We began the week with a history lesson from Killian. We learned about the past of Ireland, mostly focusing on the conflicts of the Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland and how they started and changed. After the lesson, we drove across the border to Omagh, a town in Northern Ireland. We visited the memorial of a car bombing, led by the IRA, in 1998. 29 people died. It is an incredibly sad story but is just one of so many in Irish history.
After a fairly gloomy and dark morning, we had a free afternoon, and then dinner with the art kids. They came over for chilli, and then we all got a presentation about the European Explorer program from Ryan. It sounds like a very cool program – It’s an old school backpacking trip by train across Europe. We let our stomachs digest a little, and then we went to our BMS Gym class and did Pilates – whew!
Tuesday was Joe’s birthday! I painted him a card, and had everyone sign it. We ended up singing him happy birthday about five times throughout the day. It was also a split day so half of the group hiked to a BEAUTIFUL waterfall, and my group did a modified version of a hike the other group had done the week before. We hiked up a big hill to an old mine shaft. We actually went into the mines, and it was really cool, but I’ll admit that I got claustrophobic and freaked out a teeny bit. It was a little chilly for the hike, but the sun was out and the sky was clear! It was crazy to learn about the conditions that the Irish miners worked under (literately under!).
After lunch back at the house, we had a meeting to plan a party for Liquid Therapy on Saturday. We had to choose the food and activities. After the meeting, I napped, and then we had Liquid Therapy. I had a great time with my surfer, as usual, and the waves were awesome! We came home and had dinner, and I went to bed early.
We ventured back into the North on Wednesday to Derry! When we got there, we had a walking tour that went along the wall and learned about Derry’s intense history – FYI: Did you know that Derry is the largest walled city in Western Europe? It was kind of crazy because a lot of what has happened in Derry was very recent. For example, the British were in Derry trying to keep the peace, and they didn’t leave until 2006. The city is full of beautiful old buildings and murals, and the weather was gorgeous for our visit. After the tour, we had free time to explore the city. We got lunch, and then a handful of us found a super cool vintage store called Yellow Yard, and we basically spent the entire time there. Christian bought a fur coat (It suits him, like weirdly well!). Then we drove to our hostel in Moville which was in Donegal, but right on the border. Killian met us there. After our student-led dinner, Killian played mafia with us, and then he and Sarah took us to a very cozy pub.
We left our hostel Thursday morning and drove to Fort Dunree, an old coastal defense military fort. It was a huge building that was built into the rocks. We walked inland, and fund a bunch of cool abandoned military houses. We hiked up the hill behind the houses and came upon big canons on top. After exploring the area, we hopped back on the bus and drove to an ancient Celtic ring fort. It was kind of like a mini colosseum, just way less complex. Sean gave his presentation on it and we learned that the fort is aligned to the spring equinox and on that day, on daybreak, a beam of lights passes through a passage and illuminates the fortress – so cool. After that we drove back to Bundoran. When we got home, we had the rest of the day free. It was nice to relax.
We had a free morning on Friday so we all slept in. After lunch, we had our last planning meeting for our Liquid Therapy party and made sure we had everything we needed. Luke and Mari made spaghetti and meatballs with Onora. I hung out in the kitchen with them and kept them company, but also, chilling with Onora is fun. Everyone loves her. After dinner, Christian, Mari, and I made cookies for the party.
We woke up early on Saturday morning to get to the beach to set up for the party. Our surfers arrived, and we surfed. After, we changed into dry, warm clothes, and partied! We had sandwiches and soup and did rock painting. It was bittersweet because while it was great fun, it was the last time we were going to see our surfers. We said our goodbyes and went home to warm showers. A few of us ended the day by watching “The Blues Brothers.”
Cowabunga, catch you all later! Bella