. There is absolutely no price tag that can be put on what I’ve learned and gained while in Ireland. My experience there is just as memorable as it is valuable. Now I am confident that when I have my own classroom one day, I will truly be able to teach to my best ability. I couldn’t thank Dr. B, Dr. O, Steve, Aisling, Patrick, all of the Irish GA’s, teachers, and schools, and anyone who helped to make this trip possible, enough. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and appreciate all that I have learned. Thank you all so much!

So, I guess this where I officially have to say that all good things must come to an end. :( Though it makes my heart sad, I’m looking forward to taking all that I have experienced with me wherever I may go. May the luck of the Irish be with you all! And hopefully I will see you soon, Ireland! In the words of the Irish, Slain leat agus go raith maith agat!

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“I Was Up Until 6am Whipping Cream…”

Where to even begin today? I suppose at the very beginning. This morning, at an early 7am, we boarded the bus to set out for Dunmore, which just so happens to be Patrick’s hometown. There, we were fortunate enough to visit former CLC GA, Maeve (she now teaches there) and Patrick’s primary school. After our nice two hour nap to the school, we were welcomed by all of the 205ish students and teachers/principals in the biggest way. All of the students gave us such an awesome and informative overview of Galway – all of its history, sports, culture, etc. They also sang traditional Irish songs, played their tin whistles and other instruments, and also even did an Irish jig. Now this was incredible. The kids gave me chills… The pride and respect they have for their work and not only themselves and each other, but also for their country, is absolutely fantastic. If only everyone could see this… After our very warm and awesome welcome, Elle and I went to fourth/fifth class where we spent the hour answering questions the kids had about America and being laughed at for how we say “car” rather than “c-are”. It was rather humorous to discuss our dialectal differences, (but really, I must thank Patrick for setting us up for that one. :) )

We then went to Patricks house for a great lunch, which left me with an overwhelming desire to change into sweatpants and/or unbutton my jeans. Like I’ve said earlier, the Irish really know how to feed people. And I am in no way complaining about it. Everything is so delicious, from the Irish stew to pavlova and strawberry cheesecake, countless cups of tea and chocolates… It’s all so delicious. I’m trying to figure out how to bring that home in my suitcase, too. But who am I kidding, I couldn’t fit a toothpick in my suitcase if I wanted to. Anyways, It was also really cool to see. Paddy in his element and see where he comes from. All of the things he talks about have now come to life and it really does make perfect sense. I also would just like to say thank you to Patrick and his family for such a warm welcome and incredible hospitality! Oh, and thank you Paddy for sacrificing your sleep for us.. The cream you whipped all night was certainly scrumptious.

Afterward, Patrick took us to Galway City, so we could all be “Galway Girls”( That’s a popular Irish song that Patrick dislikes) for the rest of the afternoon. We visited a beautiful cathedral that is the newest one in the country. Gorgeous everything! Pictures should be below. Now listen, I’ve seen interesting cities.. But this one is by far the neatest I’ve seen, I’d say. It’s so artsy and definitely has character. I loved walking up and down the streets looking at all of the cool shops and even people. The culture here is similar but yet so different. As I’m sure you guessed, I did end up hurting my wallet yet again. This time though, I bought an authentic (meaning the original place where the ring came from) Claddagh Ring. The ring stands for loyalty, friendship, and love. Google this. It’s really neat and the story behind it is interesting, I’d tell you, but I wouldn’t be a teacher if I didn’t make you research and do your own inquiry. :) The cool thing about this though is that a bunch of us bought them together, so therefore, it is indeed a great memory.

And now you may wonder what came next in the day. Well I’ll tell you..I’m currently sitting on the bus on the way back to Limerick getting motion sick and sacrificing my well-being crafting this beautiful and inspiring piece of writing so as to get to bed before 1am. I’m sure I’ll also be attempting to pack my suitcase with all of my new Ireland purchases… Remember how I struggled getting here without going over 50 lbs… Yeah. I’m gonna need a miracle to get home.

