Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 13 - Hello me troops, how’s the craic?

“Hello me troops, how’s the craic?”

This is the first thing the group heard every morning when boarding the Paddywagon. Long story short, the craic is an Irish expression for fun. From the beginning, the group has experienced highs and lows with the Paddywagon, but always made the most out of the situation. After waking up in Dublin at Paddy’s Palace hostel, we went to load the Paddywagon for the first time. When we first laid our eyes on the bus, we realized that the bus was going to be a tight fit. After filling the luggage compartments by playing a careful game of Tetris, we then had to start filling the cab of the bus with additional bags. By the next morning, Freddie made the switch for a bigger, more comfortable bus.

Arriving upon our hostel in Belfast, we found out some of the bookkeeping was mixed up and we had no reservations at the place we thought we would be staying. With a quick couple of phone calls, we had a new bus lined up for us and a new place to stay for the night. Waking up in Belfast from our second Paddy’s Palace experience, we hopped onto the greatest bus we have had yet. We were once again greeted with a friendly hello from Freddie, even though he had to drive back to Dublin the night before to get us the bus. He was also happy about the bus switch because this bus was an automatic because he had landed wrong when getting off the bus and hurt his foot, so the automatic gave him some relief. With a smooth start to the day on the new bus, we ran into another small mix up. We found out that we would not be able to go through the Titanic museum due to an overbooking of the museum. However, with the quick thinking of Freddie and a few phone calls, we visited the Titanic’s dry dock and pump house. This is where the Titanic actually sat and was the last port that the Titanic was in before its maiden voyage. This dock housed the Titanic, which was 900 feet long and 46,000 tons! During the tour, we learned a lot about how the pump house and dry dock played a big part in building the Titanic. At the end of the tour, some of the group members went down inside of the dry dock where it took 9 students’ arms spans to reach just half way across it!

Through the highs and lows on the Paddywagon, we became friends with our driver, Freddie. He kept the long hours on the bus entertaining as well as educational. His stories and knowledge of the culture, politics, and history of Ireland gave us something more than we expected to get out of the trip! This was different from sitting in a history class or reading it out of a book because we could see, feel, and experience the things that Freddie spoke about! Ending our time in Ireland, we had to say goodbye to Freddie and take with us the memories and stories he shared with us onto our next destination. As we ride the ferry now, we are looking back at the craic we had in Ireland and looking to find more in Scotland where we will be for the next two nights!

Senior, Business Administration

Senior, Business Administration