Thursday, May 20, 2010

Leaving on a good note from Ireland

Wow, I can’t believe I am writing my last blog in Ireland. I can’t stay that it went fast because at times it felt like it didn’t but I can stay that it has been experience that I will never forget. I think it was best explained by Helen Fallon at the end of the day when she said that you could have not done all of what we did on your own. You could not have done this for the price we paid and in the time span that we did it in. Even though we sacrificed getting off work and time with friends it was well worth it. I am truly blessed with the help of my family and from the support of friends that I was able to go.

On our last day we made a short stop at a town called Adare. I believe Joe said it was one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. It was really early in the morning and we only stopped for approximately thirty minutes so I don’t remember too much. Below is a picture taken at the town park.

We then went to see the Cliffs of Mohr located in Limerick. Going there will most definitely be an unforgettable memory for me. I have never seen anything so massive as those cliffs before in my life. Being able to walk up right against the edge was frightening and simply breath-taking all at the same time. The temperature was in the 70s and the sun was shining. The weather could not have been any better. I enjoyed just being able to go at my own pace, to sit on the grass a few inches away from the drop off and to say a prayer.

After we left the cliffs, we drove to our last hotel called The Clarion where we will be staying tonight. Nicole, Angelica and I were in luck because we ended up with a great room. We have a great view of a body of water. The internet is wireless, there is hot water and more importantly room to move around. Life is good.

To end the evening, we ate a medieval banquet at the Bunratty Castle. The food was delicious and the live entertainment was amusing. I personally enjoyed that it was not long and drown out. Having walked along the cliffs I think everyone was tired but then there was a burst of energy from Joe that woke the bus up when he started singing the popular Irish song “Molly Malone.” When we came back to the hotel for a final meeting, we went around and had to say one favorite memory of the trip. Angelica sitting next to me just so happened to say what I was going to say which was the experience of looking out the window as the plane was landing in Ireland and being in awe and wonder. Since she had taken mine I then said seeing the shipyard where the Titanic was built in Belfast was exciting. Now, I have to repack my things and go to sleep…the professors said there will be a wakeup call at 4:30 a.m. for us to get up. We are leaving here at 5 a.m. to go to the Dublin airport. To all of you reading this I hope to see you soon and to tell you more of my stories from Ireland.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And the adventure continues

Today Angelica and I had a free day to venture off into the town of Killarney. We looked in all of the many small shops along the main street and even went as far as to go off the path to get lost for a brief moment. It was a sunny day so we didn’t mind getting lost and we had time to kill. We knew our hotel was near a church but the church we were headed to wasn’t the one near our hotel; in fact it was in the complete opposite direction. During this predicament, we ran into a peculiar tree. As you see below there is a tree that is half on the curb and half in the street. We also ran into a Gaby’s seafood restaurant. After finally making it back I had time to work on my photos from the sheep demonstration. After that we had about another half hour to kill before our photographers’ group met to walk across the street to Killarney National Park. After we came back the photographers discussed the best way to submit our photos for the final project.

Declan Malone, editor of the Kerryman came and spoke to us in the snooker room about his newspaper. Kerryman is the biggest regional newspaper in the country. There are three editions. It first published in 1904 and was originally started as a family newspaper. It was originally a republican and now it is not supporting a particular party. He said, “We are pro whatever is good for Kerry.”Concerning photographers at the newspaper, there are none unfortunately. Like the U.S they hire a lot of freelancers. They do this because it is cost efficient. They have five news reporters. His advice to us is to never to be shy about never knowing anything. The sports section is very important. It is as big as the news sections in Kerry because sports are very popular. They cover sports from locally to nationally. They added a digital edition about two months ago.

