I think I am most excited for Kellie to meet all my friends and family! My friends and family play such important roles in my life and Kellie’s friends mean a lot to her so I would like her to feel just as comfortable with all my friends as I did with all of her friends. Also I would love to see what Kellie thinks of our big Sunday dinners at my Grandparents house with my whole family. Ofcourse though I would for her to see my school, spiritline practice, where my friends and I go to eat, and where we shop so that way she can compare life in America to life Ireland. I also can’t wait for her to come and stay with me and my family and what she thinks of the way my family does things differently to her family. I personally don’t think this has made me feel any different about leaving though. Like I don’t want to leave Ireland because I have had such a good time here but I am excited for Kellie to come. The only thing is once Kellie comes to Phoenix and we get to spend another 3 weeks together then she has to leave it is really going to suck! I was such a wreck at the airport today just leaving Ennis so I don’t know what I am going to do when Kellie leaves…
My most memorable experience-I would be lying if I were to say I just had one memorable moment because every moment I have spent in Ireland, in Ennis, in my host family’s home, and with Kellie has been memorable. I honestly can’t name one moment that I loved the most but I can tell you some of my most favorite memories I have made while being here. The first day when we arrived and walking through the automatic doors and seeing all of our counterparts waiting to meet us with big sign and open arms! Then later that evening being able to meet Kellie’s friends and being able to make a friendship with them that will also last. Also the first day I got to have a toasty which is just a toasted sandwich but I think the name makes it 10 times better. Day 2 in the evening when Kellie’s friend Alice came over and we took their neighbors fire pit to make s’mores, visited the horse down the road, and watching Geordie Shore while being able to taste my first Dairy Milk chocolate bar! Day 3 when I got to see Kellie’s sister play camogie and win the championship for the primary schools and for celebrating we went hooting in Bally yea (which is the neighborhood were Kellie and her family live and where the primary school is located). Also that day when we went over to Aine and Kyle’s house we played articulate(our fav board game now), spoons, BS, and 52 bonkers! After leaving Aine and Kyle’s house that day Kellie’s friends came over and her friend Rhona did my make up!! Friday the 17th the day I jumped into the freezing cold lake but I wanted “NO RAGRATS” so it was a cool experience being able to see that a lot of Kellie, Kate, and Fiona’s friends come down here for fun when it is a nice day. Also that night Kellie did her makeup and then she did mine and we had a little photo shoot. Next would have to be going to Galway on the train which I thought was cool because you wouldn’t travel by train to go to a city to go shopping like your parents would take you, so I felt pretty independent being able to do that with everyone. Sunday morning or Father’s Day my host parents made the big Irish Fry Up which is my all time fav meal from this trip along with biscuit cake! We also got see Donald Trumps hotel and later got to meet up with Kellie’s friend, Rhona and go shopping in Limmerick. Monday the 20th we got to eat at the famous Bagel Factory which was quite delicious and later that day we all got to go back to Kellie’s house and make s’mores, play 52 bonkers, the egg game where you can’t drop the egg cause it will crack, and have a big water balloon fight! Surfing at Lahinch is next! We got to take the Bus down to Lahinch and have hot chocolate, go shred some waves and then have a late lunch on a cliff that had an UNREAL view! The Cliffs of Moher was such a FAB view! And being able to walk with little effort because of how windy it was. Then driving back down to Lahinch to have some hot chocolate and do a little shopping. My Dublin weekend with my host family – my host brother Charlie 😦 And then Monday and Tuesday with Kellie’s grandad to go down to his holiday home in Kerry and being able to kiss the Blarney Stone! Dromoland Castle where we got to dress all POSH and drink tea and pretend we had enough money to be able to stay there at least one night…And then later that evening we all headed back to Kate and Abby’s house for big party and sleepover for Kate’s birthday which most of her friends are missing and we will be missing 😦 At the party though Kate had me perform for all of her friends some of my cheers and then I taught Kate and