Yesterday we had great weather, with time spent doing half of the Ring of Kerry. We began the day by stopping in the village of Kenmare, a quintessential Irish town with colorful shops and a bustling atmosphere. Before exploring, we ventured over to a Bronze Age Stone Circle, where the ILE Staff gave the students earth names. As examples, David was named Starburst, Megan was named Moon Sparkle, and Rocky was named Honeysuckle. Brian led the students in an ancient chant to conclude. “OWATANA SIAM, OWATANA SIAM, OWATANA SIAM!!!”
We then headed out onto the Ring of Kerry, listening to Brian’s favorite song, “Cows with Guns.” It quickly became a new ILE favorite, so you might all have to take a listen back home and get a good chuckle. We passed through Moll’s Gap, where we got a glimpse of Killarney National Park’s stunning lakes and hills scattered with sheep. We were soon able to park the bus and take photos at another observations spot called, Ladies View, named when Queen Victoria’s Ladies in Waiting visited the area in 1861. Some of the students who have planned football (American soccer.) throughout the trip took many squad pictures here. Emily mentioned that the view was very beautiful and Katie just enjoyed soaking in the atmosphere. After enjoying the breathtaking scenery, we rolled along to the opposite side of the National Park in order to explore the flowing Torc Waterfall. This was another great photo opportunity and Stephen and Aran exhibited their adventurous sides by jumping rocks closer to the base of the waterfall. Angie and Taryn got a little nervous, as they definitely were like monkeys climbing all over the place.
The day trip ended with visits to the historical residences of Muckross House and Ross Castle. Muckross House, a 19th Century mansion, is surrounded by extraordinary gardens, which students explored. Taryn made sure to point out to the students that Muckross House was in the opening scenes of the movie Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. She also told the students that if they ever saw the movie, that they wouldn’t be impressed by the actor’s Irish accents. Rocky noticed that the clouds were quite ominous, so as soon as we finished taking photos, we headed back to the bus to go to our last stop-Ross Castle. This castle dates back to the 15th Century, as the residence of the O’Donoghues. It was the last place in Munster to succumb to Cromwell’s forces (BOO!). Once Eme got over her fear of the ducks swimming in the lake beside the castle, she scaled the middle deck of the castle, lowered her lovely hear, and reenacted a scene from Rapunzel.
As it was their last night in Killarney, some students celebrated by going to a local carnival, while some ate dinner at a Burger joint called Eddie Rockets. The ILE Staff even went into town and while they were watching a busker playing some great Irish tunes, Taryn felt something tap her shoulder. She thought it was Brian playing a joke on her, until she touched her back and realized a bird had sh$% all over her. The Irish say this is a lucky sign, so hopefully she will win some money at the bookies this week. Too bad they already did laundry for the week. Other interesting tid bits of the nighdt-Aaron, Rocky, and Stephen dressed up as characters from the movie, Clockwork Orange. There are some pictures floating around out there, but I think the boys are holding them close.
All in all, it was another busy, but enjoyable day for everyone!