A Trip to the Aran Islands and more!




Wow! Time is flying by so fast here. So much has happened that I don’t know where to start. I guess I can give a quick update on Covid. I mentioned in my last post that a few of my program mates tested positive early on which has definitely changed our experience with them quarantining, increased caution levels, and daily testing. But ultimately I’ve found that we’ve carried on with what we came here for which has been really great.

We’ve all been making art and showing each other our creations. Something that is really wonderful is that my program is a collaboration between student artists and creative writers, so I’ve had a chance to listen to writers give readings of their original works which was a new experience for me. Part of our class sessions are geared around critiques in which we give feedback to each other’s works-in-progress and we’ve been learning how to do this for creative works that are made in a medium that is not our own. So writers are giving feedback for the artists and vice versa. At first we were all a bit nervous to place judgment on creative media that we were not familiar with, but I’m finding that it’s really exciting to hear new perspectives. For instance, my professor who teaches sculpture and visual arts had to quarantine because of Covid and so our latest critique was moderated by the creative writing instructor and he gave very helpful comments to everyone, and I feel like he had fresh insights to give to the visual artists because he works in a another field.

On a separate note, I just returned from an overnight trip to the Aran Islands! We went to the largest

island, Inishmore, and stayed In a hostel. The area is so beautiful! When we got there, I went on a long walk with a few friends to check out the seal colony and we made stops along the way to pet all of the cows and goats we could find. There. are. so. many. cows. I still haven’t gotten over it. I also attempted to ride a tandem bike but I discovered that it is really difficult even if you know how to ride a normal bike! Later on we spent time exploring the shoreline and the shops. The Aran Islands are famous for their cable knit sweaters made with sheep’s wool and I got a shawl and scarf with knit patterns that relate to my family’s last name, which is a derivative of the Irish clan, O’Riordan.

That night we went to a pub, and something that I’m appreciating here is that the pub culture is so much different from bars in the US. Here pubs are local gathering places where I can find myself in a room with other college students but also elderly couples and parents with their kids and dogs. It can be really cozy at times.

Now I’m looking forward to spending my last week in Ireland. It’s also going to be crunch time for putting together our end or program exhibition and so I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me for that too. Very excited, but I don’t want it to end!