Posted on 18th December 2019
This winter, we had our first December study trip, from Clackamas Community College, Oregon. Thirty-four hardy souls made their way to Dublin, a combination of three classes- creative writers, theatre studies students and communications students, along with faculty Sue, Kerrie and Jim.
We had such a wonderful time! We began with a visit to Lough Crew, and despite the time of year, we had a great hike and amazing views from the Cailleach’s seat. The following day, we had an equally pleasurable exploration around the ancient landscape of the Cavan Burren with the legendary Seamus. We also stopped off along the very wild Atlantic Way to view the Fairy Bridges and Wishing Chair.
Day three was a beautiful day for a (long) lecture on the Colonization of Ireland and the Plantation of Ulster, but -offset by a beautiful visit to the O’Donnell Castle in Donegal, Donegal Abbey and Donegal Town. On day four, after a class all about famine and emigration, we braved some fog and rain to reach the Sliabh Liag Cliffs – and this very lucky group watched as the skies cleared and we got the best two hours of the day up there! We nourished ourselves with a demo of local seafood cookery in Killybegs, at the new Boathouse restaurant.
December 11 was penciled in as our activity day- some went trekking on horse back along the dunes of Tullan Strand, some went surfing, and some went to a cookery demo on seaweed recipes. Then we completed a service project by helping the local town beach-clean committee.
Next day, after some classes on literature and identity, we visited Yeats Country Sligo, including the Yeats grave at Drumcliffe, Glencar Waterfall and Mullaghmore.
Following this, we returned to the classroom next day to study the Irish experience of Civil Rights campaigns, and then went to Derry -we loved it all but the highlight was this muralas we are all fans. We are all #Derrygirls
On our last day in the Northwest we studied the history of women in the Irish republic. This was followed by a visit to Sligo town, then a last dinner in the Peak Restaurant, and a traditional Irish sing-song in the local Irish pub.
On December 15 we left Donegal for Belfast, stopping off on the way at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace for an excellent guided visit. While we didn’t want to leave, we reached a vibrant Belfast City, and enjoyed the Belfast Christmas Markets, the political murals, and a visit to the Shipyards that built the Titanic.
Our final two days were spend exploring Dublin City, which is glorious at Christmas time. We took in Trinity College, the museums, the galleries, and gorgeous Dublin Castle.
Our final group were such great students, and we really enjoyed this seasonal visit. Thank you Sue. Kerrie and Jim, thanks also to Ida who got the ball rolling for this some time ago, and thank you to the lovely friends we have made this Christmas. Here are some pics!