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Coast to Coast in Ireland

Hi all! My name is Rory Finnegan and I am the MOJO this semester in Dublin! For my first post I wanted to share with everyone about a CEA excursion we took to the west coast of Ireland this past weekend.

Normally our excursions only include CEA students from American universities, but since we have a fairly small group this semester (9 students), our program director, Francis Kelly, extended the invitation to our fellow European students studying in the International School of Business (ISB) here in Dublin. CEA and ISB come together as one to provide us with the chance to study with both Americans and Europeans throughout the semester with both intercultural and business based courses. Luckily for us, there were about 18 Europeans who took Francis up on his offer and they joined us for a fabulous weekend.

 We later learned that Obama traced his ancestry
back to this part of Ireland.

Our bus picked us up at our student residence at 9:15 on Friday morning. After about two hours' drive, we made a pit-stop at Barack Obama Plaza (seriously, it's a real place). Our goal for Friday afternoon was to see the Cliffs of Moher, but hazy weather put that in jeopardy. After making a call to the visitor center at the cliffs, Francis informed us that we would, in fact, be heading there to see one of the most amazing spectacles I've ever laid my eyes on. We arrived just after 1 pm and quickly made our way up to the first cliff, which provides an amazing view of each cliff jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. After standing close enough to the edge to really scare my friends (sorry, Mom), we made our way back to the base for a group picture before we departed for our hostel for the night.
 My new Spanish friend Alicia and I at the Cliffs of Moher.

We stayed at a great hostel in Galway and then headed out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We finished around 8 pm and then hung out at the hostel for a couple hours before enjoying a night out in Galway. We all came back early as our bus was departing for the Aran Islands at 9:00. We took the 10:30 ferry to the largest of the islands, Inis Mor, and then took a bus tour around the island. Halfway through, we stopped at Dun Aengus, an old military fort built during the Iron Age. It has a sheer 300 foot rock face that is extremely intimidating as you look over the edge. After enough cliffs and rock faces to last us a lifetime, we headed back down for a late lunch at a nice little cafe. We then took the ferry and bus back to Galway for our last night on the west coast. Francis and Sophie (our academic administrator) left us on our own for dinner and to explore the city a bit. We enjoyed another night out with live music and lots of new faces before we called it quits.
 Living on the edge at Dun Aengus!

Our bus departed at noon on Sunday and arrived back in Dublin just in time for the Gaelic Football championship. We watched Kerry beat Donegal and then we all took a nap after a long weekend!

This was certainly a trip that I won't forget anytime soon! Thanks to Francis Kelly, Sophie O'Brien, and the new friends I made after a weekend out west. Stay tuned for my next post about this beautiful city and country!


Rory Finnegan is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a senior at Virginia Wesleyan College. 

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