Arriving in Ireland – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
It took eighteen hours of travel, over two planes and one bus that hurtled quite precariously through the narrow lanes of Irish roads, but our group of sixteen students and two professors made it to Ireland unscathed.
The first flight, Minneapolis to Newark, raised my hopes that I wouldn’t experience the pain I’ve likened in the past to being stabbed in both ears by screwdrivers. I shouldn’t have been so optimistic because the descent into Ireland made me think my eardrums were slightly away from rupturing the entire 40-minute descent. Other than that, the flights were rather fun. The man I sat next to first was the perfect seat partner, we exchanged a head nod when he sat next to me and we didn’t speak for the rest of the flight. I was lucky enough to have the middle seat of my row empty for the longer flight to Ireland, with myself by the window and an older gentleman on the aisle. He was a good seatmate as well, only chatting at the end of the flight when everyone was anxiously waiting for the doors to open. The only hiccup in that was my hearing was affected by the landing and I could half hear everything he said. I was also worried I would be unable to hear the questions the man who had the power to deny me entry to Ireland would ask me, but luckily he didn’t say much of anything.
By the time we got off the plane and onto the coach bus taken, we were all exhausted. We made a stop at a gas station where we bought food and some got coffee. The narrow, winding roads made me regret trying the black pudding the women in the gas station gave us a free sample of. Black pudding is a traditional food that is not pudding like at all. The woman who gave us the free sample wouldn’t tell me what it was made of until I tried it. It’s typically made of pork fat, pork blood and oatmeal, although I’m not entirely sure what was in the one I tried. Surprisingly, I didn’t think it was terrible but I hadn’t been feeling the best after the flight so I just tried a tiny piece. Our bus driver had absolutely no qualms about our large bus on the two-way roads that I considered tight for a one-way. From what I’ve observed so far, most people in Ireland like to drive fast, many would risk the tight space and overtake us when they found themselves stuck behind the bus.
Driving through Ireland was incredibly surreal. This is going to sound cliché, but it’s honestly so green it surprised me. Perhaps it’s just because I came from the white snow and brown grass of Minnesota, but it really is amazing. The fields go for as far as your eye can see and the mountains in the distance rise out of the ground and disappear into the clouds, except for the rare moments the sky is clear. There are also sheep everywhere, every time you turn your head there are more sheep. As soon as we drove close enough to some sheep, we noticed that the sheep have blotches of color on them. Our bus driver informed us that the farmers let their sheep roam so they each have a color (or pattern of colors) that they paint across either the right hip, left hip, back, or back of the neck of their sheep to distinguish them.
In what was probably an attempt to help us overcome the jetlag with minimal problems, we had arrangements to have drinks and food at one of the local pubs in town that night. The board members of the cottages we’re staying in bought all of us a round of drinks and we drank those and ate sandwiches provided by a local shop. The outing turned out to be a great idea. If we hadn’t gone out, I can guarantee I would have been asleep by six that night. Instead, I managed to stay awake and social until about nine which I deemed a perfectly acceptable to head to bed.
If my first few experiences with the people and atmosphere of Ireland are any indication, I would say I am in for a fantastic semester here.
Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.
Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu