Day 3 (July 1st):

If I haven’t mentioned before, our group of students is absolutely incredible and despite only having had their introduction to the world of GAA yesterday, today they took to the game at Croke Park like fishes to water!

But before play came work and students sat down for the second day of classes: Irish American history with Miles and the Geography of Ireland with Taryn. Both classes were absolute successes filled with laughs.

We were fortunate enough to score tickets to watch Galway versus Kilkenny. The counselors bought face paints for those so inclined to support their new favorite teams: maroon and white for Galway, and black and yellow for Kilkenny (also fondly known as the “Cats”). All of us boarded the bus to Dublin and even a few of the counselors took gentle naps. We ate a scenic lunch in a park and then headed into the packed stadium. The opening game was Carlow versus West Meath and we arrived just in time for the second half of that game. Our bus driver Tom asked us to cheer for Kilkenny — which is where he’s from — but all you could see on the bus was a wave of red and white faces…

I heard several students commenting on how glad they were that they’d done the hurling workshop before going to the game. For those unfamiliar with the spurt of hurling, it’s the national sport of Ireland and it’s like a very fast mixture of lacrosse, field hockey and rugby. To score, the sliothar (hurling ball) must make it inside the goal or in between the raised posts. We sat as a group in front of a particularly bloodthirsty gang of eight year olds who howled with disdain every time West Meath scored on Carlow.

The game was very energetic, and several sliothar made it over the net to land quite near where we were sitting. Unfortunately, no one managed to catch one. Fortunately, no one got beaned. It was neck and neck for almost the entire match, but then Kilkenny scored twice in a row to end the match in overtime with a tie. Joe asked if we would be able to see the re-match this upcoming Saturday, but unfortunately we will not be able to.

After the game, we went and had dinner at King’s Hospital, the boarding school where we will be staying from July 6th to July 13th. For dessert, they serve extremely delicious and memorable jelly donuts and I think the students enjoyed them almost as much as they delighted over the WiFi available. But don’t worry, everyone ate their vegetables first!

It was a long day and we headed back to Waterford tired and content. We apologize for the lack of posts and pictures so far, as we are still trying to sort out the WiFi situation.