Ireland Higher Education Study Tour. Mindy Dilley 2012. In addition to the notes taken at the Institutional Visits. Saturday May 19 th.
In addition to the notes taken at the Institutional Visits
Our flight left KCI at 12:40pm! Emily and I got to sit together on all of our flights so that made the traveling a lot better. We got into the Atlanta airport and meet up with another guy, Andrew, who was also going on our trip. Our flight left Atlanta at 6:40pm and we did not arrive in Dublin until 7:30am the next day!
We got into Dublin at 7:30am. Emily, Andrew and I waiting in line at customs and then waited to meet up with Brittany and Jon, the other MSU people. We also ran into another tour participant, Emily Carpenter and all shared a cab to the hotel. We dropped off our luggage and then headed straight to the Guinness Brewery Tour. At this time I had been awake for about 28 hours…it was ROUGH!! We crashed for a few hours after the tour and were up and ready for the first group dinner that night at 7pm in our hotel! This was our first chance to meet everyone we would be spending the next 2 weeks with!
We had a very busy first “study day.” We first went to Grangegorman and took a tour of the new area where the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus will be. We them had the opportunity to talk to some of the current students! (this was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip!) When then had the opportunity to meet with Colm Murphy, the deputy president of the Union of Students in Ireland. I was fascinated to see how much input students received in higher education within the Irish government. We then had some free time that night to check out the city of Dublin.
We spent most of this day at University College Dublin. It was really great because our host, Colleen actually is from Detroit, and was a wonderful insight of the actual differences between the higher education systems in the US and Ireland. We also heard presentations about their HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) programs. Later that night we went to a performance at the Abbey Theatre. To be honest, it was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen. I do not think anyone in our group was that happy/impressed with the show.
We visited Trinity College on this day! We toured the Book of Kells and got to meet with the small few SA professionals on campus. We then we to the Higher Education Authority where we learned all about Erasmus and the Bologna initiatives. It was really awesome!
This was the first day on the motor coach. I rode in the jump seat in the morning which was really cool. We made a few stops along our way to Sligo. We got out at the Tobernaut Holy Well which was really interesting. It was a sanctuary for the Catholic’s to go worship when it was still outlawed in Ireland. We ended up at the Institute of Technology in Sligo. We go to actually see the students taking their Leaving Certificate Exams. Our hotel for the night was made entirely out of glass. It looked cool, but turned out to be HELL! It was so hot because of the heat wave Ireland was going through. It was awful!
Luckily we only spent one night in the GLASS HOTEL OF HELL! On Friday we got up and headed to Galway. We had the opportunity to stop and tour Kylemore Abbey, which is a 19th century non-Gothic mansion which was turned into a boarding school, and then a convent after the tragic death of the wife of the mansion owner. We continued on to Galway, where we would stay for 4 nights. Emily and I actually got a great room, with WIFI! We were so pumped! We had the afternoon and evening to relax and hang out in Galway, but I actually had a migraine! I stayed in and just watched Irish television!
We had this day open for whatever. Emily and I slept in. It was awesome! We leisurely got up, had lunch and then just walked around. It was nice to just have a “chill” day and not always be on the rush or a schedule.
This was one of my favorite days! We went on a day trip to see the Cliffs of Moher which were ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! We then went and and drove through the Burren County. It was breath taking.
We were back on the grind! We first had a meeting with the Central Applications Office, which was SO GREAT! It cleared up a bunch of questions our entire group had had. If I was planning this trip for later groups, I would have made the CAOs presentation on the first day! Would have helped prevent a lot of confusion. We then went to the National University of Ireland-Galway. They really weren’t prepared for us. It was extremely frustrating. The campus was gorgeous, but the visit was pretty much a waste of time besides seeing the area.
We left Galway in the morning and drove all day. We ended up in Tralee. That night we went to a performance at Siamsa Tire Theatre. It was MUCH better than our first show we saw in Dublin. We then broke up and stayed in small groups in Bed and Breakfasts across the city. The one Emily and I stayed in was creepy! The lady that owned it was super nice, but her place was old and out dated. Emily and I both were a little scared to sleep there! Thankfully it was only one night!!
We left Tralee early in the morning and headed to Cork for the night. On the way we stopped to see Shandon Church and St. Finbarr’s Cathedral. We also took a small hike (like 8 miles!!) to see a castle. It was actually pretty awesome, and totally worth it!
We went on a visit to University College Cork. The campus was GORGEOUS! Probably my favorite campus we saw. We had a packed day! (in fact it got a little long for the group) We had the chance to tour the Honan Chapel and really had the opportunity to learn about chaplaincies on campus. We also got to meet the officers of the Student Union on UCC’s campus and got an insight look into what they actually do on campus. We also go a more detailed understanding of student accommodations in the Irish higher education system.
We left Cork this day and headed back to Dublin. On the way we stopped at the Rock of Cashel for a guided tour and the ruins of Glendalough which were both really neat. Once we got back to Dublin, we had our final group dinner, packed, and went to bed early for our travels the next day.
This was a VERY long day as well! Emily and I had to be up at 4:00am in order to finish packing, eat breakfast and catch our cab which was coming to pick us up at 6:00am. When we got the airport, we waiting in line at customs and grabbed some more food while we waited for our flight. Our plane left at 9:25am and arrived in Atlanta, Georgia at 1:00pm. I stayed awake the whole flight again, and watched some pretty great movies! The food was pretty good too considering it was on a plane. We had a little bit of a layover in Atlanta and then headed back to KC at 3:50pm! That flight was pretty cool. Emily and I randomly met a guy who had just graduated from Bowling Greene with his Masters in Student Affairs!! Small world! I was happy be home finally around 5:30pm! My parents and I picked up Taco Bell and then I was asleep by 8:30pm! I was a tiered Mindy!