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Insights from the West of Ireland

By | November 21, 2014

Although we were mostly strangers a week ago, we’ve already formed bonds of friendship through this experience of being together in Ireland.  Having thoughtful and experienced professionals handling the details of food, shelter and itinerary frees us to soak up this experience thoroughly and our conversations range broadly, as they can when day-to-day concerns are lifted from our shoulders.  Someone comments as we leave the Seven Churches that the best stories are often about journeys:  from Gilgamesh to the Odyssey and from Chaucer to Tolkien.  The conversation turns to Irish literature, and we talk about The Pursuit of Gruaidh Ghriansholus in which Cúchulainn sails to the Mediterranean to rescue a damsel in distress.  He succeeds, of course, and then returns home to Ireland with stories to tell to friends and family.  In a little over a week, like Cúchulainn we too will return to friends and family.  And we’ll regale them with tales of our adventures here and share the knowledge that we’ve gained not only of Ireland in its past and present, but also of each other and ourselves.


For more on our Emerald Isle tour, click here!

The west coast of Inishmore. Photo by Cassandra Hannahs, 2014. Reproduced here with permission

Emerald Isle Ireland

Cassandra Hannahs

With a Ph.D. in medieval history, Cassandra Hannahs spent most of her academic career at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she was a tenured professor of history. At Middlebury, Cassandra regularly taught courses on Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Norman Studies, as well as more general courses on the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the history of Christianity. In her research and lectures, Cassandra explores the cultural and political exchanges that have historically linked Ireland, Scotland, England, and Europe. As Study Leader for the Smithsonian since 2000, she enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of the British Isles and Ireland with travelers on land and sea.

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