This past week I was lucky enough to have my dad and his girlfriend Amy fly all the way from Cleveland, Ohio to Ireland. My dad’s grandfather immigrated from Ireland to the US, so he has always wanted to visit Ireland, so with me being here for the year offered him the perfect opportunity to do so. As soon as they arrived, I showed them around Maynooth’s campus and explained what a typical day looks like for me. We then took a quick train ride into Dublin for the day where we visited the Jameson Distillery, Trinity College, and Grafton Street. Maynooth truly is in the best location because it encompasses a small town feel, while also being incredibly accessible to the largest city in Ireland.
We spent the majority of the weekend in Portlaoise, which is where my basketball club is based out of. We had two games that weekend, one versus the Waterford Wildcats and the other versus Liffey Celtics. Playing Waterford was particularly meaningful for me because Meghan Donohue (another Victory Scholar) plays on that team, and not only are we both from Cleveland, but we played together for AAU, played against each other in high school, and played against each other in college, so needless to say it was a great experience seeing Meghan again on the court. The weekend was full of basketball, which was great because my dad got to see me play again and meet all of the people in Portlaoise who have made me feel at home. We were all set to go to Galway that Monday and do a boat tour at the Cliffs of Moher, when Ophelia got in the way…
Ophelia was the hurricane that hit Ireland this past week and significantly affected the western and southern parts of Ireland. Ireland hasn’t seen a hurricane in over fifty years, so although the dreadful weather was poor timing, we made the most of our trip. We figured that it wasn’t the best idea to be dangling off the Cliffs of Moher or in the water during the hurricane, so we cancelled our trip to Galway and went to Kilkenny instead. Although most shops and venues were closed because of the hurricane, there were still a few pubs open, which was great because we met so many people who were telling us all about their experience in Ireland. The next day we toured the Kilkenny Castle and learned about the history of the Butler family.
After Tuesday we parted ways because I had to go back to Portlaoise for practice, but my dad and Amy went to Killarney. Killarney looked absolutely beautiful and they were also able to travel to Dingle as well. We met up again before he left Friday morning, and although I was so sad for him to leave, I felt incredibly lucky that him and Amy traveled all the way to see me, the place where I live, and meet the people who have been so welcoming to me while I have been in Ireland.