From Derry to Westport, and all the places in between!

Today was primarily a travel day. We hopped on the bus early morning towards Westport, which is where we are as I type. We made a few pit stops along the way that were very enjoyable. And most importantly, we played our final chamber music concert tonight at our hotel, the CastleCourt Hotel, which is beautiful and in my opinion is our nicest hotel so far.

We made 3 pit stops along the way:

1. Donegal! We were released from the coach for about an hour to explore the quaint little square of shopping places, coffee shops, and restaurants. It was yet another excellent opportunity to buy more gifts and try some local snacks.

2. We also stopped at the grave of famous Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, in Drumcliffe, Ireland. The graveyard is located next to a little church with swan doorhandles, which are in reference to one of his poems.

3. We then drove to Sligo, a quaint beachy-feeling town for lunch. Some of us had Irish food, others had Italian, and beyond.

After our pit stops, we arrived at our 3rd hotel on the tour (out of 4) called CastleCourt Hotel in Westport. We then had a chance to have a few hours of free time. We then had dinner, at in my opinion, the best restaurant we have eaten at yet. A few of us have dietary restrictions (myself included) and the hotel staff was just so accommodating and friendly. All other foods I heard were delicious also!

After the hotel, we had our 2nd and final chamber music concert, which was a total success. All the groups played wonderfully.

Here are some photos from the day:

IMG_2770 DSC_0687 DSC_0686 DSC_0683 DSC_0677 DSC_0675 DSC_0674 DSC_0671 DSC_0664 DSC_0660 DSC_0651 DSC_0647 DSC_0646 DSC_0643 DSC_0642 DSC_0632 DSC_0631 DSC_0628 DSC_0625 DSC_0623 DSC_0620 DSC_0619 DSC_0617 DSC_0615 DSC_0612 DSC_0609 DSC_0607 DSC_0604 DSC_0602 DSC_0601 DSC_0598 DSC_0588 DSC_0583 DSC_0582 DSC_0579 DSC_0565 DSC_0563 DSC_0562 IMG_2823 IMG_2822 IMG_2821 IMG_2820 IMG_2819 IMG_2818 IMG_2817 IMG_2816 IMG_2815 IMG_2814 IMG_2812 IMG_2811 IMG_2776 IMG_2774 IMG_2772

Now, a few words from some of our students!

Ben Webster, 17 years old from Wrentham
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
My favorite part of the tour has been getting the opportunity to explore the towns we’ve been staying in. Tonight when we were walking around we met the nicest people and it was great talk with them.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to seeing the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve only seen them in pictures and they look amazing.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
It stood out to me how friendly people are. They always seem interested in where we are from and what we’re doing in Ireland.

Meg Dooley, 17 years from Holliston, MA

What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Watching an Irish step dancing performance and then learning to do it ourselves– it was so fun and exciting!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Meeting people tomorrow that are other musicians our age, just from a different culture and also going to Limerick where Antoinette tells me my family is from.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
All the people are so hospitable and friendly and just willing to spend time with other people and get to know them! Also the portion sizes are so much nicer and manageable and it makes me very happy :)

Erin Mernoff, Chaperone, Older sister of trumpet player Kayla Mernoff and Music Teacher at Taylor Exemplar Academy in Taylor, MI
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed learning the Ceili dance at the Jig Museum and getting to hear traditional Irish music played on the Uilleann pipes!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I am looking forward to hearing MYWE and the Mayo Youth Orchestra perform together!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I had known of the Troubles, but did not know the severity of the violence and similarities to the American Civil Rights Movement.

Matan Silver, 17 years old from Lexington, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I really enjoyed the quality time I spent with the other MYWE members on the plane and long bus rides!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful Irish countryside and learning more about the rich culture here.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I was very impressed by the large influence that Ireland has had on other countries. We learned that there are Irish people all over the world (including japan!).

Jungwan Kim, 17 years old from Lexington, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed playing at the Derry Playhouse. The Irish girls that we met earlier came to see us, which was really nice.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to the joint rehearsal and performance tomorrow!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
Everyone is really nice and friendly here.

Chris Rohlicek, 16 years old from Watertown, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The bus rides. Brian is the man.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Joint concert with the Irish!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
The fact that there are almost exclusively middle-eastern restaurants in all of Ireland.

Lena Huh, 17 years old from Sharon, MA 
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
My favorite part of the tour was exploring and walking on the walls of Derry. The walls were high enough to allow us to see a great view of the town and the green fields.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to learning more about the other players in MYWE as well as playing with the MAYO Youth Orchestra.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I found it very interesting that the history of Ireland is very old and much more complicated than I had realized.

Kayla Mernoff, 15 years old from Longmeadow, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Getting a chance to walk around all of the different areas and see all of the different shops and restaurants.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
The joint Mayo rehearsal and concert and getting to meet musicians from Ireland.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
They say take away instead of take out, it’s really cute!

Julia Fritz-Endres, 17 years old from Carlisle, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed playing outside in St. Stephen’s Green. It was great to see people walk by and stop to listen to us. I have never performed outside before, and it added a whole new element.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I am excited to go to the workshop and play with the MAYO orchestra. We haven’t been able to interact with any Irish musicians yet and I think that it will be a memorable experience.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
People here seem to be more laid-back. They take their time and aren’t always rushing from place to place. I think that we (New Englanders) can learn from that.

Diana McLaughlin, 18 years old from Pembroke, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The maritime festival in Derry because the fireworks were really pretty and they had a carousel.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Everyone’s saying the joint concert, so something different that I’m looking forward to would be seeing the Cliffs of Moher!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
A lot of things close earlier than stores in the U.S, and they open a lot later (if they open at all) on Sundays

Jill DiMeo, 17 years old from Needham, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Meeting new friends in MYWE and getting to know everyone.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Playing with the Mayo Youth Orchestra and getting to know musicians our age from a different country.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
They put mayonnaise on salads… other than that, the food is surprisingly similar to American food.

-

Tomorrow we play our final concert and spend another night in Westport. More to come!

Yours in Ireland,

Ana

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