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Posted by: Joseph Kelly | February 13, 2018 | No Comment |
Marble Arch Caves

Marble Arch Caves



Fermanagh is a southern county in Ulster. It is heavily based in agriculture because of its green landscape. One of the most interesting geographical features are the Marble Arch Caves. It features winding rivers, waterfalls and lofty chambers. The caves were believed to formed around 330 million years ago. Visitors are surrounded by limestone that is said to glisten. These caves were formed rivers, Owenbrean, Aghinrawnand Shruh Croppa, draining off the northern slopes of the Cuilcagh mountains. The caves were eventually opened for the public to explore by boats gliding through the rivers and steel walking paths. Only experienced “cavers” are permitted to certain areas because of the rugged terrain.

—by Megan Daley

under: Counties, Student posts


Posted by: Joseph Kelly | February 12, 2018 | No Comment |

A county full of rich medieval history, Ireland’s second largest monastery, and the home of James Hoban, the architect of the White House in Washington, D.C., county Kilkenny sits in the southeast of Ireland in province Leinster. From the years

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

1641 to 1649, Kilkenny was the capital city of Ireland until Cromwell led conquest of Ireland. On its lands of green lay thirteen castles, and a round tower dating back to the 9th century. The oldest house in Kilkenny dates back to the Neolithic era. Today, this county is well known for its GAA Hurling team, being considered as one of Ireland’s “Big Three”, having won the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship a record thirty-five times. It also hosts Ireland’s premier comedy festivals, the Kilkenny“Cat Laughs”. Though a quieter county in Ireland, there are plenty of sights to see and rich history to take in, and you can do all of it while enjoying a pint of the county’s own famous beer- the Kilkenny beer.

—by Emma Chamberlain

under: Counties, Student posts, Uncategorized


Posted by: Joseph Kelly | January 31, 2018 | No Comment |



County Antrim, Northern Ireland is located in the northern province of Ulster. The county is home to rolling hills, as well as beautiful coastline. Additionally, it is the birthplace of one of the most famous authors of the 20th Century. C.S. Lewis, writer of the well-known “Chronicles of Narnia” series was from County Antrim. Lewis was born in Belfast, County Antrim’s largest city. His Irish heritage inspired his writing within the popular series. Specifically, County Antrim’s Dunluce Castle is regarded as the foundation and inspiration of the “Chronicles of Narnia’s”, Cair Paravel. The castle described in the series favors that of Dunluce, especially with its unique coastline and elevation. While the major motion picture was filmed in New Zealand, the terrain and atmosphere is said to have been what inspired C.S. Lewis’ setting of Narnia. While, C.S. Lewis did not stay in his home city of County Antrim, it is clear that the area held a special place in his memory.

–by Meg Cathcart

Mulraney, Frances. “Top 10 Interesting Facts about County Antrim (PHOTOS).” IrishCentral.com, 30 Aug. 2015, www.irishcentral.com/travel/top-10-interesting-facts-about-county-antrim-photos.

under: Counties, Student posts, Uncategorized

Louth: the wee county

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | January 28, 2018 | No Comment |
Death of Cú Chulainn

Death of CuChulainn



The county Louth is the smallest county in all of Ireland, only amounting to 826 square kilometers(319 square miles). For this reason, it is referred to and known as the “Wee County”. Unfortunately, Louth’s small size results in it being looked over and not receiving the attention that it deserves. Most of the people who do actually visit just pass through on the motorway between Dublin and Belfast; however, its small size and the low number of tourists that it receives is not a measure of the county’s importance. Louth is an overflowing county of legends and myths. Such as the stories of Cú Chulainn, which is about an ancient Gaelic hero warrior who defended the Louth area from invading armies with “monstrous zeal”. In historical aspects, Louth hosted invading Vikings as well as the armies of Oliver Cromwell at the Siege of Drogheda. Also, Drogheda, County Louth is the resting place of St. Oliver Plunkett’s head who was the last Roman Catholic martyr to die in England when he was hung, drawn, quartered and beheaded in 1681.

by Hallie Buchanan

under: Counties, Student posts, Uncategorized


Posted by: Joseph Kelly | January 28, 2018 | No Comment |

Cairn Hill


Longford County is located on the northern area of the province of Leinster. The area was one of the Gaelic Irish settlements that did not rise from a Norman or Viking origin. The name Longford means “ship dock,” which is notable considering that the settlement is built alongside the Camlin River, a tributary that feeds into the Shannon River.

