Archive for July, 2010

17 July 1995

July 17, 2010

Woke up, ate, and drove to Heathrow. Flew for a long time. On again to Detroit. I am excited to the homecoming. Next year is Seattle to Miami on gouda dog sled pulled by yodeling Chihuahuas all named Frank with pink toenails.

I had a whole pod of good times and got much knowledge of the world and traveling. Met lots of new friends. Wish I had a full month! (or I could go again!)





Future Ryan says: Ah, to do it all over again. I would have gotten infinitely more out of the trip had I the advanced years and wisdom I have now. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was for many years the crowning achievement in my pre-college life. From time to time I entertain the idea of going back, on my own this time, just to spend more time with the places and things I remember the most. Maybe for the 30th anniversary… 2025… maybe.

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16 July 1995

July 17, 2010

Woke up, and boarded the coach for a ride to the ferry. Ate on the ferry, which was my second-favorite pastime on the voyage, preceded by reading.





The 10-hour trek led to a long drive to London where I flopped in bed for a 5 hour sleep.

Future Ryan says: We spent the large part of this day traveling from Cork to London. The ferry from Ireland to England was even larger than the one from Wales, making it the *new* largest boat I had been on. There was a chessboard painted on the fantail, with man-sized weighted pieces. Of course I got a few games of chess in during the voyage. But did I write about it in my journal. Sadly, no. Travel fatigue must have set in rough for me by this point.

15 July 1995

July 15, 2010

Woke up, ate, and drove to Killarney. Took a boat ride in some lakes. The horse and trap ride was more exciting even if I had to walk 35 minutes.







On the way back, we got drunk on limericks such as:

	A man rode on horse and trap
	Down a road in Dunloe Gap
	He had enough
	Of potholes and stuff
	And wasn’t a very happy chap.

After dinner, we went to Cork Gaol. From 1824-1868 it was an average jail until the men were transferred to another while this one became a women’s’ jail. In 1922, IRA revolutionists were brought here. Interesting tour. Slept.





Future Ryan says: Despite the Cork gaol being a far more ambitious and impressive structure in both size and history, the tour paled in comparison to the Welsh gaol we visited on July 7th. The Dunloe Gap boat-and-carriage trip felt like a chore to me. I did not comprehend how someone could find such a physical activity refreshing, but at that age I was a committed indoorsman.

14 July 1995

July 14, 2010
Woke up, ate, and saw Blarney Castle. Went up 108 stairs to kiss the Blarney Stone. Never should have because after that, every time we got off the coach, it started raining.





Ate at park with an award-winning restroom. Went to Bantry House. All the furniture came between 16th and 19th century.

The bay had a history for naval assembly, oysters, and an oil storage facility that exploded. Returned to Cork and got a free evening. Slept.

Difference – more superstitions

Future Ryan says: This is how I discovered that the Blarney Stone is cursed! Ever since, clear and sunny weather while on the bus, drizzle and rain when off it.

The oil facility explosion I’m refering to is the 1979 Betelgeuse incident.

Another thing about that bus ride… in the seat next to me on the coach was Jason, who at this point had consumed an entire six-pack of Irish Jolt and wouldn’t put his switchblade down. I requested a seat change.

13 July 1995

July 13, 2010

Woke up, ate, and said good-bye to my Homestay. Drove to Cork. Saw Cashel on the way. Just your average castle. Nothing unique.





Checked into Dean’s Hall then walked in POURING RAIN to a movie entitled First Knight.

Lancelot, a roamer, who challenges people to swordfights for money, saves the life of Guenevere, a lady on her way to be married to King Arthur. She gets to Camelot and has second thoughts after Lancelot runs the Gauntlet machine. Lancelot is knighted and Guenevere marries Arthur, both at St. Alban’s Cathedral. She is later kidnapped by a rival prince but Lancelot saves her. Guenevere’s home village is destroyed by the prince but is defeated by Arthur’s forces. Survivors are found and Guenevere, Arthur, and Lancelot get caught in an affair. Lancelot is tried but the prince takes hold of Camelot during the trail. Arthur dies in a struggle and Lancelot kills the prince. The monarchy is passed on to Lancelot by a dying Arthur who is later cremated and buried at sea. Went back and slept.

Similarity – ?

Difference – eat smaller meals

Future Ryan says: We stayed in a university dormitory in Cork during the last major leg of the trip, as we had done in Edinburgh. Just like yesterday, younger me has some screwy priorities, since I spent more verbiage on the movie synopsis than I have used to chronicle the entire two preceding days. Our motivation to see First Knight was the fact that scenes from the film had been filmed at St. Albans Cathedral (see June 30). This was the film’s opening week in Ireland. Despite it’s poor ratings, I’ve always had a fondness for the film due to its associations with my British Isles trip. Oh, by the way, the phrase "just your average castle" shows just how jaded I’d become by all the ancient structures I’d seen.

CORRECTION: It’s not that the Irish eat smaller meals. It’s that midwestern teenage boys eat large ones.

12 July 1995

July 12, 2010

Woke up at 10:15 and ate. Played cards for 3 hours then ate. Went swimming with Kris, John, and Smitty. Swam 500 kilometers then played Wolfenstein 3-D while the others walked for 2 hours. Went back and slept.

