Blogs: Suzanne Lesher

Monday, March 10, 2014

Our third official day in Ireland began with an incredible breakfast at the hotel. I decided to try anything I was unfamiliar with so i can experience all I can while here. Unbeknownst to me, black and white pudding, a traditional Irish breakfast item, contains pigs blood. I can honestly say that was one experience I did not dislike, but probably won't be indulging in again!

After breakfast, we met with a representative from Connect Ireland, a networking company designed to bringing businesses and jobs to Ireland and connecting them internationally. The brief presentation was informative and encouraged us to consider doing business in Ireland if ever given the opportunity. If you were to recommend a business to Connect Ireland, you become a "connector" and are eligible to receive a reward from the Irish government for your recommendation and connection! With this in mind, we can use this idea as a creative way to encourage new students to join the Sheetz Fellows for next year.

The same morning, we visited the Kilkenny Design Centre to learn about the history and art that is created and sold in the shops below. The old structures are so beautiful, it was hard to believe the buildings were in complete shambles until the late 1960s, which is when the refurbishment of the Kilkenny Castle and the Design Centre began. Ever since, the tourism industry and the local economy began to boom.

After the tour, we had time to go wander Kilkenny before we had to load up the bus and head to Dublin. We went through the shops and got some souvenirs for our families. I decided to buy some post cards and mail them home to some loved ones. Finding the Post Office was a challenge, and a couple of us ended up getting lost on the way back to the bus. However the back streets and alleys were full of more small businesses and loads of people walking around and enjoying the beautiful weather. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer to take in the beauty of Kilkenny some more.

We met Mark and the bus outside of Kilkenny Castle and went off to Dublin. The hour and a half long bus ride was a mix of sleeping people and group singing of The Spice Girls, Queen, Billy Joel and other American favorites of Marks. His commentary throughout this little fiasco was hilarious and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves while enjoying the breathtaking scenery by the motorways.

Once in Dublin, we went to Intel Ireland to learn about the business and how they have grown and is growing in the past 30 years. Our presenter gave us a quotation to help put into perspective how drastically this technology has grown. "if the automobile industry had advanced as rapidly as the semiconductor industry, we'd all be driving Rolls Royce. It would be half a mile per gallon and it would be cheaper to throw away than to park." -Craig Barrett.

After the tour, Mark gave us a short driving tour of the city and pointed out some nice places to go with some historical mentions of the older buildings. The city is beautiful and even more busy than Kilkenny! The rest of the night was exploring the city and enjoying each others company.