Taking Students to Dublin and Playing Irish Sports to Combat Jet Lag

On July 10, we were ready to head to Dublin, the first stop on a trip that would take us to Wales, through the Lake District, to Edinburgh, York, and, finally, London. 

But before we reached Dublin…

Ahhhh… Scenic Charlotte. We see all of the most exotic places.

After a quick and late lunch, we got on the flight to Dublin without issue.

In fact, the flight wasn’t full, leading to our travelers shuffling seats prior to the flight in a kind of air travel Tetris. During the flight, it meant that some of us had extra space. 

Look at all this room for activities!

The only hiccup in the flight was the lengthy reboot of the plane’s media system. 

This once again proves the old adage, “A watched media system never reboots.”

Finally, the touch screens did get going, facing travelers with the difficult choice of the watching free movies or sleeping for three hours. By midnight EST, we were approaching Ireland. 

At about 6am Dublin time, which would be 1am in Virginia, we landed, made our way through customs, and took the bus to the hotel. 

The hotel is about a mile from the very center of the city, and the plan was to walk there to help everyone wake up. 

Also helping people wake up – the rain.

At this point, the group split up, and about half of us went to see the Trinity Library. The Book of Kells is there, a ninth century illuminated text of the Gospels, which was the main attraction.  That, of course, makes it very popular, and feats of strength and daring were needed to shoulder through crowds to see it. Having accomplished this, we headed to the library, which is very famous in its own right. 

The library houses a priceless collection of books, and, more importantly, Harry Potter library scenes from the movies were filmed there.

In addition, Trinity officials claimed that Lucas based the Jedi Academy on the Long Room. 

All of this makes it the perfect place for…

After the Trinity visit, we were off to the National Museum of Archeology. The museum has a variety of Viking artifacts, but the most striking part of the collection came from the Irish bogs. It seems that the bogs can trap organic tissue and shield it from oxygen, preventing decomposition. Some human bodies had been found in the bogs. 

Note – some inflation may be required.

Following our exploration of partially preserved bog people, the group separated to grab lunch and shop in the city center. Then it was time for our trip to Gaelic Games. Physical activity was clearly needed to overcome the jet lag.

Upon arriving, we were given a brief explanation of what Gaelic Games were. The games are played by amateur athletes who participate in teams organized by communities; there are no free agents or players moving from one team to another. The Gaelic Games are so important to Ireland that, historically, they were used to protest English rule and represent Irish culture in international forums. So, obviously, the next step in the proud history of the games was for them to be butchered by jet-lagged Americans. 

We started with a version of hand ball, which was a good choice because it was inside, and not on the still-damp fields, and required the least amount of running. 

You mean I can stand right here and hit the ball? Awesome.


A short time later, we completed the training regimen and started the games.

The video below is just a short clip of the model of skill and Irish culture that we will be submitting to the Gaelic Athletic Association soon. 

The next game that was up was that quintessential Irish sport: hurling.

It’s not clear whether all hurlers wear helmets or if the Gaelic Games staff saw a need after watching our handball performance.

Since our hurling experience involved both running and attempts to manipulate a ball with a stick with varying degrees of success, this sport REALLY broke us out of jet lag. There was jumping…

Vicious body-checking…

Getting revenge on teachers…

And swarm-ball reminiscent of a soccer league for 6-year-olds. 

While hurling was the most difficult of the Gaelic Games, the group seemed to have the most fun doing it. 

Last up was Irish football, a cross between volleyball, rugby, and soccer. 

Once again, we perfected some skills before we started the game. 

Somehow, multiple goals were scored. Having lived up to the Gaelic Games’ ideal of ameturism, we returned back to the hotel for some victory pie. 

Next up – Dublin: Day Two. A tour of the city, Irish dancing, and more. 

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