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, September 5, 2013

Monday, June 3rd (Waterford --> Dungarvan --> Katy Barrys)

Today was a very full day in Waterford, but also a lot of fun.  We started out, after breakfast, with a walking tour of Waterford. Yesterday I saw many of these things, but now I got to know a bit more about each of them.  Such as this bust of a man who turned out to be a famous composer and musician. He was known for quite a few things, but those are what he's "famous" for.  Up behind him you can see the steeple of Christ's Church Cathedral.

"It was very good, going over some history, etc.  At one point, actually a couple times, he grabbed people out of the audience to play 'parts' of the the people he was describing." One of those times we were learning the story of Strongbow.  I played the wife of Strongbow, Aoife.  The story was pretty interesting, how Aoife's father "stole" his wife from another man (played by our tour guide).  The wife (played by my roommate Sara) ended up in a convent I think, her husbands both died, Strongbow died, and my character outlived them all.  :)

The statue of Luke Wadding outside of a French church was also a pretty interesting, and he has an interesting story.  He really tried to promote the rights (religious and civil) of the Catholics living in Ireland at the time. They were not well treated at the time, and had some rough times. The church he stands in front of is in pretty bad disrepair, but it's still rather "pretty" in it's own way.

"Today was a national holiday and most things were closed.  I didn't find much so I wandered, taking pictures and enjoying the day....I also visited Reginald's Tower and did the tour.  It was fasincating to learn all the history today." Waterford is the only town to withstand an assault by Cromwell.  The tower is one of the remaining structures from back in the beginning of the town, although it's been rebuilt.  It's also the first building to be built this specific way, I think.  There is even a cannon ball still stuck in the wall, because they weren't able to penetrate the stone walls, they sometimes went in part of the way, but other times just bounced off.

I discovered myself playing around a lot with the camera and different settings and with the two lenses I had with me.  When I came across some flower beds along the walkway that follows the river I just had to take some pictures of all the different, unique and pretty flowers.

They have easily become some of my favorite pictures.  The walk along the water offered many different pictures of the buildings lining the street.  Once again an interesting and fun combo of older and newer all mixed up together.

I wandered back towards some of the churches as well.  The clock tower marks one corner of where the original Viking city stood.  There are 3 landmarks that basically map out the area of the original city.  Reginald's Tower is one, you walk down to the clock tower and that's the second, then you turn and head up to the City Center and mall, which I believe is the third and back to Reginald's Tower.  It isn't a very large area, especially when looking at how large Waterford is in comparison now.

"At 1:30 PM we left on a tour of the coast.  We went through most of the small towns and stopped in Dungarvan." First we stopped at a beautiful photo-op place and got out to take some pictures.

I was beautiful weather, and just perfect for capturing lots of pictures around the area.  There were people swimming in areas, out on boats, etc just enjoying the day.  The coast line is petty interesting in Ireland, some places just slowly sinking into the water, other areas have a sharp drop down into the water.

I remember, once again, just looking around me and not even really being able to believe I was in Ireland.  It was so green and the water was beautiful, and of course I was once again captured by some of the flowers.  Also by Gorse, which I was finally able to get up close to and get a good picture of the "spines."  It's considered a weed in Ireland, and removed from most farmland areas.  However, along roads and places where it won't bother anything they leave it.

One thing I was determined to do during this trip was to get more pictures of myself in Ireland.  When I traveled to Greece I spent so much time taking pictures of what we were seeing, and of other people, I never stopped to take pictures of myself.  So along with scenery shots, I made sure to get some of me and mom and dad as well.  I wanted to be able to prove I WAS in Ireland.

Back on the road we saw a couple of "beaches," or at least that's what they call them.  It's certainly different then the beaches you see in tropical areas, or even some we saw later on in the trip.  With as cold as the water was (I'm guessing at least) there were still people enjoying it.  Once we got to Dungarven, one of the first stops I made was to the Dungarven Castle, which happened to be right by where we got off the bus.

Since this is where we stopped for some food I grabbed a quiche at a little cafe and then, when I started seeing people with ice cream I hunted down the little place and had a wonderful cone, which I ate on my way back to the bus.  I could have spent more time at Dungarven, but it was nice to visit. Really, when it comes down to it, I could have spent more time everywhere, just in Ireland itself. Our tour guide Katie made us promise to tell everyone who didn't come (since this was an optional trip) that it wasn't any fun at all.  I thought, heck no, it was awesome!  They decided not to come, if they feel left out that's their fault.....but I played along anyway.  IT WAS BEAUTIFUL THOUGH!!!

One thing about Waterford, places to eat close early.  If you want a late dinner you basically HAVE to eat at a pub.  Luckily, after getting back mom, dad and I found a little Italian food place to eat. We looked around for a bit, but this ended up being very good food. It felt a little strange to be to be eating Italian when I was in Ireland, but I'm glad we did.  It was tasty!  "Tonight we are going to Katy Barrys for a music pub night.  It should be fun."

It was a ton of fun!  "We sang some songs, they sang and played a lot and we closed down the pub....Tomorrow brings our last day in Waterford, so there is a concert, but the morning I plan to fill with tours and shopping."

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