Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Galway

November 8th
Today, I spent my day in classes. These classes include Christianity, Old English Poetry, Sociology, and Biogeography. During my breaks, I worked on my final assignments for my classes. I was able to complete the rest of the assignments for my Biogeography class. After my classes, I went to mass. The night ended with dinner and catching up on Netflix.
 
November 9th
The day was spent doing laundry and homework. I, then, headed into town to pick up some gifts. That evening I attended the 6pm mass at Galway Cathedral. Tonight, I remember the six young adults that passed away 26 years ago today in a car accident. Although I didn't know them, I have grown up hearing stories about them and how tragic the event was. At home, my cousin John was attending Maria Regina High School Junior Prom with my dear friend Alexa's sister, Krissy. I really can't believe he is old enough to be going to Junior Prom.


November 10th
Bridget and I headed to Achill Island to meet my cousin Caroline and Auntie Mary, who traveled over from London. The last time I saw them was four years ago when my mom and I visited London. It was crazy to think that it was four years. We were spending the weekend with them in my late Uncle Tommy's house. It was great seeing them. We spent the night having dinner and tea and catching up.

November 11th
We started the day with a delicious Irish breakfast made by my Auntie Mary. We headed toward Knock Shrine for noon mass. Knock Shrine is one of my favorite places to visit. It is a pilgrim site located in County Mayo where there was an apparition of the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, angels, and Jesus Christ. It is a very spiritual place. When we first arrived, we walked around the grounds taking it all in. Before mass began, they asked for volunteer reader, so my cousin Caroline and I did so. This was a very special moment. They also asked for Eucharistic Ministers and I was able to do that as well. It was really amazing! My Auntie Mary and Cousin Caroline believed this was a sign from our Uncle Tommy who worked at the Knock Shrine, and I agreed. We then had masses said for our family and friends living and deceased. We purchased different religious items to take home with us to remember our time at Knock. Our day was unforgettable.
 
November 12th
We began our morning with mass in memory of my late relatives. It was very special to attend this mass. After mass, we made our way around Achill Island stopping at different historical spots. My cousin Caroline was like our own personal tour guide. When we returned to the house, we walked out to the garden to really take in the beauty of the island. We then had to sadly say our goodbyes to head back to Galway. Bridget and I had an incredible weekend!

November 13th
I can't believe it is our last week of classes! Bridget and I went food shopping in the morning. I had two classes that afternoon. After class, I attended mass at Galway Cathedral. I came home after to have dinner and work on my final assignments.


November 14th
My classes today were Biogeography, Sociology, and 19th Century British Literature. Even though we are coming near the end, I still find myself checking to see where my classes are because of the number of different buildings and classrooms. During my break, I walked into town to get coffee. As I was walking over the bridge, I looked up to see a beautiful rainbow. It was beautiful! That evening I attended mass and headed home to watch the Ireland World Cup qualifier. Unfortunately, Ireland fell short.

November 15th
Today was my last full day of classes, which is crazy! I was able to finish my final assignment for my Christianity class during my breaks. I attended the Catholic Society meeting for prayer and adoration this evening. This is a great to relax and reflect.
 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Galway

November 1st 
Today, my day was filled with classes. It was also registration time back at Manhattan College. I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful people in the Education Department, who were super helpful in helping me get my schedule sorted for next semester while I am here. We also had a meeting with our group leaders from ISA. They just wanted to check in to see how everything’s going and get us prepared for exams coming up. After class, I attended the Catholic Societies weekly prayer service and adoration for All Saints’ Day.
November 2nd 
Today, we received some upsetting news from home. When things like this happen, it’s hard to be away from friends and family. Not being able to be there calls us to pray to God for his help along the way for both ourselves and others.

November 3rd 
This weekend we are taking a break from traveling and staying in Galway to rest and get a majority of our school work done. We slept in and then made our way to the nearest Starbucks to focus on our studies (of course with some coffee!).

November 4th 
With the weather being cold and rainy, we stayed in until the late afternoon and finished the school work we had planned to get done for the weekend. That night we got dinner at a nice Thai place in town. The food was delicious!

