Irish Gap Year in Beautiful Belfast
Another week, another trip and this time Irish Gap Year was in beautiful Belfast. The trip started off at the Titanic Experience where the gappers got to grips with the nine interactive galleries. The Titanic Experience has multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features. The gappers explored the shipyard, travelled to the depths of the ocean and uncovered the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.
Belfast Lyric Theatre
One of our Gappers, Katherine, missed the Titanic Experience, but she was beyond happy to miss it as she attended a choral workshop in the Belfast Lyric Theatre. It was an interactive singing workshop with members of the Irish vocal ensemble, Anúna in collaboration with the Lyric Theatre. Anúna is Ireland’s most well known a cappella vocal ensemble, directed by composer Michael McGlynn, and in its 30 year history has travelled worldwide from the USA, China, Japan, Netherlands, Morocco, Italy, Spain, France the UK and Germany performing to critical acclaim in the world’s finest classical concert halls. Anúna draws its members not only from the island of Ireland, but also from many parts of the world. It is a truly international ensemble. What a day, what an experience!
Later that evening the gappers took a stroll through the stunning Christmas Markets. The festivities were in full swing with exciting selections of hand-painted pottery, continental food, decorations, and a wide ranges of festive arts and crafts from across Europe and beyond. Buying as much as they could carry the tired and hungry students descended upon a luxuriously red Indian restaurant, to feast, drink and unwind after a full day of sightseeing and much more.
Up early the next day and our Irish Gap Year gappers were off on a trip along the Antrim coast to see the infamous Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is also known as Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFomhórach in Irish.
According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow.
Homeward bound to an amazing home cooked dinner by our very own ‘House Mom’ Rita, exhausted, but very happy!