Saying Goodbye to Galway

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It’s bittersweet. That’s the only way to describe it. Our time here has been incredible. We really are blessed. See you next time, Galway! 

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Love and prayers,
Mary

p.s. Can I call myself a Galway Girl yet?

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A little bit of Galway…

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We visited the Galway City Museum. It featured art as well as bits of history. 

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We had the Irish equivalent to Chipotle… it was delish. 

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We went to the Film Fleadh and saw beautiful brick work. 

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Above: Padraic O Conaire statue from the Galway City Museum and the arts council signage from the film fleadh. 

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And last but not least, a selfie. 

Love and prayers,
Mary

Film Fleadh: The Stranger

Earlier this evening our group was able to participate in the Galway Film Fleadh. To be honest, I thought we were just seeing a movie as a class. However we arrived at the Town Hall Theater and there were a lot of people there. We received our tickets, sat down in the theater and watched as the movie was introduced.

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It was the world premier of a movie called, “The Stranger”. It was directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin. The documentary focused on the life of Neal MacGregor who was an English Artist who moved to Donegal and died alone at the age of 44. The movie was filmed beautifully. It really captured the essence of what I think is Donegal. I’ll let you know for sure when I arrive there tomorrow 😉 Anyway, the film was about an hour and a half long and thoroughly enjoyable. Neal’s brother, Stuart, was also at the premier. He helped to answer some of the questions from the Q&A. We learned that those involved in the film only actually filmed for 10 days, the rest of the work was research on Neal’s life. 

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We learned that the place where Neal lived was remote and there are some who still believe he was a spy. There are some who grew to understand him also. The film spoke to that. Neasa informed us that the film would be shown next weekend to the community that Neal lived in. 

Overall this was a really unique experience for our study abroad group. How many 21 year olds are able to attend an international film festival and see some of the films? Now, I can say I have. 

Love and prayers,
Mary

Sunday

I've Always Been a Storm

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It’s funny. Since I don’t have a car here, or easy access to daily mass, I’ve become extra grateful for Sunday mass at the Cathedral here in Galway. The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful! And, off to the side there is a small chapel for adoration. My goal is to make it to a daily mass here before I leave. Hopefully that happens. My sleeping schedule is a little off (still). I usually don’t get out of bed until 11am and don’t make it to sleep until after 2am. Fun? Eh. Not really. I’d rather be up early. I’m working on it.

However, yesterday’s Gospel really hit me.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke…

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An Anù and Sonke Multicultural Community Choir

Last night our study abroad group met at the Bank of Ireland Theater on NUIG’s campus for an evening performance with An Anù and Sonke Multicultural Community Choir. Both groups used elements of African music in their performances. An Anù also performed some traditional irish songs. This event was free with the opportunity to donate to Amnesty or to the Sonke Choir.

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The Sonke Multicultural Community Choir

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An Anù

Tomorrow we make our way to Dublin! Please keep us in prayer as it is only a day trip!

Love and prayers,
Mary

The Visual Arts at NUIG and the Fringe

Since our classes don’t take place on fridays, the group decided to attend one of the workshops offered through the fringe festival. Friday afternoon at 2pm Marina Wild offered a drawing workshop. Much like the circus skills workshop our group learned basic skills of the medium. The class was three hours long with a break in the middle. I haven’t taken an art class in about four years, so it was really nice to work with Marina. She had us work on line drawings. We began with the image upside down so that we would stimulate the right side of our brains. It was a fun and slightly challenging exercise.

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Above: A selfie with my line drawing.

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Above: My classmates working on their drawings in the studio.

As a part of our participation at NUIG we have been volunteering with the festival. This morning (saturday), Kenni, Matthew and I minded the Art Gallery for about three hours. Its funny, because when you are in one place for an extended amount of time you begin to notice new things. Every time I looked around the gallery, I found something new and interesting. 🙂

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Our group has really been enjoying the Fringe. Our professor even tweeted about it!

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By the way, one of my classmates has also been blogging about our travels! Check out her blog: Travel on Wheels !

Love and prayers,
Mary

And they lived happily ever after– an evening with Rab Fulton

This evening, as a part of the Fringe Festival we saw a celtic storyteller named Rab Fulton. I’ve seen storytellers perform before. I had the pleasure to listen to Mitch Barrett while I was in Kentucky. Our study abroad group took a cab down to Salthill and met at the Cottage Bar, a cool little pub on the edge of the beach town. Rab told four stories all together, two short stories and two long stories within two hours. Rab Fulton’s storytelling ability was superb. The audience was constantly involved and entertained. The stories were descriptive, full of enthusiasm and were a form of expression that was genuine to Rab, sound effects and all. 🙂

It felt as though we had gone back in time to when oral tradition was the norm. Our time in the pub tonight truly felt like a different time period. Rab had helped us to transport to a simpler time, a time without cell phones or netflix. I imagined how early stories would’ve been told in this way, with a storyteller in a public space, entertaining. Rab told the audience to tell everyone that this night was life changing and that you look at life in a different way now. I can honestly say that this is true. Tonight gave me a new perspective on stories, literature, and culture. Galway is truly a center for the arts– there are so many mediums to experience, so many cultures to embrace– it is amazing.

If you are ever in Galway during the summer on a thursday night, you should head down to this pub by the beach to experience the storytelling. It was inexpensive and only a couple of hours out of your day. Taking part in a tradition like this is one that not all get to experience in life, I recommend taking advantage of it while we can 🙂

Love and prayers,
Mary

Events: Circus Skills Workshop

IMG_0493 Today, we had the pleasure of attending one of the artist workshops that the Fringe Festival offers. We attended the circus skills workshop where we learned how to spin plates, juggle and use a diablo. Our instructor, James was very helpful and allowed us all to work at our own pace. He let practice and goof around. The atmosphere was light. Although I wasn’t successful in any of the stations, I was able to hoola hoop. One day I’ll get that plate spinning, but for now I’m fine with trying and sharing in this experience with others. IMG_0495    IMG_0480 Tonight we’ll be going to another event put on by the fringe, more on that later though… 🙂 Love and prayers, Mary

Galway at its Best

We have officially been in Galway for 3 days. The Fringe Festival began last night. It was nice to have a few days before the festival to experience Galway on its own. After eating in a few pubs, we were able to experience the food and culture of this city. Last night, we were able to attend our first event in the festival. We saw James Gallagher, a folk singer, perform in an Irish-speaking pub.

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It was a bit hard to find, but once we were there, the experience was unlike any other. It didn’t take long for our group to realize that this is a genuine art community that works together to create and contribute to a culture that is so beautiful and unique.

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At the end of the concert, our professor introduced us to James, who is in charge of the different events of the fringe. And so, we met with James earlier today to find out how we can volunteer with the festival. As American students this is a really valuable experience. We are able to participate in an international art community, even if it is just ripping tickets at a venue. We were able to watch a run through of a show called “The Seat” which was 35 minutes long and very well done. After the show we met some other artists who we are actually going to see perform this weekend.

Tonight we decided to stay in. We ordered pizza and are ready to watch movies. Up until today it has been 70 degrees fahrenheit and sunny. Now its probably in the mid 50s and a wee bit rainy. However, NUIG has fruit growing all around campus and it is free to pick by the public. There are organically grown strawberries at our fingertips and it is great. They are delish.

Love and prayers,
Mary