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In the Land of Beautiful Sweaters

Over the weekend (February 20-22), CEA and ISB went on a trip to Galway and the Aran Islands. We left Dublin at about two in the afternoon and arrived in Galway at 5:30. That evening, we went out to eat and had a three course meal – way more than many of us could handle. But hey, free food. Who in their right mind is going to turn that down?

That night many of us went out to experience the nightlife of Galway. To be honest, I was just amazed by the way the roads were made and laid down. The light hitting the brick, it was a sight to see.

Saturday morning we had to be up bright and early to leave for Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran islands. We had to take a bus and a ferry to reach them. I’m not one who gets motion sickness, but whew, I was pretty sick to my stomach.

Inis Mor has a population between 800-900. There are two primary schools (elementary/middle school) and one secondary school (high school) on the island. Their school systems are also all taught in Gaelic (Irish). I thought this was pretty cool considering only about three percent of Ireland is fluent anymore. Everyone knows everyone. Everywhere you look there is stone. Stone houses, stone fences, stone churches. This is silly, but I had to ask myself countless times how many calories these people burned carrying these stone to make the fences. Literally, there were fences EVERYWHERE.

We took a bus tour and stopped at some ruins. Our bus driver had a great sense of humor. Some of the houses on Inis Mor even have small houses next to them for leprechauns *insert squeal here*. They were so cute. Eventually, we stopped at one of the seven (it was either seven or twelve) villages on the island and looked in the sweater shops. The Aran Islands are famous for their cable knit sweaters, and seeing the beauty of these sweaters made me understand why. Disclaimer: if you’re going to buy a sweater, be prepared to spend a good amount of money… they’re worth it though.

 Me standing in the ruins on Inis Mor  The house on the right is the house for the leprechaun - I love it.

Then came the hike. We hiked up to the top of this cliff that was 100 meters in the air (330 ft) and flirted with death as we peered over the edge. Mother nature had her eye out for us that day. It rained all morning and in the afternoon when we’d left; but there weren't any raindrops as we looked out into the sea, clear and blue it was.
 This building, I'm not sure if it was a castle or church, was on top of the cliff looking over the ocean.  Peering over the edge of the cliff - I was so afraid I was going to drop my phone.

That day, looking over the cliff, I was amazed at the detail of the rocks and the sunshine and blue water that turns to white when the wave turns. I was humbled by the idea that if the wind blew a little too hard I’d be falling to my demise. I was astounded by the beauty of something so simple, something untouched by man. I was thankful. I am thankful.

Sláinte – Cheers.

Sally Keckeisen is the Spring 2015 MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland.  She is currently a sophomore at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

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