Thursday, 16 July 2015: Overnight Flight to Dublin

We will be leaving JFK on Aer Lingus flight 108 at 9:00pm, with a scheduled arrive at 8:40am the next morning (this will be the local time in Dublin).  Please try to sleep on the plane as it will make your adjustment to jet lag much easier.

By the time we board the plane, please be sure to include your first reflection in the “Comment” section below.  Your entry should address the following:

What are your expectations for this trip?  Based on what you’ve learned in the readings and lectures, what are you looking forward to?

Remember, these reflections should be analytical, so try to make concrete reference to readings or lectures and push beyond simplistic responses (e.g. “I’m really excited to be going to Ireland!”).

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10 Replies to “Thursday, 16 July 2015: Overnight Flight to Dublin”

  1. My Expectations: Derry is one of my favorite places to visit in Ireland, and I especially enjoy traveling with people who have never been there before. Derry is a place where historical memory and landscape are closely connected. When we do our walking tour, we’ll be standing on city walls that were constructed in the 17th century, passing through a city center that is mostly Victorian, and exploring murals in a neighborhood that was repeatedly devastated during the violence of the late 20th century. Every time I visit Derry, I see something new: on my first visit in the late 1990s, armed soldiers were still present in the city. I was surprised by the compact size of the city and the close proximity of various markers of community identity (e.g. the murals, graffiti, memorials and public displays). By the mid-2010s, those markers of stress and conflict haven’t completely disappeared, but some have (for example, the Republican graffiti that used to adorn the city walls is now mostly gone) and what remains coexists with new centers of community (for example the redeveloped waterfront and he pedestrian Peace Bridge). Historians, I think, tend to be fairly pessimistic about the pace of social change and the chances for peace and reconciliation in conflict zones. Derry, for me at least, challenges that pessimistic view.

  2. My expectations for Ireland include making deeper connections with my own heritage and culture, getting a new understanding about my possible career paths, my country, my lifestyles, and my own perspective on culture. I also expect that I will have lots of great conversations with students, professors, locals, travelers, and relatives who can all help to enlighten my perspective on life, work, culture, and the world. I plan to talk to as many people as possible about as many things as possible. I hope to gain some direction by picking the brains of everyone who is willing to talk to me. Besides that, good food, good drink, some exploring, hiking, and being tired yet satisfied. As for the preliminary materials, I have learned some more depth to Irish culture and history, especially the latter. I took Doggett’s class last semester, so I have a solid background already but it all helped to keep my knowledge fresh.

  3. I’m anticipating having a stimulating and informative time while in Ireland. I’m excited for (believe it or not) the weather, exploring the local geography, and spending enough time in a foreign country to at least get somewhat of a grasp of what makes the region tick, so to speak. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading Belfast Diary, and have already recommended it to a few different friends. I had no idea the extent of the political struggle and violence that were commonplace in Northern Ireland just a few decades ago. I’m also really looking forward to spending time in Sligo and meeting people from all over the world at the Yeats Summer School. Although Ireland certainly has a reputation for having less than gourmet fare when it comes to food, I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as picky so I’m also pretty excited to see what pub and restaurant gems I can sniff out. See you guys tomorrow!

  4. I am so incredibly excited to be taking an English course in Ireland this summer. I am looking forward to taking in all the unique aspects of Irish culture, and connecting my preliminary knowledge to my real life experiences. I took Dr. Doggett’s Revival course last semester, so I was already decently well-informed about the struggles that Ireland faced trying to define itself during a chaotic period of their history. After reading Belfast Diary and listening to the online history lectures, it became apparent to me that Ireland has been facing those sorts of issues for an incredibly long time. Because of this, it’s apparent to me that Ireland is a very passionate country, whose conflicting ideals have often resulted in both chaotic violence and incredibly beautiful art. Many iconic Irish writers wrote about such things, and I’m eager to see some of the sources of their inspiration firsthand. Not to mention, the country is gorgeous. Definitely have to take a few hikes and nature walks.

  5. I am looking forward visiting Ireland. My great grandfather came over from Northern Ireland after the First World War. He and his family were Orangemen. Growing up, I had no idea why that was significant or why there was a divide between the Irish people. Listening to the online lectures and reading through the Belfast Diary it has become clear how the division occurred and that it still presents a volatile environment today for even common citizens in Northern Ireland. I’m interested to visit Northern Ireland to learn further about my heritage and to see the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants for myself especially because we will be in Derry during marching season. I am also excited to see some of the formal gardens. My preliminary research has gotten me further interested in the landscapes of Ireland and how they are continually maintained to keep their classical Irish aesthetic.

  6. I am very much looking forward to our trip to Ireland tomorrow. It wasn’t until after watching the lectures and finishing up Belfast Diary that I realized the immense history Ireland has. I was also unapparent of the violence that occurred in Belfast, and was happy to read Conroy’s perspective given that he was there. It was factual, yet personal enough to feel a connection to the events.

