Irish Heritage Tour As Seen Through the Eyes of a Student: Day 4

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 Jacob Dingus, a sophomore Exercise Science major.  We hope you enjoy reading about our journey!

St. Fin-Barre's Cathedral, where we took a stop to take photographs.

Day 4: Thursday, May 11th

The Road to Youghal
By this point in my adventure, I was ready to get out and see the Irish countryside, which, lucky for me, was exactly what we had in store for the day. The big city was fun and exciting, but I’m most at home where there are more trees than buildings and more livestock than people. After another great hot Irish breakfast in the Belvedere hotel, our bus set off for Cork.
The lovely town of Cahir.
The long ride to Cork gave me plenty of time to take in the beautiful green land of Ireland. The rolling hills and mountains on the horizon made me realize just how far from the flat plains of home I was. Just about the time I began to drift off to sleep, we made our halfway stop in Cahir (pronounced "care") just next to Cahir Castle. It was here that I learned of the humble origins of the town as a small fishing village, something that interested me particularly because I am an avid fisherman myself. I took some time to survey the small stream flowing next to the castle and imagine what a day with a rod and line would be like here. We were also able to see a cannonball that had been launched at the castle and had been stuck in the wall ever since! Before too long though, it was time to get back on the road.

Cannonball still lodged in the wall of Cahir Castle
The next stop of the day put me back in the city. This time it was downtown Cork, the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. I saw a lot in my brief stop here for lunch. There were street musicians performing and a memorial mural being painted on the sidewalk featuring the men of the Easter Rising of 1916. I was particularly stricken by the atmosphere on these streets. Everywhere seemed to be full of life and fun as I walked up and down the busy streets. I eventually made my way over to the English market. This was a very interesting experience as I got a look at the many different cuts of meat and types of seafood that we do not have in rural Ohio. The fisherman in me led me to the seafood section where there were tons of fresh fish, some species which I couldn’t even identify.  After a quick souvenir stop though, I was back on the bus headed to Cobh (pronounced "Cove")
Chalk mural of the Easter Rising of 1916.
In Cobh, a town on the Irish Sea, we went to the Heritage Museum and there learned about the Irish role in the Titanic, the Lusitania, and also about the challenges of the Irish during the years of the Potato Famine when people were getting on boats to anywhere just to have a chance to work and be able to feed their families. The museum was very interactive, and it was fascinating to see the interior rooms of the Titanic and other ships from the era when sea travel was new. We were each given a "ticket" with the name of a passenger, and we were supposed to look for ourselves in the museum and read the story that accompanied our name. My ticket had the name Jeremiah Burke, and we found out that he had written a goodbye note in a bottle to his family and tossed it off of The Titanic. He and his cousin both perished in the wreck, but his note was found off the coast of Ireland, and given back to his family. 

Poster advertising the Titanic, which picked up a group of Irish travelers in Cobh before it sank.

The bottle and message Jeremiah Burke threw off the Titanic to send to his family.
After this visit, we headed to our unique accommodations for the evening--they were called "holiday homes" (we would call them vacation homes) and the houses were right on the beach in Youghal (pronounced "you'll").  After dinner, we decided to go for a walk on the beach into the town center of Youghal for a nice drink at a pub. The walk, while very long, was very relaxing and allowed me to reflect on my day. Night was falling when we entered town and found the pub. I was surprised at how uncomfortable the locals were with our group. Up to this point I had only been out in the city where tourists are expected. These people seemed taken off guard and gave us a bit of a cold greeting when we arrived. While this was unfortunate, I did have arguably the best pint of Guinness of the entire trip at that pub, and it was unquestionably the cheapest.

The English Market

All types of food, even Greek were found at the English Market.
After night fell, we decided to begin the long walk home. I took the opportunity to get to know some of the people I was traveling with that I didn’t know already. Our conversations helped pass the time and before I knew it we were already back to the room for the night. Even the "average" days like this one were filled with plenty of new and exciting things to experience. 

Some of the pub-goers on the beaches of Youghal.


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