Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Travel Study on the Emerald Isle

Vol State student Lydia Yau traveled to Ireland as part of a TnCIS travel study program. Here is her perspective on the Emerald Isle:

There were certain highlights of my Ireland trip that stand out. The night we spent with the Toastmasters was one. We had the opportunity to listen to speeches made by some of the most experienced speakers. My Public Speaking class came in handy. It helped me appreciate the different styles of speeches.

We also spent a night learning Irish folk dancing! It was such a vigorous night of dancing and all of the people in the dancing class were senior citizens, as opposed to the young ones in our group who were panting. These old 'young' ones had such stamina. I appreciate that they shared their culture with us in dance!

Not only did they share their Irish culture with us in dance they also shared their culture in songs. We went to De Burca's - a pub owned by a widow and her daughter. Incidentally her daughter, Theresa De Burca was a fiddler for Lord of the Dance. The team traveled all over the world performing Lord of the Dance! Every Tuesday and Friday residents from Thurles go to De Burca's and sing traditional Irish ballads. All ballads tell a story.

Another memorable day was spent visiting Ireland's 'Hedge School' location. These were schools ran illegally during British rule when they were forced to stop teaching and learning Irish. Bold and enterprising school masters secretly started schools to teach Irish. In those days they were paid only in potatoes or chickens. Today monuments stand to mark their courage forever. I stepped on the ground reverently in respect of such people. A fiddler played music and there was singing by the 16-year-old daughter of an instructor at the Tipperary Institute. She sang a song with such a haunting melody that we were all awed to silent respect.

Needless to say most of us did not want to come back towards the end of the trip. I in particular wished the volcano in Iceland would spew more ash into the air to delay our coming back but alas nothing of that sort happened and we were back on the dot!

-Lydia Yau

Volunteer State Community College

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