We have had a great February here in Ireland. We started off the month by having dinner with Tania and Ger Lennon (and their cute daughter Ellie) at their house in Craughwell (pronounced “Crock-well”), a town just outside of Athenry (pronounced “Ath-en-rye”). Ger is a PE teacher and coach at St. Mary’s and someone that we have grown quite fond of during our time here.
We also had a couple of dinners with Ciarán and
Kathleen Caitlín Murphy, as well as Yvonne and Eric Hannagen, during the month. It has been great to get to spend time with such incredible people.
Candy continues to be busy with her volunteer duties in improving the organizational side of the house at St. Mary’s. She is certainly using her past experience and education to make a difference here, which is a shot in the arm for the school. In addition to the projects she agreed to complete for the school, she has been engaged in school self-evaluation work, development of surveys, and much more. I have continued my coaching at St. Mary’s. I currently am coaching the Under 15 boys’ basketball team, as well as the second year boys’ basketball team (8th grade in the US). I also assist good friend Mike Lynch with the first year basketball team. Also, I just did a “coaching the coaches” clinic with Barna Basketball Club, a club in the Galway area, on the 21st. I also help with the cross country team at St. Mary’s, as well. The regional cross country championships are held tomorrow in Sligo, about two hours north of Galway.
We made two trips to the Dublin area to watch some of the Irish underage basketball teams. I have seen all but three of the teams now, so I have gotten a pretty good feel for how Irish basketball is run. There will be more to see in the coming months.
We spent Valentine’s Day in the Galway area by having a splurge night away at the Jurys Inn in the Galway City Centre on River Corrib. We got the chance to stroll through the City Centre, as well as have a nice dinner at the hotel…very relaxing.
St. Mary’s just finished the one week mid-term break with classes today. During the break we made a three-day trip to County Donegal for part of Candy’s birthday. We saw some pretty amazing things during the journey (the rainbows were amazing…see the pics below). As has become a new tradition, we had the chance to take an end of the road drive, this time to Malin Beg, which is in the far southwestern corner of the county. We also drove up to Sliabh Liag (pronounced “Slieve League”), a mountain that at 1970 feet has some of the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland.
We stayed for two nights at the Sandhouse Hotel on Rossnowlagh (pronounced “Ross-now-lah”) Beach during this trip. It was an older hotel, but had great customer service and our room had a wonderful beach view. Surfing is big here and the beaches are some of the nicest we have seen in our ventures through this country (see this video for a view of the beach). We also drove through Ballyshannon, one of the oldest towns in Ireland, drove across the Glengesh Pass, which is a windy section of the road that connects Glencolmcille (pronounced “Glen-cull-im-kill”) to Ardara, and on the second day of the journey we took a trip up to the very top of Ireland to the small beach town of Culdaff (see video of the beach here). On our way back toward Galway from Culdaff we drove through Inch Island, a small island right off the coast and also drove through Buncrana, known as “Amazing Grace Country” because this is the area where John Newton, the writer of “Amazing Grace,” was inspired to write the song after a shipwreck left him stranded there.
I will be heading to the US (Denver, CO) for a five-day work trip next week. I fly out of Shannon this Saturday. Unfortunately, we both cannot make the trip, but I will get the chance to meet with our tax guru, Steve Smith, during the trip to get the tax return done for 2015. Candy’s diligent work of entering receipts and other information into Quickbooks is greatly appreciated by me!
Until our next blog post (which hopefully is more regularly updated :)), have a great one! Enjoy the photos…