June 1, 2012: I am heading off to Ireland again, this time for five weeks, with a group of students from my college in Vermont. I won't have time to post a lot, and I won't repeat much info that I covered in 2009. Enjoy.
Before this year, there were three parts to this blog. In 2009, I spent three weeks (July 3 - 28) in Ireland with students from my college and my colleague, Mike. Then my family was on vacation in London through August 15. This blog's purpose was to document and share highlights and photos from this trip with friends and family.
The earlier entries are from 2007. This was another study abroad trip. We spent three weeks traveling by train around the UK. The course was Travel Writing. Enjoyed this trip with my British colleague Lucy.
Hope you enjoy, and feel free to comment.
August 14th 2009
I guess this is it, my last blog post from London. I'll just write enough here to explain the last photos I want to post. We took a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath on Thursday, but spaced out the camera. The return car ride back into London was an adventure, to say the least. Pretty awful, really, yet we survived it. I need more distance from it to be able to talk about it. So, last Sunday, Graham and Rhys and I went to Spitalfields Market, in the East End of London. This is definitely my favorite of all the markets we've been to. Absolutely fabulous crafts and fashion, lots of vintage clothes, and just overall very inspirational to me as a knitter and aspiring crafty person. On our way home we stopped by King's ... read more
August 14th 2009
On Monday we went to the London Science Museum to see a special exhibit featuring our dear friends, Wallace and Grommit. The focus was on inventions and other "great ideas" and the importance of copyright and patents, etc. It was really fun and educational and well-designed. We learned there is a Wallace and Grommit movie we haven't seen yet! It's called "A Matter of Loaf and Death" and we can't wait to find it at home. Later on we walked around Covent Garden and the Neal's Yard area. The boys bought some clothes at some cool vintage shops. Heading for the Tube at Tottenham Court Yard, we passed Simon Callow on the street! He had been in "Waiting for Godot" which Clark and I saw last week. Tuesday was Legoland! What to say? The target age ... read more
August 14th 2009
On Monday of our last week we took a train out to the small town of Hever, in Kent, to visit Hever Castle, and take a walk across the public footpaths to the town of Chiddingstone for lunch. This was a portion of a longer ramble/walk I had taken in 2003 with Landmark colleagues Lucy and Liza. The train ride from Victoria was smooth and comfortable. Our first stretch of footpath walking went well. I had copied this walk from a book at Brooks Library, and it provided a map and detailed instructions. We walked along the edges of fields, through wooded paths, climbing over stiles, etc. It is often quicker to get where you want to go walking along main roads, but the shoulders are narrow and the footpath routes are much more scenic. Hever ... read more
August 10th 2009
Every day is so full here, I've decided to just write for now about one great day we had, last Thursday. We decided to visit two great art museums, the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern, and we took advantage of the "Tate-to-Tate" boat service to travel along the Thames in between. First up was the Tate Britain, which focuses on British artists. I particularly like the Victorian-era painters, the Pre-Raphaelites, etc. (By the way, there is currently a TV series on in England about these painters, called “Desperate Romantics.”) They also had some good modern work, on the theme of Classification that were very interesting. One featuring an alleged collection of primitive artifacts, called the Chapman Family Collection. The more you looked at these, the more you realized that they were not authentic, but instead ... read more
August 6th 2009
I’ve been with my family here in London for a week now and haven’t really had time until today to post a blog entry. We’ve been busy: exploring London and catching up on news from my three-week absence. We are very comfortable in this wonderful four-bedroom house in North London. We’re near a tube stop and on several bus routes, near several nice parks, and we have all the shopping, etc. that we need just a short walk away. The house is Victorian, we think. Only about one room wide, maybe 20 feet tops, but it feels very spacious. Very high ceilings, with great molding and chandelier light fixtures. Two rooms on each level, with five levels. Lots of very tall cabinets and bookshelves. A cozy little walled back yard with lots of shrubs and two ... read more
July 26th 2009
This will probably be my last post from Ireland, a somewhat random collection of comments and photos. I'm posting this just as, back in the States, Bob and the boys are leaving for Logan aiport, on their way to London! Our students all left on Saturday, most home to the States, a few to travel a bit further in Ireland or the U.K. I have had a few days since then to just relax and explore Dublin. Mike and I saw a fabulous production of Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals at the Abbey Theater. The Abbey is Ireland’s National Theater, founded by W.B. Yeats and others in 1904. The Rivals was written in 1775, and is a comedy about marriage prospects, somewhere in between Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest. The acting, costume, ... read more
July 24th 2009
We arrived in Dublin on Sunday. We are staying on the campus of Dublin City University (DCU), which is about 3-4 miles north of the center of Dublin. There’s so much to say about Dublin, but for now I’ll just share some photos and thoughts on the places we have visited that relate to the most important event in 20th century Irish history, the Easter Rising of 1916. The most important place in this regard is the Kilmainham jail. If you don’t know about the 1916 Easter Rising, and the subsequent War for Independence in Ireland, I highly recommend that you read up on this time period in Irish history. It’s a story of ordinary people with extraordinary courage, who led an unsuccessful and unpopular uprising, which unexpectedly became the turning point in the 600+ year ... read more
July 23rd 2009
We left Galway last Sunday, and I have to say I was sorry to go. Galway is a great city, welcoming and easy to get to know. The population is now around 70,000, if you count the growing suburbs, but the feel is of a much smaller place. From our accommodations, it was less than a 30-minute walk to the city center, along very pleasant, friendly streets. Eyre Square is a large open square right in the center of town. The park there was rechristened John F. Kennedy Memorial park in honor of JFK’s visit to Ireland and Galway in the spring of 1963. (More on that soon.) Galway is known as the City of the Tribes, because its charter was granted to 14 Anglo-Norman merchant families - or “tribes” -- in the late 1300’s. Galway ... read more
July 21st 2009
On Thursday we drove toward the middle of the country and visited Roscommon Castle, an Anglo-Norman castle dating from about 1300. It’s a ruin, of course, but it’s open to the public and free. It seemed to be a popular spot for local moms to bring their kids to picnic and run around. It’s a great site to explore, and our students spent some time climbing the walls and photographing themselves among all the crumbling stones. It was the home of the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and so it is larger than most castles of this era. It has great examples of classic Norman drum towers. Our next stop was not far from Roscommon: Strokestown House, which was built in the 1730’s by the Mahon family, members of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy. These were people who ... read more
July 15th 2009
Tuesday’s field trip took us to two sites important to Medieval Christianity. The first was Clonfert Cathedral. This church was founded in the 6th century by St. Brendan, often called “St. Brendan the Navigator.” According to legend he is buried here, although no one knows for sure, and the Irish don’t tend to be big on doing the sort of archaeological dig that would be needed to determine the accuracy of this legend. St. Brendan was a monk who traveled extensively. A book he wrote about his travels has been found translated into many languages. He writes about visiting places that seem likely to be Greenland and Iceland and, many believe, Labrador in North America. This was before the Vikings even had explored the coast of North American. Now some have said that it would have ... read more