November 5th 
It was a beautiful day in Galway! The sun was shining bright. We headed into town and enjoyed the amazing atmosphere of Shoppe Street. We then headed towards the water. It’s days like this that I will definitely miss when I come home. Having this vibrant, beautiful city just steps away is a blessing. While I do love my NYC, this is a completely atmosphere.

November 6th 
Not having class until 3pm allows me to get myself organized for the week Monday morning. It usually entails food shopping and cleaning up. After that, I had my Christianity and 19th Century British Literature Class. Following class, I attended mass at Galway Cathedral. During the first few days of November, they are having a novena in remembrance of those we have lost. After mass, I headed home for some dinner.
November 7th 
Today, I had class in the morning followed by mass in the evening. For the most part, this has been my routine since I’ve been here. At the beginning, it was a little different to become acclimated to a different city, school, house, etc. from coming from my set ways at home. Now, I feel it’s going to be a change again going back to my lifestyle in NY that I was so familiar with. I had a great FaceTime today with my grandparents. I call them a couple of times a week, but today was even more special because they explained to me how proud they are of me for taking this opportunity. Bridget and I attended student night at the local movie theater and saw the movie about Conor McGregor’s life.



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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Galway

October 26th
Little did I know when writing my last blog that I'd be seeing my family again that night. My mom called me after I finished class to let me know that their flight was canceled until tomorrow and they would be staying the night. I of course jumped on the next train to Dublin to spend the night with them. We were able to have one last dinner and snuggle that night. It was hard to see them again this morning, but I'll see them in no time. While waiting for the shuttle to my bus, I started to talk to the man also waiting. He was from the states and was traveling around Ireland and England with the band's Train and Celtic Women as their merchandise manager. He was also Gavin DeGraw's first assistant. He sent a selfie of the two of us to Gavin DeGraw. He is known as Merchdude and is very well known. It was pretty awesome! When I got back to Galway, I was finally able to get myself together after being all over the place the past couple of weeks. That night I went to Mass to thank God for the amazing time I was having. 

October 27th 
Today, we headed for County Kerry to spend the weekend with Bridget's family in Portmagee. We walked around town in the morning to pick up a few things and it was a beautiful day. Then, we took the bus to Limerick and then another to Killarney. The journey took a little longer than expected from the holiday weekend traffic. We arrived in Killarney that evening and walked around. It was a very cute town with a lot of charm. From there, Bridget and I met her cousin and traveled to Portmagee where we would be staying. I constantly hear about Portmagee and Bridget's family, so I was very excited to go. We arrived and got settled in, meeting her, and having some dinner.


October 28th 
Bridget's cousins took us around today. It turns out that her cousin's husband was from County Leitrim and we knew many of the same people. It really is a small world. Together, we went to the Skellig Chocolate Factory. The factory was pretty cool and the chocolate was tasty. I picked up some treats for my family, especially my Grandpa. We then went into Cahersiveen. That night we went to dinner with Bridget's family and went around town. It was a great day! 

October 29th 
This morning we grabbed some breakfast with Bridget's cousins and headed back toward Galway. We had really enjoyed our time in Kerry this weekend. Portmagee and Bridget's cousins were just as amazing as she explained. That night we watched the Halloween Parade in Galway City. It was interesting to say the least. 
 

October 30th
Today is a bank holiday in Ireland. This is just a day off from schools and work. Bridget and I attended the Student Galway Races. I constantly heard about the Races and saw pictures on Facebook, so I was excited to get dressed up and go. We went with our housemates. It was nice to see everyone dressed to the finest. I ran into friends I knew from playing football and from home. It was a great day out! 

October 31st 
It's Halloween! It is not as big of a deal in Ireland as it is in America. I find this interesting since it began in Ireland. Walking around today, you wouldn't really know it was Halloween. I'm used to seeing kids treat or treating, everyone dressing up, and all things Halloween. I do wish I was spending Connor's first Halloween with him, but it will make next year's that much better. Bridget and I plan on watching some of our favorite Halloween movies and have some treats. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Galway

October 18th
This morning we said "see you later" to our friends Brianna, Carly, and Chris. It was great having them visit for the week. It's crazy to think that we will be home with them in just a few weeks. I spent the day in class.  That night I traveled to Dublin to spend the night with my friend Margaret.
 

