Well today was our first FULL day of being “tourists,” and as you can imagine there is not mistaking that that is exactly what we are. We ask where the restroom is as opposed to the culturally relevant “Toilet.” We have to ask people to repeat things as we continue to learn their dialect, and we walk around with backpacks, coats and ear muffs in group of 38 on a tour bus. It is awesome and we are loving every minute. We are home for the night. Manor chores are being done, some students are sleeping, and other are enjoying some “family game night” playing tennis on the Wii. Today was rainy and cold, but it made the atmosphere at the sites we visited that much better! I will let our students share these experiences with you!
Hello I am Shawn Cash and I was in charge of studying up on the Navan Fort and giving the class a little history of the Fort and information before we went there. So on the way on the bus I got the chance to talk about the fort and just explain what it was about and its history and now I get to tell all you who read our blog about it and about today! Well the Navan Fort is a mound, well two mounds (one smaller and one bigger), that is considered the beginning of Irish history. The Fort is the first record that we have of Ireland. They have found artifacts there during excavations that dated back to 1st century BC, so it’s pretty old. It was the capitol of Ulster during the tales of the Ulster Cycles. It was supposedly named and created by the Goddess Macha, but the fort is actually called Emain Macha which means, the twins of Macha because the Goddess Macha had twins there at Macha. As I said it is only two mounds now but back when they both had figure 8 shape structure underneath the mound that was used by the Kings of Ulster and the Highmen of Ulster. Emain Macha is very significant in all the tales of the Ulster, and very significant in the history of Ireland.
So today we got the blessing to go there and get a guided tour through the whole place and learned more history on the Fort. When we got there they have a really nice building that is a restaurant and a gift shop and that is where the tour starts. The first part of the tour is a video that uses a very interesting and exciting way and tell the history of Emain Macha and the video told 5 tales. Following that the center has a model of what a dwelling would have looked like and they have a man acting as if he lived there and lived in that age, so went to his dwelling and he explained to us all how he lived and all that he did in those times. It was so awesome! Then we got to go all the way to the actual domes which were not that far away, only a five minute walk. The mounds were literately just two mounds but they were so cool to see! They were so green and the best part was that from the top of the mounds you could see such beautiful views of the hills of Ireland and of the city of Armagh. It was so awesome to go and see and learn of it! It rocked!
We took a break for lunch in the city of Armagh! Students got to walk around and have lunch at a local place of their choice. A popular favorite was a variety of “fish and chips” restaurants while a few people attended the only ”Australian” restaurant in Ireland…the main delicacy? Kangaroo!
ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH OF IRELAND CATHEDRAL – ARMAGH
Hey its Jake and today we went to the Armagh Protestant Cathedral. The church that we went to today was on this very site almost 1600 years ago when St. Patrick founded the church. From the fifth century of the Christian era, the hill which the cathedral is built on acquired a new significance with the arrival in Armagh of St Patrick in what is believed to be the year 445 BC. The cathedral was beautifully decorated with an array of colors and was really neat building. We got to walk around the inside and see all of the architecture and intricate design up close!
ARMAGH’S CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL – ST. PATRICK’S
Hey its Hannah Boeger here . Today was a busy busy day in Ireland! One thing we did was go to the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in Armagh. Armagh is the oldest city in Ireland. This Cathedral is soooo BEAUTIFUL! The bottom half was designed in 1838 in the English Perpendicular Gothic Style. The top half was designed in 1853 in the French Decorated Gothic Style. It took 64 years to build this gorgeous Cathedral. The people building it must have been dedicated considering some of them didn’t even live to see it finished! Inside, each wall is a mosaic with pretty, hand placed tiles. No wonder it took 64 years to build! Less than half a mile on the adjoining hill, is the sister cathedral, St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. We visited that one today as well. Seeing both these Cathedrals was quite the learning experience and I can’t wait to see what is in store for tomorrow!
Thanks for keeping up with us! Tomorrow we will attend service at Christ Church together here in Belfast, and then students have a free afternoon! Many of them will go into the city to hang out at cafes and coffee shops. A fun fact about Ireland is that most places are closed on Sundays. Those that are open on Sunday are only allowed to operate for a maximum of 6 hours, anything more is a violation of the law! What a way to honor Sundays! Remember to check out our flickr account every few days as well! One of our students, Luke, is an excellent photographer and he uploads pictures regularly! The internet is kind of slow at times…so he does as many as he can. http://www.flickr.com/photos/linkyear2011