Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 12, "Ireland" seminar trip

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

[telegraphic form, temporarily: so much happened I hadn't time to write it all up! Will update later]

Dysert O Dea, Cragganowen. High cross of St Tola, round tower, O’Dea Castle. Cragganowen, John Hurt castle, dolmen with ogham script, crannog, round fort, living history demonstrations, Brendan. Tim Severin, reconstruction of the Voyages of St Brendan, currach or hide boat made of oak-tanned ox-hides over a tied wooden frame, epic journey from a creek in Kerry to Scotland, Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland. Very moving to be in the room with the very vessel, all 22 feet of it, with which these 6 lunatic adventurers (or adventurous lunatics) set off “into the West,” with not much more certainty of safe arrival than did Brendan and his own monkish adventurers. Wild boars and other archaic breeds.

Pick up van, say farewell to Marty. Students agog at “smallest minivan ever seen.”

Return to Newmarket. Visit to Missus Annie’s. Rendezvous point for multiple trips in the shuttle. Kindly welcome from the O’Neill family, including the traditional round of “Irish Flags,” a made drink invented by Missus Annie whose three (secret) components mirror the green, white, and gold bands of the Irish tricolor. The “Irish Flag” is a tradition at O’Neill’s whereby the house welcomes old and new friends back to Newmarket, and is expected to be drunk “all in one go,” so that the distinctive flavors of the (we think) crème-de-menthe, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and some golden mystery drink all blend together. These made quite an impression—enough so that there was a mad scramble for notebooks and scrap paper to attempt to derive the recipe.

After that, it was off on the first round of the Dr Smith shuttles to Ennis, for a dropoff at the Old Ground (our staging point) so students could take advantage of their free-admittance to the set-dance classes. The two-cycle shuttle ran again at 10:30pm, for the few who wanted an early night of it, and one last time at 1am to Cois na Abhna, the purpose-built octagonal set-dancing hall which is the Clare headquarters for Ceoltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

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