And so the holiday began. Tuesday marked the final day of classes and today the beginning of our journey to the beautiful west coast of Ireland. the day started with blue skies, packing all the luggage (There was A LOT-just ask Miley and Ninny.) onto the bus, and waving goodbye to King’s Hospital to set off on our new adventure. We had a new addition today, in the form of the hilariously funny, tour guide extraordinaire, Brian Farrell-owner of Burren Coaches and a great friend of the ILE.
Taryn had her playlists ready at the helm and we danced and sang to Carly Rae, Hozier, and One Direction. The ILE favorite is definitely One Direction’s, “What Makes You Beautiful.” However, we like to change the words to “What Makes the ILE Beautiful!” Brigid (AKA Cash Money) Lundy even had a chance to demonstrate her hip hop dance moves to some of her favorite tunes. The students were all impressed by her agility.
All of the students were so EXCITED to be heading off to Killarney, especially when they remembered we were calling in to see the Blarney Castle en route.
The ILE Staff has a special surprise, as Eddie and James from Waterford, would be joining the group for the remainder of the trip. The bus pulled into the car park and Eddie and James hopped on board. The students were in shock, but were so thrilled to see their first Irish friends. UP THE DUBS!!!
Now for those of you who don’t know, Blarney is a little jewel in the crown of Ireland and one of the most visited places. It is home to the 15th Century Blarney Castle and of course the famous Blarney Stone. Rumor has it that when you kiss the Blarney Stone, you are given the Gift of the Gab. When Angie explained this to the students, they all agreed as voiced by Molly, that no way did Angie need to do that! When asked by Stephen how many times she had kissed it, Angie replied, “never” and all the students gasped in amazement that her storytelling was a natural gift and not attributed to the kissing of the stone. Ninny was the only one that climbed the many steps to the top of the castle to not kiss the stone, as his fear of heights got the better of him!
After exploring the castle grounds, souvenir shopping, and having lunch and 99’ers (Ice Cream Cones.), we all got back on the bus again for the rest of trip to Killarney-situated in County Kerry. Killarney is in the middle of stunning scenery and its namesake is the National Park. We arrived, as the Killarney Horse Racing Festival was in full swing and the town was buzzing-decked out in flags of the 32 counties with traditional Irish music and dance in the streets. As we say, the craic was mighty.
We checked in to our lovely apartments at the Gleneagles Hotel and it was a joy to see the delight on the students’ faces. Each group of students had received a stipend for grocery shopping to plan meals and shop and cook. The ILE Staff visited each apartment to sample the joys of teenage cooking-mainly consisting of one of the following: Brownies, Chicken Nuggets, Hamburgers, Pasta, PJ and J, and Pizza. Alex, Brendan, David, and Dylan had planned their meals so well that it took them 50 minutes in the supermarket to buy all the above. If they would have taken any longer, we would have been ready for ILE 2015!
Tonight was a chill out night. The students visited each other and hung out in their apartments-watching movies and having a chat. This is definitely a testament to the fact the legend of the Blarney Stone is true as the ILE Staff had to shoo them to their apartments at midnight.
To all the parents who are reading this-you should be very proud-we are looking after an amazing group of students!