Trip Region: Europe
Partners Trek? Yes
Trip Cost: $2375
Airfare Estimate: $900
Nightlife: 5 • Activity: 6
Join us for a journey to the Emerald Isle where we’ll enjoy some scenic landscapes, remarkable historical sites, and of course a few good pubs along the way. It will be a week of good beer, bad jokes, and even worse attempts at Irish dance. We also hear the Pope will be there at the same time, so we’ll see what kind of Irish blessings might be in store!
Travel Day — Saturday, Aug 18
Pat yourselves on the back, Orientation and Impact Challenge are over, and MTrek begins! Meet your up with your fellow Ireland trekkers in Ann Arbor and hop on a flight to Dublin for a week of beer, bad jokes, and even worse attempts at Irish dance. We also hear the Pope is going to be there the same time as us, so we’ll see what kind of Irish blessings might be in store!
Day 1 — Sunday, Aug 19
Welcome to Dublin, the proud capital of the Republic of Ireland! Those that arrive early can spend the afternoon exploring the cobbled streets of the city, dropping into a pub for a pint of Guinness and a yarn, or napping off the jet lag. Dublin has much to offer, so make sure to maximize your time here. Welcome Meeting at hotel starts at 6pm local time. We’ll head to dinner and see what kind of trouble we can get into later!
Day 2 — Monday, Aug 20
In Ireland, pubs open at 10 a.m., so we’ll embrace the “it’s never too early to drink” mantra by spending the morning touring the famous Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and discovering the story behind its worldwide success. At the end of the tour we’ll share a pint of the most famous beer of Ireland while taking in scenes of the city from the brewery’s rooftop bar. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own. We may do some hiking or take in other famous sites around the city.
Day 3 — Tuesday, Aug 21
We’ll travel by train to Killarney, and spend the afternoon sharing a few pints at a local pub. Pubs are the heartbeat of Ireland, whether you're interested in guzzling beer or simply getting to know more about Irish culture. The Irish take their beer seriously, so this is a great chance to taste a variety of rich 'real ales'. Get to know classic pub fare such as Irish stew, chowders and fish and chips, while also sampling less familiar dishes such as coddle, boxty and champ.
Day 4 — Wednesday, Aug 22
We will wake up to a wonderful Irish breakfast (full disclosure, we don’t know what’s on the menu yet, but it will be in Ireland and therefore technically Irish.) This will provide the fuel we will need for what will be a whirlwind tour through the gorgeous landscape known as the Ring of Kerry. We will hop in a motor coach and ride through some beautiful rolling hills and quaint Irish villages stopping at several points along the way. One of our stops will be at the Ross Castle where we will get to compare and contrast the quality of the accommodations to our own Ross Castle back in AA. As we make our way back to Killarney, we will continue to take the scenic route and stop at various vistas and overlooks in pursuit of someday being Instagram famous.. By late afternoon we will have arrived back in Killarney, just in-time to enjoy some music and a pint or two and at a local pub.
Day 5 — Thursday, Aug 23
After a busy day of sightseeing, we will take a breather and give ourselves all a free day to explore Killarney or the Killarney National Park, and take in all that it has to offer. This is your day to follow the Irish spirit wherever it might take you. Go on a hike or head back to your favorite pub, camp out, and try to get to know some locals.
Day 6 — Friday, Aug 24
We’ll say a fond farewell to Killarney and make our way north to the coastal town of Galway. On the way we will stop at the village of Adare, which according to Wikipedia is “renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns”. I guess we’ll get to see for ourselves. Then we’ll stop at the Cliffs of Moher and get a glimpse of some awesome, sweeping views of the Western Irish coastline. If you are especially daring, you can walk the edge of the cliffs and try to get a peak at puffins nesting along the cliff face (though they may be slightly out of season). We will eventually make our way to Galway where we’ll start by orienting ourselves around a few of the historic site like the famous Galway Cathedral.
Day 7 — Saturday, Aug 25
Rise and shine! We have a fun day-trip planned to Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, where we’ll have perhaps our most authentic Irish experience. The island has been crafted by centuries of blowing winds and smashing waves and is one few remaining places where the Irish Gaelic language is still spoken on a daily basis. After arriving at the island, we will travel by bike (weather permitting) to explore the ruins of ancient churches and remains of Bronze and Iron Age fortresses. We’ll complete the day by heading back to Galway for dinner and to take in the true spirit of Ireland by finding a live performance in one of Galway’s famous pubs.
Day 8 — Sunday, Aug 26
Journey by train back to Dublin where we’ll enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the city, enjoying our last few pints of Guinness in Temple Bar, checking out the shops on Grafton Street or exploring Trinity College. We’ll finish the day with a farewell dinner - but not to worry, it will be one of many dinners with newfound friends at Ross.
Departure Day — Monday, Aug 27
Unfortunately the last day of our Irish excursion. Enjoy the last few hours in Dublin before packing up and heading back to Ann Arbor for Saturdays at the Bus, football games in the Big House, and enjoying time with new friends and classmates!
