Monday, July 12, 2010

DAY 10 – 9 JULY The Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, and a Castle Banquet

Robbie continued his Irish history lesson while we drove through the Connemara. We visited a few sites used in movies, including one near a real fjord. The weather cleared up for our trip to Kylemore Abbey and its beautiful grounds. After a brief visit to the main building, we walked to the Gothic Church. People from several countries packed the pews, and we sang a lovely performance. The sound poured out of the church and drew people in to hear.

After lunch, we visited Malacky, a famous bodhran maker; he showed us how a bodhran is made and taught us a few things about playing them. Everyone headed back to the hotel to dress up for a medieval banquet at Dunghaire Castle! Two Singer families joined us for great fun – wonderful songs and poetry, good food, a great setting, and a few AYS songs.

Tomorrow, an all-day visit to Inishmore and the Aran Islands for a rare performance at Dun Aenghus!

Friday, July 9, 2010

DAY 9 – 8 JULY Bunratty Folk Park and the Cliffs of Moher

A rainy day, but clear views. Robbie gave a history of Ireland and different peoples while we drove from Killarney through Limerick. We visited Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and enjoyed learning about castle life and mingling with the animals amongst thatched roof buildings. A few limericks were composed on the way to the Cliffs of Moher.

The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely spectacular – everyone loved them! We drove through the Burren on the way to Galway (Robbie had the kids reciting “We’re all going to Galway” the whole way) and stopped at the Poulnabronne Dolmen to experience the overworldly landscape and see this 4000-5000 year old structure.

After dinner, we had a GREAT time with Neal, a busdriver and talented singer/performer who sang a set for our Singers and sang some traditional Irish songs with them. Again, very much loved.Tomorrow, we sing at Kylemore Abbey and go to a castle banquet!

DAY 8 – 7 JULY Dingle Peninsula and Inch Beach

Cead mile failte! One hundred thousand welcomes!

Today, brilliant sunshine and SPECTACULAR views! Dennis, our busdriver for the day while Robbie took a required day off, told us all about the landscape and taught us Gaelic phrases. He sang several songs for us, too! The Blasket Centre on the end of the Peninsula was particularly interesting, and all of us learned about the people who lived on this extremely remote island. We enjoyed many views of the turquoise sea!

After spending some time in the town of Dingle, enjoying the best fish & chips in town and doing a bit of shopping, we stopped at Inch Beach for some craic (fun in Gaelic)! Everyone played while Sue and Abigail played Irish tunes on their instruments. After an early dinner at our hotel, we watched the World Cup in some of our hotel rooms in little groups.

DAY 7 – 6 JULY Ring of Kerry and Muckross House AND sheep!

We started an early day with a sheepdog demonstration and 14 breeds of sheep! The Singers LOVED it, as did the staff – imagine what we could do with some of those techniques (heehee). The weather was rainy, chill and foggy – we still had a good time, if not too many great pictures (except sheep-focused!). Our wonderful busdriver/guide Robbie pointed out ancient standing stones and ring forts along the way.

Robbie sang Molly Malone with us and taught us how to pronounce a few of the words like a real Dubliner! After our bus picnic, we visited Muckross House and Gardens, an historic home and beautiful property on a lake. Our performance in the courtyard was very well attended and received – lots of visitors heard us and came to listen!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Letters from Singers: Names have been changed/ omitted to protect the innocent, silly, & crazy...


Todays events,
1. Almost eaten & killed by Mutant Seagulls.
2. Responded to Brianne when she “yooohoooed” us from down the St.
3. Happy not to see Ashton Kutcher
-P. Brawl.

Hey Mom, Dad!
Love you! I promised I would blog and well here I am! So far on our trip we have visited The Book of Kells, Malahide Castle, went shopping , and sang in Christchurch! Having fun and singing lots, but unfortunately I have a little bit of a sore throat, but I’m OK! Actually, more than OK. GREAT! FANTASTIC!
Love you lots!

Hey Mom & Dad!
Today we sang in Christchurch Cathedral. It was so big and had beautiful sculptures and stained glass windows. We also went to Malaheid Castle and it was really old and rustic. Then we went shopping on the streets of Dublin. I got something for you, Mom.
Yesterday we went to Kileheim Gael (jail) and saw a monument for Pope John Paul II. Plus we went and saw The Book of Kells. It was amazing! Oh and the plane ride was alright. I didn’t get airsick.
Tomorrow we are going to Belfast to sing for the mayor.
I wish you were here.

Dear Family,
Ireland is so beautiful! When we were driving to Belfast, there were scenes that took my breath away. I didn’t get many pictures, but I’ll be taking many pictures in Waterford. We sang in the City Hall of Belfast for the Lord Mayor and the sound was almost like magic. I’m having so much fun! I hope everything is great at home.


There, I miss you. Happy now?
P. Brawl

Greetings of good tidings, parents. As I suppose you have realized, I am in Ireland. WE SAW SHEEP! There are loads of them here. Also, we had tea with the Lord Mayor of Belfast. They gave us green lollipops. Oh, hello Leo. Have fun with Jerry Springer. I’ll write again soon.


Irealnd is beautiful. The people are very welcoming, and the countryside and and animal supply are fabulous, too much to handle. Cows, minipigs, sheeps (sic), and cowcats have been seen in just these four days. We’ve done 2 concerts, been to 3 cities got jetlagged, met wonderful people (in particular, our tour guide Robbie) and I have much to tell you when I get back! Miss you all (even you, Meggie-pie) Byebye!
Much (heart)

Hi Mom and Dad!
Today we went to Waterford! There was a parade (really cool!) and I got to hear an Irish Celi (sic) band which made me really happy! We also went to Callan, the place Callan Castle on which Callanwolde was based. I miss you soooo much. Give the cats a scratch behind their ears for me!