I am quite sad that tomorrow is our last day here… But, I must say that I’m missing home…only just a tad. :) I’m not sure if I’ll be posting tomorrow night or while I’m patiently sitting in one of three airports I’ll be visiting on Saturday. Either way, I guess all good things must reluctantly and unfortunately come to an end. :(

Prepare yourselves… There’s only about. 48 hours before I’ll start talking your ears off about my trip… Enjoy the silence for now. :)

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I Seemed to Have Forgotten My Brain Today

I’ll start by apologizing for not keeping you kind folks updated on my Ireland excursions over the past few days. It has been a crazy, exciting, and exhausting wonderfully tiresome adventure. So, to make up for lost time, I’ll recap Monday-today. Hold on, ladies and gents, it might be a long and wild ride.

There’s Monday…
Mondays adventures feature two very macho men (see pictures below) and included visiting Sinead’s school in Cork. This is a primary school full of adorable children. And I meathead kid are c-a-ute! There, I observed in Sinead’s classroom, which is junior infants. And goodness! She can teach! I’ve never seen a classroom so organized and well maintained. Not to mention, her classroom management skills are out of this work! Now, for all of you non-educators out there, classroom management is one of the key essentials in a classroom that either makes you or breaks you.. It’s also one of the most challenging things to master. But, she sure did it, and with such grace and ease. Sinead’s students were incredible listeners and followed all of her songs and cues to be on task. They were also adorable.. And for a few reasons:
– I asked one little girl if she could tell me her colors Irish and she looked at me extremely serious and says in her cute little Irish accent: “I can’t remember. I seem to have forgotten my brain today.” So, I asked, “Where do you think you left it?”. And, without a blink or second though she very eloquently says ” Oh, probably on my pillow.” Kids really do say the darnedest things. :)
– They’re four. There’s no further explanation. Any four year old is precious.
– They’re imaginations were incredible as they built their very own imaginary snowman. One snowman was taller than the Statue of Liberty! Who’s ever seen a snowman that big?!
– Along with Sinead, two twin girls saw us off with such a heart warming goodbye. They stood outside of Outside of the school and waved an American and Irish flag as we drove away. Talk about turning into a blubbering idiot. Goodness gracious. It was the sweetest thing, truly.
Overall, my experience in Sinead’s school was so awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the little squirts junior infants classroom. Even though that’s not necessarily what tickles my fancy, I did enjoy my time there.

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After leaving Sinead’s lovely school, we ventured to Aisling’s school, which is also a primary school. This time, Elle, Susie and I, we’re in fifth class. Now, let me tell you. I. Was. Impressed. Here’s why:
– Not only is this a Gaelic school (meaning they speak primarily Irish), but these students were learning French. Hello! That’s THREE languages, people! These kids are 11 and they’re speaking not one, not two, but THREE languages. In case anyone wondered, in America, kids only have to learn English in school and only have to take two years of a foreign language in high school…. I’ll stop before I get ahead.
– They’re handwriting is superb! Look below for an example. Seriously, their handwriting in better than mine.
– The students put together a huge book filled with information, research, pictures, stories, etc. about their town (Cork) history. This book was so impressive! They’re work exceeded far beyond their age level. Definitely gives high schoolers projects a run for their money.
– Wheni read the book Lady Liberty to them, I discovered that a) I had a birthday buddy – he was also born on. July 4th, which was so cool, cause I have yet to meet anyone with my same birthday, b) These kids know more about American history than the average American, and c) they’re respect and attentiveness to me was inspiring. They even make me want to be a better student.
After our time in fifth class, we got the opportunity to see Aisling’s choir. They we’re incredible! They sang modern songs such as “Cups”, “Wake Me Up”, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, and a few others. I’m telling you. These kids have talent. And not only that, but they appreciate music. It’s definitely something I wish we saw more of in the states. I’m a firm believer that taking music and the arts of the school system also takes the life and creativity out of it as well.

