Monday, April 14, 2008


I am in Dingle now, a small town on the west coast of Ireland, and I am in love with this place. It is my favorite location so far on our trip because it has a beautiful landscape, a quaint homey feeling, and although it is very small, it has a thriving music scene. I have gone out the past two nights to listen to traditional Irish music which has been great fun. The first night here I hit up a pub called "The Small Bridge" with some friends and listened to a lively twosome who played fast, upbeat tunes on the penny whistle, guitar & fiddle. Last night I went to a different location and heard a more mello set of sentimental, romantic love songs. (Dad- I am continually surprised by how much of the music is familiar to me. I think the entire population has you "Celtic Tides" CD memorized...) In contrast with the bar scene in America, the pubs here really are the center for social life in Ireland. Music, town gossip, dancing, and storytelling are all snuggly crammed into the local tavern, or rather one of the many pubs on the same street. Pubs are like coffee shops in Seattle: they are everywhere. Dingle has a population of about 1500 and has 52 pubs. And going to out to your favorite pub can be a multi-generational experience as well; old men, women, and even children file in an out of your local pub to hear music and chat over a pint of Guinness.

Yesterday we went on a bus tour around the peninnsula and explored a museum about the Blasket Islands, which focused mostly on the writers and literary history that came out of remote island villages. Peig Sayers, for example, a well known storyteller, represents part of the Blasket tradition.
The coastline was beautiful. The hills were bare, save innumerable colonies of sheep and baby lambs, and dropped off to the sea in a very dramatic way which reminded me of the rocky and windbeaten cliffs of Big Sur. We walked along the cliffs, considered to be the western most point of Europe, and climbed out on the rocks to gaze at the Atlantic. It was enlivening to feel the wind against my skin and to sit in the crevices of the rock, listening to the thunder of the waves smash against the coastline.
Today I am sticking closer to home (we are staying in a hostel) to bunker down with my books and tea (I do have to do homework you know!) but am planning on hiking around the next two days we are here because the wildness of this place keeps calling me outdoors. All for now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dublin- part 2

Today I have been out with my friend Jill simply walking the streets, enjoying St. Stephen's Green (a large park by the famous Grafton St), drinking good coffee (very hard to come by- everyone is into instant coffee over here. This has been a serious trial for me), reading, post-office running and so forth.
It is nice to have a lazy day to trip around the city and feel like a normal resident taking care of life.
While walking through St. Stephen's Green we came across a large bronze bust in memorial to Thomas Kettle. I had never heard of the man before. Apparently he is a poet/ essayist/ patiot who was killed in 1916. The inscription on the memorial struck me; it read:
"Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor. But for a dream born in a heardsman's shed. And For the secret Scripture of the poor."
I wonder what his story's clear that there is a lot to learn...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I have finally arrived in Ireland folks and I am happy...
First of all, we are in apartment style living which means that I am sharing a two bedroom apartment w/ a kitchen and full bathroom with Bis and Jill, two people that I genuinely enjoy- instead of one large hostel room with 18 other girls.
This is a wonderful sigh of relief if you couldn't tell...
So Dublin- what do I have to say? Unfortunately I will have to write instead of show the surroundings for the time being because I have been having computer problems in the internet cafes I have tried to use- meaning I haven't had the opportunity to successfully upload any pictures so as soon as I get the capability you will get to see the Lake District and Dublin all in one fell swoop.
Yesterday we had a small tour of the city w a postgrad student from Trinity College who is working on her PhD in history. She gave a wonderful tour and by the end Ireland's complicated history finally made some sense! It was wonderful to see the puzzle pieces come together as we walked the streets, looked at buildings, and stood in a few central locations- so much better than a textbook!
Did you know that Trinity opened its doors to Catholic students in the late 1970's?
I also had the chance to see the Book of Kells at Trinity which was amazing! The portrait of St John & the text of Luke 17:27-18:2 was on display the day we went and it was incredible to see the actual pages that survived considering they are over a 1000 yrs.
Today we have class so I will be reading and writing and exploring some more.
Time is going by soo fast- it is hard to keep up.
Thanks to all who have sent me little notes along the way- it is nice to feel connected to you back at home- I already have many stories to share.
love love love to all-

Sunday, April 6, 2008


We left Keswick this morning and took a 3 hr busride to Liverpool where we will be staying for one night and then fly off to Dublin. I haven't had enough time to truly process everything but will post some thoughts and pictures soon. Sending my love in the mean time...