Travis and Ashley Bloodgood
The Basics: I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey, I then spent my undergrad career at Villanova (Go Cats!) and the subsequent 6 years living and working in Stamford, CT. I spent a few years working for the Royal Bank of Scotland (unfortunately no travel to Scotland) and then moved on to a real estate investment firm before finding myself in Michigan. My favorite hobbies include playing golf and going skiing, yet I consistently wish I did more of both. The bottom-line that best describes me is that I love spending time with friends and family and I’m always down for a beer!
How would your partner describe you?: The worst, last minute planner on the planet…but in all seriousness, someone who likes to make the most of everything and loves making people laugh.
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Bud Light – Dilly Dilly!
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: The Aran Islands – I can’t wait to go back and I’m so excited to experience it again with all of you!
Would you rather be a Guinness Brewmaster or a world famous Irish Riverdancer?: Guinness Brewmaster – ‘like champagne, only Irish’
The Basics: Originally from Port Chester, NY; we moved to AA from Stamford,CT. I am a Pediatric ICU and Labor & Delivery Nurse. I love cheesy movies, trying new things, doing fun activities, Pilates, meeting new people and, despite my lack of college sports knowledge, I love attending Michigan games (football, basketball, hockey). I’m also super excited to hear some great Irish bands when we’re in Ireland!!
How would your partner describe you?: Likes to do everything, gets serious FOMO, fun, caring, always needs a schedule, good cook.
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Tropical drink with a little umbrella.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Seattle – if you go, I highly recommend catching a fish in Pike Place market!
Joe Dear and Connie Weekley
The Basics: I was born and raised in Royal Oak, MI. Right after high school, I joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in San Diego. I worked in defense and aerospace in SoCal for a few years after that. I’m missing those warm sunny days right about now, but it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine. Connie and I were in Seattle right before moving to Ann Arbor, and we had a great time there too. I’m all about the outdoor stuff, traveling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and tailgating Michigan football games. Go Blue!
How would your partner describe you? Born March 10, 1940, he is an American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter. After serving in the US military he competed as a martial artist who won many championships, and has since founded his own school of fighting, Chun Kuk Do. He can also kill two stones with one bird. (She is always confusing me with Chuck Norris)
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: I’ll tell you where you won’t catch me… Columbus, Ohio. Did you know that everyone there breaths through their mouths? Everyone!
Would you rather be without elbows or without knees? I think it would be too hard to eat without elbows unless I had T-Rex length arms. Besides, I just tried to run with my knees locked out, and I’m super fast. No knees for me!
The Basics: Originally from Portland, OR but spent a lot of time in San Diego, CA and Seattle, Wa. I love the west coast and everything it has to offer! Will spend as much time as possible outdoors… hiking, rock climbing, camping etc.
How would your partner describe you? Good question, let’s ask him together in Ireland!
If you were a drink, what would you be? Whiskey on the rocks
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Catalina Island (50 miles & a ferry ride from LA)
Give me your best Irish joke: Q: Why is it bad to iron a 4 leaf clover? A: You don’t want to press your luck
Would you rather… Fight a horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses? 100 duck sized horses. I would domesticate those cute little horses and have a mini horse farm.
Jeremy and Madeline Shepherd
The Basics: Hailing originally from the suburbs of Chicago and having lived on the Northside of the Windy City for five years before moving to Ann Arbor, I love deep-dish pizza, the Chicago Cubs, and a good old-fashioned polar vortex (ok, not so much that last one). My previous career was in consulting, so if you need tips for getting through an airport efficiently, let me know. I feel like I should have more productive hobbies but too often I find myself spending my free-time watching clips from the Late Show or catching up on sports and political news online.
How would your partner describe you: Sports-obsessed with a secretly sarcastic sense of humor and a tendency to smile too smugly after winning on board game night.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Florence, Italy – the mix of great scenery, food, and culture is hard to beat.
Would you rather… Fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? A horse-sized duck – one adversary would be easier to handle than 100. Plus, those tiny hooves would hurt.
The Basics: Born and bred on the plains of Kansas, I somehow ended up with a passion for city planning and urban policy. After college, Chicago became home and I spent many years fostering a love-hate relationship with deep-dish pizza, crazy Chicago politics, and public transportation. But I never forgot where I came from and celebrate Kansas Day every January 26th. Today I work at Ford Smart Mobility and spend my free time hanging out with our dog Rory, practicing Pilates, and sampling Ann Arbor restaurants.
How would your partner describe you? Indescribable. Uses words like “the built environment”. Plays too much Zelda.
If you were a drink, what would you be? Gin and tonic… classic, reliable, good in large volumes.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: The Southern Gulf Islands west of Vancouver are pretty spectacular.
Give me your best Irish joke: Why can’t you borrow money from a leprechaun? Because they’re always a little short.