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This last one is just simply funny. :) I call it, Kid sized Macho Man – Steve-O

After leaving the schools, we made our way to the Jameson Warehouse and also The Titanic Experience Cobh. The titanic experience is so awesome. I loved it so much, maybe because I always had an interest in it. And no, titanic the movie plays no part in my extreme interest. I always hated Jack Dawson…. Silly third class boy ruining Roses future… It’s a good thing her heart still went on. But, Both of these were so informative and so much fun. I learned many things such as:
– I don’t like whiskey. Therefore, limiting myself is key.
– The process in which it takes to make whiskey is so ridiculously long and tedious. But of course, the longer the whiskey sits, the worse better it is.
– The makers of the Titanic were a little confident. Not that we didn’t already know this.
– A first class ticket would have costed around $63,000 (in today’s money). Good gravy.
– The crew ignored the iceberg warnings. No comment there.
– Being in the freezing water after going down with the ship would have meant a slow death… That is if you didn’t drown first. It would have taken about an hour before your body just shut down. :(

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And in case you wondered if we ever eat during our time here, we do. We went to a delicious restaurant called Scoozis which featured a very festive Macho Man – Dr.B :)

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Goodness, do I love my FSU parents professors (and Steve).

And there’s Tuesday…
Tuesday we ventured to Mairead’s school, which was an hour away from Cork, and in the country may I add. It reminded me a lot of home, Meyersdale.. It was bigger. But, the children outside of the town travelled into town for school. Much like our wellersburg/160/Garret kids. Anyways, here, I was placed in a special education classroom. Let me just start off by saying how incredibly touching this experience was. I’ve learned that it truly takes a special person to be able to do this and do it well. These kids are the most precious children. I saw the patience, determination, understanding, and strength it takes to teach this special needs population. It’s astounding really. The class I was in had children with Down’s syndrome, behavior/social disorders, and autism. I was so impressed at how well the kids were able to complete their work, and at how much they know. The teachers there really worked hard to make sure that kids were well taken care of and learning as much as they could. For each child, there was a teacher assistant who kept the children on task and took each step with the kids. They also had a set routine that they followed on a daily basis, which I learned is a priority in keeping the kids “together”. I also discovered that it’s imperative to be one step ahead. Also, we got to go to a planetarium that was brought into the school! Yes folks, I am and was more excited than the kids. This thing was so neat. It was like a virtual tour into space. The kids reaction to the whole thing is what really was so much fun. So many ooooing and awwing, laughterand giggles. I had a moment while sitting in “space” where I thought, this is why I want to teach.. This is what I love.. Seeing kids excited about learning, seeing them enjoy being a kid while discovering the world and helping them grow and giving them the tools to do so. It. Was. Awesome.

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Again, we were welcomed with exceptional hospitality afterwards. Mairead took us to a cafe called Central Perk for lunch. This cafe was so special because it was inspired by our favorite TV show Friends. How cool is that?!

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Next on Tuesdays agenda was a quick shopping session with Dr. O, Sarah, and Yasi, which meant saying goodbye to more Euros than I wanted to say goodbye to. But, it was “craic.” (Or, fun). :) then, we went to Aisling’s house for dinner, which was absolutely exceptional. Thank you again to Rose, Gary, Aisling, and her brothers, for such wonderful hospitality and such good food and awesome fun. We were spoiled with lamb (which I’ve never tried before so that was good) and desserts on desserts on desserts. I’m talking, I had to almost unbutton my jeans. It was that fantastic! I also thoroughly enjoyed listening and singing traditional Irish music with the family as well. I wasn’t kidding when I said we were being well taken care of, people. The Irish have some lessons to teach us all.

Also, we had our first actual Irish pub/club church experience. It was very wild and fun spiritual. That’s all for that. :)

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Wednesday
After getting a full four hours nights rest, we travelled to the Cork Jail.. I can’t remember the proper name, sorry Charlie. It was so historical and interesting. Though the wax people/statues were slightly on the creeper side, the stories and seeing the. Utilizing was too cool. Could you imagine being made to sleep naked in freezing temperatures? Nope. I’m not doing it. I won’t do it. I’m sorry. But I suppose that’s the price you must pay for trying to run away. Silly silly.

