Irish Heritage Tour As Seen Through the Eyes of a Student: Day 10

The Honors Program just completed its Irish Heritage Tour, where twenty-one students and two staff members traveled to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland from May 8th through the 19th. We have asked a number of students to blog about the journey, so each day is written from the perspective of a different student or staff member. Today's post was written by Destiny Camp, a sophomore in the Honors Program majoring in Biology. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey!

Our first views of the streets of Edinburgh.
Day 10: Wednesday, May 17th

Today, we started our day very early. In order to catch the ferry ride to Scotland, we had breakfast at 5:15am and left the hotel by 6am. The breakfast at this hotel was very good. A favorite for several of us were croissants with chocolate on them. This is what I had to eat along with hot chocolate from a machine. This machine also made different types of coffee which came in handy for a lot of our group. It also gave Dr. Swanson the first of the many cups of coffee he had this morning. Once we all finished eating, we loaded up the bus and headed towards Belfast to catch the ferry.

Our ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland aka our mini-cruise ship!
The ferry was nothing like I had originally imagined it to be. It was more like a small cruise ship than the typical boat you would imagine.  First of all, it was large enough that we drove our bus right on board and parked underneath with many other vehicles, including cars and semi-trucks. After unloading, we made our way up to the passenger floors. The ferry has several different floors which held a few cafĂ©’s, game rooms, video games, a theater, lounges, and shops. During the ride, our group explored the ship, played cards, and took naps. Dr. Swanson was the most energetic person of all since by the end of the ride he had drank a total of 6 cups of coffee!  He certainly kept us entertained on the ride! We could also walk out on the deck and watch the scenery as we moved through the water.

A beautiful morning to watch the sun rise over the water on the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland.
After about two hours, we arrived in Cairnryan, Scotland, and we drove back off the ferry and made our way towards Glasgow and Edinburgh.  One of the first things we noticed in moving from Ireland to Scotland was the difference in the architecture and color of the stone. We learned that builders of some of the older buildings always used local stone, and this stone (whether due to the stone itself or to pollution over the years) was much darker than what we had seen in Ireland. Our first stop in Scotland was the birthplace of Robert Burns. Here, there was a museum which contained many of Burns’ original writings, as well as some of his furniture, tools, dinnerware, etc. Outside of the museum, there were several gardens, sculptures, and his family cottage. One of the interesting things about the museum was reading so many original poems and hearing them spoken in the native Scottish dialect.

The gardens and cemetery outside the Robert Burns museum.
After we explored for an hour and ate a quick lunch, we headed to Buchanan Street in Glasgow. This was a very nice stretch of shops and restaurants which gave many of us our first opportunity to buy souvenirs in Scotland. There were also several street performers, including a man wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes. This was the first of several performers we’d see like this while in Scotland. It was wonderful to be able to sit and have lunch in the middle of a cobblestone street with one performer blowing bubbles and another playing bagpipes as the background.

Bubbles and bagpipes in Glasgow
Our next stop was dinner at the Duddingston Golf Club. We ate either fish and chips or steak pie, which was finished off with ice cream with raspberry sauce. Finally, we drove to our hotel in Edinburgh, which was right off the Royal Mile, and used the remaining time of the day to walk around shops, watch street performers, and admire the old architecture of the city. 

Students enjoying their choice of Fish and Chips or Steak Pie.


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