We are all here! For the sake of catching up, let me start from the beginning!
The girls, along with Tanya and the Donyes headed out on Wednesday morning. We had a great schedule of flights with short layovers and short walks gate to gate. Our final flight left Newark, New Jersey around 9:30 eastern time. We flew through the night and landed in Belfast at 9am….or 3am “in real life” as the girls started calling it. You could hear the girls’ “Ooohs and Aaahs” and “Oh my goodness we are here!” as we came through the clouds and saw the morning sun shining on the most GREEN country I have ever seen. It was breathtaking!
When we landed early Thursday morning, it was cold. We breezed through the baggage claim without any luggage issues…an answer to prayer traveling with 15 people. Our bus driver met us at the door and took us to “our bus” that we will get to use for the whole trip. (thank goodness…staff was not very excited about potentially driving standard vehicles on the wrong side of the road AND car.) A quick trip to get pounds, some international phones and a few other amenities and we headed to Lakeside Manor. This place overlooks the lake, is homey, extremely comfortable, and not to mention gorgeous. See the picture below, words do not do the view justice.
Under strict orders not to sleep in order to help with jetlag (crazy concept), the girls took a trip to Victorian Square to get out of the sleep inviting manor and do some shopping. While shopping was the intention, after walking through a few stores, Starbucks was a hit because it had chairs. While drinking caffeinated drinks, the girls were falling asleep. (Meanwhile, the guys were loading up to leave Missouri) We ate a dinner of fresh salmon at the manor, played a little Wii, and were in bed by 8:00pm.
After following the girls’ same travel schedule on Thursday, our guys and remaining staff arrived today, Friday, around noon just in time for lunch. As expected, they were just as exhausted as the girls the previous day. Once they got moved in an a little unpacked, we followed the same idea as with girls and got out of the manor! Within three hours of the guys being in Ireland, Link Year loaded up and headed out to visit our first site, Giant’s Ring. Our student responsible for this location has explained this part of our day below.
Hi, I’m Jackie! After months of waiting and preparing, we finally made it to Ireland! The boys arrived today which was fun. Even though they were extremely exhausted we got the opportunity see the Giant’s Ring! I was the first one to present, so I was a little nervous, but the group was really respectful and great so it was easy! The Giant’s Ring is significant because archeologists just found out that the whole patch of grass was dug up! That is a lot of land to dig up without any bulldozers in their time. It used to be used for pagan worship site. There is a set of 5 stones in the middle that is considered a stonehenge…not to be confused with the actual Stonehenge in Scotland. It was a lot more land in person than I thought it would be by looking at the pictures. It was a wonderful opportunity to hang out, walk around and take some time to pray and thank the Lord for even getting us to Ireland. It’s only day one but I am so excited for the rest of this trip. If today has been this fun, I can only imagine what the rest of this month is going to be like!
We all had dinner together this evening followed by a sweet time of journaling about out day in great journals that JBU provided for us to document this trip! Thank you for your continued prayers and support! We will keep this information coming every few days. It has already been an absolute blast being here and all of us feel so blessed to have this opportunity!