Ireland 2015

Travel | Castle Gardens, BBQ & Guinness

July 11, 2015

Thursday, July 9

Yesterday, I said that it was hard to get up on Wednesday. I lied. Thursday was REALLY hard. We all sleepily awoke and did our best to get ready. Leaving 15 minutes later was a God-send. We shuffled about, grabbing food, gulping tea and doing our best to keep our eyes open.

Once the day started, we all had a bit more energy. Although, some might admit we were using up energy reserves. Sit us down and our eyes start to droop a bit. 🙂

I had my second day working in the consultation office and sat in on a 3 hour meeting. Okay, so the combination of tiredness and sitting for 3 hours was not the best idea for me at the moment, but I powered through! And by powered, I mean I sipped on coffee and kept tapping my feet to keep awake.

The meeting was very interesting and, by the end, I had a pretty good idea of what was taking place, problems, and next steps for the team at Ulster Hospital. Beyond that, I can’t say much due to confidentiality agreements.

I grabbed lunch to-go from the cutest shop in Dundonald! The BLT was a-freaking-mazing. The food here is wonderful. #allthefoods

I read through a document that explained proposed housing changes for the hospital, which proved quite interesting to read about. I am grateful that my mentor doesn’t bombard me with information and gives me assignments that allow me to not only learn about the hospital and her work, but I can also be of service and help out!

After work, Dr. Campbell picked us up and we went to Antrim. We stopped and saw a century old tower – still standing and birds nested inside.

We were then dropped off at the Antrim Castle Gardens while he visited his 96.5 year old dad (so sweet!). We walked the grounds and it was breath-taking to see all the beautiful flowers, trees, buildings and expansive green everywhere.

About an hour later, Dr. Campbell picked us up with his dad and we went back to residential home and dropped Mr. Campbell off. He is the sweetest man and said goodbye to us, smiling: “Cheerio!” Dr. Campbell’s love for his father can be seen in his gentleness and kind words in caring for and speaking with his dad. So sweet!

We had dinner at Newtownabbey together and had lively conversations about everything that we had done so far. Dr. Campbell shared his love of theater with us and the variety of shows that he had acted in. It was so much fun together! I had my first Guinness in Ireland (incredibly appropriate).

After dinner, we went to The Jamaican Inn in Bangor and enjoyed live music, great drinks and conversations together before ending our night!

Also, this is hilarious.

Friday, July 10

On Friday morning, we all got up early to head out to for our last day of placement for the week. Rory and I had our coffee chats in the hospital before we started our shift in our departments at 9 a.m. I started out the morning reading through a 40 page document and then proof-reading it. After lunch, I worked on a mailing and created 2,000 labels.

It is now safe to say that I’m familiar with mail merge. Too familiar, actually. It took a few mistakes, problems with excel and an ornery printer that tested my patience and required me to Google and read a lot of forums to understand what the heck was going on. But, it worked! #success

After work, Rory and I took the bus from the hospital to city centre in Belfast in order to transfer to Downpatrick. We arrived in time to finish setting up for the BBQ at the St. Patrick Centre. We had the opportunity to meet some lovely individuals, including Dean Henry Hall of St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Church of Ireland and Margaret Ritchie, MP. We sat down together and enjoyed a lovely meal together, sharing in conversation about our placement, the centre’s mission and the roles of individuals in Northern Ireland. It is truly humbling to be surrounded by amazing, hardworking individuals who strive to work for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

After our meal together, we had a short ceremony at the Peace Garden. Each Young Ambassador brought a rock from their home and wrote his/her name, chapter and year. Dean Henry Hall opened with a beautiful prayer and Margaret Ritchie emphasized the importance of St. Patrick’s role in bringing the Christian religion to Northern Ireland and his role in bringing everyone together – he is a man and saint for everyone! The Young Ambassadors then placed their rocks in the garden and we closed our lovely celebration with photos and closing conversations.

The BBQ was a wonderful time spent together. We ended the evening sitting around the kitchen table in the cottage drinking tea, chatting and talking about the following days’ adventures. More to come…

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