Jennifer some cheers and it was a great CRAIC! Next the Bunratty banquet and being able to experience what a dinner party would be like back in the Medival times and also that night we had a big sleepover at Aine and Kyle’s house which we got play BS and Spoons and braid each other’s hair except for Kyle. The next day was a free day so we decided to go horseback riding but Kellie had to work so she met back up with us later in the evening for a big sleepover at Fiona and Jennifer’s house! That night/morning Kellie, Kate, Fiona, Jennifer, Fiona’s friend Deirbhile and I all stayed up til 5:00 in the morning just talking about life in America and life in Ireland, boys, prom/grad, shopping, and how much we are going to miss each other when the program is over…The next evening after coming home from Inis Oirr we got to see a Clare Hurling match against another County (I can’t remember the others county name) but when we to Fiona’s house on Friday her boyfriend and his friend taught me and Jennifer how to play hurling and it was so much fun like I have become obsessed with the game cause I like how it is such a big sport in Ireland and also all the cool names for hitting, blocking, and picking up the ball (slither) with the hurly! So needless to say Jennifer and I enjoyed the Hurling match on Saturday and we even got two pictures with two of the players on the Clare team!! OH AND COUNTY CLARE WON!!! That evening we all headed back to Kellie’s house except Fiona because she had training early in the morning 😦 We still had great CRAIC that evening and in the morning Kellie’s parents made us a big Irish Fry Up and it was so delicious!! Later that day My host family and I played Articulate which was another great CRAIC! I was partnered with my host sister Anna and her and I were RAGIN when her dad/my host dad would try to cheat by adding an extra card to his pile to be able to win so Anna would grab the card with her foot and add it to our pile 😉 Later in the day Kellie’s friends came over to say goodbye to me and we all had toasties and Dairy Milk Chocolate! That evening we went over to Kate and Abby’s house for one more get together with the whole group and we played Hurlying, Gaelic Football, Soccer, and Volleyball then we walked down to the lake and took some photos and enjoyed each other’s company! Whew that is basically three weeks summed up of my favorite memories for you in one giant paragraph.
Now for my worst which would probably have to be today Monday, July 4 leaving Ennis…Today I was a wreck right as we started walking towards security. It had finally had hit me that we are leaving and that half of our summer adventure is over. Leaving Kellie and her family was for some reason harder leaving my family (sorry Belter Crew) I think it is the fact that this program is the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to make friendships for a lifetime but also be given the opportunity to live with a family that just makes you feel though as if you were at home. Saying goodbye to my host mom was very hard because she has been so kind to me always making sure I am comfortable and happy and having a great experience with everything I partake in. She was exactly the mom I needed for these past three weeks to keep me going with out my support system. So thank you Fiona Whelan for taking me into your home and treating me so well. Saying goodbye to Kellie was the hardest about today and something that still hasn’t settled with while writing this on the flight to Chicago. I feel though as Kellie and I have bonded over these short three weeks with the little things such as making a weird noise when we itch our throat or when we laugh to hard we pee our pants. But Kellie has not only been such an amazing friend to me but the sister that I have always wanted and I am so happy to be have chosen to live with her and I can’t wait for to me my family and hopefully have such an amazing time with new and my family. Thank you so so so much to the Whelan family for giving me the privilege to live in your house with you and experience life as a Whelan.
Over these past three weeks I do feel as though I have grown as an individual and I have learned to appreciate every moment in life because who knows if you will ever be given the opportunity to do some thing this amazing! This trip to Ireland has definitely made me catch the travel bug because Jennifer, Abby, Kyle, Fiona, Kate, Aine, Kellie and I are planning on visiting each other next summer and go on holidays together! Every person who I have met and got spend time with has touched me greatly and I feel though as my appreciation for others has grown immensely because of all of the friendships I have created within three weeks.
Wednesday afternoon we had tea at Dromoland Castle😋💞 it is a super posh hotel that cost 1,200 euros a night to stay so we got to dress up and do our make up for this fancy event.
When we arrived at the castle all of our breath was taken away by how beautiful it was and posh everything was! We were taken to our table immediately and handed menus though all of us took photos of the place setting first because it was just so pretty and perfect! I ordered the wild cherry tea which smelt very good and tasted fine but I’m just not a hot tea kind of person (I prefer my tea over ice with lemonade which is ridiculous over here lol)
All of the sandwiches and wraps were delicious along with the scones😋💞 the pastries were let down for me but I’m not sure about everybody else. Any way after we finished tea they gave us a tour of the castle and showed us 2 bedrooms and they were amazing!!
Living with my host family has been amazing experience! They have taken me into their home like I was one of there own. My host mom is very similar to my mom in the fact that they both are big supporters of their child’s sport. My host mom is always at Kellie’s younger siblings practices and games cheering them on just like my mom would. I’m not saying my host dad and my dad don’t come and support because they do! Also my host mom is very caring towards me and always makes sure that I am comfortable, happy, and well fed😋 My host dad and my dad aren’t as alike as my host mom and my mom. For instance my host dad owns his company so he works late hours so we don’t get to eat dinner with him and my dad comes home around 4:30 and usually we start dinner for the whole family so we can all eat together. My host dad and I have not really talked to much because of our busy schedules but I can say that my host dad has been very kind to me durning my stay! My host sister Anna is very sweet and shy but by the second week she warmed up to me and teached me some terms about camogie and Gaelic football since she plays both!! My host brother Charlie and I have not communicated that much as well 😦 do to his busy schedule with sports and our busy schedule as youth ambassadors. Charlie plays hurling, Gaelic football, and soccer so you can imagine that he is pretty busy as well!! Last but certainly not least my counterpart Kellie! From my previous blog you can tell that we are very similar and get a long great! Kellie and I have really bonded and have had a great craic over these three weeks!! We both are so sad to know that today is my last full day here but we can also look forward to the next 3 weeks in Phoenix together!❤️❤️ I’m so happy Kellie and I were chosen to be each other’s counterpart b/c I can’t imagine be with anyone else in the group even though I have a such a fun time with everyone and that why we have had 4 sleepover in the past 4 nights all together!!
Monday morning Kellie’s grandad picked us up and took us down for some breakfast at Rocks Cafe. It was located right at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the town so we had an amazing view!
Then we headed to her Grandads house and had a little snooze for a couple of hours…When we woke up we had a shower and headed for dinner at the Boar House which is just at the edge of the lake. Ironically it was a seafood restraunt but we all had burgers😋 After dinner Kellie’s Grandad took us around Kerry to see a couple hotels and the town shops
The next morning we went for a late breakfast at the Rose garden which was just a lovely place!! Sadly I didnt get any photos of breakfast but it was so so so goood!! We then headed off to cork which we saw the airport that Kellie’s grandpa company has done work at and we saw UCC (University Cork College). We then headed down to Paul Street which had a whole bunch of shops such as Penney’s, H’M, Topshop, and Starbucks! Kellie’s Grandad let us shop around for about an hour and then we got back on the road and headed to the Blarney Stone!
Sorry all friends and family who asked me to break a piece of the Blarney Stone…I was not able to because as you can see the man in the red jacket would not let me have a little privacy when kissing the Blarney Stone. Anyways after kissing the Blarney Stone we were back on the road heading back to Ennis for some dinner at the Old Ground! Sadly I again didn’t get any photos of dinner but it was delicious👍🏼 Kellie’s Grandad then dropped us off back at Kellie’s house and now we are just chilling out after an eventful 4 free days!
