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May 2019 - Irish Life Experience

Introducing Jaiden Toth-Your 2019 Blogger and Female Counselor

Hello ILE’ers!

My name is Jaiden Toth, and I grew up moving around Montana. My family eventually settled in Polson, Montana, where I was blessed with an angel named, Taryn Harrison. She is one of my best friends and ultimate inspirations in life. In 2013, she convinced me to be a student on the Irish Life Experience and that is where I found one of my greatest life passions. I not only fell in love with Ireland, but I fell in love with travel.

Since then, I have made it a goal to travel to a new country (More if possible.) every year. So far, my adventures have taken me to Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, and the one closest to my heart…, Ireland. To see and experience another culture is priceless knowledge. It is unlike anything you could ever learn in school or by reading a book. It teaches compassion, empathy, cultural acceptance, and the ability to love widely.

I had the experience of walking the Camino de Santiago with Taryn and my mother, who had never traveled internationally. From the day we arrived to just ten days after, when we left, she had blossomed into a new person. I’m so excited to watch the 2019 ILE students flourish with this adventure of a lifetime.

My second passion is cooking and baking. I currently live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and my present life venture is working towards opening my own bakery. As of right now, I do small orders out of my home for weddings and parties all while working a full-time job.

My favorite cliché life motto: Don’t count the moments, make the moments count.

I am beyond excited for the ILE summer of 2019, so let’s make the moments count!

Introducing Michael Meaney-Your 2019 Gaelic and Irish History Teacher

Michael MeaneyHello All,

My name is Michael Meaney and I’m from Carlow, a small County in the south-east region of Ireland. I am a Post Primary (High School) teacher working in Carlow. My main subjects are Irish and European History, Geography, and P.E. I worked as an Archaeologist before I qualified in teaching, so I have a good “hands-on” knowledge of Irish History after spending time digging up the past!

I have a huge interest in Sport and I play Gaelic Football for my hometown team in Carlow. I also played Gaelic Football for my County team. This was a huge honor and a brilliant experience.

One of my best travel experiences was a few years back when I spent the summer playing Gaelic Football in Boston. This will be my fourth year working with the Irish Life Experience and I can honestly say it is one of the coolest trips imaginable. I can’t wait to give students a greater appreciation of Ireland and Irish people, while also showing off what this beautiful Isle and everything it has to offer.

In my time off I like to travel, socialize with family and friends, and watch Gaelic Football and Hurling games, as well as coaching and helping out with my local sports teams. I’m a huge music fan, anything from ‘50’s’ to Mozart!

Looking forward to the summer already,

See you soon!

Introducing Casey O’Connor-Your 2019 Female Counselor

Casey began Irish dancing at the age of nine. Her love for Irish dancing inspired her love for Irish music and so she picked up the fiddle at the age of eleven. As a teenager, she filled her time with dance lessons, competitions, and would most likely be found sitting at home playing her fiddle instead of out at a party.

The summer before her senior year of high school, Casey participated in the 2004 Irish Life Experience Program, which to date is still one of the greatest and most memorable (Magical, adventurous, and happy…) summers she has ever had!

She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2007 and graduated from the State University of New York, Fredonia, in 2009. Casey currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland where she owns and operates The O’Connor School of Irish Dance (One of the ILE’s wonderful partners.). She has been a Nanny in Baltimore, still plays her fiddle here and there at local Irish pubs, spends time with her adorable cat, Molly, and is recently engaged to the #JoeKelly.

Casey has been a Counselor for the ILE since 2014 and is thrilled to be a part of the #ILE19 Team! (And can’t believe it has been 15 years since she went herself in 2004! Neither can Taryn, as she feels pretty old right now.)

Introducing Miles Bryan-Your 2019 Irish American History Teacher

Hey Y’all!

I’m Miles Bryan from Anderson, South Carolina. I have a degree in Spanish and International Trade from Clemson University and I am a a High School Spanish Teacher.

My grandparents on my dad’s side love to read books and are some of my biggest supporters. My grandfather knew he was of Irish descent and started looking into his heritage online and learned a ton about our family’s history. He decided that he could never do the Emerald Isle justice by talking about it, so he made the decision to send all of the Bryan grandchildren to Ireland through the Irish Life Experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to go as a student in 2008 and had the time of my life. I went with a few bags and a group of 46 strangers and came back home a month later with a newfound appreciation for Irish culture, countless pictures, unforgettable memories, and 46 new friends.

Six years ago was my younger cousins’ year to go and I was a Counselor for them on the Program. I loved being able to hang out with my cousins for a month in one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. I had so much fun, that I decided to go back as a Counselor again, and again, and again and am now going to be teaching Irish American History this summer.

In my spare time, I love to play guitar, sing, play volleyball-basically anything with my friends. One of the things that I learned in college is that it’s much more fun to be bored with other people than by myself, so I constantly surround myself with people who love to smile and enjoy spreading good vibes. For the past six years, I’ve been part of a high school ministry called Young Life at Walhalla High School and have been tremendously challenged and blessed. I love people a whole lot and I’m really looking forward to getting to meet everyone in a few short weeks!

Go Tigers!