Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today's post can be found on my other blog...or just click here...

Thanks!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The end of the Ireland tour...

Update on the last couple days in Ireland. We're almost home! Wednesday we had most of the morning and afternoon free so Chris and I decided to hit the town. We started back at Trinity College since we didn't get to see the original book of Kells on the day we toured the exhibit. They let us back in with our previous tickets and we were able to see the books. It's amazing. For all the musicians out there, it's what the monks would have been working on while writing Barber's Hermit Songs in the margins. Absolutely gorgeous.
Next we walked over to the National Gallery and saw some wonderful paintings. There are so many paintings to see in a museum like that...and I will admit we got a little punchy. But it was a lot of fun.
We were scheduled to meet Paula and the other "adultly figures" at the Jameson distillery at 1 pm. Paula has a friend in the rotary that was able to get us a VIP tour. It was a lot of fun. But the best part was watching Sue (one of the sisters from Murray who have tagged along on our tour) get completely schnackered (sp?) on an irish coffee and a shot of Jamison. She couldn't stop laughing and we had to help her down the stairs. She has a charming laugh and is a lot of fun so, it was pretty entertaining. Makes for a good story. :)
Today we headed out to Glendalough. It's a glenn with two lakes and an ancient monastary founded by St. Kevin (click for inf0). It was beautiful and I am such a history buff, I love ruins and churches and cemetaries. It was great.
Once we came home, we had dinner at the hotel with all the group. Kind of a final get together and a goodbye to the graduating seniors. Good food and good fun. I believe everyone is out partying until all hours of the morning to celebrate their final night in Ireland. Yes...I'm being boring and staying home...but hey, I'll get some sleep and be packed in the morning. :)
Hope all is well in SLC and I can't wait to get back! See you soon...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I love Dublin!

Dublin is a great city. I had no clue. Today we started out at Trinity College. We weren't able to see the book of Kells but we were able to see the library. There are no words. You walk up the stairs and find a room 62 meters long full floor to ceiling with original edition books. It smells like old books...which is a fantastic smell. What I wouldn't have given to walk behind the ropes and peruse the books. First editions, ancient writings, bits of everything are in that room. It was absolutely incredible.
After Trinity, we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral to perform. It's a 13th century cathedral and is wonderful. The acoustic was perfect for our choir. Sometimes cathedrals can have too much of an echo but this one--despite it's size--was perfect (about a 3 second echo for those who care). The rest of the afternoon Liam (the all knowing bus driver...I swear he has degrees in history, anthropology, archeology, and philosophy and then some) drove us around the city.
We were able to spend the evening walking around the city--specifically the temple bar area. It was a lot of fun. I will be sad to say goodbye to Ireland but really glad to finally get home!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ireland again...

Time to catch you up to date. We left for Belfast Friday morning. It was the longest drive of the trip. We stopped at an American Folk Park...which was kind of funny. It was really great place actually but it made me giggle that we were walking through Ireland looking at American History. We started out in Ireland during the height of emigration, got on the boat, and exited in Boston. It was actually kind of cool. Once got into Belfast, we threw everything in our hotel and went to St. Mark's for the concert. Belfast itself is an interesting city. It is very industrial...but thanks to the history of Northern Ireland and all the violence there is a lot of angry graffiti and the people are a little wary to be friendly. And it's really weird to be in Ireland but hear a british accent. But the parish put on a great reception for us and were really wonderful once we got to know them. I think it did a lot to help people like Belfast.
The next morning we sang at mass at the same church. The organ was incredible!!! After mass we changed clothes and drove to the Giant's Causeway. I had no clue what we were getting into. It was absolutely gorgeous. If you're curious, click here. The cliffs and the sea were amazing and we had the perfect day. I could have sat and stared at the sea for hours.
That brings us to today. This morning we left Belfast for Dublin. We stopped at an old monastary that had some of the most spectacular high crosses in Ireland. They were huge. I love history and looking at ruins...especially when the ruins are mixed with a cemetary. Needless to say, I thought it was great.
We are now in Dublin. A couple of singers and I had lunch at a great little pub. Old velvet seats and chandeleers (sp?) and a wooden bar. The food was great as was the tea. I think it will be a great city to explore.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More Ireland

