The past couple years we have taken homeschooling and roadschooling to a new level, world schooling.  In previous blogs, I have explained exactly what world schooling is and what adventures we had: New Zealand, Germany,  England, Hawaii, and Canada.  This time our world schooling adventures lead us to Ireland.

Ireland was a different kind of trip because we traveled with my mother to the home country of her great-grandparents and visited sites we had listed in the McGlinn family book (birth city, departure city, baptismal city, and marriage city).  Ireland was both a cultural and a genealogy trip.  And it was a multi-generational family trip.  Our son had done readings and watched videos to better understand Ireland’s history and the reasons our family left Ireland to Canada and then to Wisconsin.  He learned about the Irish-English land wars, the potato famine, and the mistreatments of Irish Catholics that led to them leaving.

Here is what we experienced during our 7-day adventure in Ireland:

  • Bog of Allen
  • Saint Brigid’s Cathedral & Round Tower
  • Killdare
  • Cathedral of Saint Peter & Paul
  • Ennis
  • Cliffs of Moher & O’Brien’s Tower
  • Doolin Cave
  • Bunratty Castle
  • Knappogue Castle
  • Quin Abbey
  • Clare Abbey
  • Ennis Friary
  • Blarney Castle & Gardens
  • Cork City Gaol & Radio Museum
  • Cork
  • Grange Stone Circle Lough Gur
  • Lough Gur Heritage Centre
  • Saint Munchin’s Church
  • King John’s Castle
  • Saint Mary’s Cathedral
  • Limerick
  • Dysert O’Dea Castle, Church, High Cross, & Monastery
  • Imeall Boirne Parish
  • Burren National Park
  • Coad Church
  • Parknabinnia Wedge Tomb
  • Bodyke
  • Wild Irish Chocolate Factory
  • McKernan Woollen Mills
  • Lough Derg Beach
  • Lua’s Oratory
  • Flannan’s Church
  • Saint Flannan’s Cathedral & Oratory
  • Killaloe River Cruise
  • Killaloe
  • Garrykennedy Castle Ruins
  • Castletown ruins
  • Castlenaugh Castle Ruins
  • Scarriff
  • Tuamgraney

Here are some phrases we learned:

  • Gaol (prison)
  • Dia Duit (hello)
  • Slan Leat (goodbye)
  • Gardai (police)
  • Failte (welcome)
  • Stad (stop)
  • Lough (lake)
  • Aimsir (weather)
  • Slan (keep safe, farewell and often by exit signs)
  • Eire (Ireland)
  • Amach (Exit)
  • Bally or Baile (Place of)
  • Kill or cill (Church of)
  • Boot (trunk)
  • Toilet (bathrooms or restrooms)
  • Diesel or Petrol (gas)
  • Minerals (soft drinks or sodas)
  • Chips (fries)
  • Jumper (sweater or sweatshirt)
  • Who’s all there (how many people in your group)
  • Washing (laundry)
  • Noodle (your head)
  • Sap (sad)
  • Banshee (fairies, elves)

Travel to Ireland was similar to traveling in England and New Zealand because the driver sits on the right side of the car and drives on the left side of the road.  However, the roads in the region of Ireland we were in were much narrower and often lacking markers, making it a bit more challenging and stressful.  Thus, our son having his grandma with him meant he had someone to talk to, show things to, help get food and water, and lean on when tired because his parents were hyperfocused on driving and navigating.  Just like all of the other countries, Ireland does have some different signs used too as well as uses the metric system.  It is always a chuckle when you see speed limit signs of 100 or 120 but it’s not that fast because it’s kmh and not mph.  Gas is also in liters and not gallons.  

The one thing we found completely interesting is that Gaelic was on every sign.  On maps, sometimes we would see the English name and others would have the Gaelic name.  This would make it confusing if we didn’t have both names.  In the cities at crosswalks, they would have “look right” in both English and Gaelic to remind you where cars were coming from.  We also were impressed with how many ruins sites we could find.  Many places were clearly marked and often you would see ruins while driving.  And, in many of the ruins of abbeys and monasteries, they are now being used as cemeteries.  If it wasn’t for lack of parking on dangerously narrow roads, we may have stopped at more sites.  As is, I think we were able to visit way more ruins and historical sites in Ireland than we thought possible.  

Travel to Ireland was a great way to physically experience and learn about: bog ecology, Irish farmlands and practices, Irish culture, Irish fairy tales, foreign language (Gaelic), Ireland’s National Parks, historic sites, ruins, religious history, world history, genealogy, different signs, use of the metric system, accents, and currency exchange.  There is no doubt, travel is a great educational tool.   Remember, travel could be local, regional, your own country, or foreign countries.  Travel can be via “armchair” with the use of books, videos, and computers if you are unable to travel.  Exposure to the world is so important for children.  Be inspired, go explore!