Welcome to my blog about my trip to Ireland with the Greeley Chorale in May/June 2013.  This site will consist of blog entries for each day of the trip and contain pictures (that I took while on the trip), excerpts from the blog I kept while we were in Ireland (which will be placed in quotes and italicized), and just some various other bits of information or my thoughts/feelings about the trip now that we are back and I've had a chance to soak in and process the journey we took.

The Chorale left in two separate groups for this trip.  I was a part of the first group to leave but the second group to arrive.  The group I was in was made up of all the people who were staying an extra 4 days for the extension portion of the tour.  This group included my parents who were excited for the trip as well.  My dad is a part of the Chorale which is why we were getting to take such an amazing adventure.

Ireland is a place I have always wanted to go.  Anytime someone would ask me, if you could go anywhere in the world where would you like to visit most, I could quickly and without any hesitation say Ireland.  Usually before they even could complete the question.  :)  That made this trip a dream come true for me.  We were going to visit many of the places I wanted to go (Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle) as well as a few areas I had never had a specific desire to go (Belfast, Dublin). However, even those places I hadn't had a specific desire to go to were exciting prospects, mostly because, I was going to be in IRELAND!

I hope you can enjoy the journey with me as I walk back through my trip and share the experiences that make me still answer the question of where I would go if I could go anywhere in the world with a quick and resounding IRELAND....AGAIN!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sunday, June 2nd (Belfast, Northern Ireland --> Monasterboice --> Waterford)

Today we were leaving Belfast to travel to Waterford, heading from Northern Ireland back into the Republic.  Also time to put away the Pounds and pull out the Euros. Belfast was going to be hard to beat, but some of my most anticipated places were still coming up and I couldn't wait to see more.  "Then I gathered my luggage, took a picture down the hall and a couple minutes to 10 AM we came to the lobby."

"Then she talked about the monasteries being built and great areas of learning.  One was Monasterboice. Then came the Vikings, who established Waterford." I didn't know a lot about Monasterboice but was excited to check it out.

Monasterboice is near some farm land where they happened to be growing rapeseed, and the yellow color was just beautiful to catch between the trees, hills, and plants.  "Anyway, we got to see the tower, 2 small "churches" and 3 High Crosses as a part of the cemetery.  These monasteries were pretty wealthy and the priests would escape the Vikings by taking their possessions into the tower and pulling up the ladders."

The high crosses are pretty amazing and Monasterboice is known for having the most ornamental High Cross in all of Ireland.  The carvings are beautiful and they were used for teaching purposes.  There is some debate about the crosses, as weather has certainly begun wearing down the carvings, and how best to preserve them.

The cemetery is still used and there are some fairly recent dates on some of the stones.  It was a beautiful place to visit and I'm glad we were able to go.  Seeing the different carvings and hearing about the history of the place was something I'm glad I could experience.

One of the strange things about Monasterboice is it seems to draw cats.  There are even cat carvings on some of the crosses and no one knows for sure why.  We even saw some cats on the way out and Katie told us there are always some around.  I really wanted to get some pictures of the rapeseed close up, but had to settle for some of the very pretty flowers before we left and went to Waterford.

Once we arrived in Waterford and got settled my roommate, Sara, and I walked around the town a bit.  Our room was interesting, clearly a room meant for someone with a handicap or perhaps wheelchair access.  Everything in the bathroom was very low, 1 small counter, not even a tub for the shower.  It was just a drain in the floor with a curtain.  It was a bit strange, but for 3 nights it was more than manageable.  "Then we met some people to go out with...We headed to T & H Doolans, that has live music." That pub is where we all signed a US dollar and they tacked it to the wall, with many others.

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