We started Monday with a morning surf. Everyone was reluctant to get into their wetsuits, but eventually, we all got into the water. The waves were small but nice and clean, which made surfing easier. The sky was blue with fluffy clouds and the sun was warm in the chilly morning. After lunch, we went to Killian’s house, and took his dog, Lizzy, on a walk through a forest. At this point, we’re all really missing our pets, so it was nice to get some dog time. We had dinner with Sarah and Ryan which was a nice change. Sarah took me and Eliza to get ice cream for a movie night (thank you, Sarah)!
We drove to the Caran Burren Eco Park on Tuesday morning for a walking tour. It is one of the most prehistoric landscapes in the North West of Ireland, so there was a lot of history to learn about – It was the home to Ireland’s first farmers 6,000 years ago. They built megaliths like mini-Stonehenge’s all over the mountains. Nobody knows why but they say it was to honor their ancestors and the ancient gods. There were also a lot of legends, including giants!
The landscape was beautiful. Mari and I collected flowers and stuck them in my hat. By the end, the entire front of my hat was full of color. We ate lunch at the park and then drove home. After dinner, we had BMS and did cycling and toning. I was very sore the next day.
On Wednesday, we had to say goodbye to Mari. Her grandpa died, so she is home for a week and then coming back for more adventure. Everyone is very sad that she had to leave, and we’re sending love to her and her family. We had a long drive to Cruit Island for rock climbing, it seemed like the edge of the Earth – a mystical and faraway place. Ryan described as designed specifically to scare the crap out of us and it worked! We met Ryan and Fionn (a guy who has been making a video for IGY) and Pups at the climbing site and got all our needed gear on. Only two people could go at once so we hung out in the tipi and watched our buddies wrangle the rocks, but people climbed quickly and we got several turns each. I was so nervous, but I managed to climb up! It was such a great feeling to make it to the top. It was truly a personal accomplishment, and I am very happy I did it. After lunch, people did zip lining/traversing. I felt that I had had enough of accomplishing for the day, and did not partake in the absolutely terrifying activity. It was fun to watch people zoom high above the water, and Sarah even did it! We had orange chicken for dinner at home which was very exciting for some people.
We went to the Ulster American Folk Park on Thursday morning. We walked around to different buildings, learning from actors about life during the famine, emigrating to America, and living in America for Irish people. It was very interesting, and a beautiful day. Those people didn’t have it easy at all and the afternoon gave those with Irish heritage real insight into what life was really like here all those years ago. After lunch, we drove back to Bundoran.
We had a cake for Eliza’s 18th birthday after dinner! We sang to her, and it was very clear we are not on a gap year for talented singers. We all got dressed up for Halloween. There was a pirate, an 80s boy, a frat boy, a cardboard doodle bob, and a skeleton. I dressed up as Dylan and was spot on with white shoes, a flannel, and a Carhartt beanie. It was a great night, and I think Eliza had a good birthday!
We began Friday with a nature walk through the Claddagh Glen. All of the trees in the forest were turning gold and red, and it was very pretty. The weather was surprisingly warm, and we were all shedding layers during the walk. After, we took a tour of the marble arch caves. It was super cool to be in the old caves and learn about how they had formed, and see all of the formations deep underground. We went back home, and Eliza and I made dinner with Onora. We made breaded chicken stuffed with garlic butter. It was delicious!
We went surfing on a very chilly and rainy Saturday morning. People were yet again reluctant to put on their wetsuits. It’s hard for me to complain about being in the waves because there aren’t any oceans in Iowa. I think frolicking amongst the crashing waves will be at the top of the list of things I miss about Ireland. Although I currently miss Mari a whole lot, so the ocean won’t be at the very top.
Rest easy, Grandpa Nelson Craver. Mari loved you with all her heart.