Day 6 – Carrik-a-Rede & Giant’s Causeway

On our second day in Belfast, we drove up to Carrick-a-Rede and Giant’s Causeway to experience the nature and history of Northern Ireland. A rainbow appeared while we were leaving Belfast which signaled the good weather we were to have that morning while we walked around outside. The drive up took us past countless hills and valleys of endless greenery. Once we reached Carrick-a-Rede, we had to hike up to the rope bridge with a sheer drop off to one side, the whole time passing green hills and the ocean with Scotland looming in the distance. The bridge stretched across to a small outcropping which use to have a fishing outpost on it. However, only four people could cross at once; otherwise, the bridge would have broken.

Then we piled back on the bus and drove a few miles down to Giant’s Causeway. A basalt formation from the eruption of an underwater volcano, Giant’s Causeway is beautiful sight of columns and formations on the coast, which houses Gaelic mythology. Legend says that the giant Finn McCool was challenged to a fight by Banondonner but upon seeing the Scottish giant’s size dressed up as a baby to trick Banondonner that the father was much larger. Banondonner then destroyed the causeway that Finn had built to connect Ireland and Scotland. The idea of a causeway connecting the islands comes from a similar formation across the sea in Scotland. Giant’s Causeway sits right on the water, and the beauty of the entire scene was breathtaking. The picturesque moments are too beautiful to describe.

The experience at Carrick-a-rede and Giant’s Causeway blew everyone away with the astonishing beauty of the Irish coast and countryside. Highlights included seeing three lambs run across a field and an ancient castle that is said to have fallen into the sea during a banquet. ~ Jacob Sloman

 

Day 5 – The Titanic

For our fifth full day in Ireland, we took a drive to Belfast. The bus ride was a great way to catch up on sleep, so by the time we reached the museum we were well rested. When we arrived we all noticed Belfast was different from Dublin for one reason: the sun! For the first time in Ireland, we finally saw the blue sky and sunshine. From the bus, we could see the architectural beauty of the museum. At first, we were wary of the museum because most of us didn’t know how the Titanic was connected to Ireland. Our minds changed once we stepped inside the building. We took a journey of ship’s construction, launch, travel, sinking, and discovery. It was amazing to see all the work put in on the ship. My favorite party was the video of the divers locating the titanic and the debris scattered at the bottom of the ocean. Once we finished our time in the exhibits we headed to the gift shop and went outside to take pictures! ~ Mckenzie Baker

Day 5- Archeological Site: “Best Kept Secret of Ireland”

Though skeptical at first, everyone ended up having a blast at the “best kept secret of Ireland” and its slippery hills and ancient tombs! The sun could not have chosen a better day to finally come out. The vast, green landscape extended well beyond our eyesight. We were also amazed by the hundreds of sheep, or as they call them “wacky woolies,” grazing about. By the end of the day, almost every single one of us stumbled, tripped, and straight-out slipped on our bums but all in good spirit! We all had a laugh, and, according to the wise words of our good buddy and guide Robby, the first comedy was a friend’s tragedy. Our slipping and sliding along with our awe and appreciation for the nature truly brought us together. We had the opportunity to even crawl inside and explore an ancient tomb and its carved artwork on the stone. Another high point (figuratively and literally!) of this adventure was when we all stood upon the highest rocks of one of the highest hills, gazing at the stunning sight just below us. Covered in mud and dirt, we made our way back down the steep hills and contagious laughter and smiles filled the air. Overall, although absolutely all of us enjoyed this adventure, no one did so as much as Mr. Stevens, who looked especially Irish, overlooking his hills and his sheep. We also took some striking pictures of the beautiful scene! ~ Marina Hashim

Day 4 – An Epic Day in Ireland

Today we started off with EPIC Ireland, an interactive tour taking us through Ireland’s history. The tour required that we go through the immigration process of entering Ireland, and took us through famous Irish accomplishments and sites. With each new area, we had to get our “passport” stamped. For example, the arts section had a stamp for the arts, and so on.

After that incredible tour through Irish history and immigration, we got to see the famous historic Trinity College also known as the University of Dublin. This was in particular one of the more special parts of the trip. Being able to see buildings that are hundreds of years old still being used for university was an unforgettable experience. We were given a campus tour around gothic and neoclassical buildings and, my favorite, the library. The Trinity College library is famous because it has anything from modern books, to books that were made during the early use of the printing press. Complete with busts of famous scholars such as Newton, Plato, and Aristotle, the Trinity Library was one of the highlights of the tour. ~ Eli Asher

Croke Park/Football at night! (Dublin, Ireland)

We went to the Croke Park Stadium in the afternoon of our 3rd day.  Croke Park is home to the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA). We took a stadium tour,  and it was amazing to see how big it was from on the field and way in the stands. Throughout the tour we learned about the GAA and the unique sports of Ireland like hurling and Gaelic football. Hurling  is a combination of lacrosse, baseball, and football. It’s a very interesting sport. Gaeilic football combines rugby, soccer, basketball, and football. The stadium isn’t the home of any one team. Both locker rooms house the teams playing a match that day.  They were the same. There is one reception area for after the games where both teams rejoin with each other to celebrate. The reception area really emphasizes the sportsmanship of the GAA.

Later that day we went to play football (soccer) with our friend Azziz with SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland) and other organziations: FARE (Football Against Racism Europe) and Football people. This was the highlight of my trip so far. We got to play soccer at night under the lights on a boxed in turf field. We started off playing this handball game, where captains were selected.  After the captains were selected we were separated. Everyone but the captains were told not to pass the balls to the captains. This simulated how it felt to be discriminated against in a less serious situation while playing handball. We discussed how we all felt about being discriminated.

Later we played football (soccer) which was so much fun. We played on teams of about 7.  The team I was on decided that one of our game rules was that each time we scored we would do a large group hug with our teammate Insha in the center! This really bonded us closer than anything we had done before that game. After the individual games we played one big game of football, where we had the same celebration. Everyone was having so much fun throughout the whole game.  These games really brought us all together!  Thank you Insha for being such a great sport! Overall the day was amazing! ~ Sam Assaf