Saturday, May 15, 2010
Today we traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We left Dublin at 7:00 in the morning by high-speed train. The train was very nice, and there was a great view of the pretty countryside. We had a black taxi cab tour, which ended up being a tour guide showing us around the city in our bus. He was really informative and knew a lot about the city’s historical past. Not that long ago, Belfast was in major conflict between two warring groups—the Protestants and the Catholics. The city has moved past this clash in religion/culture in most ways, but there are still some signs of disagreement. There are many murals on the houses that show the conflict between the two groups of people.
We first traveled to the House on the Hill, which is also known as the Parliament Building. It was an elaborate building that had a great view over the Belfast countryside. Then we went to the Belfast Castle, which is known for its cat gardens. There are seven cat statues and other artworks surrounded by beautiful gardens. Next, we went to the harbor where the Titanic was built. This was very interesting to see, although we will be going on a walking tour of the Titanic next week in Cork.
We met with Jerry Davis from the The Belfast Telegraph. This newspaper is differs from the Southern Ireland newspapers, which makes the The Belfast Telegraph more similar to U.S. newspapers. All of Northern Ireland has access to the Internet, which is not the case in Southern Ireland. This allows the newspapers in Belfast to publish more news web sites and be more up to date with this technology. Although they are lagging behind the U.S. in comparison, Belfast in doing much better in that regard than Southern Ireland. Jerry told us that whatever we do, we should always want to do it and always have a passion for it. I like this advise; I feel like I will keep this in mind when I go out looking for a job.
Then we had a group dinner, which was really amazing. They had great food; I had mussels! They came in their shells and were covered with garlic butter—very yummy. Then we left Belfast for the night and traveled back to Southern Ireland.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This morning we got to sleep in; it was a much-needed rest. Today was my favorite day so far because it was all about photography. This afternoon we met with Professor Roddy Flynn again and he talked about the impact of the Internet on the Irish mass media. He said the Internet has not made that much of an influence on Ireland as a whole. The most popular web sites in Ireland are not even Irish but international web sites like Google, Yahoo, and Ebay.
We then went to visit Photocall where we met with the owner and two other photographers. They all really knew what they were talking about. One of the photographers was from Texas, but he had dual-citizenship because his mother was Irish. He moved to Ireland after graduating college. He said the main difference between being a photojournalist in Ireland compared to the U.S. was the fact that in Ireland you can stage photos. In the U.S. a photographer is not allowed to do that; they have to be a complete “fly on the wall.” The best advice they could give was to never give up on your dreams on becoming a photographer. They said that even if it takes years we should keep with it and it will all turn out okay.
Later, we went to meet with Paul Kelly, a documentary and commercial photographer. He showed us a lot of samples of his work and he was very skilled. I was impressed with his documentary images. He captured the mood of the people in the photos and the colors in the photos were gorgeous.
Tomorrow we wake up bright and early at 5:45 in the morning. Good night world and may the luck of the Irish be with you!
Last night was a blast. We went out to eat at an Irish/Italian restaurant named Elixir. It was really great food. I got lasagna and red wine. It was the best food I have had yet. Then we went a local pub. I had my first taste of Guinness; I’m not the biggest fan of it, but it was okay. A local Irish man came up and talked to us. He bought us a round of drinks, which was very nice of him. He was genuinely happy to have a conversation with us about Ireland and America. We talked a long time and it was great to learn more from an actually local. All in all, it was a fun night.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This morning we met Rosita Boland, Irish Times feature writer, for breakfast. She answered many of our questions about her career and gave us an inside perspective on the inner workings of the Irish newspaper. She told us the most important quality a journalist can possess is curiosity. No writer will get far without the ability to do investigative work. She was very well spoken and gave good concise answers to all of our questions.
Next we went to the U.S. Embassy to meet with Ambassador Rooney. The security was very tough, but the building was beautiful. Before Mr. Rooney came to talk to us, Karyn Posner-Mullen, the Director of Public Affairs, told us all bout her job at the Embassy. She said that the Ambassador was on the phone with the Irish President, so he would be a little late—if there was any reason to be late, that reason was a great excuse. Then Mr. Rooney came down and talked to us very briefly. He seemed very much down to earth and cared about us being there. After he left John Murphy, the Press Assistant, answered our questions about the Embassy.
Then we went to Dublin City University to meet with Professor Helena Sheehan. She lectured us about Irish TV drama. She said that, unlike in the U.S., Ireland plays their soap operas during prime time instead of during the day hours. I found this to be pretty interesting, because Americans do not think of those types of show as being important. Ireland also seems to be more open with controversial subjects being aired on TV. Although Helena said that the one thing that is lacking being shown on Irish TV is the left wing—the liberal side of politics in Ireland.
Tonight we are planning to go out on the town. The story is soon to follow. If the luck of the Irish is with us, hopefully we will get to meet some locals!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Today we woke up early and walked to the Buswells Hotel. Gerry Davis, the Chief Executive of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, gave a lecture to us on a basic overview of the Irish PR strategies and tactics. He was extremely interesting. I learned that over seventy percent of all PR specialists are women; this is very similar to the U.S. Then we walked to the Ogilvy and Mather where we met with Jo Wood, Account Planner. She showed us their many different advertisement campaigns. She said that Ireland as a whole is trying to integrate their advertisements with the web. Social media is becoming more important to Ireland. In that way, Ireland is following the U.S. with their digital media based advertisements.
This afternoon Kristen and I went to the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland. Both were really amazing. The National Museum had a lot of historical artifacts dating back to 7000BC. The most interesting artifacts were from ancient Egypt. The National Gallery had hundreds of paintings ranging from Monet to Yeats, Caravaggio to Henry. There were much older paintings in the gallery than any I have seen in the U.S. We met an Irish security guard named Grahem. He was very friendly and informed us about local events and places to go. Tonight, my roommates and I are having tacos!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Tonight, we were in the studio audience for Frontline, an Irish current affairs debate show. They talked about events in the economic downfall in Ireland. They are currently in a resection just like the United States. There were many ideas for how to get out of the bad economy. I have never been in a studio audience before. It was very interesting to see the show live and actually be there for the filming. The cameras were fascinating to watch; there were also hundreds of the lights. The overall experience of the Frontline show was pretty great.
Now, I’m off to bed. I’ll be getting up early for an Advertisement and PR lecture. The luck of the Irish be with you!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
We arrived in Ireland today after a seven-hour plane ride from Philadelphia. The trip went surprisingly well. We got to eat and sleep, which were my two main goals. The scenery was amazing when we first saw Ireland. There were a lot of farms and it was very green.
When we first arrived today, in order to keep us all awake, we went shopping and to the park. I got a lot of photographs for my web project on Irish fashion. Then we went to Trinity College where they keep the Book of Kells. There was also a huge library full of books. I have never seen so many books in one place in all my life. There were thousands of books—rows upon rows of them.
Next we went to the Dublin Castle, which is better defined as an estate than a castle. It was full of history; I learned so much. The furniture and woodwork were also amazing. Tonight, we all went out to eat at the oldest pub in Ireland. The food there was great.
Now it is time for bed. I have the luck of the Irish on my mind, so I’m sure those thoughts will give me great dreams.