So apparently I suck at blogging. Anyway...catch up. After we sang in Cork at the International Choir Festival, we went to Killarney. Killarney is one of the tourist havens in Ireland. It is right in the ring of Kerry so everyone stays there. It is absolutely gorgeous. And I had my first real fish and chips of the trip there. We went to see Muckross (sp?) house. It's interesting how all the old houses of gentry in other parts of Europe are full of marble etc. But this one was filled with wood carving and nothing too ostentatious. It was really beautiful. We sang at St. Mary's church in Killarney before leaving for Limerick.
Chris decided that we needed to have a Limerick writing contest on the way to the city. All I can say is that if I never hear another Limerick, it will be too soon. Although some of them were pretty good. Once we got to the city, we had a group dinner and went to a lecture on traditional irish music that the college had set up. Needless to say, it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Chris was very disappointed. The woman who gave the lecture was supposed to be from Indiana University....but it turns out she was from Indiana State. Big difference. Anyway, after the concert that night (which was poorly attended) we were supposed to go to a pub to hear some traditional Irish music. Ya...ummm...they decided they didn't want to play that night. No music. So, needless to say, Limerick was a gorgeous city that we all enjoyed but nothing necessarily went all that right.
We left Limerick for Galway. It had been a while since we were in a bigger city. We all wished we could have had more time there as there were some great things to see. On the way to Galway, we stopped at the Bunratty Castle and the cliffs of Mohr (which were almost too foggy to see but not quite :) ). Liam (our bus driver) decided to take us on a small detour to an old portal tomb (kind of like stonehenge but not quite). It was really cool. There's a chance to see another outside of Dublin, I hope he remembers and we get to go.
After leaving Galway, we travelled to Ballina. We sang at Kylemore Abbey on the way...and it is gorgeous! You should google it...it's worth it. Ballina is a great little town but we are farther away from the town proper in this hotel so a lot of us are staying in more and resting up a bit. We went to a secondary school today called St. Mary's. We sang for them and told them basically a little about what schooling is like in the US and such. It was a lot of fun. It's been a while since I have heard how loud 12-16 year old girls can scream when a cute college boy walks on the stage. Tonight we are giving a concert with a local choir benefitting the cancer society. Hopefully we will get a lot of people there and they will be able to raise a lot of money.
Anyway...that's up to date. Tomorrow we leave for Belfast and I start using my british pounds. Not sure if we need passports to get across the border or not but I think it might be a bit of a change. After Belfast, we are on to Dublin and then home (hoping the volcano lets us out of the country).
Hope all is well in SLC!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ireland!

So...we're here! Sorry I haven't written yet. We arrived in Ireland two days ago and immediately proceeded from the airport to a concert. We were a little worried that we could get through it well on almost no sleep but, it worked and actually was a really good concert (yay us!). And the church was gorgeous with a great acoustic. We all immediately went to the hotel and slept.
Yesterday, we had most of the day free. I spent a lot of my time walking around the city with a couple of people. We walked into little shops, went through the market, got a great sandwich for cheap at the market, and got caught in a downpour (glad for the umbrella) . We performed a small 10 min concert at one of the hotels where all the choral festival choirs are staying. Small world story...this woman walked up to me and asked where the college was. I told her...and she proceeded to explain that she had a brother that worked at a university in Utah. Long story shorter...her brother is Paul Dorgan. It was great! And then Brady Allred showed up...out of the blue. He was teaching at the choral festival.
Last night we went to a pub because one of the girls wanted to have her first drink in Ireland as she had just turned 21. I went along because she only wanted to have one and needed someone to...shall we say, help her remember that. The pub we went to was having a 21st birthday party for some kid we didn't know. But that meant lots of loud music, lots of old drunk irishmen dancing to disco, and a rousing rendition of the rock ballad version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel--which everyone sang at the top of their lungs. It was great. And yes, an irishman can spin a tale a mile long to try to convince the pretty american girls to stay...and it happens every 30 feet or so when you get to the next pub. But it's not obnoxious, it's pretty charming in fact...they're not obnoxious, and finally let you go...but not without trying. They actually convinced two of our singers to sing the Lakme duet acappella, and on the street in front of the pub. In fact, one of the women that was there came to mass this morning to hear us again. Truthfully, the Irish are some of the nicest people in the world. It's going to be a great trip.