On May 29, 2013, the Greeley Chorale boarded flights from Denver to the Emerald Isle...Ireland! Once landing in Dublin, we boarded buses and headed north to Belfast, Northern Ireland. After an evening to rest, we set off the next morning to the northern coast, and the Giant's Causeway, an amazing geological formation. The trip through the countryside was like being in a postcard; Ireland looks just the way it does in movies on TV!
"The trip through the countryside was like being in a postcard. Ireland looks just the way it does in movies on TV!"
Upon our return to Belfast, we did a bus tour of the city, including the sections that were infamous during "The Troubles" in the '70s and '80s. The day concluded with a tour of Stormont Palace, home of the Ireland General Assembly. Following the tour, we were treated to a dinner at the Palace, with the Donaghadee Men's Chorus, a group from a small suburb of Belfast.
Our 2nd day in Belfast included a visit to the Titanic Museum; the famed doomed luxury liner was built in Belfast. That afternoon, we prepared for our concert that evening, in Ulster Hall, built in 1859 as a performance venue. During the '80s and up to the early 2000s, it was also the site of several political rallies. The hall was refurbished to its former glory in 2009. The Chorale was one of the first international ensembles to perform there. Our concert was a joint event with the Donaghadee Men's Chorus. We did perform one number with them, "This Land Is Your Land".
The next morning we departed Northern Ireland and returned south to the Republic of Ireland, and the city of Waterford. During our 2 1/2 days there, we toured the city by bus, and had ample amounts of free time to explore on our own (and shop for crystal!). We concluded our visit there with a concert at the Theatre Royal, followed by a reception hosted by the city, in our honor.
We took "the long way" back to Dublin over several days, stopping in Cork to visit Blarney Castle (and the Blarney Stone), the Ring of Kerry, where we performed a "pub concert" at Molly Darcy's Pub in Killarney, and arriving back in Dublin late afternoon the next day.
The final day of our tour was in Dublin and included sightseeing, an early afternoon farewell concert at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and a farewell dinner.
The next morning, the majority of the tour group headed to the airport to return to the U.S., but a small contingent "extended" for 4 more days, with visits to Galway, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, and the city of Limerick. (An unexpected highlight of the extension was the engagement of Alto Brittany Hager to Peter McNeely, one of our "groupies". When we returned to the bus after our day on the Aran Island of Inishmore, our guide, Katie and bus driver Tom had decorated the bus with balloons and streamers, and as we made our way back to Galway, we had a "hen party" for Brittany and Peter, celebrating their engagement!)
After an "extension farewell dinner", we traveled to Shannon Airport for our flights back home.
Respectfully Submitted by Jeff Walthall, Tenor