Today, Longford has a population of roughly [forty] thousand. The county boasts beautiful scenery and architecture rich in historical significance. Notable places of interest and tourism include the Cathedral Church of Saint Mel, dedicated to another missionary who joined Saint Patrick in his movement to spread Catholicism throughout Ireland. Other tourism sites include the various dolmens scattered around the county. Dolmens offer a mysterious portal into the history of Ireland, and many can be traced back to the third or even fourth millennia B.C.E.

by Troy Caraminica

under: Uncategorized

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | September 28, 2017 | No Comment |

by Elizabeth Burgher

Elizabeth Burgher in Leenaun

In June we visited two Irish towns where two important Irish films were shot: The Field and The Quiet Man, shot in Leenaun and Cong respectively. It’s a well-known fact that the layout of sets in films is often not the same as it is in real life; for example, a viewer could see a man walk down a street and turn a corner, presumably to the street right next to it, but in real life those two streets could be a hundred feet away from each other. While this was also true for comparisons between the films and the locations we visited, what amazed me about visiting these two sites was how even if the physical layout was not the same, the overall feel of the place was.

Leenaun is a small, one-horse town (a village really), nestled on the Killarny Fjord in the west of Ireland, with rugged mountains and peaks looking down on it. This ruggedness is in complete keeping of the hardy, masculine air of The Field.

And in complete contrast, Cong was even more charming and idyllic in real life than the town of Inishfree was in The Quiet Man. Between the quaint little shops (selling a great deal of film-related memorabilia), the tasty cafes, the surrounding loveliness of the landscape, and the majesty that is the nearby Ashford Castle, the film’s depiction of heaven seemed entirely real. We rented bikes from the stables near to Ashford Castle and were whisking off through shady forests and sunny paths, and as I passed a tour guide (who was leading a The Quiet Man film location walking tour through Cong), he remarked, “And no, that wasn’t Maureen O’Hara” while all the tourists, including myself, laughed. As I sped away I thought, he could be right, because in that moment I could so easily have been her, a young woman bike riding through a heavenly little Irish town.

Through these visits, the films really came alive for me, because it felt like I was really living inside them. And I guess in a way, I was. It turns out that the phrase “life imitates art” has some true meaning.

under: Uncategorized

River Liffey: the Great Divide

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | September 26, 2017 | No Comment |

by Abrie Richison

The River Liffey is a river in middle of Dublin, Ireland that flows through the center of the city, separating the Northside and the Southside. This river is significant because of its attraction, placement, and references in books and films.

One of the first sights I saw when first exploring Dublin was the River Liffey. It is a beautiful river with eclectic buildings and streets tracing both of its sides. People are often seen taking pictures of the river and pictures of themselves in front of the river. Because of its attraction, it has become an important sight to see when visiting Ireland.
Along with its attraction, the River Liffey is mentioned in many pieces of Irish literature. One of these is Dubliners by James Joyce. Within Dubliners there is a short story titled “An Encounter” which follows two thrill-seeking boys on their journey for adventure. In this story, the boys cross the river in a ferry boat, moving from north to south. Their adventure consists of ditching school, crossing the river, and ultimately experiencing culture shock, explaining the true division that the River Liffey provides.

While Dubliners mentions the river, films do as well. One film that features the river is Michael Collins (1996) directed by Neil Jordan. This film follows Michael Collins (Liam Neeson), the famous Irish revolutionary. Also, featured in the film is a man named Harry Boland (Adrian Quinn) who is killed while trying to swim across the River Liffey.
While traveling around Ireland and seeing all of the beautiful sights, I have come to understand the importance behind many of these attractions. The River Liffey is more than just a beautiful river running through the city; it has deeper meanings and significance to the people living in Ireland.

