Week V: Big Beach Clean-Ups, Problem Solving, Pub Nights, Hikes and RELAXATION
This week was much more low-key compared to last week, full of beach cleanups with Clean Coasts Ireland, workshops, and small hikes. It was nice and chill, which I think was something we all needed after last week’s jam-packed schedule.
We started out the week with our first workshop with Killian. It was a problem-solving workshop. The big idea of the workshop was knowing exactly what the problem was. For example, we had a big math problem, and our only tool was toilet paper. We couldn’t just do the problem in our heads because Killian needed to see how we got the answer. He kept asking us, “what is the problem?” And the problem was that we didn’t have a pen or anything to write the problem down and show our work. So, we took the toilet paper and used it to show the math. I think the workshop frustrated a lot of people but in a good way. It really got us thinking, and looking at things in a different way. After lunch, we had a joint hike with the art kids. It was a super easy walk, but the weather was beautiful, and the scenery, as per usual, was gorgeous.
We went on another hike on Tuesday morning up a large hill called Knocknarea. Sitting on top is a large mound of rocks which is Queen Maeve’s grave. The mound was so big you could see it while driving towards the hill, and it kind of looked like a nipple, so we were calling the hike the boob hike. The weather for this hike was much less nice. It was very windy and rained on us during the descent of the hill. After that, we went into Sligo for lunch, a town about a 30 minutes drive from Bundoran. Then we had a free afternoon at the house. Liquid Therapy was canceled because it was so windy and the waves were huge, so Sarah took us to the movies after dinner.
Wednesday morning, we got up and drove to a small town to take a ferry out to Arranmore Island with Ryan and Sarah. We saw a massive pod of dolphins on our boat ride! When we got to the island, we went to a small restaurant and had a nice warm lunch – The islanders we SO friendly to us and very appreciative of our efforts to help clean up the shores of their beautiful island.
Then we split into three groups to clean up different beaches on the island. It was extremely windy and kept raining off and on, and we found lots of trash. It was incredibly sad to see how much had washed up onto the shores. We found many water bottles, lots of rope, a full water cooler, and lots of other things. It felt really good to leave the island, knowing that we left the beaches cleaner than they had been when we first arrived. We saw more dolphins on the ferry ride back, and they got super close to the boat! It was almost as though they were thanking us for the work we had done.
We did another beach cleanup on Thursday at a beach 20 minutes up the road from our house. All of the girls were on one beach, and the boys went to the other side. This beach was full of micro-plastics, so it was a lot of picking up very small things. Jack found a huge whale vertebra which was super cool. We went back to Bundrowes for lunch and to get showered and warm. Joe took a big handful of us to Sligo to walk around and shop. Then we had a chill night in.
We began Friday with planning our student-led trip. We had an hour where Joe and Killian left us all alone in a room to plan out our trip. We had to decide where we were going, what we were going to do, and the timing of everything. It felt like we weren’t going to have enough time, but we miraculously figured it all out in the hour we had. Killian said that we were one of the most organized and prepared groups he’s had. I think we did a really good job of filling up the five days we have for the trip, and I’m really looking forward to it! We had a free afternoon, and I think most people spent the time laying in bed. After an early dinner, we had our last beach cleanup which was basically right in front of our house, so it was our own shore. We cleaned with Ryan and pups, and some surfers walked by and helped a little. Ryan explained to us that surfers are always picking up the trash on beaches because they’re actively using those beaches and the water so they really care about it. It hailed a little while we were cleaning which was exciting. We went home and got warm after a cold day.
We went surfing with some of the art kids on Saturday morning. The waves were big and very strong, so most of us spent a lot of time being tossed around. It was very hard to catch a wave. After a chill afternoon (the crazy waves tired all of us out), Eli and I made dinner with Onora. We made chicken tenders and spiced potatoe wedges. I think Eli and I did a fabulous job, and it was super delicious. Later, a bunch of us went to the Chasin’ Bull to see Chris, an arts and culture leader, play in a band. There was lots of dancing, and it was a very fun night and end to the week.
Chill out my homies. Bella