Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wexford Drop Off

 The Drop off is an awesome experience to help us delve into Irish culture and learn to be independent. We've had two others during the semester, but the one that will be covered here was the longest and best one we've had. It was three days long! Thursday morning at 7:30 am we loaded into the Bus to head to our destinations ---- At least we thought that is what we were doing...

We got onto the bus and got settled for our long day's ride when Diana stood up and said -- "SURPRISE! The first group is getting off here and going with Koert in a car."

You see the thing is, we had no idea who was in our group or where we were going before we got there. We left or phone and computers in our rooms and had to navigate the next three days without help from the internet.

Well, Diana read off the names of those getting off the bus before it had even left the Coolnagreina driveway. "Meghann, Becca, Lauren, Rylie and Elizabeth." My heart leapt within me. I'd been majorly stressing out over who I'd have as my group. Fortunately, these four girls were the ones I would have hand picked and were the best group I could have asked for.

At any rate, we got out of the bus. I won't mention what I did or didn't do because that was soon put into the past... Koert then surprised us again by telling us to go to the Dart station and catch a train to Wexford, which was our drop off town.

So after that rough and frazzled start and all that went with it, we got to Wexford, tired but ready to begin. Our priority was to find a place to sleep. We walked into the first B&B we found. It was nice and a good price, so we dropped our backpack and headed out into the town.

Meghann, Rylie, and Lauren in their room

Becca in our room.

We could see a castle from our bedroom's window!

Hurling statue

Old Abbey

The Town Wall

The only remaining gate in the Wexford town wall.
 These two windows are two different styles of architecture. The builder changed styles in between them to switch from the old Roman style to the new gothic style which was in fashion and the time.

Walking the road of history.

Lots of stunning old churches.

Franciscan Friary
 There were just so many historical sites in Wexford. It is steeped in history. Wexford was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century, the stone walls and buildings were later built by the Normans, and When Cromwell invaded (He was the Englishman who wiped out have of the indigenous Irish and pushed then west across the River Shannon.) Wexford was the second place that he conquered.

St. Patrick's Church, below, was where many of Cromwell's men were buried.
St. Patrick's Church
 Wexford is also a harbor town, so we saw a blue heron there.
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 John Barry was a Wexford man who went to America. He was the first captain of the American navy during the Revolution and was good friends with George Washington. When JFK was visiting Ireland, he came to this statue to lay a wreath in his memory.

The Harbour

The City Hall
 Wexford also played a major war in the 1798 Rebellion. America has always played a huge role in Irish history and the fact that America rebelled against England inspired Ireland to try again. This Irish rebellion was brought on by the American and French revolution. It was the biggest rebellion and the bloodiest. Over 30,000 people were mobilized. There were lots of towns throughout Ireland that sparked up in a rebellion that year but most of them were stamped out in a matter of days.

Wexford, however, was a different story. Wexford held out for over three weeks. It was quite a feat for the Irish against the far superior English army. They even held their own parliament building during that time. The building now holds a Penney's clothing store.  The Irish even enlisted the French army, and thousands of French soldiers sailed to Wexford to help with the rebellion. Unfortunately, the weather was against them, and the ships were unable to land. Therefore the British got lucky. They knew that they came, literally a stone's throw, from losing Ireland, so they unleashed a reign of terror and crushed out the majority of the rebellion.
A statue commemorating the 1798 Rebellion

The super fancy library
 That night we went to a local pub to hear some live music.
  And the next day, we continued our quest for learning the history.
We visited more churches
 Found out that Wexford is very musically oriented.
 And saw this building, which is where the Wexford sailors would sharpen their knives before going out to sea.
 Explored "underground" passageways which were streets that the Vikings made.
 When across the bridge and looked on the twin spires of Wexford. These two churches are identical twins.
 We also saw and Chicken and a Cow walking down the streets...
 But finally our time came to an end and we had to get on the train back to Greystones.

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