| For Whom the Bell Tolls
Woke up at 8 am from an alarm that went of somewhere in the room, and since it didn’t belong to anyone present, no one turned it of until we hade fully woken up. Later, it turned out that it belonged to Anna who hade forgotten it in Emma’s bag. The other Swedish girls and I started chatting and woke up the German girls. Luckily, Lina and I am not staying in the same cottages as them so they can’t get back at us.
The breakfast contained of bread and jam, and my Swedish friends and I didn’t feel quite satisfied since we are used to something more substantial.
We hurried out to explore some parts of the city, but we all wanted to see different things so we split up into smaller groups. Anna, Lina and I wanted to see some buildings and maybe a bit of the culture so we started walking along the river Liffey. Unfortunately we didn’t have that much time, but on the way back to Sweden we will stay for a whole day so we are hoping to see more then.
On the train ride the whole gang hade a cart to our self, which was nice, especially for the other passengers, since we made so much noise.
Stuffed with good Irish food we are now going to bed, exhausted from all the traveling, but looking forward to the coming week.
The Digital Train Carriage
From Dublin to Westport on the Train
I wonder what the other passengers thought we were doing. There we were with all those laptop computers, digital cameras, card readers and dozens of cables connecting digital devices from one side of the aisle to the other on the train from Dublin to Westport, but let me start at the beginning:
Platform 6. All 29 of us (we are nearly complete now) have arrived in time from the hostel and fortunately the ride from the hostel to Heuston Train Station was not very long with all of us crammed into mini vans with our oversize luggage.
Boarding the train was easy as Pat Shrimpton had expertly managed to reserve a whole carriage for us at the head of the train, right next to the luggage carriage.
The train has not left the station yet but the “workshop distribution team”, Pat, Lili, Andrea and Daniela have already opened laptop computers and folders and are busy juggling with workshops and names. Good thing Daniela is student of logistics – the distribution is not an easy task!
Train leaves on time. Our carriage has by now been successfully transformed into an online moving office space. Other passengers look in to find a seat but the worrying number of cables and the high pitch of voices predictably scares them off.
The skies have been blue since the early morning – the sun is shining onto the screens of our laptops – we wonder whether we really are in Ireland?
The workshop distribution team have finished their “juggling exercise” and announce the results to the participants. Good job, most of the participants got their first preference and we seem to have a bunch of very competent workshop leaders:
Anke Rosenmueller - Emmigration from Europe;
Johanna Widholm - Deserted Village;
Guido Henseler - International E-Business;
Alexander Gogoll - Intercultural Travelogue;
Emma Zander - Writing Workshop;
Andrea Hinsberger - Europe goes to school;
Lili Wilson - Describing a European Landscape;
Karsten Kneese - Instrumental Workshop;
Arnold Schenk-Digital Online.
The distribution of rooms in the cottages is announced. It is felt that it is best to mix nationalities in the cottages but not in the rooms.
At Ballihaunis Station, we get the first real rain by the bucketfull – the long-awaited Irish baptism at last!
Westport Station. The end of a very pleasant train journey through beautiful winter landscapes. We are all rather tired but the cold temperatures outside and the gale force winds manage to wake us up in minutes on the platform. Fortunately, Michael Lavell is already waiting for us with the two coaches. Lots of room and another pleasant trip through the coutntryside and finally, we are on Achill.
Sean Cannon and his family receive the group outside the cottages
Ar ais arís - We are back!
Recruiting Irish Workshop Participants
The night was really cold and stormy - we could hardly walk fighting against the strength of the wind. Also we felt really tired because of the long trip from our different countries. Nevertheless, after having a great dinner at the Achill Cliff House, three of us felt strong enough to get in touch for the first time to the Achill people. And where can you better meet them on a Saturday evening, than in the local pub? So we quickly found out where it was and going there turned out to be a really good decision as we met really interesting people which we tried to involve in the ongoing workshops.
Some of the people we met: There was the local Surfer, who told me about his experiences of wave riding in Spain and the problems he had when the Spanish guys would not let him "steal" their waves. He thought a spanish surfer would be warmly welcomed when he wanted to catch some Achill waves. Or the Gaelic teacher, with whom I discussed the importance of the European citizens keeping our own identities as well as using our own languages. We agreed on the importance of keeping our differences to maintain Europe as heterogeneous as it is. As you really get in touch very easily with these friendly people, there were some more short and pleasant talks I had with people there. One sentence that we heard more than once when we told them where we came from was "You are very welcome here", strongly emphasizing the word "very". That really makes you feel comfortable.
The absolute highlight of the night was a pool billiard game called "Killer" which some guys organized short time before the pub was going to close (we guessed it was a trick to avoid the pub from closing. As long as the game was going on, the pub stayed opened). The amazing thing was that almost all of the people at the pub took part in the game and we felt really integrated in a sort of big family that first night, just a few hours after arriving on Achill.
Alexander zur Linden
Start | Achill finale