under: Uncategorized


Posted by: Joseph Kelly | July 21, 2017 | No Comment |

by Dan Collela

As a Film Studies minor at the College, one of my favorite memories from my study abroad has to be the day spent in Cong, Ireland. On the day trip to Cong, I was lucky enough to see many of the filming locations from the 1952 John Ford film, The Quiet Man. Pictured below is the famous Pat Cohan Bar, a prominent location in the film. This trip was one of the first times I was able to visit multiple filming locations for a movie so I loved every minute of this experience. Not only was the seeing the bar interesting but visiting the museum in the town honoring the movie was just as fun and interesting; being able to step foot into the replica cottage from the film and try and match scenes to the layout of the home allowed for me to have more respect and admiration for John Ford’s piece. One other interesting aspect to the visit to Cong came when looking at the map with all the filming locations. Although many of the locations used for the film were centralized in the town itself, a lot of other scenes were actually very spread out to places outside the town, such as Ashford Castle, yet in the film it gives the illusion that these places were very central. I found this very enlightening. When studying film, it is important to look at all aspects of a piece and editing is a crucial part to a film’s success. Seeing how John Ford and his team were able to edit and make it seem as if locations were closer than they actually appear, added a new element to my understanding for the process of filmmaking. Visiting these sites was incredibly valuable to understanding the culture surrounding the plot and, by immersing myself in these aspects of the film itself; it has given me a deeper appreciation for the film, for Irish film in general, and for the Irish people and their culture. Watching the movie back in the U.S., I was in awe of the wide shots of the beautiful landscapes in the west of Ireland. My anticipation to visit this area was through the roof and finally being able to come to Ireland and see the expansive beauty of the countryside and experience the core of what Irish film is has been a dream come true. This trip has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and has left an indelible mark on me. I wish I never had to leave!

under: Student posts, Study abroad, Uncategorized

John Wayne and Puddleducks

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | July 20, 2017 | No Comment |

by Raegan Whiteside

Cong is a small town that is seen in the film The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952) that was assigned for the Irish Film Studies class and where we stopped to take a short break on afternoon.

When looking at the town, in relation to the film, you get the similar feeling as seen in the small village in the film. Obviously, this town is more modern, but it has the same small-town atmosphere as in The Quiet Man in the fact that it’s quaint and as you walk down the few streets that make up the modest town you can picture the citizens of the community knowing their neighbors closely and intimately.

While it was disappointing to see that Cong has been largely commercialized after the making of this film, it was interesting to walk down the forest lined street to St. Mary’s Church and be able to picture the scene of Sean Thornton (John Wayne) playing “patty-fingers” in the holy water clearly because of the seclusion and calmness of the location.

Similarly, it was refreshing to walk on the path by the river in which Father Lonergan (Ward Bond) attempted to fish multiple times in the film and to actually see fishermen in those locations. I only realized once visiting the sites how peaceful the aura is in these parts. Thus, looking back at the film, I find these scenes quite humorous because of how many times this serene setting was interrupted in the movie by Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara) and Father Paul (James O’Hara) and the annoyance that Father Lonergan probably had.

By one fishing location a group of tourists were gathered watching a man fish and you could hear/see their silent (sometimes not silent) cheers and I immediately remembered the scene of Marky Kate cheering on Father Lonergan when he almost caught the fish during their discussion.

Overall, I thought Cong was a charming, picturesque, small town that connected a lot with the film both in scenery and character. I enjoyed not only seeing the settings of the movie in person, but experiencing the different locations and connecting them with the film. Not to mention, the Chai Tea Latte I had in a Puddleducks Café was delicious.

under: Student posts, Study abroad, Uncategorized

Soccer and Nation

Posted by: Joseph Kelly | July 19, 2017 | No Comment |

by Jack Story

Sport: an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc. or a diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime. Either way you define sport, it is held very highly in National cultures across the world. But, how important is sport? After watching the Ireland vs Austria World Cup Qualifier at Aviva Stadium, more specifically, after watching the fans present at the Ireland vs Austria World Cup Qualifier at Aviva Stadium, I saw just how important sport is to a nation. The energy and gusto with which the crowd of green-shirted fans operated was enormously high on June 11th. As the game went on, I noticed that the crowd cycled through a set of preordained cheers. This use of repeated chants displayed a certain value in tradition that is often found in other areas of civic life: art, politics, home life. More notably, I followed the interactions of a father and his two sons from a distance; and from this I had the opportunity to observe a passing of the guard of sorts. The father was focused on the game with unmatched zeal; but he could be seen sharing words with his sons throughout the game. When the Irish national team was not faring well, the father would stand up and express passionate disdain, thus offering his sons a representation of loyalty of his nation. When the Irish national team scored, the father could be seen cheering fanatically, at times with his arms around his sons and at times with an arm around a nearby stranger. The actions present in that last sentence depict a scene of camaraderie with ones own neighbor and with ones family. Essentially, the passion that the Irish fanbase displayed that day offered the world a scene of national pride that suggests the presence of a strong nation.

under: Student posts, Study abroad

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