Friday, June 01, 2007

Day 07, "Ireland" seminar trip

[These are the daily posts located at Google Maps. Posting one-a-day in the aftermath.]

[Later: intentionally-later start today, to allow trippers to catch up on sleep after a long day in the coach, aboard the ferry, and then trekking up to Dun Eochla. We opted for a 10am call to breakfast, at which the trip budget paid for and prepared eggs, sausages (local, and delicious), and home-fried potatoes to bulk-out the hostel’s cereal, toast, and tea/coffee. Then we split up: one group renting bicycles (20 euro for 2 days, and a great value considering that it stays light until 10pm and grows light by 5:30am) and the other opting for a minibus ride out to the Dun Aenghus interpretative center. We made rendezvous at around 1:15pm, and clambered up the lengthy limestone trail to the fort.

Dum Aenghus is a Bronze-Age fort, begun 1100BC, which eventually grew to include a series of three concentric rings—or they would be concentric, were it not for the fact that they are bisected along a chord formed by a sea-cliff of around 190 feet. Having reiterated the trip’s “two Brians and a Jeremy” rule (e.g., no one is to approach closer to an unfenced precipice than the combined heights of our two tallest males), we turned the students loose to explore, take photos, and lie in the grass watching the clouds sail over. Beautiful warm, dry, and mostly still weather, as a result of which we could easily see the Twelve Pins of Connemara to the northeast, and Inishmaan and Inishmore to the southeast, with the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the coast of Clare beyond. Last Monday we'd stood on the Cliffs, and I'd pointed north and west, saying "see those islands? On Sunday we'll be standing out there looking back here."

Then it was back to Kilronan, for a walk on the beach, much seashell-gathering, and a group supper. Later we’ll have a go at the Aran Hotel, where a friend from past trips, Paddy Quinn, is rumored to be playing accordion tonight.

[Later: A really special night in the Aran Hotel bar, where old friends from past trips Paddy (accordion) and Locko (guitar, bouzouki, song) were trading tunes and songs. We remembered ourselves (and some of the musicians who traveled with us last year) to Paddy, and after a while of listening were invited up to sit in on the music. Had a fine time playing tunes unfamiliar to each other, and later a number of our trippers came up to play or sing their “party piece” (one of the special requirements of the semester was that each traveler prepare such a party piece for just such an occasion). Then a walk back along Kilronan harbor with the 2AM stars and the Milky Way lighting the path.

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