Monday, February 23, 2015
The last two days of the trip were fantastic! We have had an amazing and wonder time! On Saturday, we performed at St. Nicholas and at Galway Cathedral! The acoustics were incredible and the lunchtime concert was completely full! Both concerts were so fun to sing. The mass was a little intense because we weren't exactly sure where we were supposed to sing each piece, but overall, we figured it out and it went well! Two performances in one day was tiring, but rewarding. On Sunday, we had a long drive back to Dublin and then we performed alongside soloist, Mary Fogerty and the Frank Kelly Family ensemble. It was very cool to hear the different sounds that the Irish sang with and the performance raised nearly 1000 euro for the County Wicklow Alzheimer's Association! We were proud to be a part of it and the trip was a huge success! We'll be sharing photos and links to videos as we get them sorted :-)
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Today we had a beautiful excursion to the Ring of Kerry and the three lakes of Kilarney. We stopped in Kenmare, and had some time to explore a little town. The lakes and mountains were incredible and we got to take some good sheep selfies! We also visited the grounds of Muckcross House, which contain stunning gardens and paths to walk. The trees are covered in lovely, bright green moss, which is particularly cool looking as the leaves are off and spring is just beginning. Some flowers are blooming and it's rained a little everyday. This evening, we arrived in Limerick and had an awesome time at the madrigal dinner inside of Bunratty Castle! The castle has been there since the 11th century (although the current structure was built in the 1500s). Our dinner was great and the music was great as well! Of course, we got to sing there too. We've been singing EVERYWHERE! People find out we're a choir and always ask us. We've sung in and out of churches, inside castles, at dinner, all the time. It is wonderful!
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today we had a great day traveling from Kilkenny through Waterford and Cork to Blarney Castle. Our guide Barabara said, "you know when you're being cheeky to your mom and dad and you say, 'bla, bla, bla...'? Well, that can from Blarney!" Nearly all of us kissed the Blarney Stone today so we all have the gift of gab! The castle of Blarney is in ruins, but it is very cool to explore. The stone is at the top! The grounds of the castle are great. There are so many interesting art installations and gardens to look at and everything is beautiful, even in the rain! Our morning at Waterford Crystal was amazing. We got to stand right with all the craftsmen and artists to watch them blow, cut, and etch the crystal. The tour guides were very cool and answered tons of questions. We all got to hold a $10,000 "reject" vase (Waterford smashes and recycles all pieces that are not perfect after 6 different inspections along the process) and the NCAA Football Championship trophy! All the kids wanted to buy their parents lovely gifts, but, naturally, most them were way out of the price range for all of us! You'll see lots of pictures, I'm sure and I'll post some on the Facebook page today. We are having a blast and you should know that our students are complimented on their behavior in many places! They ask great, thoughtful questions and are quite respectful of the tour guides. Everything is going wonderfully and the kids are tired, but excited at the end of the day!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
We've had some awesome days! Yesterday, we visited the beautiful Glendalough, which means the land of two lakes. It is a 6th century monastic settlement with a stone church and tower completely in tact. We had over an hour to explore the grounds and many students took the 3.5 mile walk to both lakes. We then took a drive out to Kilkenny and stopped at a burial pylon that was at least 5,000 years old! We had some downtime at the hotel, a great rehearsal and a great dinner! All the food has been amazing and the weather is beautiful (but chilly-many sweaters were purchased today). Today began with a trip to Kilkenny Castle and then several students and I were on the radio to promote our performance! While we were doing that, the rest of the group climbed an awesome church tower and then we all had some lunch and time to explore Kilkenny and shop. The afternoon was incredible! We had our workshop with the young people of Newpark Close Family Resource Center, which is sort of a neighborhood club and a youth center. It was clear that had never heard anything like our choir. We sang with them, taught them warmups and part of Shenandoah as they sang for us. After that, we performed at St. John's Roman Catholic Church, which was spectacularly beautiful and sounded glorious. We sang and the Newpark Close students sang. The Mayor of Kilkenny attended (and took selfies with us!) and everything was so fun and lovely! Our hearts are full tonight!
Sunday, February 15, 2015
We had an awesome Day today in Dublin. We visited Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, one of the oldest books in history. We also had a great tour of Dublin Castle and sang on the streets outside of St. Peter's church and inside the beautiful Royal Church on the castle's grounds. We visited several beautiful parks and had a great bus to her around the entire city. Even though the kids were exhausted, the highlight of the evening was our dinner at the Merry Ploughboys Pub. The food was awesome-especially the apple dessert! The Merry Ploughboys are a trad band who sang an entire show of great music and featured Irish Dancers who were incredible! We were honored to be asked to sing Dulaman and it was so fun. I took some pictures to post to the blog, but can't figure out how to link it to the blog, so check the Official Skyline Choir Facebook page for those tomorrow! Off to sleep now...we're so tired!