By Jordann Trahan
Our first trip with CIEE was to the West of Ireland. The 11 students from the Dublin program Martin and Don met up with the 3 students from the Belfast, Northern Ireland program and their equivalent of Martin, Ray, all traveled to different places of historical significance in western Ireland. In the first day we went to a plantation owner’s house and a farmer’s house that was built many generations ago and has been used and not changed by the same family through the years. By seeing both kinds of houses we got to see the drastic differences that existed between the different classes during the famine.
In the second day we went to Croagh Patrick, which is a mountain that is considered holy thanks to
St. Patrick. Then we went to the national famine monument which is across the street from Croagh Patrick. From there we went to Achill Island which is an island off the coast that was particularly hit by the famine. Achill Island was my favorite part of the whole trip because it was truly beautiful. We drove along the Atlantic Drive, a scenic road that has a ton of great views of the Atlantic Ocean, we were driving to a village that was abandoned by every member during the famine were we could see the ruins of over 70 famine houses.
After Achill we went back to our hotel and had the rest of the day for ourselves to explore the town. On the third day we were supposed to drive through Connemara, but the weather was against us so we took a more direct route to Galway City were we had a couple hours to explore and then the bus home to Dublin some did stay to see the city of Galway.