On Thursday, the students were allowed to lie in until 10 AM. However, some students decided to wake up early and go for a swim in the hotel pool, while others made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, rashers, and sausages. YUMZERS! After the students had their breakfast and were ready for the long day ahead, they boarded the bus and set off on a thrilling tour of the Dingle Peninsula. From the get go, the views were breathtaking. Rolling green hills and steep cliffs jutting drastically into the sea. Sheep wandered aimlessly throughout the route and there were many “Ooohs and Ahhhs” from the ILE Group. Brendan and Stephen excitedly snapped pictures on the bus to add to their growing collection of Emerald Isle photos.
Taryn introduced the students to songs by the Cranberries, Christy Moore, and Van Morrison, which was appropriate for the trip. She even played a few songs from U2 and felt a little old when she heard a student or two had never heard of them before. Gasp!
The first stop was a bathroom/coffee break in Dingle. Many students fell in love with the quaintness of the adorable fishing village and Brian told them about Fungi. Fungi is a dolphin that has lived in the bay for over 30 years and will often greet the boats coming in and out of the harbor. He has become a local celebrity and there is a statue dedicated to him at the entrance of town. Many students took this time to take delfies with Fungi-also known as dolphin selfies. A few also enjoyed the savory treats of deep fried Mars bars. Dee-lish! Molly said it was a foodie dream come true. After all of the students relieved their bladders, we set out further along the Peninsula. A few students had to move to the other side of the bus, as we weaved along the narrow roads. The dramatic drop offs of the cliffs definitely frightened a few-including Ninny.
Next on the agenda was a stop at the Ionad and Bhlascaoid Mhóir-the Blasket Island’s Visitor Center. The Center is on the mainland in Dún Chaoin on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula and is a fascinating heritage museum honoring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953. The students watched a moved that tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing, and entertainment. They then had the opportunity to walk around the museum and learn about more details about the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind-classics such as The Islandman, Twenty Years A-Growing, and Peig. Linnea said she really found the museum interesting, as she was fascinated by the history of the island. Counselor Casey said she was bewildered by how a community just quickly evacuated and essentially disappeared, while Angie recognized that the island definitely didn’t have a dentist.
Once finished at the museum, the students got back on the bus and returned to the town of Dingle. Here they had a chance to do some shopping and explore the town even further. Miley, Ninny, and Taryn wandered up to Boyle’s and in true ILE fashion, bet on a few horses for the day. It’s an ILE Staff tradition. Taryn put 5 Euros on a horse named Shield in honor of Mariah and low and behold…, the horse galloped his way to 1st place winning Taryn a grand prize of 20 Euros. Mariah said she better get a prize, so Taryn is going shopping tomorrow for some chocolate goodies. Angie even had a good day at the bookies, when she backed My Fitz Lady each way and won 40 Euros. We shall not disclose what Miley and Ninny lost, but hopefully luck will be on their side the next time.
Since it was such a nice day, we decided to stop at Inch Beach-a gorgeous strand along the Peninsula. Students had a chance to brave the frigid waters for a refreshing dip in the Atlantic. Others frolicked in the waves and played frisbee on the beach. It was so much fun.
We returned back to the Gleneagles around 6 PM and the students made dinner, while some got the bus into the adorable town of Killarney. At 9 PM, the WB Yeats Group met Angie, Brian, Kate, Miley, and Taryn for the Ghost Tour. Kate and Megan were especially apprehensive about the tour, as they do not like ghosts. However, they braved the night with a lot of screams and had a blast.
It was definitely a night time adventure filled with fun and frights as the ILE students were transported to another world on board a haunted bus. They stepped back to the time of the storytellers as the guides regaled you with the rich legend, folklore, and history of Killarney-all delivered in a fun filled and theatrical manner. The students heard tales of strange apparitions, murder most foul, and of course Killarney’s Dracula connection. They visited the Lake Hotel and the Muckross Abbey, where they even found a few orbs in pictures. Angie and Taryn might have been more afraid of the bats looming over their heads than the ghostly presence though. Aaron said it was so cool and he is so happy his group won!
The group walked home around 11 and with Angie and Taryn’s winnings, they bought Twisters for all of the students. A fab day had by all!