Sunday, May 27
by Sophie Kopf, sophomore alto
Goodbye to Sunday! I can't believe that we're almost finished with this wonderful adventure of ours. We've waited for this trip all year and now it's gone in the blink of an eye. It feels like we just flew into London yesterday, and already we're on our second to last night! But what an adventure this has been!
As usual, breakfast was delicious, with scones, tea, and toast. We even got to do some singing! Some of the waitstaff wasn't able to make it to our concert last night, so we sang “Shenandoah” for them. They seemed incredibly appreciative of our song and that we were singing specifically for them. It always feels great to share music with people outside of our concert settings.
We were granted another unusually beautiful day here in Ireland, although it did cool off JUST a little. The Drake Choir is going to have an incredibly unrealistic view of Ireland when we return - where's the rain we were promised? Not that any of us are complaining, of course. The warm weather is an absolute blessing, and makes traveling and sight-seeing a whole lot more enjoyable. Although, if I can admit, I am a little sad about not being able to use the pretty little umbrella I bought especially for this trip. What a shame!
We really have been all over Ireland in just a few short days. I can't even list all the counties we've toured, but I think it's somewhere around six. With each county I'm more in awe of this beautiful country. It's green and lush and - I'm sure you've heard all about it in the previous blogs!! Even now I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is real.
We stopped for our morning coffee break in Adare this morning - which, of course, makes us all feel a bit like Hobbits since it's technically second breakfast for us all and we get a snack for later. Adare is such a cute little town (it won the “Tidiest Town” award in 2007) with a geneology tracker that a lot of DC members took advantage of. Some even came out with a little plaque with their family crests on it! It was very exciting to see that so many of our members have Irish heritage.
I still can't believe how narrow the roads are here. It's not so bad in bigger cities, but when you get out on country roads and in smaller towns, our buses can barely get through! I always feel as though we're going to smash a car next to us as we're driving along, but our amazing bus drivers always pull through for us. We'll have to remember to give them our profuse thanks when this trip is over.
Our second stop of the day was to the Cliffs of Moher, which I'm sure you know is the place to visit while you're in Ireland. It's absolutely spectacular. We got incredibly lucky with our clear, sunny day, because it meant we could clearly see the cliffs and the ocean spreading out for miles beyond. Drake Choir spent about an hour exploring the Cliffs and climbing up the large slopes to stand near the edge of the walls. It was an incredible stop! What was even more incredible was that our choir president, Sarah Bannon, has an uncle that contacted one of his friends that lives here in Ireland - near the Cliffs, to be exact! Marquita wanted to have us for tea, but we didn't think she could fit 74 of us in her living room. So she met us on the Cliffs, and we sang “Shenandoah” and “My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord for her. She looked so grateful that we were singing, happy to hear American songs sung by Americans. And on that note, it was absolutely wonderful to bring her and the others standing around the joy of music. It made the day even more special.
Our third stop was to the Burrens, which are a stretch of land that cover a lot of the seacoast in southwestern Ireland. They are absolutely beautiful - craggy shores that make you really believe that, for a moment, you're in Ireland. They were the kind of thing I've been dying to see all trip, and I finally saw them! Although the rocks are very uneven and slightly shaky, if you walk carefully you can make it to the edge of the rocks, where it slopes down into the sea. You can imagine Drake Choir as we stood there taking our artsy-fartsy photos of ourselves standing on the edge of a cliff or staring pensively out into the ocean.
Dinner and our entertainment for the night were fabulous. If we all thought dinner and dessert was great, then the traditional Irish music and dancing that we witnessed afterwards was even better! We listened to a trio that playe accordian, guitar, and sang, and they regaled us with great reels and jigs - and even taught us a jig, too! I can now say that I have dance an authentic Irish jig with an authentic Irish band. Another check off my bucket list! There were also three traditional Irish dancers that entertained us, and I was in awe of their fast feet and concentration. They looked genuinely please to be there performing for us, and we were all completely happy, of course. I mean, it's Irish music and dancing! You can't get much better than that, I think.
This day has been one that will stay with my forever. Standing on those Cliffs and in the Burren made me realize just how precious this trip has been. I got to spend two weeks of my life in Ireland and Wales, and not many people can say they've done that the week after they've turned twenty. The pictures will be ruined, and I might forget the details, but the beauty will stay with me forever.
We're looking forward to our last concert tomorrow night, and I think I can speak for the whole choir when I say we can't wait to see you all and tell you about our adventures!
TWO photo links:The Cliffs of Moher 34 photos
The Burren 20 photos