Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ireland - Tuesday

Dr. Faulkner continues his reports from Ireland:

        Another great day in Ireland.  The weather moderated some today.  After two days of freezing temperatures with 30 mph wind gusts and snow showers, we had a sunny day with much calmer winds.

        We had a little free time this morning and so Wanda and I walked into the center of Thurles.  I continue to be amazed at the ancient architecture  mixed in with the modern.  In the middle of town we saw and photographed a medieval stone tower.  When we approached, we found that the ground floor of the tower was a woman's apparel shop.  We also visited the church yard and cemetery of St. Mary's Church which was built in 1820.  Worship still occurs monthly but a good part of the building is taken up by a museum about the great Irish famine.  Unfortunately it was closed and though a passerby offered to fetch the caretaker to open it for us, we had run out of time and regrettably had to decline.

        In the afternoon we visited Presentation School.  The school was established by the Presentation Order of nuns, but is now a public school.  It is a girls school equivalent to our middle and high school.  Our ensemble provided two performances and received standing ovations.  For many of these young student, this was their first exposure to blue grass music.

        We were able to meet and interact with many of the students.  It was interesting to hear what careers the students had in mind and they seemed more decisive and to have clearer plans than most American students at the same age. 

        We met with the Principal and Deputy Principal.  We discussed a variety of topics and found that they are emphasizing many of the same things we do in the states - STEM, critical thinking, etc.  We  explored a variety of possible options for short term student trips to the states and some possible professional development for their faculty.  We look forward to continuing and enhancing this relationship.

-Dr. Faulkner

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