One Last Night
Our final afternoon and evening in Ireland was wide open for the team to use as we saw fit. Some of us did more shopping; others opted for some legal gambling at the local casino; the rest went out for our final opportunity of traditional Irish cuisine (we were split between Subway, who definitely does not have a five euro foot-long deal, and Super Mac’s, an Irish McDonald’s).
The team reconvened later at night to take the big city’s nightlife by storm one last time. Dublin was a far cry from the previous cities on our tour. Whereas Belfast, Ballina and Londonderry had distinct Irish influence in their city life, Dublin exhibited a much greater sense of cosmopolitanism. Tourists from each corner of the earth crammed the cobble-stoned streets and American music inundated the nightclubs. No one in our party was mad about the latter. It was a welcome change from the techno trance that destroyed each of eardrums in Belfast. I have never been so happy to hear Miley Cyrus and Rihanna (bom bom bee dom bom bom bee dom dom!).
Our last night in the big city produced some classic moments that will surely not be forgotten anytime soon. One problem with a great nightlife, however, is its inability to couple itself nicely with an adequate amount of sleep. The early morning wakeup calls by the nice hotel workers were met by groggy American accents, wildly unenthused about the prospect of a seven and a half hour flight and a two-hour bus ride home. Somehow, we all managed to rally.
The team arrived back to Haverford College at 5pm local time (Doug Edelman makes his final calculation of the blog to let us know that involved 12 full traveling hours). Accompanied by dirty clothes, overpriced souvenirs and a lack of patience that only transatlantic flights and long lines in the airport can produce, the team and its travel companions finally made it back to the point where the whole trip had started, the GIAC.
We all descended the tour bus’ three steps for the last time as a group, grabbed our bags and said our goodbyes, acting as if we would never see each other again. In a certain sense though, the end of the trip was oddly emotional. But guys don’t cry, so there was none of that. But we had all spent so much time around one another that it didn’t feel right to go back to our respective lives on campus. Not having to sit on a bus for hours on end, traverse dangerous terrains in ill-equipped clothing and ask for bread basket refills at every restaurant with those 22 other individuals was going to be strange.
The memories, however, will truly never leave us.
Please don’t hesitate to ask us anything about our experience over there, whether it be scholarly, athletically, culturally or socially. I am confident that we made ourselves fairly familiar with each aspect of the Irish island and would love to offer some insight to anyone who would be interested.
A Statistical Review
8,000 miles traveled
4 hotels in 4 different cities
1,000 signs that read: “Fire Door: Keep Closed”
564 sheep spotted on the side of the road (95% of which had red spray-paint on their back) p.s. sheep: Ireland :: squirrels: Haverford
187 conversational responses of mine that involved me simply smiling and shaking my head due to the fact that I had no clue what was just said to me
897 pictures uploaded onto my computer
12 newly acquired dance moves (coming soon to a Founders Dance near you)
2 sweatshirts of Brent Anderson’s that the team would rather never see again (thankfully Brent packs things he doesn’t want anymore so that he can throw them out, thereby eliminating half of his luggage for the trip home and us ever having to see the things again)
98 prank calls made by our players to other teammates in an Irish accent
26 combined minutes spent searching for the light to the bathroom (little advice: it’s never in the bathroom, but outside it somewhere in a completely illogical position)
23 members in our party
Countless memories and…
Eternal thanks to all of those who made this possible: our tour guide/bus driver/home boy, Paul (Irish “P”), Tom Foley and his son Andrew, Curt Mauger and his wife Andrea, Coach Mucci, Dean Watter, our financial supporters, Wendy Smith and the entire athletic department, the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and the incredibly beautiful, accommodating and vibrant island of Ireland.
The entire team has nothing but great things to say about both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The island’s inhabitants should know that every member of our team truly hopes that peace shall persist for such a fine society. Their ability to work through decades of difference is inspiring and we are confident that the politically and economically strong Emerald Isle will continue to prosper. Whatever the outcome of their differences, may the current harmony continue without end.
From the depths of our hearts, cheers!