Saturday, August 11, 2007
Well, the students survived the rainiest Dublin summer in more than a half-century, and are now safely back in Philadelphia. Despite the precipitation, everyone had a great time in Ireland, and it was an experience none of us will ever forget.
Thank you to the students for a great semester abroad, and for contributing to this spirited travelblog.
Please take a moment to peruse the blog, and enjoy the students' takes on the history, culture, media, and experience of living in Dublin. For more information about the program, please consult the first post in the blog. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at Temple University.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Co. Meath, Oldest Irish Whiskey Distillery, est. 1757, now a museum
Saint Michael (the Protector) at the entrance of Glasnevin Cemetary
A picture of a picture of me kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle
(saved me 10 Euro)
Sunset in Doolin
Cliffs of Moher (pictures Can not describe it's beauty)
Chaotic view from the River Liffey overlooking O'Conell Street
Stage view of the Abbey Theatre
88 Leeson Street (1 of 5 rainbows I saw in Ireland)
Back of Saint Patrick Cathedral
The side of Dublin Castle
A peacock on a farm in Co. Kerry.
Favorite beverage in Ireland ( every Guinness is severed in a Gunness glass)
88 upper leeson street out of my bedroom window
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Buddy passes sometimes really are not your friend. My Grandfather used to work for Delta. He retired some years ago but still gets discounted airfare. He can purchase “Buddy” tickets which are really cheap stand-by tickets. With these tickets you can get on the plane if there is an open seat. Rarely do you not get on, and frequently the seats available are in first class! That is how I flew to
When we arrived in Shannon my luggage was found at the
To bad my luggage was never put on the other plane. I had to fill out a delayed luggage report and I was sent home with out my bag. The woman at the baggage claim told me that I would have to pay for the shipping of my bag because I was on the buddy pass. Every morning for the next five days I called and harassed Delta to send my luggage, when finally I noticed online that it not only made it to JFK but was sent to
It was there waiting for me in mint condition. It wasn’t until this moment I finally felt that my trip was
(Above Ireland on the way home) over.
(Lost luggage slip and boarding pass)
(The lost bag)
After the first class and in between my second, I would usually grab a pre-packaged sandwich from Spar and sit back and watch some television. Channel surfing is not that interesting with Irish broadcasting because you usually pass the same television show 14 times on different channels. To make surfing even less exciting the selection of programming is very limited. You can usually catch repeating shows of Big Brother, reruns of Hurling and Gaelic Football matches, the Simpson’s, Friends and a few Irish soap operas. A different game can be played though, it’s called “guess what channel has sound.” Even though a single show will be playing on multiple channels at once not all of them will have sound, or the volume will fluctuate. After the right channel is chosen for the program you would like to watch, it is usually smooth sailing from this point. Just like any other broadcasting system anywhere in the
This is a YOP commercial.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Another variation is that Oonagh painted a rock shaped like a steak and gave it to Benandonner when he arrived, while giving the baby (Finn) a normal steak. When Benandonner saw that the baby was able to eat it so easily, he ran away, tearing up the causeway.
Another example of this specialized marketing is seen during My Super Sweet Sixteen, a show that was shown so often that I regrettably say I watched more of on this trip than I have before in my life. The ad shows a young girl telling her friends how awesome her party is going to be, and then the director yells cut and calls for makeup, to the disdain of the young girl. The sponsor is a skin or beauty care company, but it did not work to properly advertise for me (although I am sure it was not meant to) because I do not remember the specific company.
My third example I noticed, and my roommates and I both expressed our contempt for, was a specialized sponsor spot for Miller Genuine Draft during The Sopranos. It contains two glasses of beer at either end of the frame, and two sets of hands, clad in gold jewelry and covered in hair. The spots do not use actual voices from the show, but merely generic American “mobster” voices; discussing clichéd mobster things like “offing” a guy. If these were ads containing actual actors from the show, or at least clips, it may be more effective, but to specialize an advertisement by using fake actors to hock a product that the characters on the show do not even directly advertise seems so passive and contrived.
My thought about all this is as follows. While I think that a specialized advertisement showing the sponsor’s product can be useful, it must be used properly. A faceless hand writing the main character’s name to show the function of a felt-tipped pen in everyday household uses seems to work for the company. It shows the product’s usage in a household setting, but without drawing too much from the plot of the show to which it has no direct relevance. When a product is applied directly to the motif of the program, I think it applies the product’s image too much to that specific usage, and ultimately cheapens both the sponsor’s image, and the program’s.
