We have arrived safely in Ballyvaughan! For those that are unfamiliar with where that may be, Ballyvaughan is approximately one hour south of Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Our students were transported from Shannon Airport by bus while Matthew and I drove our Hertz rental car. A word about Aer Lingus: This airline is usually very dependable and punctual, the food is usually tolerable and the seating is most often roomy enough for a reasonably comfortable flight. Not so this time! We pushed away from the gate 40 minutes late, the food was ( lets say that there are other four letter words that better describe what it was) and the seating was great if the goal was to transport 300 fourth graders that are vertically challenged. The woman in front of me thought she was sitting in a Lazy Boy lounger that actually wasn’t designed to recline nearly as far as she had that thing tilted backwards. I could barely turn the pages of the book I was reading. Anyway, we actually arrived on time somehow to a glorious summer day in Ireland. It turns out that the plane was a charter for Aer Lingus. The usual function of that charter service is military transport. We are here. Students were assigned to their houses, five to a house, and they spent the better part of the day unpacking, getting settled in, sleeping off jet lag and exploring the town of Ballyvaughan. We have a meeting tonight where we will review our syllabus and itinerary, go over expectations, and basically get our house in order. While students were sleeping etc., I took a walk around Ballyvaughan and made a few pictures of flowers in bloom. There is something about the sea air that works wonders with certain flowers such as poppies and roses. They are absolutely huge! The roses are as big as saucers as are the poppies. Absolutely beautiful. Tomorrow we will begin the day with a bus tour of the area. Students will visit the Cliffs of Moher, Bridget’s Well, the Famine Memorial, Ennistymon for some food shopping, Kilfenorra where they will see ancient Celtic crosses and then to Poulnabrun, a 6000 year old burial site. The first real day of a very, very busy week. So, as this day comes to an end, we send you flowers from this wonderful seaside town. Enjoy.