September 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized
Ironically enough, the first friend that Boonie and I have made since arriving in Waterford, Ireland is not Irish, but Croatian. Her name is Stanka, and even though she says it is an old person’s name in Croatia and she could have pretended to be a Sarah since we wouldn’t know better, she decided to tell us the truth when we met. I’m glad she did, because Stanka is much more fun to say than Sarah (no offense to any Sarahs out there). She told me the proper way to pronounce it, with an elongated “a” sound, like this, “Staaanka.” Now just imagine that name in a Croatian accent, and you won’t be able to stop saying it all day.
Boonie and I met Stanka due to the fact that we are all three getting our Master’s degrees through the Business School at Waterford Institute of Technology. She proved to be a great friend to have, not just because of her bubbly personality or genuinely kind nature, but also because she knows how to use the bus system very well. So, when the three of us realized that we all wanted to find an exciting place to watch the All Ireland Hurling Final on Sunday, Stanka was one who suggested that we go to Kilkenny. The Kilkenny Cats would be facing Galway in the championship, so we thought there would be no better place to watch the game than in Kilkenny itself.
We took the bus to Kilkenny early on Sunday so that we could have a chance to explore a bit before the match. After just a few random turns, we stumbled on a castle—something that just doesn’t happen everyday. Kilkenny Castle, as it was called, was a magnificent work of architecture. We explored every angle of it, amazed by the grandeur of it all.
Eventually we tore ourselves away to check out the rest of Kilkenny. The streets were lined with old buildings all connected to one another, giving the town a quaint, cozy feel. Many of the buildings sported Kilkenny Cat jerseys or signs wishing the team “Good Luck” in the upcoming match. As I walked along the picturesque streets of Kilkenny, I experienced a moment of deep appreciation for the fact that I was there. I could not believe that I had gotten so lucky. To be able to come all the way from a small town in Ohio to Ireland, where I could explore an entire new world, was—and is—incredible to me. At that moment I realized just how grateful I am for this opportunity, and I silently vowed to always make the most of it.
The girls and I had gotten so caught up in our explorations that the hurling match snuck up on us. We quickly walked to a cute little pub to watch the game, where, despite the small space, the atmosphere was amazing. Kilkenny Cats fans of all ages packed into the pub, wearing black and yellow striped Kilkenny jerseys. They jeered loudly as the Cats scored and complained raucously when they felt that Galway had gotten away with a foul on one of their players. As I watched the hurling for the first time, I was confused about what exactly was a foul and what wasn’t; it is an extremely rough game! Players would push and shove each other when the ball wasn’t even in play, and multiple fights had to be broken up on the field. With such a highly charged sport, it is no wonder that when the Kilkenny Cats won, the pub erupted in cheers and the cars passing by honked endlessly outside.
All in all, my experience in Kilkenny was an unforgettable one. The best part is, it was only the first adventure of many more yet to come.
Victory Scholar: Katie Fox
Present University: Waterford IT
US League: NEC
Club/Community Partner: Waterford Wildcats
Alma Mater: St. Francis College
Sponsored by: Teamwear Ireland