Hey mom, dad,
Happy 4th of July!! We sang the national anthem at our concert today, and we stopped at Callan Wall! Haha get it! Callan, wall. We’re now in Waterford. Hope you had a good time today.
Hey Mom and Dad! I miss yall sooo much. Ireland is so beautiful and so green lol :)! I am having such a good time except my eye is swollen probably from allergies. But there is so much to see. (Editor LOVED this pair of sentences!) I love you both! Write back.


Hi people who are reading this! I’m going to keep this short so if you want more information, read other people’s entries. I’m having a great time. I kissed the Blarney Stone today. My lips felt disgusting afterwards.
Hi, Everyone!
I miss you! Today we went to Blarney and kissed the Blarney Stone. I was scared at first because you have to bend backwards on the top floor of the castle over iron bars, but there was a man there to make sure I was safe, so I kissed it! It was so much fun! Earlier we went to an immigration museum and learned about the Titanic and early immigration. I had a lot of fun today, and tell Sophie I miss her too!
M (&M)


We’re having sooo much fun! Di’s my roommate! And everyone was watching Wipeout. I’m surprised that it was even on. Hmmm….It must be the luck of the Irish.
D & A

Hi Mom & Dad,
How are you doing? Today I kissed the Blarney Stone and supposedly gained eloquence (I don’t think I did). How’s Laddie? I really miss him. Ireland is amazing.
Love ya bunches,

Yesss!!!!! I skipped rocks!!!!! Yes, Yes, Yes! YAY!!!!!!!
P. Brawl


Hi Mom and Dad,We had a great day today, even though it rained a lot. We performed at the Muckross House today. Did you know that Queen Victoria stayed there in 1860! It was pretty cool. I hope that you guys are safe. Tell Skittles I said hello! Send Myles my love! Please reply soon.
Hey!My camera broke!! But I got some disposable ones.Yesterday I kissed the Blarney Stone! Maybe now I’ll be better in Lit and WH! Oh and I got a pinecone wool sweater! But I’m out of money, can you please somehow get me more?


Hi!I am having so much fun! Today we were having horrible weather. Not to worry—it got much better once our bus driver Robbie started singing with us. How cool is that?! Anyway, having a wonderful time!


Hi Everyone!Today we went on a tour of the Ring of Kerry and stopped to watch sheep be herded by sheep dogs. It was very interesting to see the different calls and signals for the dogs. The tour was supposed to be “scenic” but it couldn’t be when rain was pouring down and the wind was pushing us backwards! Haha. There was pea-soup fog, too. We went to Muckross House for a tour and a little concert that went well. There was a stunning lake and horses to pet, so we had a great time! See you in a week!XOXO!

Hi You guys,How is the termite job? I bought a hoodie and I have a blister on my foot. I got to to see sheep & dogs. It was fun. I pushed Chocolate/Peanut Butter off the bed. We went to a 200 year old house today & I talked a cashier down 5 euros (for the hoodie).


Hope you enjoyed our letters home! We have much more to come!

AYS 2010 Ireland Tour Team & Staff

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DAY 6 – 5 JULY Cobh and Blarney Castle

We visited the Emigration Museum (we are IN Ireland, after all) in Cobh (cove) today after seeing heaps and heaps of sheep. We also learned about Annie Moore, the first person to be processed through Ellis Island (she got a $10 gold coin for being first).

The highlight of the day was Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone! Everyone enjoyed the beautiful day – really, our weather luck runs deep – and exploring the nooks and crannies of the castle. We all climbed the circular tower stairs. Collin was determined to make it all the way up and got there without breaking a sweat, and Lizzy conquered her fear of heights with him! VERY cool.

Tomorrow, we get to see sheepdogs and heaps more sheep – woohoo!

DAY 5 - 4 JULY Waterford and Callan!

We headed out early this morning for Christ Church in Waterford. What a wonderful treat to see the countryside, esp hedgerows and cows and sheep everywhere! Our Singers gave a beautiful, energetic performance for almost 100 loving audience members today and asked to sing the National Anthem with all the Americans in the audience (everyone stood up with us). Afterwards, we walked to a park for a Spraoie Fest for kids - mostly little kid things, but a really fun parade (complete with giant dragon, chicken, and caveman floats!) and some live bands. Mysteriously, no one bought candy floss, but did enjoy the ice cream.

We then headed off on a scavenger hunt for the site of the ancestral Callan home. Using some information from Susan at CFAC, we found a few landmarks, including the ruins of St. Mary's Church - unfortunately locked behind a big fence. We used a very old map and found a wall that, based on some other sities, we THINK might be part of the original Callan home. While we tried to take a picture of the motley crew, some local folks came out to see what we were doing. After our "photo shoot", we gave someone the drawing of the Callanwolde Carriage House we brought with us.

A night of almosts: As we were checking in, the power on the entire block went out. Dinner was half-cooked, so we made plans to swim in the pool. We sat for our "starter" (appetizer) before swimming, only to find out that the pool had been closed right after plans because it was too dark in the pool area to be safe. We then asked that pizzas be ordered. After singing several songs about light, they came on! Pizza idea was scrapped and the original meal was prepared. We ended our late meal/day sharing our favorite moment of the day, which has become the Singers' favorite day's end exercise. Tomorrow, we check out and head to Cobh and Blarney Castle!!