We then went to the butter museum. I never realized how big of an industry budder – we pronounce it so wrong, is in this country, amongst others. Nt only is the industry huge here, but the butter is GOOD. Way better than at home. I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s creamery. Now that I’ve fascinated you with the excitement of budder… After that, we shopped some more, which only resulted in me wishing the styles here would go across the pond, oasis (an awesome store) would be transported to the US, and that I had more room in my suitcase to bring these awesome clothes home. Therefore, my shopping day resulted in buying chocolate and longing for the things I don’t need, but desperately want to have.

no pictures today, folks. My phone is out of storage. Sorry dudes,

It’s officially bed time.. Which I’m so happy about. Those hostels beds/showers/wifi are none to be reckoned with..

I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon!
Til next time.., sending my love from The Emerald Isle.

Cork… No. Not the wine stopper. The city.

For my most favorite person ever ;)
This morning we woke up to vicious rainstorm and a sky full of gray clouds. But don’t you worry your pretty little heads, a few rain drops didn’t stop us FSUers from exploring. We began our day by visiting the Mitcheltown Caves near Cork. Now, I’ve explored some seriously cool caves before (all thanks to my adventurous and sweet boyfriend ;) ), but this cave was the mother of all caves. It was absolutely incredible. I could have probably spent days exploring there. Here are a few of my favorite parts of our cave tour:

- Our tour guide turned out all of the lights at one point… Ummm hi. I’m totally not afraid of the dark. The crazy thing is that my eyes never adjusted and were constantly trying to. Anddd if I remember correctly, I was once told that such things could cause you to go blind after a certain amount of time. That’s just cray.
– The cave was formed by a natural river that ran through it… And it’s millions of years old.
– There are so many images that you can see on the rocks, of course you have to use your imagination, but, you could see an elephant, a pig, an old lady, and so on. It was just too cool.
– the colors, created by the minerals = awesome possum
– The tour guide insisted that someone sing due to the incredible acoustics. Wouldn’t ya know, I got summoned to do so.. So, I, along with the others, busted out some serious Amazing Grace. It really was so neat and sounded way cooler than a regular place.

Though the pictures don’t do it justice, take a look down below..

For mi padres
After exploring the caves, Sinead, a former. GA in the CLC, and her mother, welcomed us into their home and prepared a fantastic lunch for our whole group. I didn’t realize how much I had missed just sitting in the comforts of a home. We had an awesome time there and we all are eternally grateful for their hospitality. The lasagna, apple pie, and twix like dessert bar things, were scrumptious! It was such a lovely afternoon! Especially after Mr. Golden Sun came out of hiding. So, don’t worry mom and dad, I’m being well taken care of on this trip. The Irish are definitely the hostesses with the mostest. :)

For Uncle (Brian) Weaves and those with a bucket list
After our relaxing afternoon, we headed the the Blarney Castle and stone. Again, this castle is awesome and so cool. It’s not redone to replicate how it was during the time that it was in use. It just is how it is. It’s beautiful! Now, the staircase to the top of the castle where the Blarney Stone is located was a little bit sketchy. I mean, steep, slippy, narrow, winding staircases. don’t got there if your scared of heights it’s not freaky at all. But really, it was so cool. In the wise words of Dr.B, “there isn’t any picture that you could take to capture the feeling this place gives you.” It’s a really, you have to be there kind of thing. We all kissed the Blarney Stone, which, apparently means that I now have the gift of gab (or eloquence) because I definitely needed that gift. And I know you all are hoping this gift is just temporary. :) Also, Weaves, don’t worry, I’ve been cleared of all possible ailments due to kissing the stone. Not to worry. :)

For my fellow FSUers
We’re now staying in Cork as I mentioned earlier, which means a new place to stay.. Or the Bur Hostel. It’s really quite the experience. It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before.. Just to note one thing, you have to constantly push a button to keep the water on while showering… If not, you’ll be one very cold shower taker. And we’re all getting extremely “romantic”, as in, it’s some close quarters. Regardless, embrace it ladies (and SteveO and Dr. B). I’m sure we’ll have some awesome stories to tell. :)

Until tomorrow ladies and gents…
Miss you all terribly and love you all muchly

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So, you’re in the big city, huh?