After my initial education on the subject of Hurling and the hours spent watching matches on Setanta Sport, the Irish TV network, I felt that I had really gotten a feel for the sport, and understood it for the most part. I must say however, that the full effect of a Hurling match must be experienced in person to really get a feel for how extraordinary it really is.I pack in to my seat, shoulder to shoulder amongst the other spectators (at least, in our section, as the stadium was not even close to sold out) and find that I am much closer to the action than I would have expected; while still on the field, players could come to as close as 25 feet from where I was seated. Not even the TV cameras can capture as accurately as the naked eye the control that is possessed by the players as they balance the puck on the small flat wooden surface while sprinting downfield between the hacking hurleys.The hurler takes aim, tosses up his bullet, cocks back his weapon, and swings with all his might at the sliotar (or puck). On occasion, I can hear only the slap of leather on flesh, as a weathered hand rises up and plucks the sliotar right out of its plummet toward the soil. The roaring crowd cheers in a vocal symphony of “oooohs” and “aaaahs”, as the puck sails through the air, back and forth across the vast sprawling pitch. As it hurtles back toward the earth, it is met by the momentous crack of hurley-on-hurley collision, administered by the players battling for control. In an instant, I am wondering how anyone might choose to forego a helmet amongst all the fast-paced swinging and slinging of wood and hard cork. Commonly recognized as the most fast-paced field sport in the world, seeing Hurling live is another experience altogether.
As I was told subsequently, the match we saw was quite a mismatch of team abilities. Kilkenny supposedly belongs in another division compared to Wexford, so this game was much less exciting than a more competitive match-up, but it was exciting seeing this new and exciting sport up-close and in person all the same.
A heated debate is occurring right now in
Recently, The Irish Times published two editorials – one from each side of the table. Both authors of these pieces shed light onto the whole picture and its history.
Currently, a law dating back to 1861 rules abortions as a criminal offense “with maximum penalties of life imprisonment for women who have abortions and for those who assist them,” cites Ivana Bacik, a professor from Trinity College. This has caused 5,000 women every year to
Representing the other side, Dr. Berry Kiely writes, “in ethical interventions one hopes the child will survive; in abortion one wants the child to die.” Also, mental health problems are also associated with women who have aborted a child. In a 13-year study in
In a poll released last month by Safe and Legal in
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Newspaper readership remains high in
With an average circulation of more than 116,000 in late 2006, The Irish Times lags behind the Irish Independent that reached nearly 164,000 in the timeframe. The Irish Times was established in 1859 after a short stint earlier that century. Its first edition was published on Tuesday, March 29, but did not become a daily paper until June 8 of the same year. It remains the only surviving paper of the ten available at its debut. The view of the paper has changed with each owner. It began as a new conservative paper with founder Major Lawrence Knox only to soon enforce new unionist policy. It has since secured an independent political viewpoint after a trust was developed to avoid any outside control, yet leans slightly toward a more liberal agenda. The paper now costs 1.60 Euro and Geraldine Kennedy is the current editor.
The Irish Independent succeeded the Daily Irish Independent in 1905. The paper, which is printed in both broadsheet and tabloid forms, was founded by William Martin Murphy, an Irish nationalist. The paper held a conservative, nationalist viewpoint throughout most of its history until it was taken over by Tony O’Reilly where the paper became more of a libertarian paper. The paper is also responsible for the Sunday Independent, the largest circulating Sunday paper with 287,750 papers as well as the Evening Herald, which is the only remaining evening paper in
As for the content, both papers varied between two and in comparison to American papers. The front page of The Times on Monday, July 9, 2007 focused on some political stories followed by some extensive coverage of Oxegen on the following pages. The Friday, July 13, 2007 edition of the Independent had full coverage of the O’Reilly trial on the front page as well as some subsequent pages.
Both papers were not nearly as bulky as a typical American paper with at least five sections. The Times had a main section which included its national and world sections among others. Only its sports section was a separate section. While both seemed to have a greater focus on world news than any
Doolin Cave is home to one of the worlds largest free hanging stalactite. The mineral formation is called the “Great Stalactite” but nicknamed the “Eagles Wing.” It hangs approximately 20 feet long.