After his lecture, Erin, Angelica and I went to dinner at Salvador’s restaurant. I ate lasagna, side salad and French fries. And for dessert we walked to Murphy’s, a locally owned ice cream shop. The employees played a trick on us. When we sat down a menu dropped from the ceiling. It surprised Angelica. And to end the night in Killarney, a fellow Irish man named John started to randomly talk to Angelica, Dave, Joe and I in the snooker room. His friendliness displays what Ireland’s atmosphere which is warm and welcoming. It is what I have experienced these past two weeks. His sincere curiosity as to who we are, where we came from and what we are doing here in Ireland was genuine. I really hope that his visit to New York in July is an enjoyable one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Irish coffee :-)

On the very first packet of information the class received in the early stages of planning this trip it said that May is one of the sunniest months of the year. Today was not like that at all. Above is a picture looking out of my tour bus today. We left Cobh early this morning to go southwest to Kerry. Our first stop was the Kerry Bog Village museum. The museum is not like your average museum. It is not a building but instead a small village of houses to see how the people lived and worked years ago. It was not fun walking around in the mud. The most memorable moment was going there to have my first Irish coffee. Our tour guide told us to and I took his advice. In case you do not know, Irish coffee has hot coffee, a small amount of whiskey, sugar and a top layer of cream. I enjoyed very much.

The rain continued all day. Yesterday our Ad and PR professor, Bob O’Gara (Yes, he is Irish and proud of it!) made sure to tell us to make sure we charged our batteries in our cameras for this trip because we would want to take photos going to the Ring of Kerry. It was so unfortunate that it rained all day but we made the best of it. We jammed to the Beatles on the bus ride and looked out our window in wonder. Our first stop was at Waterville. It is known for its golfing destination. Tiger Woods has been there several times before the British open. There was also to see a Charlie Chaplin statue. Though it took a few hours it was well worth frequently getting up and sitting down to get that great photo. I am grateful for the bus driver being able to stop so close to the edge of the mountains for us.

Once we arrived in Killarney we dropped our things off at our next hotel called the International Hotel. Thus far I have a feeling that they are not as great as the one in Cobh. There is wireless but we have to go to the ground floor. My room looks like it would fit two perfectly and they just decided to squeeze a third bed in it. Tonight we went out to see an Irish music and dance performance at a local restaurant that served a three course meal to us. The best part of the night was when a musician played the Titanic theme song using several flutes. I am very optimistic for tomorrow. It is a free day. I look forward to walking around the side streets of Killarney.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Red FM and Blarney

Today we first visited Red FM. It is located in Cork and it is the number one radio station between the ages of 15 to 35- year-olds. It won best breakfast show in Ireland two years in a row. Grainne Murnae is the advertising sales manager who spoke with us. She actually went to school for English and philosophy. She said that there is no government subsidy. They get revenue from advertising which then pays for wages and keeps the show going. Their license is specifically for the ages from 15 to 35 because they have the most disposable income. If someone requests to play oldies, they can’t because that is not targeting their demographic market. The age group slightly differs from the U.S. In the U.S we start at 18. There are pros and cons to either side as to why Red FM is specific. Eilsh Barry is Red FM scriptwriter. She prepares scripts in English and Irish. There are no Irish commercials because that would cause too narrow of a demographic and some people may not understand. They also can’t talk about drinking in a glamorous manner. Public service announcements must be in Irish and English language. Collin O’Sullivan was the last to speak to us. He is program director who basically makes sure everyone is doing their job. After the lectures we saw a room where they have production.

Our next stop was Blarney Castle where I kissed the famous stone for good luck. Though it is a touristy thing to do, I am glad I did it for the experience. Waiting and walking up the narrow staircases I felt like I was at an amusement park such as Hershey Park. But this time I didn’t get to the top and ride a three minutes roller coaster, I bent over backwards for a two second kiss. I believe I took some great photos from the experience to remember always. It was fun and memorable. Then I went shopping at the Woolen Mills located right next to the Blarney Castle!

Now that everything is done on the agenda. I have free time which will be most likely spent editing photos and chilling!! I love this hotel and I will be sad to leave tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. There is a church a few blocks away that keeps ringing at least every half hour. I don’t mind it but I think others are annoyed. In fact while writing this song I recognized a hymn. :-)