Today we journeyed to Ireland’s biggest/most populated and capital city, Dublin. Along with the rest of the land of nonexistent leprechauns, this place is filled with loads of history, beautiful architecture, and tea (duh). As always, my jaw was dragging on the ground and my eyes were wide as I took in every single aspect of this remarkable country.

Here’s my day in a nutshell:

For all of you stout lads…
We began out trip by visiting the Guinness Storehouse. There, we saw how Guinness is made, says well as, learning to properly use the six-step process to pour our beer perfectly. Now, before you go shaking your finger at me for not finishing my share of this novelty, I’ll have you know that it is, without doubt, an acquired taste… Andy taste buds weren’t having it. But touring this storehouse wasn’t only awesome for the mere reason that it’s Guinness, but we learned the history and key components to the company. For example, Arthur Guinness, you know, the man behind the brand, began the whole “paid vacation” thing. Also, it was common for Dublin women to try to marry a “Guinness man” which would ensure that she was taken case of properly. Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me. Alright, here’s pictures:
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Trinity College Library
To simply put it, this is what you call heaven on earth. This college was one of the first Ireland colleges.. So, you can imagine how many books are in this place. And old, awesome, historical books at that. It was so, so cool. There, we also saw The Book Kells. You wanna talk about old books, this one takes home the prize. This book is hundreds and hundreds of years old… It’s the bible written Gaelic. Probably one of the coolest things I may have seen. Pictures for you:

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Simply Dublin
This city is unique and so beautiful. Like I said early history in every crevices of this place. It’s incredible.. And I’ll let the pictures use those 1000 words rather than myself…

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I hope everyone is having a great weekend.. I miss you all so much. <3

Pinch me, I must be dreaming…

Day #6 in The Emerald Isle… The jet lag has worn off, but the fatigue is beginning to set in… Though I am, by no means, complaining one little bit. Every day that I spend here in this gorgeous country, I a) am even more amazed b) tempted to move stay longer and c) getting addicted to Irish chocolate and tea. This place is absolutely stunning, impressive, lovely, and absolutely brilliant.

So, yesterday, I was unable to blog because I was attacked by a leprechaun. Just kidding. I actually was on a journey in search of finding the gold at the end of the rainbow and got lost on my way back. Alright, for real. We were just super busy. Therefore, I’ll give you a quick run down of yesterday’s adventures:

All good things must come to an end :(
Last day in St. Conaire’s
– Yesterday was our last day in this school, and I must say, I’d be lying if I said I was happy about it. I can’t even begin to appropriately express how truly incredible and welcoming the faculty has been. I’ve learned so, so much while at this school and am forever grateful for my experience there.
– Did I mention these kids are talented?! Well, they are. The fifth and sixth class performed the musical Oliver and it was by far the most exceptional production I may have ever seen (from this age group and even high school). The stage presence, behavior (which was exceptional as always), and excitement that these students had during this show was impressive. They maybe should consider Broadway.
– The National Anthem is a very difficult to teach… However, these Irish sure are troopers and quick learners… After 45 minutes, they sang this louder and prouder than more Americans I’ve ever seen…. Oh, not to mention, they didn’t forget/butcher the words.. Now that says something
– After school, where we saw a double and very vibrant rainbow, Dr. B, being the kind and sweet gent that he is, surprised us by taking us to The Bunratty Castle! It was absolutely incredible. I felt as though I should have been dressed in extravagant dresses, decked out in fancy diamonds and pearls. The history behind the castle is truly fascinating, but I must say that the view from the top of the castle is better. :)
– Later that night, we, along with the faculty of St. Conaire’s, gathered together at Durty Nelly’s Pub – which
is a 400 heard old authentic Irish pub. We listened to actual Irish music and drank had a taste of actual Irish holy water. It was such a fantastic and fun experience!

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And now for today’s Irish excursions….

