Tomorrow is departure day! I will be meeting six students and our wonderful TAs at Newark Airport for the flight to Dublin. The rest are flying via Philadelphia or Toronto. About half of the class has never been on a transatlantic flight, so the new experiences are about to begin.
I had promised myself that THIS YEAR I would not be trying to do any research-related work in Ireland, but I’ve scrambled and pushed and I still can’t get it all done before tomorrow. With no time during the day not taken up with course-related activities, it’s early mornings (!) again for me this year. I love my position as Resident Director (this is my fourth year!), but it isn’t always easy to be away from my research for a whole month. So coffee and 5am it is!
For many students, one of the initial challenges will be the lack of Internet we have in Trim. We do have access at the main hotel related to the ‘holiday homes’ we stay in, but some considerable effort is required to access it, and after a long day of hard work, many students prefer a quick email check and then an evening chatting, knitting, playing Cards Against Humanity (without me…) or Werewolf (with me…). I have a book of Irish Ghost Stories this year, as our academic program will focus on folklore and storytelling. Past students have all survived — and many (most?) have even remarked that it was good to unplug for a month.
This will be the first year that I do this alone — without the stress relief of accompanying family — so it will be a different experience for me! Being an RD is an intense 24/7 experience, in my case for a month, so here is hoping for a calm but engaged group. I’ve been very lucky with my past three classes, so these sixteen have three hard acts to follow!
For now, I am anxious to get all safely to Trim and to see their reactions to the amazing medieval ruins in Trim, the beautiful banks of the Boyne, and even to the great housing we are lucky to have. We won’t be at site for a week, with travel in the Boyne Valley and then over the weekend in Wexford and Waterford, so that excitement has to wait!