The past couple days have gone by in a whirlwind. So much has been going on that I have hardly had time to sit and think about it all.
Our plane landed in Dublin at about 8:30 am, and 28 weary American passengers stumbled off toward customs and baggage claim. Two students lost their luggage, and as far as I know we are still working on getting it back for them. We all changed into our green shirts for when we met the delegation that had come to welcome us at the airport. The shirts have Mercyhurst College on the front and a crossed American and Irish flag on the sleeve. We were all ushered onto a bus and taken to breakfast. From there began the final leg of our journey to Dungarvan. the bus ride was about three hours long, and it was difficult to stay awake.
When we finally made it to Dungarvan it was almost 1. We were welcomed again as we got off the bus and were given the keys to our townhouses. They are absolutely amazing! We have a full kitchen, living room, two bath rooms, three bedrooms, and even a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs! And all of this for four people!
After we were all settled in we went on our first walk around the town to get our bearings. The town is beautiful. We were taken to the art center where some classes will be held, and shown the main square where there are several signs welcoming all of us and American flags are flown from the light posts.
That night we were treated to dinner at the Park Hotel, where we are staying. A few of us descided to check out one of the pubs in town to have our first Guinness.
Our formal welcome was the next day. We arrived at the town council center to bagpipe music, and school children waving Irish and American flags. We shook hands with the mayors of Dungarvan and County Waterford. We sat in the Town council room while speeches were made about the sister city relationship between Erie and Dungarvan and the ties to Meryhurst College. We then mingled with some of the council members over a very light lunch. Two girls were playing music for us on a harp and violin. The violinist even danced for us.
That night there was a reception at a local pub, where there was an open bar just for us. We spoke with some of the people involved in the project, including Joe who will be one of our teachers for the Irish culture seminar class.
(pictures and videos will be edited in later)