February 2nd, 2015
I went for an 8 mile run this morning before our second day trip into Derry and I was stopped by several people who were horrified I was running in the snow. On the way to Derry we stopped at St. Aengus Church on the way there; it was modeled after a ring fort up the hill. The whole structure is a circle, with stunning stained glass lining the entire thing. When we walked inside, Tony started to sing Amazing Grace and we all joined in. The acoustics were awesome and rang throughout the whole church. At the center of the ceiling above the altar, the ceiling had curved up into a tunnel that let in natural light. After everyone had left to head back for the bus, I stayed behind and sang Amazing Grace by myself. I felt at peace and I felt like crying. I could feel my Grandma Theresa with me.
We then went into a fancy hotel and Tony bought us all fresh tea and scones before the long day in Derry. The scones were hot and fresh, and came with homemade whipped cream, butter, and strawberry jam. I was feeling really tired from my run this morning, and this was a perfect pick-me-up.
When we arrived in Derry we were given some free time before we met up with John Guthrey. Anne, Claire and I found an adorable cafe called The Scullery and we bought a soup and salad combo for six pounds. I had a delicious potato soup paired with a toasted BLT (HEAVEN). We wandered around Waterloo street and looked in all the consignment shops (I found a cute cocktail dress for four pounds!)
We then went as a group to the Playhouse Theatre to meet Pauline Ross, the Director of Operations. We watched a short film documenting their most recent project (Theatre Witness), where people from all sides of the Northern Ireland conflict come together to share their story on a theatrical stage. For some of these people, they had never shared their story before, so Pauline talked about how this project was a healing process for them.
We were then given a tour of the facility, and I got the chance to speak to Pauline on my own. As a theatre and business major, this was particularly interesting for me. We talked for a while about how theatre can make an impact on society, and how it is important to use theatre as a means of communicating important perspectives. It was truly inspiring visiting the theatre; talking with Pauline about her story of bringing the Playhouse Theatre to be successful made me feel like I am on the right path with what I want to do after graduation.
We headed back to the Inch House for our final night in the North. We were treated to a performance by a darling girl named Molly, who played the harp for us, sang some Irish songs in Gaelic, and taught us some basic Irish dance steps (it was hilarious to watch). When we walked into the kitchen for dinner, the table had been covered with a white table-cloth, lit candles, and bottles of wine. We were served Guinness stew with mashed potatoes and homemade apple pie for dessert (I was very happy).
We all went around the table and each said our “thorn and rose of the week”, getting teary eyed and sentimental as we shared what impacted us the most on this trip. Darling Courtney sadly lost her grandfather a few days ago (and his funeral was today), and she held back her tears as she talked about how she has been struggling for the past few days. We all raised our glasses to her grandfather, we could feel him with us. Another student, Josh, had a sister who passed away before semester started and she had requested her ashes be spread at Dunluce castle. We raised our glasses again, and she was with us too.
Tomorrow we head back to Tully Cross, and strangely, we miss so much about it. We didn’t think we would miss it, but we did. This was our first trip away from Tully Cross and we can’t wait to be back home.