Saturday morning I got to travel up to Dublin with Kellie, her mom, her dad and her sister Anna. They said it was going to take about 2 hours to drive up to Dublin but the time flew with the pretty view and a little nap I had on the way
When we got to Dublin we first drove through the Phoenix park which has the wildlife zoo and the Presidents house! We weren’t able to drive up to the house because Joe Biden was currently visiting so we were limited to where we could drive to.
Then we did some shopping along O’connel street (I think) for about 3 1/2 hours. There were loads of street performers way more than you would see in Phoenix. Also I noticed that there were doormen for more higher end shops such as Brown Thomas and I thought that was interesting because I thought the job was kind of out dated. (Here is a pick of some street performer kind of)
Today we went to Dunndrum Shopping Center which is similar to Scottsdale fashion square in Phoenix but with different shops.
On the way home we stopped off at Texaco and had some dinner. I had a chicken roll which is breaded chicken in a baguette with chips(fries) on the side😋 On the way home I pulled out my selfie stick and took a couple pictures of my host family. Picture 1: whole host family – brother Charlie. Pic 2: Kellie and Anna. Pic 3: my host mom Fiona. Pic 4: my host dad Dave
Today’s activity was walking the Cliffs of Moher! It was ‘unreal'(means amazing or so pretty) but it was very windy out like we could walk without putting the effort in because of how windy it was. We started at Hags Head and walked all the way to the Cliffs of Moher main center which took us about an hour and a half but the time flew by just like this trip 😦
Once we had conquered the Cliffs of Moher we ate lunch and headed down to Lahinch where we went surfing on Wednesday. We walked around and Jennifer, Abbey, Kyle, and I looked at some touristy stuff for our friends and family. Then we stopped off at Joe’s Cafe again for some hot chocolate and drank it down by the ocean
While here in Ireland I have tried everything that has been put in front of me and I have loved it all! Food here is similar to what I would eat at home. In Ireland they eat a lot chicken and barely any red meat and they eat spuds(potatoes) nearly with every meal. But if I had to pick at least two of my favorite foods here it would be biscuit cake which is biscuits(crackers) cut up with marshmallows covered in sort of a thick chocolate/fudge. I like the biscuit cake so much because It reminds me of s’mores and how you get the crunchiness of the graham cracker and the chewy texture or the marshmallows and the sweet taste of the chocolate. And then my next favorite dish is the big Irish Fry up 1 because I love breakfast and 2 it reminds me of my family’s big Sunday dinners and how there is loads of food and all of my entire family is together enjoying each other’s company! A food I have tried out of the ordinary would be black pudding and white pudding…now don’t be fooled by the word pudding because it is not even close to the texture or look of pudding! It sort of looks like a mini hamburger patty but it is made with Irish beef, onions, oatmeal, and pigs blood. And the white pudding is made the same but with no pigs blood. Black pudding and white pudding is served in the big Irish Fry up and when I tried this past Sunday it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be and I would even say that I would eat it again now knowing what is inside of it…
Today we took the bus down to Lahinch which is a popular beach town that a lot people just go down to for the day.
When we arrived we walked down to Joe’s Cafe and had some breakfast and played apples to apples (thanks Kyle for bringing the game) It was Kellie, Kate, Fiona, and Áine’s first time playing the game so we had good craic (popular word in Irish meaning fun time or laugh)
Finally it was time for our surfing lesson after killing time for about 2 hours but I think we were all still a little nervous b/c it was really windy out and we were all freezing so we were afraid it was going to be worse in the water. Thankfully we were reassured by our instructors that the wetsuits were designed to keep us warm so we would be fine!
After being suited up it was time to head down to the sand a get a lesson on how to ride a wave. The lesson did not last long and soon enough we were out in the water shredding some waves (at least we tried to 😂) Sorry i didn’t get any photos of us surfing but Jennifer brought her go pro out so check her blog for some videos!!
After lunch it was time to head home and catch the bus back to Ennis. Today was amazing day full of laughs and trying new things! It’s sad to think we only have a week and a half left til we have to say goodbye to this amazing adventure!!