Is this real life?
– Today, a few of us along with Dr. B had the opportunity to go to a former GA, Kathryn O’Donnell, classroom, which was in an all girls- all Irish speaking, secondary school. This experience was so incredible, just like the previous ones. She is an awesome teacher for starters. It was also ran much like the high schools at home. The one major difference being that the girls chose to wear long skirts as a part of their uniform (I guess the whole uniform business is a difference in itself anyways). I was shocked by this seeing as how girls from home wouldn’t be caught dead would definitely, probably, be uncomfortable in such attire. I’ve found that though many may disagree, that uniforms provided a sense of unity and acceptance amongst the students. Though their individualism may not be as noticeable, there in sense of respect among them. Also, it was very interesting to see that state tests are also administered much like Americas standardized testing, or something like the PSSA or MSA. I guess it all can’t be roses and rainbows.

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The Cliffs of Moher were breathtaking, beautiful, mystical, incredible… I’ve truly never seen anything so beautiful in my life. This country is absolutely stunning and if it’s not on your bucket list, you need to add it. Driving through the country on our way to and from the cliffs, was beautiful in itself… We also saw The Burren along the way… Stunning. That’s what it was. I’ll quit talking and let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Tomorrow we will be venturing to Dublin.. And I’m pretty stoked. :)

Till next time – missing you all and sending my love :)

“Big Long Words Don’t Suit Our Voices.”

Well, it’s officially the end of day number two in St. Conaire, and I must say that as I reflect upon today’s events, I’m left even more impressed and amazed than I was yesterday. Rather than posting a long blog tonight because I’m definitely not exhausted, I’m just going to highlight some of the awesomeness I experienced today…. And yes, I’ll add pictures. :)

Mr. O’Brien’s Fifth Class
– These kids are just as well behaved as the previous classes I spent time with yesterday. I’m telling ya, folks, I’m sticking to my theory of The Nanny coming to their houses before they go to school.
– Children are held to a high standard… I’m talking, you miss a wrong answer, and the reply is, in the (and for real) nicest way and most encourage tone: “You should be doing better than that”, or “that is not good enough, I want your best”. When a child speaks out or is off task, without skipping a beat or interrupting a lesson, students are quickly redirected by telling them to “Make sure you’re listening”, or “John Doe, you’re not watching”. Through this declarative manner of addressing behaviors, students basically get theirselves together reallll quick. It also helps that the affirmation they receive from their teachers are extremely positive and always coming. They’re rewarded constantly for their good work and absolutely for their excellent effort. In turn, the teacher is respected and the kids WANT to learn and will do ANYTHING they are asked…. Hmmm. What a concept.
– The students are always sceitimini – aka, excited. They’re enthusiasm is refreshing. It’s that simple.
– improper fractions… You know the thing we all hate love… We’ll think of this… If the numerator is “top heavy”</‘ then. The fraction must be reduced. Say what?! It’s that simple. Who know?!
– I was taught Irish today.. But please don’t ask me to repeat it, I’ll butcher it and make Irishman roll over in higher graves. But how did I learn this Irish… Because the students and Mr. O’Brien insisted that they teach us something to take home with us. How incredible and what a great gift?!
– Remember how I had said regular teachers teach music. Yep. Well, theses students played the tin whistle – aka recorder. And… They. Are. Awesome.
– I really believe Irish students, or the majority of them, are genuinely happy to be at school and are excited and eager to learn. Not to mention, they’re truly genuine people. They will help you at the drop of a dime and will certainly show you appreciation and respect. Enough said.

Big Long Words Don’t Suit Our Voices
This evening, we had the opportunity to speak to MaryI professors, Des Caswell and Jim Deegan… This was quite insightful because I learned that:
– “We can’t understand the present without understanding the past” (Des Caswell)… Think about that… How can we really comprehend what is happening right now at to this very minute if we don’t know our history…
– The Irish (education) framework includes allowing children to have a voice…
– it also empowers kids to stand up for themselves and others in the face of bias… I think they’re on to something here
– Irish language originates from South Africa. Now that’s interesting,
– teaching should be all about interruptions, not silence… You want the children to be thinking and exploring and asking questions. Not sit there in silence as they ldaydream listen to you talk.

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Last Thought
Caution This is solely my opinion.. And I’ll keep it short and sweet.

They pray. We don’t. Maybe we should allow children to reflect, pray, believe, and share their faith if they want to.

Slain leat agus go raith maith agat.
Thank you and Goodbye

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