October 19th
Reunited and it feels so good! This morning I surprised my family at Dublin Airport as they arrived in Ireland for the NYPD Gaelic Football trip. We were all so excited to see each other. I can't believe what a change there was in my godson in the two months. He is more animated and definitely much bigger. We traveled from Dublin to Belfast, where we were staying for the weekend. After checking into the hotel and dropping our bags off, we made our way to the Titanic Experience Museum. The tour was amazing! It was very interesting to see the full history of the boat, the people who helped to build it, and those aboard. After our fun day out, we ate dinner at a dinner near the hotel. The food was homemade and delicious. With full bellies, everyone's sleepless night and jet lag started to set in and we went back to the hotel to get a good rest.


October 20th
Today was the first day of games for the NYPD. Although they fell short, it was a fun game to watch. After the game, we went to the clubhouse and met the players of the London MET Police, Dublin Guards, and Police Services of Northern Ireland members. When we got back to our hotel, we met up with our friend Cathal who lives in Northern Ireland. He took all of us to see the Falls Road. This road is covered with murals having to do with the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, especially Belfast. It was very moving to see. Cathal showed up around the city. We finished the night with dinner and waiting up to watch the New York Yankees.

October 21st
The NYPD were victorious in their game for 3rd place. The game was not very competitive, but more of a friendly match. Everyone was having a good laugh, both on and off the field. The Dublin Guards were the winners of the tournament. That night the teams had a gala to attend. I stayed back to watch Connor. I really missed babysitting him and cuddling. I stole him for the night while his parents went to the event

October 22nd
We left Belfast today to head toward Galway together for the next few days. We had a great weekend in Belfast. The city is filled with lots of history and pride. It has a much different vibe to Galway. Our first stop on our journey to Galway was lovely Leitrim. My maternal grandma was born and raised in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. This was the first time that all of her children and grandchildren were there at the same time. My grandma's home place, Shassmore, is our home away from home. Many of our cousins were there to see us. There's nothing better than spending time with family. From Leitrim, we made our way to my Uncle Mike's family in Castlebar, County Mayo. This was their first time meeting baby Connor. We had a great day with both families. The crew arrived to Galway late that night.
  

October 23rd
Today, we went with the NYPD team to the Aran Islands. This is one place I've always wanted to go. My mom, Aunt Doreen, and I took a horse and carriage ride around the island. It was beautiful. The weather wasn't great, but Ireland wouldn't be the Emerald Isle if it wasn't for the rain. The views of the Wild Atlantic away were breathtaking.
 
October 24th
The morning started off with a walk around the city with my family. I then went to my classes. For my biogeography class, I had to give a presentation on the field assignments we have completed. It went very well. After class, the NYPD played the Galway Guards in Pearce Stadium. It was a great turnout. My housemates from here even came to watch the game and meet my family. My Uncle Mike was player of the match scoring one goal and three points. The game was followed by a reception for both teams in the town. We had a great night and lots of fun.


October 25th
This morning was a little hard as I had to say "see you later" to my family. It helped knowing that I will be seeing them in just a few weeks. We really had an amazing time the past week together. After, my day was filled with classes. During my break, Bridget and I ate lunch together and had a chat. We can't believe that we are already half way through our time here. We have done plenty of things, but also have many more adventures ahead!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Galway

October 10th 
Today, I had three classes and another field lab. This time we went out to the same field site, but this time we had a different task. With a new group, we were to use a 50 m measuring tape and one by one quadrant to observe the vegetation layers every 5 m. We were to record the richness and percent coverage of each layer in the area. These field assignments are different from anything I've done before, but they are very interesting. After class, I went to mass and headed home for dinner. 

 October 11th 
When we first came to Ireland, it seemed like our friends' mid-October visit was so far away, but in the blink of an eye they were here. During my class break, I met Carly, Chris, and Brianna in Eyre Square for lunch. It was absolutely amazing to see them. While I went to the rest of my classes, they went to check in to their hotel and get settle in. That evening, Bridget and I made our way to their hotel where we hung out and spent the night. 

