Summer trip to Ireland proves memorable


The Mirror reporter

Some of the students from who traveled to Ireland this past summer were (left to right) Rachel Kawleski, Lauren Gerads, Hannah Buelow and AJ Fleiger. (SPASH Photo)

In June of 2016 art department students of Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) attended a trip to Ireland that lasted 13 days.

Seven SPASH students and one staff member, Roberta Laine, joined 42 other high school students from across the country.

The students who attended were Seth Filtz, Olivia Schilcher, Deven Moore, Rachel Kawleski, Lauren Gerads, Hannah Buelow and AJ Fleiger.

The group toured the Republic of Ireland in Southern Ireland, and half the group continued to tour the Northern Island.

“I think people are more alike than they are different,” Laine said when talking about the culture difference between people in the United States (US) and Ireland.

Just like people in the US, the Irish people have a great sense of humor and use it to tell amazing stories.

“My favorite memory was definitely the bus ride through the barrens. The barrens are the rocky and hilly parts of Ireland, where there are rarely any habitable places for humans or animals. How expansive and how untouched by pollutants the land was unfathomable. I had never seen anything like it in my life,” student Hannah Buelow said.

“One of my favorite moments from the trip was when we were traveling cross country by bus, we traveled through the county of Limerick. Our tour guide had a contest for who could write the best limerick. The limerick had to have something to do with what we had seen on the trip or that had happened on the trip. It was the most fun experience and made the long bus ride a pure hoot. Such good limerick writers on that bus trip. We laughed a lot that day,” Laine said.

“My personal favorite memory from the trip was going to the National Art Museum in Dublin with two of the SPASH students. We were able to see a very famous painting by Carravagio called ‘The Betrayal of Christ.’ I had read a book about the painting titled ‘The lost Carravaggio’ a few years ago. The painting had been lost for several hundred years and was found by accident. It was a thrill to see it in person,” Laine said.

“I found that the culture was fairly similar to some of the culture we see around Wisconsin. All of the people we had the pleasure of meeting were very warm and welcoming. Their culture revolves a lot around traditional ways, like their music and food,” Buelow said.

The group traveled to Northern Ireland to the cities of Derry and London Derry. Much of the time in those places was spent learning about the history of the cities and what Irish people call “the troubles.”

During a peaceful protest for their equal rights in January of 1972, 14 unarmed protesters were shot dead by British soldiers. In 2010 after a 12-year inquiry the killings were ruled unjustified and unjustifiable. The British prime minister made a formal apology on behalf of Britain.

“This was the saddest part of the trip. The culture in Northern Ireland seemed much more, well, sad. We were in Belfast for a short time and it just seemed more industrial than southern Ireland,” Laine said.

In order to prepare for the trip a lot of fundraising was done including candy bar sales, Panda Express fundraising and the selling of student made glass pendants.