Adventures Abroad: Week One
Sachi Sugiyama

May 15, 2014

Senior-to-be Sachi Sugiyama will be providing with weekly updates during her month-long study abroad trip in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. In this second entry, Sachi recaps her first few days in Ireland.

Additional Photos (Facebook)

Hi Everyone!

It has been about five days since I have been in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. The 15 of us students all live in a big house that sits in the middle of the town and the school. The group here is fantastic. I am getting to know all of them and they are all such amazing people. I am having nothing but fun. We share stories, frustrations and laughs. I truly could not have asked for a better group of people to share this experience with.

It is beautiful here! Everything is a vibrant green and the rocks are so interesting, covered in moss, lichen and flowers. The first day was kind of miserable. The rain and wind were relentless and we were all running pretty much running on empty. We went to the farmers market in town and I was able to buy some nice cheese and honey.

The next day was a tour of the Burren. It was incredible. All day we were driving around, stopping and taking pictures and learning about the history of the land and the culture. We saw the ocean, fairy forts, castles, churches, the mountains, caves, and Turloughs (pronounced tar-locks, which are dry lakes that come up during the winter months from the underground water systems). These past couple of days, we've seen the school, set up our studios and gone on various hiking expeditions. My legs are still sore from hiking and climbing up rocks. We actually climbed up to the top of the nearest mountain. The sights up there were breathtaking. The wind was so strong that it drowned out almost all sound, but when it stopped, it was such a beautiful silence. No planes, cars or animals. It was just us and the landscape.

We also went to the Cliffs of Moher! The winds up there, like that mountain, were unreal! I was pushed from side to side, making it really difficult to hold my camera still. A couple of us took pictures on the edge of the cliffs, which was so thrilling to look down and just see a vertical drop to the ocean.


Last night, we had a folklorist come and tell stories. He was a wonderful man with a big beard and very animated hands. He had a gift for storytelling. All of us were so engulfed by his stories. The way he animated each character was perfect. He used his whole body and really gave the people of the tales life and spirit. This really hit home for me and gave me some ideas to use for my future work. I definitely want to incorporate Ireland's folktales somehow and paint landscapes with oils, as well.

Tomorrow, we're going caving! I'm excited and nervous as the same time. I do not know what to expect, but it will definitely be an experience. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes in next week's entry.

Till next time,


• Previous Entry: An Introduction

»  Learn about 2017 Michigan women's gymnastics ticket opportunities.