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Waterford “I Can’t Afford That” Crystal

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

DSC00845DSC00850DSC00876DSC00881DSC00886Students woke up this morning and looked out the window and boy, was it a crystal clear day! Once again, everyone thought about how lucky they were to be experiencing this amanzing adventure on the Emerald Isle.

The students headed to class where Angie taught the students about James Joyce and his fascinating life. Evan read a piece from Ulysses in stream of consciousness fashion and he once again impressed the class with his literature skills and reading. During their second class of the day with Miles, they played “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” about Irish History. The game got really intense and the competitive side of the students came out in full force. The final class of the day was with Taryn. They learned about the geography of Ireland in Irish Studies.

For lunch the kids had their first experience with Rashers (Irish bacon)and the feeling was mixed. Some kids liked them and some didn’t! Kent thought they were really good. After lunch they all made our way into town for their tour at the Waterford Crystal Factory. When they first walked into the first section of the tour, they were listening to the tour guide speak about the process of how they make a Waterford Crystal piece and how expensive each piece cost. Amelia said, “This crystal is worth more than my life!” Kent burst out laughing, trying not to swing his backpack and knock over the beautiful piece behind him. Ben then said, “I can’t be in here. I will break something!” Everyone was a little nervous.

The students continued to an area where they make the customized molds for special customers like Justin Timberlake, the London 2012 Olympics, the People’s Choice Awards, and other big tournaments. This part was really cool. “I love the we saw a Justin Timberlake mold,” said Amelia. I think the students were all surprised that Waterford Crystal creates pieces for such big events and people.

They continued through the tour and got to see each of the processes of how the glassware is made. It is a very difficult process to work at this factory and you can definitely tell in the craftsmanship in each piece. Their apprenticeship is even longer than Medical School. When they finished Ben said, “That was very cool! I liked that the factory is set up for tours.” At the very end, the students got a chance to buy some pieces of Waterford Crystal. Then the students that signed up for workshops walked back to campus to work on St. Brigid’s Crosses and Irish hats.

The students all sat around Taryn and listened to her explain how to make a St. Brigids Cross. You can tell Taryn has done this before because she had the students start out on pipe cleaners instead of the freshly picked reeds. “I hope my mom will hang this in the kitchen,” said Molly. Cate laughed because she was still four steps behind and her crosse wasn’t quite up to par yet. When they all finished their crosses, Amelia was sitting on the ground laughing and staring at her cross. “My cross is complete and utter garbage,” said Amelia. Taryn laughed and said, “It is not! It is unique.” The process of making these crosses was a lot harder then the students thought.

After they finished their crosses, some of the students moved over to spray painting Irish designs on trucker hats. They all wanted to do something similar so they would match. They decided to do the Irish flag with the country code of 353. Well…, let’s just say they debated if the Irish flag was orange, white, then green OR green, white, then orange. The majority of them got their hats wrong. They all decided that they were just going to wear them in confidence. They all now know the order of colors on the Tricolor and will never get that wrong again! The hats did turn out really cool though.

In the evening the students had a scavenger hunt in Waterford. The students had a list of items that they had to find and gather within an hour. The first one back and the one with the most items would win a prize. Liam was the first one back, but his team did not have all the items. The last team to arrive was the only team to have all their items gathered. It was comical watching the kids banter back and forth over who won.

The students got to have the rest of the night to themselves. It is fun to hear their stories of dorm life and what they do during their free time. Some students gather in groups and play games. Other students go explore the campus.

Life has been great so far. Yeah for #ILE15!



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