Tuesday, May 22
by Gabe Early, senior tenor
We left from Chester, England this morning and set out for the coast. The drive was quiet because it was quite early, but I stayed up because I wanted to see the sights. As we approached the shore, I saw giant wind turbines in the distance. It wasn’t until we got a lot closer that I realized they were actually out in the ocean. Eventually we arrived at the port in Holyhead, Wales. We were quite early for the ferry so we waited aboard the ship for around forty minutes. Even in the port, I still didn’t grasp how big the ocean was though.
It wasn’t until we left Holyhead and were out of view of Wales that I understood how vast water could truly be. In one of our songs, the poet talks about a wanderlust that he shares with his people that calls him to travel across the sea for a chance at a better life. I can’t imagine what sort of thoughts have to run through your mind before you would leave your homeland and set out to sea in a direction with no visible destination on the horizon. To think that Peder Nerland came to the U.S.A from Norway is almost unbelievable now, having made only a short trip over the Irish Sea.
Once we landed in Dublin, we loaded up the new coaches and set out for our hotel. Dublin is an interesting city. It is much more urban than any place we stayed so far. Another surprising difference is the large number of palm trees around the city. By first impression, Dublin was not what I expected. We left our hotel for Trinity College this afternoon and were quite excited to see the Book of Kells (the ancient Irish counterpart to the St. John’s Bible which we saw in Minnesota) and the historic Long Room Library. We concluded the day with a wonderful concert in the Trinity College chapel with the Goethe Institute choir. The audience was very warm and welcoming and also quite excited to hear us. I’m not sure if there’s a difference between Irish smiles and Welsh, English, or American ones, but I found myself grinning back at the audience a lot more than ever tonight.
Following the concert we walked over to a pub with the choir from the Goethe Institute and shared stores and favorite songs. My wife and I were lucky enough to meet a couple that really wanted to see us try Guinness for the first time. We both did our best to finish the pints, but we eventually called in some friends for help.
Overall, my first impression of Ireland has been surprising. I didn’t really know what to expect from the audiences in our Irish debut, but their exceptionally warm welcome and excitement took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to draw the attention of the whole campus as we waited outside in our tuxedos for a over an hour before the concert, and I definitely wasn’t expecting to see so many palm trees! I’m excited to see what else is in store for us in this wonderful city and this fantastic nation!
Here are two links to MORE photos from Monday AND the photos from Tuesday, May 22nd: