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2010-02-05 Touring around

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Highest point on the Cliffs of Moher

Good afternoon! Or good morning for all of you! Unfortunately, I have some bad news. We only have four months left now! There is still way too much to see here in Ireland. A couple weekends ago, several of us went on a bus tour that headed south to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren is a beautiful, limestone-covered region in County Clare with many tombs and underground rivers. Along with a couple of castles and the ruins of Corcomroe Abbey, we saw Poulnabrone dolmen, which is a 5000-year-old tomb, and what seemed to be just a 6-foot pile of rocks at the top of a hill. As it turns out, a man who had owned property in the Burren wanted to be buried so that he could watch out over his land. His family took him literally and buried him standing up. Finally, we turned toward the coast and the Cliffs of Moher where, from the highest point, the ocean is a 700-foot drop straight down! From the cliffs, we could easily see the Aran Islands, famous for their wool and one of the last places in Ireland where Irish is still the first language spoken. While I am planning on doing a lot more exploring in Ireland, I have also begun to make plans for my Easter break. Easter break is the equivalent of spring break back home, except that it is two weeks long! My dad is going to come here to Galway to stay with me for a couple days in advance and then, when break starts, we are going to fly into continental Europe and tour around on the trains. We have yet to decide where to start, but we will probably buy passes that allow us 15 days of unlimited rail travel through any European countries we wish. We will definitely be going through France and are considering a number of others, including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and really anywhere that we feel like going at the time, since we are not going to plan an itinerary in advance. In the meantime, we have our classes at NUIG. We are already a third of the way through our lectures (March 31st is the last day of teaching) and I was just given my first homework assignment out of the grand total of three assignments that I will be receiving this term. The classes are much larger here than at Linfield so there is not a lot of class participation, but my classes about Irish mythology, folklore, and culture are still really interesting. Plus, each class is only two hours a week as opposed to the three or four hours a week we would have at Linfield. I also have an apparent misconception to address. Before coming to Ireland I was warned by nearly everyone I spoke to (whether they had ever been to Ireland or not) that it rains so much in Ireland that drowning may be a distinct possibility. While I have only been here a month, this does not seem to be the case. We have a decent amount of cloudy days here with the occasional sprinkle or mist, but not once has it simply opened up and poured like back home. I suppose that once you have lived in Oregon, everywhere else is probably going to feel fairly dry in comparison. Of course, now that I have said all that I am probably going to have to swim to my next class this afternoon. Sln go fill, Cameron Fun facts o the day: 1. If you love pancakes but simply do not have the time to make them yourself, you will love this country. Grocery stores sell premade, packaged pancakes just like you might buy English muffins back home. 2. In case of abduction by fairies, turn your jacket inside out. This confuses the fairies and they will let you go.

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