    I was interested to hear bits and pieces about Gaelic culture in the history lectures, particularly hearing about Gaelic sports. My own family is from Pakistan, not Ireland-but one thing that each country has in common is that they were both ruled by Great Britain at one point. British sports such as cricket, or polo remain incredibly popular in Pakistan today (cricket being treated as seriously as religion, actually). Both countries (Ireland and Pakistan) greatly differ, yet they do hold these couple things in common. I hope to learn a bit more about Gaelic Irish (the language) and hope I encounter valuable interactions with the locals I meet and the places I see.

  7. Our flight will depart in less than twenty-four hours and right now I’m still awake trying to figure out how much sleep I can go without for the next three weeks. I know we are going to have some awe-inspiring experiences, and I’m counting down the minutes at this point. So before I began the preliminary coursework, Ireland seemed like a giant, far-off mass of green and castles and rain and impressive landscapes. I recently created a map of all the stops we will be making during our trip to better visualize our travels and Ireland as a whole (I posted the map to our Facebook group and I’ll link it again here). Since making this map earlier today, I am having trouble reconciling the size of Ireland with its vast amount of history. I realized that we will be traveling from the eastern shore of Ireland where Dublin is located to the western side of the country where we will be staying in Galway for a few nights, and the trip across the entire country only takes about two hours. Two hours! That is unbelievable! One of the history lectures mentioned that Ireland’s population is only a little over 6 million, and New York City’s population is just short of 8.5 million. As I have been speaking to friends and family more and more of my impending travels, however, I realized that somehow, half of everyone I know is of Irish descent. It’s impressive that such a small island country spread the way it did, and at the same time, it’s sad that it happened under such dire circumstances (like the Famine) that drove people to cross the Atlantic and become the ancestors of me and half of my friends. I’m glad I have the opportunity to see for myself where my family came from, though, and I’m sure that when I stand before Glenveagh Castle, the country will hardly seem so small.

  8. My Expectations:

    I try not to have overwhelming expectations when I go somewhere new, because I’d rather be open to the place and to the opportunities to get outside of my comforts and perspectives there, instead of starting out looking at it a certain way. Though I guess getting out of your comfort and finding new perspective is an expectation too! It’s pretty impossible to not have expectations, I’m just trying to say I want to be open. And that I’m looking forward to getting away, and experiencing a new place, meeting new people, and exploring from a historical and artistic perspective. I think a lot of that exploration will be enriched by keeping an open mind, and trying to have few grand expectations. Keeping the history and literature in mind, I think, will grant a rare opportunity to have more insight into visiting Ireland than I could’ve ever had if I was just hopping over on my own for a vacation. I’m most excited to see the historically and culturally significant sites we’ve been learning about, and to keep in mind how nationalism affects Ireland’s own view of itself–how it performs itself and understands its own history. It’ll be interesting to see how America will look when we return, turning that critical eye back home after some space.

    I think it’s good to just get away in general, and I know many people have experienced some kind of life changing revelation when they travel. I’m not exactly expecting an epiphany, but I’m open to the idea. I do fully expect to be blown away by the landscape (as nice as the Genesee valley is), and I expect to experience a country where history is more upfront, and national culture, for better or worse, is given more thought than in America. I went to an Eavan Boland reading last semester and she said something like “when everybody wanted to be a rock and roller in America, everybody in Ireland wanted to be a poet.” After looking at some of Ireland’s music history I’m not sure that’s exactly true, but I do expect to encounter a much more literary and artistic culture in Ireland than in America, and I hope to be able to reflect on the merits or demerits of that kind of culture once home in America (which I believe suffers somewhat from a culture of anti-intellectualism and distaste for art).

    All that being said, I expect to have fun, to learn to love a new place, and to experience beauty (also to reconnect my 13% or whatever Irishness to the essence of the Erie, thereby better connecting my soul to the anima mundi, hopefully making my writing good). See you all in a few hours!

  9. I really am not sure what to expect in terms of cultural experience on this trip. The only other country I have visited was Japan, where I spent a week with a family in a rural town. That cultural experience was very different from my own. I expect the experience of this trip to be much different than my trip to Japan, and potentially more similar to my own culture, although I have a feeling that in some ways I will be surprised. I am particularly looking forward to touring scenic areas (and cities to a slightly lesser extent), and the seminars and lectures at the Yeats summer school, which I expect to compliment Dr. Doggett’s Irish Literary Revival course that I took last semester. As I have been reading Belfast Diaries, I am becoming more interested in learning in a more first-hand manner about the violence in Northern Ireland. I am also hoping to seek out some live music while in Ireland as my creative project involves music extensively.

  10. I have very high expectations for our trip to Ireland, and as I sit here at JFK waiting for the flight to Dublin, I find myself growing increasingly excited! Although my immediate family claims Irish-American heritage, I myself have never had the opportunity to travel to mainland Ireland. I can’t wait to get firsthand experience with Gaelic culture and customs that I hope to bring back to my brother and sister in the U.S. (and my parents as well of course, although they are taking their own trip to the west coast of Ireland soon after I return!) Local food, beer, music, and fashion are all things that I’ll be keeping my eye on throughout our trip, as well as history and literature. I can’t wait to land in Dublin just a few hours!

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