Monday, April 20, 2009


We made it home safe and sound. What a great vacation.

I will be posting more pictures to this blog to download soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Today is our last travel day....what a great time we had! We left early this morning, packed the bus and made our way to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. On our way to the Causeway we made a stop for incredible views of the northern Ireland coastline...we stopped by at Magheracross to view the ruins of Dunluce castle. Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to the edge of a cliff, along the North Antrim coast. Surrounded by breathtaking coastal scenery, this medieval castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built and where its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings.

On to the Giant's Causeway - The Causeway is an area of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. What an amazing site! We spent some time there and then onto Carlingford for lunch... A great little seaside village. After this visit, a trip back to Dublin and our last night before our trip back home. We all said goodbye to our amazing busdriver Dave Shanahan (#32)...He was great and got along amazingly well with the students.

After a week of great sightseeing, good food, lots of learning, fun and friendship, we are ready to come back home. We learned great irish sayings and traditions as well as seeing a country that we will not soon forget.

We learned -

-Dia duit!, pronounced djiah gwich which means good morning,

-'ta an ghrian ag taitneamh baby, 'ta an ghrian ag taitneamh - (ta an green ag tannif) The sun is shining baby the sun is shining (Which it did for 90% of the week!)

-Among other gaelic sayings!

We will truly miss our absolutely amazing tour guide, Siobhan McDonald. She left no stone unturned and was an incredible wealth of information, never leaving a question unanswered. Her personality is absolutely perfect for her profession, she loves her country with all her heart and is amazingly proud to tell anyone about it. Our students all have a new friend and look forward to a visit from her in West Haven someday!
Mrs. Maher and I had such an amazing time travelling with the students and adults alike. This was truly and incredible trip with many stories to tell!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Northern Ireland

Today we visited a new country "NORTHERN IRELAND".
We left the hotel early and went on our way to Derry, Londonderry County, Northern Ireland. Very exciting to be in a country where we would not be able to enter even 10 years ago.

We really learned a lot about the history of the "troubles".
We then visited St. Columb's cathedral, an incredible cathedral in the center of Derry.
After the cathedral along the wall that surrounds Derry we then visited the tower museum and were given and in depth tour regarding the seige and the peace talks.

On to the Guild Hall in Derry where Liam Neilson began his theatrical career. After that we met the coach for a trip to Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of Co. DonegalGlenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of Co. Donegal. It was a beutiful vsiit for lunch and some recreation. The grounds were amazing and most of the students had a nice long walk back to the coach along the river Swilly.

Back at the hotel now, an inpromptu performance from our incredible kids with numbers from the Wiz and Godspell, dinner, and a relaxing evening before our exciting visit tomorrow to the Giant's Causeway.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We left early from Galway en route to Donegal. While on our way we stopped in for a brief visit in Knock, County is in this town that Mrs. Maher's ancestors, the Salmon family lived. There is also a shrine where it is said the Virgin Mary appeared to three children. We also stopped DrumCliff at the foot of Benbulben Mountain... to view the grave of William Butler Yeats. There was a very interesting sculpture with a beautiful poem -

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
-William Butler Yeats

After that we continued north to Donegal town where we spent some time exploring the center and shopping (we even found Ecuador in Ireland, Slip (and yes Enrique and Ilmar, there is one). We then continued to out hotel where we enjoyed a chicken and gammon (ham) dinner, and then some of the students went for a swim.
Tomorrow we are off to Derry, in Northern Ireland and some time at the second largest national park in Ireland.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well first off, please frgive me, we have been doing so much that I neglected to mention a visit to King John's Castle in Limerick. Otherwise known as King Sean's castle (Which I tend to like more) we made a quick stop in downtown Limerick to have a look.

Today we woke early to drive up to Ailwee Caves, where we walked about 350 meters (about 1050 feet) below the earth to view some natural caves...It was cold, but very interesting....there was even an underground waterfall! after the caves we continued on to the Cliffs of Moher...they were breathtaking....we had lunch there and to the long beautiful ride back to Galway, via the coastline and Doolin where there was a great area for a photo stop!

Tomorrow we are off for a long bus ride to Donegal with a stop at William Butler Yeat's grave.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


We left Killarney early en route to Galway…Along the way we stopped in Adaire for a rest stop and a good view of thatched roofs. Back in the coach and onto Bunratty Castle in Shannon, County Clare. Great tour of a functioning medieval castle and time for touring, shopping, and lunch in the folk park. Back on the bus and on to Galway…we spent a couple of hours downtown shopping and then onto the hotel.

A night in and off to the Cliffs of Moher tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Whew - What a great day!

Woke this morning for a breakfast at the guesthouse. After breakfast we were picked up at the guesthouse for a Jaunty car ride (horse and buggy) around Killarney National park (Muckross house and Gardens). After that beautiful ride through the gardens, we met up with a boat and a boat ride around the lower lake with views of the Macgillycuddy reeks and Ross Castle. After about an hour of looking at all this amazing nature we boarded the coach once again for a full day trip around the Ring of Kerry, 140 miles of Irish beauty. We went on to Bog Village where we witnessed how the Irish lived over the past centuries. Further on the Ring we stopped in Cahirciveen for an ATM stop, the birthpace of Daniel O'Connell, who fought for the Irish liberation "the James Bond of Ireland"...We continued on the Ring and made another stop for lunch at the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant. More views of the Ring and a stop in Waterville, the town where Charlie Chaplin went on vacation for many years. Here the travellers dipped there toes into the FRIGID atlantic and played a bit of soccer. Onto our last stop in Sneem, where we enjoyed some Ice Cream. We also stopped at the "Ladies View", where Queen Victoria and her ladies in waiting saw the view and thought it was beautiful.
Our last stop on the ring was Torc waterfall, a wonderful walk through the woods to view a breathtaking waterfall. It was there we met a pleasant group of French tourists who had somehow goten lost in the park and were about 7-8 miles out of there way....we drove them back as far as our hotel and they took a cab back to their car. Thanks to Maira and Eric we were able to translate their conversation (a WHHS education!)

Now we are enjoying a great turkey dinnner and looking forward to a relaxing evening before our trip tomorrow to Galway.

The Ring proved to be a reunion ride as well. One traveller found the church where her grandparents were married and another met up with a relative they had never met.