We started our day with a lesson on W.B. Yeats, and his place in Irish literature. He was a social, romantic poet who adored the Irish landscape in the area we are staying. He was heavily involved in politics, and it showed in his works. We learned about his greatest love Maud Gonne, the focus of many of his poems. We examined the symbolism in his poetry, and how he was reflecting the trials and hardships the Irish were experiencing at the time. People like Yeats (Protestant) gave the Irish Catholics a voice when they weren't able to have a voice because of the Penal Laws. The Irish weren't able to speak Gaelic, took away their land, practice ancient customs, etc. Queen Elizabeth even gave an order to kill all harpists, because it was a very strong symbol of the Irish culture that she was trying to dismantle. Eerily similar to what the Hawaiians experienced.
After our class we had a chance to go to Drumcliff to see where Yeats is buried. In the cemetery there is a round tower and a Celtic high cross with incredible engraving on it. On the drive there and back we passed the scenic landscapes that were mentioned repeatedly in Yeats' works. We stopped for lunch in the town of Sligo, and ended the day at a beautiful waterfall at Glencar.
There are a few pictures of a burial tomb, or Court Cairns, called Creevykeel. It is right along the road, so we couldn't pass up the chance to see it. It is from the same time period as Newgrange. Awesome to experience this special place.
Fun Irish fact for the day - The reason there are so many Irish in the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee (and surrounding areas), is because the cheapest place to go during the time of the Famine was New Orleans. The Irish worked in the south clearing swamps, but they couldn't handle the heat and mosquitos. They ended up moving up into the hills, where many of them remain today. They are now affectionately called hillbillies. I always knew about Ellis Island, but I had never heard that about New Orleans. That's the reason there is so much fiddling in country music. Right now we are listening to Johnny Cash while we are having a pint in the pub. :)