Thursday, June 1, 2017

Day 8: Lara

Views of  Dublin from the Liffey

Today, our first stop was Trinity College to visit the Book of Kells exhibit. The Book of Kells is a beautifully decorated copy of the four Gospels. A particularly interesting segment of the exhibit focused on the materials used to create the pigments utilized in the stunning artwork throughout the Book of Kells. We were also able to see the beautiful old library long room at Trinity College. In addition to an immense number of books, the old library long room also houses busts of the great philosophers and writers of the western world and individuals connected with Trinity. It was remarkable to be surrounded by so much rich history! After the Book of Kells exhibit we were free to spend the rest of the day as we wished. Clara, Allie, and I choose to do the Viking splash tour so we could see and learn a little bit more about Dublin. We learned about some notable churches in Dublin, architecture featured around the city, as well as about other prominent landmarks. One fun fact from the tour was that the different colored doors featured in Georgian architecture often were a reflection of the wealth of the residents. We all came back together as a group for dinner as well as to share about our experiential and the post card each person had selected as a representation of what Ireland means to each of us.  It’s hard to believe we are heading back to the USA tomorrow! There have been so many incredible experiences here in Ireland and I feel that I have learned a great deal from the time spent in Cork and Dublin. Some pictures from the day are included below and I’ll leave you all with a cheers!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Day 7: Troy, Kathryn & Chelsea

Today in Ireland, we went on a tour around Wicklow and Kilkenny. We were able to go on a nature walk as well as visit a cemetary in the area. Many of us also went on a tour through the castle at Kilkenny and shopped at some of the local businesses as well. Like usual, we also saw sheep along the way.

It was interesting to look at the burial plots because some of them dated back to the 1800s. On many of the headstones, there were engravings of the names of each individual of the family. Unlike most of the cemeteries that I have saw in the States, more than one or two people Wwere often times buried in the same plot. It could be imagined that during that time, it was easier and cheaper to place the entire family in one plot. This made it even more interesting to wander around and read off the names of those who had already passed. At one grave site, there was a total of 15 people buried within that one 5' x 5' square lot. Death in Ireland is looked at differently than it is in North America and they tend to celebrate life more than mourn it.

After our short walk we hopped back on the bus and drove to Kilkenny, where we grabbed lunch and wandered around the castle. There were also a lot of shops around, including one that sold interesting prints and other art. Most of the objects in the shop were unique and appealed to Kylie, Natasha and I. While we were walking around town, a few of us also saw a bride and groom that had just gotten married within the castle. While that would seem like a magical place to get married, it could also be ruined by the fact that the castle is a tourist attraction. Either way, good luck to them and their marriage. Hopefully they'll never need couples therapy, but if they do, there's a few pf us that could help them out in the future.

After our stop at Kilkenny, we travelled back to Dublin to relax and go off on our own adventures. The day completed with dinner on our own with our friends, which allowed us to try new restaurants and experience new foods. As each day completes, we come one step closer to returning home to the states. I can only speak for myself when I say it is a bittersweet thought.

An Irish passage tomb dating back 5000 years. During the solstice, the narrow passage is illuminated by sunlight, lighting the decorated internal chamber that would have held cremated remains. The site was a true marvel of engineering, using stones from over a hundred kilometers away, and it is still watertight to this day.

St. Peter's Cathedral 
St. Peter's Cathedral featured beautiful stained glass windows, as well as the head of our friend Oliver Plunkett

 Monasterboice Cemetery 
St. Patrick created the Celtic cross symbol by combining the christian cross with the sun. Monasterboice Cemetery contains three very large Celtic cross statues. These statues contain stories carved into the cross using pictures. The cemetery contained a collection of very old, as well as very recent, grave plots.

Day 6: Almina & Katie

Storytelling at Ireland's Oldest Pub
Today started off very early and very wet, but even the deluge couldn't dampen our spirits! Positive attitudes and excitement over travelling to Dublin kept us all afloat as we navigated our way from Cork via shuttle, bus, train, and bus again! After checking in to the lovely Parliament Hotel, the group was allowed a bit of free time to pursue a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, lunch, or a quick nap before regrouping for dinner. 

Our dining experience was second to none as we enjoyed storytelling, songs, and excellent Irish fare at the oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head. Our storyteller, Philip, shared not only legends of faeries but also historical details about the common man's life during late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland, including the impact of the Potato Famine on the typical farmer. Philip even briefly described how the famine had impacted our own national history, as President John F. Kennedy was a third-generation descendant of an Irish immigrant. The musical entertainment for the evening was also very enlightening, as we discovered that the majority of people in the room could not follow simple directions for clapping along with the music. The two singer/guitar players had a grand time teasing the crowd, who received their jabs with good humor. 

