Hello friends and family!
I thought I would create an online travel blog to record my adventures and education in Ireland. Today, I am packing and getting last minute things together. I leave tomorrow from Cleveland at 3:15 and will be in Ireland on Sunday. (Time difference.) I'm travelling on Continental Airlines, first to Newark, New Jersey, then to Dublin, Ireland.
I thought I would post our proposed travel itinerary:
Proposed Itinerary for Kent State University Student Group
Ireland May 16 -- May 29, 2009
Day 1. Saturday May 16.
Overnight flight to Dublin
Day 2. Sunday May 17.
Arrive at DublinAirport where you will be met by Batt Burns with a hearty welcome. You will be picked up by coach and brought to a city centre location for your first Irish breakfast.
Your hotel rooms will not be ready until the early afternoon so you will begin a bus tour which will take in a visit to The Phoenix Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol and The National Museum.
Overnight in Harcourt Hotel and dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 3. Monday May 18.
After breakfast you will have a short talk from Batt Burns entitled “ An Introduction to Ireland”. This will be followed by a visit to St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra where a large number of Irish primary teachers are educated. After a guided tour there will be a lecture on “The Irish Primary Education System” by Dr, Sean O’Dwyer, a former professor at The Church of Ireland Teachers’ College in Dublin. He currently supervises the teaching practise of student teachers from a number of colleges.
After lunch on your own there will be a visit to Trinity College founded in 1592.Batt will take you on a walk around the campus before you visit its famous library,
that houses the priceless Book of Kells.
There will be a walk around Merrion Square and hear Batt do a presentation at the statue of Oscar Wilde, one of Ireland’s famous 19th century writers. Walk through St. Stephen’s Green, and College Green before crossing O’Connell’s Bridge into the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street.
Overnight in The Harcourt Hotel.and dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 4. TuesdayMay 19
Talk from Dr, Austen Corcoran who has just overseen the building of a new community high school in Ballinteer. His talk will focus on challenges facing Irish post primary education in the light of a huge influx of non-nationals to Ireland. He will also speak about the current downturn in the Irish economy and the implications for education. The group will be brought on a tour of the school and it is hoped to have some interaction between faculty, students and The Kent group.
Later there will be a visit to Holy Family Primary School in Monkstown where Kent students will have extended periods in a number of different classrooms.
Visits to The Blackrock Teachers’ Centre have been successful over the past number of years and it is proposed to visit here again as soon as school finishes at 2.30 p.m. This centre helps many teachers with professional development.
Overnight in The Harcourt Hotel. After dinner there will be a visit to Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey.
Day 5. Wednesday May 20
After an early breakfast cross The Midlands of Ireland via Athlone and Ballinasloe to The City of The Tribes, Galway. This is one of Ireland’s fastest growing cities and is really vibrant, awash with young people. Its quaint narrow streets, shops, galleries and lively pubs with great Irish music makes it a very popular destination.
At 3.00 pm. There will be a lecture on The Role of The Irish Language in Irish Education by Mr.. Joe Mc Donagh, of University College, Galway, who is an acknowledged expert in this field.
Dinner and overnight will be in the Imperial Hotel in the Galway city centre.
Day 6. Thursday May 21.
After breakfast there will be a visit to Calasanctius high school on the outskirts of the city.
Later there will be an extended visit to St. Francis Elementary School in Galway city.
Day 7. Friday May 22
After breakfast you will have an opportunity to visit a Gaelic-speaking area of Conamara and visit one of its schools.
Return to Galway for lunch on your own and the rest of the day is free.
Day 8. Saturday May 23
After breakfast travel south to The Burren area of County Clare, an extraordinary lunar-like landscape with rare species of Lusitanian and Arctic flora. It is steeped in history and folklore and Batt will share many stories with you. The Cliffs of Moher rise up majestically out of the Atlantic Ocean to a height of 600 feet and are viewed annually by almost a million visitors.
Move on to the Viking city of Limerick and take a quick bus tour before heading south to Killarney and later to Batt’s home village of Sneem. It is one of Ireland’s smallest and prettiest villages set on the shores of Kenmare bay and surrounded by mountains.
Dinner and overnight in Sneem Hotel.
Day 9. Sunday May 25
At noon the group will gather in a local meeting room where Batt will give a talk entitled. “ Ancient and Modern Life in a remote Irish rural village”. As the students will be spending four nights in Sneem it is important for them to get a feel for the history, traditions, superstitions, customs and economic activity of this community. Batt will also probe the very strong emigrant connection between the USA and Sneem. He has seen a total transformation in this area during his lifetime and will explain how Sneem was affected by “ The Celtic Tiger”. The influx of foreign nationals in the local community should also prove of interest to the students. He will also refer to his own rather unique experience as a child with the seanachie ( storytelling) tradition.
Some possible activity in the afternoon would be horse-riding on Derrynane Beach which is 12 miles away or a mountain hike. Some may just like to stroll around this pretty prize-winning village.
Dinner and overnight in Sneem Hotel.
Day 10. Monday May 26
Today will be given over to a storytelling workshop directed by Batt Burns entitled:
Storytelling: A Dynamic Teaching Tool ( See detailed schedule).
The venue will be Sneem Hotel
Day 11. Tuesday May 27
Leave Sneem at 9.00a.m. a.m. for a number of schools where individual students will be placed in various classrooms.. Here there will be an opportunity to see the workings of the school for almost a full day. Arrangements will be made with teachers for some “hands on” activities for the student during this time. Hopefully, a number of students will try out their skills at storytelling.
Return to Sneem for dinner and overnight.
The day will end with a visit from a traditional musician, Maura Burns, who will talk about her rich background in music as well as sharing some lively jigs and reels on the concertina. She will also teach the group a Gaelic song and dance.
Day 12. Wednesday May 28
More school visits including one to a very remote school in The Black Valley.
Return to Sneem for dinner and overnight.
Tonight there will be an opportunity to enjoy an evening of traditional music, song and dance in a village pub in Sneem. This entertainment, which includes an ancient set dance by eight villagers, is indigenous to this area and will feature Riobard O’Dwyer on accordion as well as a top class folksinger, Marian O’Shea.
Day 13. Thursday May 28
Students will spend part of the morning in Holy Cross High School in Kenmare before moving on to St. Oliver’s National School in Killarney
Dinner and overnight in Limerick
Day 14. Friday May 29th
Transfer to Shannon Airport for return flight home.
Tonight I am having a get-together with friends in my townhouse. I am so excited for tomorrow.
I will blog from the airport tomorrow.
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