Discovered in 1952 in Co. Clare, the massive cave is home to many different formations other than the Eagles Wing. One formation looked like a woman laying on her back with her hands in a praying position. Another was a face tattooed into the wall of the first large chamber. The largest chamber of the cave has been used for church masses, concerts and meetings. Vibrations that bounce off of the limestone walls reproduce great sound. Thirty four miles of the cave have been surveyed. It is a great experience for anyone too see.My experience in the cave was great. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny. The entrance tunnel was small and hard to maneuver through. It was light by multiple flood lights to help guide your way. There were about thirty people in my tour and I was in the front. About halfway through the tunnel someone behind me accidentally kicked the plug connected to the lights and for about a minute it was the darkest place I have ever been. When the tour continued the guide pointed out all of the formations and explained how they came to be. When we reached the main chamber with the excellent sound he asked someone to scream. After about fifteen seconds of silence a girl let out a sound I didn’t think was humanly possible. It was beyond a scream or shriek, I thought the cave was going to crumble down on top of us. Everyone else in the tour just stared at each other and suddenly burst out in laughter when we noticed the guides face was stuck with a horrific expression on it. Then the tour continued to finish. Coming out of the cave the sunlight hurt my eyes but I left with a sense of amazement.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
When we reached our destination, we were let off the shuttle and walked what I would estimate to be about a mile, maybe a bit more, through what was supposed to be a nature reserve. We did not see any puffins, and were afraid that perhaps they simply were not around today. We did not actually see any wildlife and were becoming very anxious climbing hills leading to no puffins.
We finally reached our destination, which turned out to be merely a bird watching tower. There was a small gift shop, binoculars and small scopes for viewing the rocks and cliffs where hundreds, probably thousands of birds sat, perched, walked and flew around. We were, however, no closer than at least fifty feet from the closest bird, by not only horizontal length but height as well.
We all were glad to see these birds (of many kinds, not exclusively puffins) in their natural habitat, and I cannot speak for everyone, but I kind of put on a happy face just for having seen them. Inside, I have to admit that I expected to be a bit closer—I probably could have been closer to one at the Philadelphia Zoo if I really wanted to—but I guess it is the adventure and anticipation that adds to the journey ultimately. I did manage to snap a few pictures and a video of the puffins “in the wild” through one of the scopes, because few people had a camera with powerful enough zoom to capture the birds from so far away. With a small donation, I took home a puffin pin as a keepsake to remind me of this adventurous, albeit rather anticlimactic journey in search of wild puffins.
So what’s left? All the morbid, stereotypical options are out, that leaves only the cliché. Truthfully, I don’t know how Irish people survive their crazy weather, but I know how I survived it. I think, to go all out, I would have to quote Joe Cocker and say, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Without all you great people I met in the program, and the other Leeson Hall team mates, I don’t think I would have made it through. If I couldn’t have woken up every day, looked out the window, then said to Brianne “Oh good, something new and different,” or learn all the words to Umbrella with Brianne and Becca so we could sing it every time we inevitably opened an umbrella, or vented my frustration karaoke-style with everyone, I would not have made it. There are dozens more instances where you guys really kept me going, and I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for making this a wonderful experience, and being part of me actually getting home alive. Thank you.
Myself, Becca, and Brianne in Kerry. "Love us three." Yeah, I went there.
This is a photo of grafitti done by a prisoner of the gaol. My friend Andrew, who happens to be Irish, saw this on his trip to Ireland and got it tatooed on his leg.
This is a shot of the East Wing of Kilmainham Gaol.
A stairwell in the West Wing, built over 100 years before the East Wing, and you can definitely tell...that's all I'm saying.
A view of Daniel O'Connell's monument in Glasnevin Cemetary.
A trinity of grave markers?
The ceiling of Daniel O'Connell's tomb.
Ivory covering tombstones, yes I said ivory Brianne.
The original gate into Glasnevin Cemetary.
The grave of Michael Collins is the most visited grave in the cemetary.
A picture of a cat in the Jameson Distillery. Apparently, it was a real cat that cought mice in the grain room. So to commend it for its services done to Jameson, someone decided it would be a good idea to stuff it. I know, right?
The inside of Christ Church Cathedral.
The fake tomb of Strongbow. They don't tell you this unless you read the pamphlet, but it's the second tomb and they don't know where the first one is. Incidentally, the pamphlet does not mention that Strongbow is also a delicious cider.
Hope you liked my visual explosion.