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Galway

Hello Everyone!

This week everything finally got sorted out with classes, much to my relief. It was beginning to drive me a bit insane as I was taking an extra class to try it out at the professors recommendation, but he wasn’t sure if I met the prerequisites. It all turned out alright and I’ll be taking Basin Analysis at UCDs Geology department. Being around the geology department has been the closest thing to home I’ve experienced since leaving the states. The atmosphere is similar, the professors are all very helpful, and the students have similar attitudes to many of my peers at Lafayette.

The real excitement was last weekend when I went to Galway with a group of other international students. A fairly ragtag group one girl is from Australia, another from Singapore, two gentlemen from Montreal, and a handful of Americans. The country side was amazing, I was staring out the window for most of the bus ride across the country. It only takes a bit over two hours to cross Ireland, coast to coast. The countryside is green the whole way across, I’d always imagined rolling hills of grass as are pictured in movies, but in reality there is a great portion of the countryside partitioned off by fences of shrubbery into rectangular plots for livestock to graze upon.

When we got to Galway we started to figure out what we should be doing. We settled on going to the the Cliffs of Moher; the geologist in me was thrilled. The bus we took made a few stops at a portal tomb, which had two boulders supporting a large boulder balancing on top. Apparently, below them is an opening leading into the actual burial chamber, but there was a rope fence around the area at a 100 ft radius. We were in a region called the Burrens, which is apparently one of the least habitable portions on the island of Ireland. Nevertheless it supported grasses and short shrubs on top of the thick successions of limestone beds that make up the Burren hills and made early agricultural efforts impractical. It was a brilliantly clear day, so the Cliffs of Moher were spectacular. We walked along the cliff on the path near its edge and made our way to the tower at its top. It’s quite a dramatic drop from the edge of the Cliffs, I believe it was something over 300 meters. The waves crashed against the base of cliff quite vigorously even on such a calm day making one wonder what they might be like during a storm.

On the way back from the Cliffs we stopped in a small fishing village called Doolin. There we ate at a bar and tried one of the locally brewed beers, Dooliner Irish Red Ale; I have to say it was one of the better beers I have ever had.

The next day we thought about going to the Aran Islands, which are famous for the ruins on the islands and the traditional Irish way of life that continues out there. However, it was storming and any ferry we would have taken out there could not have gotten us back to Galway in time to catch our bus back to Dublin. But that just means we’ll have to go back another weekend! We spent the day walking the city, following the twists and turns of the few canals that lead to Galway Bay, and seeing the Spanish Arch, one of the oldest structures in the community. We stumbled upon a dog show, which was a fantastic way to get to know some of the locals and see some really big dogs. While there we got introduced to the Mayor of Galway, I bet that’s not something that tourists can often say!

Make sure to check out the pictures I took in Galway in my Ireland Gallery!

That concludes most of the excitement for this week, in this next week I hope to be hiking through the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough so stay tuned!

Wes

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