Arrived in Derry
We woke up this morning for a 4 hour bus ride to Derry. Our tour guide, Steven McPhilemy, was with us to tell us about the different stops along the way. It rained the whole ride, but we were still able to see the beautiful country side, which are green fields filled with sheep and cows. The first stop was in Drogheda. We stopped in St. Peter's cathedral where St. Oliver Plunketts head is kept. Parts of his body were buried in 4 different places. The second stop was to an old monastery with Ireland's largest Celtic cross. There was a look out for people to watch out for the Vikings coming in from the river. The top was later destroyed by lightning. We got to Derry and set out to explore the town for the night.
We started the morning off with a Bloody Sunday tour. Jon McCourt was our tour guide. He was an amazing guide because he was involved in the conflict and told us personal stories of his part in the troubles. He took us around Derry and showed us the memorials and areas that were remembered for Bloody Sunday.
This afternoon we went to the play house and watched a film on people that suffered from the troubles. It was called 'We carried your secrets with us'. This film focused on personal stories. We were lucky enough to talk and hear more about the specific people in the film. Two of the people in the film came and answered our questions. It was a very moving experience to hear personal stories. We did a writing exercise that helped us somewhat understand the troubles these people went through to even tell their personal stories to the public.
That night we explored more of Derry. Most of the group went to dinner at a place called the Ice Warf where you can get a meal for 4 to 5 pounds. We have been loving Derry and it's small community feeling.
Today was very fun and relaxing as we toured the countryside. Much to our surprise we were lucky enough to tour a castle at a national park in Donegal. It was a beautiful castle but our favorite part was the outside. Even though it was rainy and windy we were able to explore. The scenery was amazing and the view was of a lake on one side and an amazing garden on the other.
For lunch we went as a group to a pub called Leo's Tavern. This is a popular pub because the famous and well known singer Enya's family owns it. We met her brother yesterday at the pub and he told us the family story on how most of his siblings are well known singers besides him. We all ate the vegetable soup and famous Irish soup. It was a very enjoyable lunch.
On our way back to Derry, we stopped at the Grianan of Alieach. It was a stone fort built in the 8th century to worship the sun. The wind made this trip interesting to say the least. We walked up very small and questionable steps to the top and you thought you were going to get blown over. That didn't matter to any of us, the view at the top was worth it. It was a 360 degree view of the countryside and Derry. Let's just say it was AMAZING. We got back around 4 o'clock and had the evening off. Again most people went to Ice Warf because of the cheap food. We all stayed in to read our texts and write in our journals.