Seven weeks have already passed – Wow – time flies when your having fun.
We began the week with a visit to Campview farm, a farm in Bundoran. The goal was to learn about traditional Irish farming. We started by digging up potatoes and collecting them by hand. Then we took all the potatoes to be sorted, cleaned, and bagged. We got to interact with some cows, calfs, and chickens. We ended our time at the farm by milking a cow! It was a very cool experience and slightly trickier than I’d thought it would be… We got to take home the potatoes we harvested, as well as milk and eggs from the farm. After lunch at home, we had a workshop with Killian. Our task was to go to a store in Bundoran and find the prices of milk, eggs, and potatoes.
Then, we had a discussion about all of the people the product has to go through to get to the consumer. It was very interesting, and we talked about things a lot of people don’t usually think about. After the workshop, Luke, Mari and I made dinner with Onora using only the ingredients we from the farm! We made quiche and potato wedges – It was yum. Lots of singing and dancing happened in the kitchen (Luke has a great playlist), and it was a fabulous start to the week! It’s always great fun cooking with Onora.
Tuesday was a big hike day! We had to take a long bus ride to Croagh Patrick, and I konked out. Mari gave us a very informative presentation on the site at the beginning of the hike. Saint Patrick made a pilgrimage up the mountain and built a church on top. Some say he banished the snakes from Ireland at the top. Sarah told us that many Irish people (especially older people) hike up barefoot, which is absolutely insane, and the entire way we were all thinking, “imagine doing this barefoot!” The first part of the trek was rough because we weren’t warmed up. My legs were burning, and I was very out of breath. We finally got to the ridge, and it was nice and easy. The flat part didn’t last long and we came upon the main mountain. It was extremely rocky, with an intense incline, steeper than most stairways. I stuck with Mari for that part, and we had to take many short breaks, but we eventually made it! The view at the top was absolutely beautiful, and it was totally worth the burn. Our descent started out slow, trying to avoid falling on our butts on the steep part, but we sped up as the terrain got easier. At the base of the mountain, we all met up at a pub, everyone thirsting for something to drink! We drove to our hostel in Connemara, a tiny town situated in the middle of a National park full of beautiful green rolling hills and mountains, facing a big body of water.
We drove to The Lost Valley Wednesday morning for a walking tour. The man giving the tour had lived there for most of his life, as well as generations of his family before him. Assisting him were his two very sweet sheepdogs, Jip and Sam. We walked along the valley, stopping often to hear about the people who lived there, their houses, and the potato famine. It is an incredibly sad history, and many people lost their lives. We walked in constant wind and rain for the entire tour, and it felt like it set the mood for what we were learning about. After the tour, we got dry on the bus, and drove to Westport, a big town in the area, for lunch and shopping. I had a very nice, warm bowl of soup.
Thursday was an incredibly chill day. We drove to Galway and spent about three hours there. Mari and I did some shopping, and I got some much needed thermal leggings (it’s getting cold!). Then we met up with Alyse, Sarah, and Joe, and got some very good burritos. They were very filling. We headed back to the bus and drove to our new hostel in Ennis. On our way, we stopped in the Burren, a large part of the land that is mostly rock. Luke gave a nice presentation on it, and we headed on our way. After we got settled in the hostel, we went to the restaurant connected and had a nice dinner. Then we went to a pub with Joe and Sarah.
On Friday, we left Ennis and drove to Doolin. From there, we began our coastal walk to the cliffs of Moher. It was very cold and a little misty, but I managed to warm up pretty quickly. The cliffs were absolutely gorgeous. I think Sarah had to say “be careful” to people peering over the edge about twenty thousand times. Joe picked us up in the bus when we got to the watchtower that is perched on top of the cliffs, and we went home. The bus was very cold, and it was a long ride home. Rita had a warm dinner of mac n cheese waiting for us at Bundrowes.
Saturday morning, half of us went surfing with Joe. It was a very cold morning, and getting into a damp wetsuit was not super enjoyable. Fortunately, it did a very good job of keeping me warm in the water, but every time I fell off of the board, my head went under and got extremely cold. As we were getting out of the water, it started to hail! The weather has definitely changed in the last 7 weeks we’ve been here, but the land is still amazing, and the people I am with are still great!
Stay warm out there! Bella