October 12th 
After my class, I met up with my friends in the city center. We walked around the streets and gave them a tour of our campus. We showed them the Galway Cathedral, different shops, and where our classes took place. It was so nice to be all back together. It felt like we were just home walking around. It is also funny to see how Bridget and I travel around Galway now like I've been here forever. 


October 13th 
The weather wasn't the best, so we slept in and went to the gym at the hotel. We then walked into town so they could do some of their shopping. Galway is definitely a great place for shopping. We all had dinner together. 

October 14th 
Today, we walked into town and it was very lively. They got to experience true Galway city with the streets filled with people, culture, and live music. We walked through the Galway market and then made our way to Salthill. Our friends loved Salthill just as much as we do. It truly is beautiful. 


 October 15th 
Bridget, Brianna, Chris, Carly, and I joined our ISA group on a trip to the Cliffs of Moher. I was very excited for this trip because I have never visited the Cliffs before. Along the way, we stopped at Poulnambrone Dolmen, Doolin and
the Baby Cliffs. The Cliffs were just as amazing I had imagined. It was definitely scary but beautiful. When we got back to Galway, we stocked up on essentials for the hurricane. 

October 16th
We were here to experience the first hurricane in Ireland since 1961. NUIG was closed for the day. Luckily, we weren't really effected by Hurricane Ophelia. Many throughout the country are without power and have seen some destruction. We stayed in the hotel today and relaxed and caught up on homework. 


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Galway

October 3rd
After a very busy weekend, it was back to reality. I had three classes today. After my classes, I went to evening mass and sat by the water. I really enjoy having this time to relax and reflect on my time here.

October 4th 
Today was your typical wet Irish day. The day was filled with classes. They included my Celtic Christianity class, Biogeography, Sociology, and Old English Poetry. The curriculum is very similar to what we are taught in Manhattan College, but the style is very different. The classes are very large and all the information is online. Instead of having continuous assessments like we do at MC, most of our assignments and exams are at the end of the semester. We are making sure to keep up with the variety of readings and posted notes so we’re not cramming at the end. After my classes, I attended the Catholic Societies meeting and an evening of prayer and adoration. This experience has really brought me closer to my faith.

October 5th 
Today was a beautiful sunny day in Galway. After my class, I took a stroll through the town center and to Salthill. It was absolutely beautiful. Whenever the sun does come out in Ireland, you really have to take advantage of it. Later that night, Bridget and I took part in a night out for the Best Buddies Society. We had loads of fun and got to know many new people.

October 6th
Today, Bridget and I had the day off. We spent our day resting up for our weekend in Barcelona. We packed and got ourselves organized.

October 7th
Barcelona, here we come! Bridget and I took the bus from Galway to Dublin Airport. It was our first time on a plane since our journey here. We noticed that just in this short time we have definitely become more savvy with traveling. We arrived in Barcelona at 8 pm and made our way to our hotel. When we were all checked in, we decided to walk around the city and grab something to eat. Being that it was a bit late and we were unfamiliar with the city itself, we did feel a little uncomfortable. As we talked about it, we said this was definitely how some people feel when they are in NYC for the first time and how we normally feel so comfortable there. We made sure to get a good nights sleep because we only had Sunday to explore Barcelona.


October 8th 
That feeling of uncomfortableness absolutely went away when we experienced the amazing city of Barcelona during the day. We spent the morning at the pool with a breathtaking view of the city. We then walked around Las Ramblads, which is a street filled with markets, restaurants, shops, and lots of culture. We found a Dunkin Donuts! It wasn’t the exact same as in the states, but it was very similar. After walking around the city, we made our way to beach. Bridget and I met up with our friends Caitlin and Jill, who are studying in Barcelona for five weeks. It felt incredible to sit on the beach in the sun after having our fair share of rain in Ireland. After our day at the beach, we walked around the city again taking in all the beautiful architecture and amazing vibe throughout the streets of Barcelona. We really had a great day.

October 9th 
Today, we are making our way back to Galway. As we are sad leaving sunny Spain, Bridget and I are very excited because our good friends from Carly, Brianna, and Chris arrive on Wednesday. We can’t wait to see them.