The valley of the two lakes. Glendalough is a glacial valley in County Wicklow. Located in the valley is a medieval monastic settlement  founded in the 6th century by a hermit priest, St. Kevin.           





DCU, Guinness and Temple Bar

We spent another day in Dublin, beginning at Dublin City University where we received a tour of the college’s School of Communication and met with a professor of journalism, Dr. Steven Knowlton. There we learned how Irish students are prepared for their careers in journalism and compared and contrasted the differences and similarities of their program to our own. 

After leaving DCU, we were let loose for a quick lunch and some shopping along Dublin’s O’Connell Street, a main shopping district. 

Later that afternoon, we arrived at the Guinness Storehouse. Their, we learned the process the brewery goes through to produce the iconic beer including the four natural ingredients used, the fermenting process and even how the casks were made. Moving up through the storehouse, we entered the tasting room where we began by taking in the aromas of each ingredient individually before moving on to properly taste the beer in a way that gives the drinker the best effect. Following the tasting room we were briefly introduced to the advertising history of the company with their greatest commercials and print ads. Next was the opportunity to attend the Guinness Academy where some of us were properly trained in the art of pouring the legendary drink. If done correctly, there was an honorary “diploma” waiting for you. Last but not least, reaching the top floor of the storehouse we received our pint of the good stuff while taking in a 360 degree view of Dublin. 

Ending the night, we enjoyed dinner and exploring the many different pubs along the cobbled street of Temple Bar.  


Leinster House 

Our second morning in Ireland was spent touring the Irish Parliament. Leinster House is the seat of two of the three Houses of Oireachtas: Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann. The house was built between 1745-1747 by the Earl of Kildare, James Fitzgerald, who set out to create the stateliest Georgian mansion in Dublin. Originally known as Kildare House, the mansion was renamed in 1766 when Fitzgerald became Duke of Leinster. The mansion was sold to the Royal Dublin Society in 1815, who made extensive additions to the building. Most notably known of these additions was the lecture theater, which now serves as the Dáil Chamber. Leinster House was acquired by the Government in 1922. 

Dáil Éireann is the primary legislative body in Ireland consisted of 166 directly elected Teachta Dalaí representing 43 constituencies. Its main functions are to hold the government account, debate important issues of the day, approve the spending of public money and pass new legislation. 
Seanad Éireann is not directly elected and holds much less power. It consists of 60 members: 43 elected by outgoing Teachta Dalaí and Senators, 11 are nominated by the Taoiseach and 6 are elected by graduates of the National University of Ireland and Trinity College. The main functions of Seanad Éireann are to debate, amend and pass legislation. It can delay legislation but never veto it. 
The third body of the Oireachtas is the President of Ireland who serves as head of state and directly elected every seven years. The President is largely a ceremonial role, however does have the power to refer a bill to the Supreme Court.  


Kilruddery Estate 

This evening we had the wonderful opportunity to tour and dine at the house and grounds of the Kilruddery Estate in Bray. The estate covers 800 acres and has been home to sixteen generations of the Brabazon family. The mansion and grounds are still owned and lived in by the family, the 15th Earl and Countess of Meath. The building has been reconstructed several times since being originally built in the 17th century. The home is furnished with traditional Irish furniture and decor, as well as furniture from France, Germany, Italy and more. The main drawing room is entirely French inspired while the overall building is very Victorian Gothic.  


Nap time 

We made it to the hotel and not too soon. Exhausted from the trip we spent much of the day in our rooms resting before a tour of the Kilruddery Estate and dinner this evening.  The Wilton in Bray, County Wicklow, will be our home for the next three days. I’m not sure if it’s the three hours of sleep I’ve gotten in the past thirty-six hours speaking, but the beds are rather comfy!

Good morning Dublin

Let the fun begin. We survived the early morning van to Omaha, the six hour layover in Chicago, and the seven hour red-eye across the Atlantic. In-flight entertainment of free movies and TV kept those of us who couldn’t seem to sleep, occupied. It’s early morning here in Ireland; we have the day to recuperate from the trek. I believe caffeine will be necessary if I plan to be any bit functional. We are waiting for the rest of our group to arrive and then our adventure begins; it’ll soon be time to step foot outside the airport and discover Ireland first hand. But first, let’s find a coffee shop!