Thursday, 23 April 2015

On Easter Sunday, I was invited to dinner with Gerry's family. This gathering consisted of his parents, his sister and brother-in-law, and two of his three daughters, Anna and Grace. Dinner was amazing, and it felt great to sit around a table with a family again (even if it wasn't my family...).

Anna, myself, and Grace
On Monday, April 13, my Equine Nutrition class took a field trip to the Irish National Stud. This is the thoroughbred racehorse breeding and boarding facility owned by the Irish Government in County Kildare. Perfect timing for us, most of the horses had just recently foaled.

The grounds around the Stud were beautiful as well. But what do you expect, considering this facility foals, raises, and boards the most famous horses in all of Ireland?

There is also the Irish Horse Museum on the property

The flags represent all of the nationalities of students who have attended the schooling program offered at the Stud.

"One of the greatest racehorses of all time" - he won the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse Stakes – the first colt to accomplish this treble since 1989 champion Nashwan – the International Stakes, the Irish Champion Stakes, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Statue dedication to Sea the Stars
A very important member of the Stud staff

These horses have got it made - just look at those nice stables

This is Invincible Spirit. Part of our trip involved viewing a "cover" (aka breeding) take place, and he was the lucky stallion ;)

€384,982 in prize money, and he wasn't even the richest horse there!

Another Irish champion, Gale Force Ten. He gave me the chance, so I snapped a photo

On Thursday (16 April), UCD played Trinity College in the Annual Colours Rugby Match. Because there are only seven university-status schools in all of Ireland, the games are all pretty significant. It was definitely an exciting game to be present for. UCD was leading the game for a long time (Rugby games are composed of two 35-minute halves). The score was 25-22 and there were seven minutes left when Trinity scored a try (a try is worth five points, and a conversion is worth two) and got the conversion, bringing the score to 29-25 in favor of Trinity, seeming pretty hopeless. Everyone was on their feet and Trinity fans were mad with excitement, but unfortunately for them, UCD scored again with two and a half minutes to go in the match, and came back to win 32-29.

Might I also add that after watching a mere two games of rugby, I already have a much better understanding of the sport than I have EVER had in alllll my years of watching American football...

This is called a "scrum," and is called whenever the ball becomes "unplayable"

At half time, they had a short junior rugby match

This is called a 'lineout' and is used when the ball goes out of bounds
The ball is thrown between the two lines, and each team must lift a player to win the ball for their team

Unlike American football, play resumes when the player holding the ball is tackled. Teammates then throw themselves on top of their downed teammate and the ball is passed along the ground tightly between bodies to the outside of what can only be described as a pit, so that a player on the outside can grab it and resume the game.

Final score

Aside from some of these more exciting events going on around campus, I would like to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the UCD campus. Even though the grounds are not even a quarter of the size (nor age) of Purdue, I have a real appreciation for how well-kept the campus is and how much work goes into keeping it nice.

I love the feeling this gives me - the feeling that summer is on its way (even though I know an Irish summer is nothing compared to an Indiana one...I'm just ready for summer)

One day as I was on the bus headed toward the city, sitting on the top level of the bus I thought I saw some sort of garden over the hedges off to the side of the road just before exiting the campus. So today when I remembered seeing it, I decided to explore a little. From the road, the hedges completely block out any sight of this serene little garden, but I'm so glad I took a few moments to look inside.
You would hardly even know something was there...

These next few photos are from the walk I take to class every day.

Afternoon, Mr. Magpie

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

View of campus from the Newman building

One day last week, UCD had an event in the part of campus known as the "Quad." They had bouncy houses, sumo wrestling body suits, a mobile petting zoo, and the Teddy's Ice Cream Truck available all day.

They had lambs, goats, a llama, baby bunnies, ducks and ducklings, chickens and chicks, guinea pigs, miniature pigs, gerbils, and more.

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