It was a pleasant end to a strenuous day, leaving us all with full heads and even fuller bellies. Most of the group will be heading to bed early in preparation for another early morning, but the bravest of us have planned to do some light exploring before calling an end to the day. Wish us luck, as we set out for a day full of beautiful sites tomorrow!

Day 5: Ashlee & Sara

Cliffs of Moher

Today we got an early start! We headed out bright (and rainy) and early to the Cliffs of Moher. We saw breathtaking sights of the cliffs, the ocean, and the different species of birds that hang out there. We also walked through the exhibit and watched the video they show called The Ledge Experience. This video was an animation that showed different wildlife around the cliffs and in the ocean coming up to them. After we left the cliffs, we had lunch at O'Looneys overlooking the ocean. We even saw people surfing - but we thought it was way to cold for that! (They consider this weather summer, even though it was only about 60 degrees today.) After lunch, we headed to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. We got there right around closing time, so we didn't get to spend much time inside the castle, but we were able to hang out with some pretty cute goats and see all of the out buildings around the castle. Our day ended with dinner at Oliver Plunkett's and packing to get ready to leave for Dublin in the morning!

Bunratty Castle
Folk Park

Day 4: Natasha, Kylie, Janeeta & Misti

Blarney Castle
Thursday morning's class focused on the idea of multiculturalism in the mental health field. Specifically, we discussed the Travellers, a small indigenous nomadic group considered to be a minority group here in Ireland. One article examined patterns of substance abuse among Travellers, while another addressed similar patterns among young people attending college in Northern Ireland. The final article compared perceptions of specific emotions in the US ans Ireland and the implications for counseling. 

After class, we took a trip out to see the famous Blarney castle and gardens. People have been journeying here for more than two-hundred years to climb the stairs and kiss the Blarney stone. It's said that the powers of the stone bring eloquence and luck. Kissing the Blarney stone must have brought us all some good luck because the weather was perfect for exploring the expanse of castle grounds and gardens. These grounds also offer other hidden treasures such as the Wishing Steps, the Poison Garden, and the Witches' Stone. The only downside to the day's activities was the fact that part of the castle was currently being restored. However, we would still wholeheartedly recommend visiting this site to anyone who has the opportunity.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 3: Clara

Today started with class discussion in our individual groups where group members reported on their assigned articles. This gave opportunity for students to learn and have open discussion about a variety of mental health topics within Ireland. So far it has been extremely interesting learning about the differences in the mental health area in Ireland and the United States. While most mental health issues are prevalent in both countries it seems to be far less recognized and accepted here. After class we were able to explore the city in smaller groups, deciding on a variety of different places to go. I, along with Allie and Lara decided to walk around the city center of Cork and see what we could find that we haven't seen before. During the walk, we stumbled across a resource agency for victims of domestic violence. As we had learned in a lecture the previous day, domestic violence in Ireland tends to be kept on the "hush hush". So we decided that for our experiential we would go to the resource agency and collect information and pamphlets. Upon entering we were greeted by two ladies, one of which ended up inviting us into her office in order to allow us to ask any questions and hear what the agency was about. Ms. Ledger provided us with a plethora of information about working with this population and it was interesting to hear of the struggles this population deals with here that they might not have to deal with in the states. She discussed it being difficult working with clients who have come in from other cultures and them bringing those traditions with them; such as voodoo. We were given a few other resources online to explore which included Women's Aid and Safe Ireland. 

After an excellent day exploring this beautiful city, we got to celebrate Lara's birthday!!! So shout out to Lara, HAPPY BIRTHDAY again!! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day 2: Allie & Amber

Charles Fort

Today was filled with a great deal of fun and learning about the culture in which we are visiting. Our day started with a discussion and lecture from Dr. Sharon Lambert. Her talk on substance use with adolescents in Ireland was really engaging and informational. It was also interesting to learn about their educational system and how the drop out rate was linked with substance abuse in Ireland.
After the lecture, we traveled to Kinsale where we learned much more about the history and culture of Ireland. We visited Charles Fort initially and learned about its history involved with WWI. We then took a kayak tour in the bay where our instructor explained to us the history of Charles Fort that spreads further
Charles Fort
back into the early 1600's. Along with the help of some curious seals, we also got to witness the great beauty of the city. Overall, we've learned a great deal today from both Dr. Lambert and those of Kinsale that the Irish culture is still affected by the trauma experienced from the many wars that have affected generations before. While there has been great progress with mental health, Ireland has a lot if exploration in this field that can be beneficial to this population.