[Flight]

The planes landed with little fuss, although there was (as there always is) some turbulence throughout both flights.  Surprisingly enough, we encountered little (or no) issues with customs.  I suppose we’re just really good at packing.

We touched down in Ireland at 12:35 a.m. Central time, which translates to about 6:35 a.m. in Irish time.  I do remember drifting in and out on the plane from Omaha to Newark, N. J.  I don’t think I slept much, if at all, on the flight from Newark to Shannon, Ireland.  Basically, after we touched down and the adrenaline rush wore off, we all fell asleep in the van.

Dr. Babcock woke us up several times along the “scenic route” to Lahinch, where we’ll be staying for the month.  His goal was to make sure we only “cat-napped” instead of crashing hard-core, which I suppose is mostly for our own benefit because it’ll lessen the drag of jet-lag later on.  We stopped at a few historical sites along the way, which was fun, if wet and chilly.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Dr. Babcock tells us the story or Maire Rua, or Mary the Red, at the ruins of her manor home, previously a fortress.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Dry-stone walls, built with rocks pulled from farmers’ fields and fit together without the use of mortar, line most of the fields and farms in the Irish countryside we saw today.  These walls have lasted for hundreds of years, and few can replicate their structure today.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

We stopped at Poll na Brōn, Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, monument today.  Cattle and sheep graze nearby, prevented from entering the monument site by cattle-gates.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Neo-lithic inhabitants of Ireland constructed this portal tomb over 3,000 years ago.  From what information they’ve gathered, historians have assumed that the people who constructed the tomb believed it to be a gateway to the realm of the dead, a passage through which the living could return to their loved ones.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

This is the smallest cathedral in Ireland, and preserved inside the half-ruined walls are the stone crosses that once marked the boundaries of the churchyard.  One cross remains in its original placement, but the features have been worn away by the elements.

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We went to a pub for dinner tonight, and I’m extremely jet-lagged, as you might be able to tell from the picture above.  However, my meal was excellent. (And there’s an Irish soccer game going on in the background.)

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Here’s the meal I referenced above.  It’s a seafood chowder, and it was delicious.  I had to pry open a mollusk of some sort (I think it was a mussel), and that took me a while, but it was well worth it.

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Kenny’s Bar, the pub we ate dinner in, has flags of different countries pinned to its ceiling as decoration.  I found it intriguing, but I didn’t get the chance to ask whether someone from each of these countries had eaten in the pub at some point.

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Again at the pub, but this time it’s license plates hanging above the bar.  I love how some of the plates lit up from the camera flash, while others stayed dark.  I didn’t see a Nebraska plate, though, so maybe I’ll have to remedy that somehow.

I’m exhausted, but for my first time flying in over seven years, I think this day (of 36+ hours at this point) is well-worth it.

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