Monday, March 11, 2013

Vol State takes to the Emerald Isle!

Vol State music students, faculty and staff are in Ireland this week. They'll be playing concerts, meeting Irish musicians and learning more about Celtic music traditions. Dr. Faulkner is traveling with them and he has this first blog from the trip:

        After a one day delay because of the snow in the northeast, the Vol State group arrived in the Emerald Isle on early Sunday morning.  Although we had two starting times and two different routes to New York, we all met up there for the overnight flight to Dublin.  Only one lost piece of luggage.

        After checking in at our hotel, we set out for a tour of Dublin.  Our time in Dublin now shortened because of the flight delay.  One immediate difference between the U.S. and Ireland is the presence the Gaelic language.  Although everyone speaks English, most signs are in English and Gaelic.  Announcements on the local tram (train) are made in both.

        Speaking of mass transit, it is convenient, inexpensive, clean, and fast.  Our group took the light rail train into the center city where double decker buses were abundant.  Our group had reservations for a city, hop on-hop off tour operation.

        The age of the city is impressive having been established as a Viking colony in the 1300s.  Many of the buildings date back to the 1700s.  The Irish tend to preserve and repurpose structures and so much of the older architecture is preserved.  Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral are beautiful and impressive.  At the same time, where appropriate, new structures rival any of those in the states.  There is an abundance of parks including Phoenix Park which is twice the size of New York's Central Park.

        The Irish people are friendly and welcoming and we are looking forward to our interactions and to enhancing our intercultural competency.    

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