Sunday, March 7, 2010
The West Side
This last week I have been staying on the west side of Ireland in a smaller town called Westport. My whole study abroad program went for a required 'class trip' to learn more about the legendary potato famine of the 1840's. We stayed in a really nice hotel where everything was already paid for, so it felt like we were getting a free breakfast and dinner everyday! Food was incredible too, all local products used in the cooking. We left Wednesday morning, stopped at the Strokestown Manor (a huge house where a landlord lived during the famine) on the way out there and got into the hotel just before dinner. Thursday we went on a sight seeing tour of Connemara (that was the name of the area we were in). WE saw some famine monuments and memorials, walked to the base of Croagh Patrick (Mount Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain), and made some stops at national parks along the way. Friday we set out to Achill Island in the morning and stopped at one of the few remaining famine-era farms. The guy who owns it collects things from that era and takes people on tours through his family's old home. The group left on Saturday morning, Isaac and I stayed back to climb the mountain we saw two days earlier. We made out way out there in the morning and took a good part of the day climbing it. It was a perfect day up for it! It's not very often that you get a day in Ireland when it is that clear. We got back into town a little early and met a bartender from Chicago who had moved out there! He was really interesting to talk to and hear his story. Then we almost didn't catch the train back into Dublin. It was an amazing week, a day of rest was much needed.