Similarity – ?

Difference – use more metric

Language:

Parking Lot = Car Park

Trash Can = Rubbish Bin

Future Ryan says: This day was one of my biggest regrets of the whole trip. What did I spend an entire day doing in Ireland during a once-in-a-lifetime trip? MTV and video games. Youth is wasted on the stupid.

11 July 1995

July 11, 2010

Woke up, ate, went to group area. Boarded the coach then went to Trinity College.

This is the US embassy in Dublin:

Other Dublin photos:





The buildings here date from 1600 to the present. Saw Book of Kells, made by monks during sometime in the Dark Ages. I thought it was boring. The Long Room, a two-story library containing any work of literature from the British Isles. Very spectacular. Saw Gold collection at National Museum. Interesting. Some went back to the Bronze Age. Ate lunch then went shopping. Returned to homestays.

Similarities – except drive on other side of road, almost like home.

Difference – ?

Language – speak faster

Future Ryan says: Of all the things I remember most from this day, it is the gold exhibit, rather than the 1,200 year old book. Maybe I really am a human magpie, drawn hypnotically towards shiny things.

10 July 1995

July 10, 2010

Woke up, ate, packed, and drove to Holyhead to board the dynamic ferry. Very large. Several shows, restaurants, and a game room. Played cards through trip.





Drove to homestays. They are Teresa O’Mahony and her son who is 16. I don’t know the rest. Watched T.V. then went to bed.

Similarity/difference tomorrow

Future Ryan says: There were hard rains through the night, and in the morning the snails were out in force. It made the sidewalks difficult to navigate, lest I crush a snail under my shoe. Most of the other boys weren’t so compassionate.

At this point in my life, the Holyhead-Dublin ferry was the largest ship I’d ever been on. I remember that the ferry even had two movie screens aboard. We students were split about which film to attend, The Mask or Speed. I was in the minority camp that opted for The Mask. I also purchased a Cadbury bar from the snack stand.

Teresa O’Mahony grew rhubarb in her backyard. Her son was two years older than me, and that makes a big difference when you’re only 14.

9 July 1995

July 9, 2010

Woke up, ate, and left for Conwy Castle. Built like a maze. Stairs, corridors, towers, and gates were everywhere. Got lost for ½ hour.





















Found my way out then went to the train station to Great Orme. Rode trolley up. Fantastic view of Irish Sea.



Spelled names with rocks. Walked down and twisted ankle. (I can still feel the pain.) Dave our piper bus driver and I rode taxi to coach. Picked up group then said bye to Dave at hotel. Ate at barbeque then walked to aquarium. Saw interesting sea life native to the area. Tried crab-fishing contest against girls.

Lost by about 100. Played Giants, Wizards, and Elves before walking on pier at moonlight then went to bed.

Similarity – like to barbeque

Difference – no notice

Future Ryan says: This was a very sleep-deprived day for me. I was very unaccustomed to staying up past 11pm, and that night my roommates had kept me up past 2am watching Howard the Duck and Tremors. I did not appreciate their fun the next morning, when I was too zombified to pay attention to anything. I gues that’s how I got separated from the group during the castle tour. I panicked, fearing that the bus would leave without me. I scrambled through the labyrinthine fortress looking for anything familiar. Despite my momentary terror, this was my favorite castle of the whole British Isles trip.

The Great Orme tram ride was nifty, and the view from atop the Orme was fantastic. Orme visitors since time immemorable had employed loose white stones to make graffiti writ large against the green terrain. We spelled "USA" big enough for Ireland to read. One of the larger existing arrangements was a pot leaf large enough for the DEA to spot from Miami. And of course, typical for my age, I twisted my right ankle. Is it always going to be you, right ankle?

The Dave I mention here was our jovial coach driver who had transported us since departing from Hertford. He was an accomplished bagpiper, and he used his pipes to summon us students back to the bus after pit stops. He once had the honor of being Edinburgh’s Lone Piper during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Here’s some photos of Dave:





Oh, the ill-fated crab-fishing contest! Boys versus girls were pitted against each other to pluck half-starved crabs from a domesticated pool of baywater. This was a good case study in how boys and girls have different brains. The girls wanted to catch crabs to win the contest. The boys wanted to catch crabs so that they could throw them up in the air, watch them smack fatally onto the concrete, and then watch the seagulls fight over the remains. I feel that I must do penance for participating in this activity, even passively.

8 July 1995

July 8, 2010

More knock-em dead scenery.







Went to Dinorwig Power Station. Built ¾ mile into a mountain. Slate mine used to be there. Is hydroelectric plant. Used for extra electricity generation or if other station fails.

Went to lunch at Swallow Falls. Tromped through a sheep meadow full of droppings to see it.

Got in water pistol skirmish. Dried off then walked along shore. Skipped a rock 5 times. Ate dinner then rode a boat around Puffin Island. Did see a lighthouse. Couldn’t see puffins well. Many terns and cormorants.







Played social/listening games then went to bed.

Future Ryan says: The hydroelectric plant was yet another thing I definitely would have paid more attention to if my future self were in charge. At this point in my life, I hadn’t yet settled on engineering as a career path. The turbines were enormous!