Thursday, 24 November 2016

Always thankful.

Words cannot describe the amount of gratitude we have for the people of Ballintubber, Tidy Towns and Clonalis House. Thank you for sharing your homes, your community, your friendship and your castle with us.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

What are you going to do this summer?

Ireland is looking better and better! Check out this super cool presentation about all of the great reasons to come to Ireland this summer and participate in our project!

CLICK HERE for the Ireland 2017 Presentation

Thanks for the great picture, Sam!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

2017 Project Dates!

The project dates for the 2017 season are here!

2017 Ireland Program Dates will be from July 2 - August 2

For more information, visit the Project Information and Details tab!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Missing Ireland Mondays

Every Monday, we'll be sharing a picture of our favorite memories from the project on our Instagram page: Castles in Communities.  Join us by sharing your favorite memory and tagging us with #missingIrelandmonday #castlesincommunities
We're excited to see what pictures you share!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

2015 Highlight: US Ambassador visits Ballintubber

Check out this fantastic highlight I found as I was going through some things! The US Ambassador came to visit Ballintubber and learn what we were doing in the project. How exciting!!

CLICK HERE Roscommon Herald - US Ambassador Visit

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Survey crew: Total Station

The Total Station is a fancy laser machine that tells us where things are in a site.
We use it to map artefacts within a cutting, context topography (what the surface is like in 3D), features, field topography, grid points for GPR and Radiometer, and more.
The machine takes at least two people to run, but the ideal team is three. That way we can communicate easier, and switch out as needed. It also helps out in the fields, where we can have one person mostly warding off the cows, while the other two take points. Phones/comms help when working long-distance, but we also have a simple system of hand-signals to communicate without words.


It consists of three parts: a tripod, which has to be set up perfectly level; the machine itself (we currently use Leica brand), which contains the computer, laser, and recording bits; and the standing rod, which is basically a spear with a fancy mirror (prism) on the not-pointy end.

To set up the total station. you also need Datums, or fixed points, to use as permanent references. They must be constant across years, so that data taken throughout the 10-year project is consistent and compatible.
To create a Datum, we find a good spot, dig a small hole, fill it with concrete, label it carefully before it dries, and record its exact location in the computer program after it dries.
We also create Temporary Datums, to be used for just one year, by pounding a stake into the ground. Their coordinates can be replaced in the computer each year.

Setup itself means finding a Datum, setting up the tripod so that it is centered on the datum and completely level, and attaching the machine to it. Since the data we collect is 3D, it is extremely important that it is level. if it wasn't, all the points on one side of the machine would be recorded as higher or lower than the actual physical points are, which could seriously mess up the mapping and interpretation.
Once that is done, we tell the machine which Datum it is on and how tall the tripod is, then we point it at another Datum and orient it. If this is done correctly, the machine knows where North is.
Then we tell it how tall the standing rod is (usually we keep it at its shortest setting, 1.3 meters, but if we are in a deep excavation, or behind hills, trees, or other obstacles, we may need to raise it to maintain the laser sightline), so it knows exactly where the point on the ground is, even though it can't see the ground.

Taking a point is fairly simple. Get the computer to the correct project and survey screen, hold the standing rod so that it is straight up-and-down level and steady with the mirror facing the machine, line up the laser sights with the mirror, and click to shoot. Then signal the person holding the rod to move to the next point, and repeat.

Once we have all the data from one location, we take it down and set up somewhere else, or take the machine to the Office and upload all the information to the computers to be manipulated into maps and other useful graphics.

My experience this year

After showing some interest in several parts of the project, I ended up sticking with Total Station because I learned the system fairly quickly (although there isn't a manual that we know of, so we still learn new things as we go), and enjoyed the work and the team. Also LASERS!

Working the Station is tricky enough to require skill, but simple enough that you're not constantly lost. Good communication with the team is important to make the work go smoothly, so smaller group sizes work better, especially when we all get along. The other two on Total Station are Dave and Colin, who are both pretty chill. We all seemed to agree on the background music, too, which helped everyone enjoy themselves.

We hike around a lot, lugging the box and pointy things, which is great for impromptu weight training on the way to the next assignment. :)
When using the machine... we press the Left button a lot. The system isn't totally efficient, and sometimes it takes ten or more button presses to get between taking a point and reviewing the point (like when we're re-setting stakes to specific coordinates, or going back to find the last artefact number we shot).
Once you get the hang of it though, it's more amusing than frustrating. And if you're careful, you don't have to review the points very often, either.

Another benefit to the Total Station is that you are needed at all the field sites, so you get to see what's going on everywhere but the lab.
Most people at the dig are more or less confined to their one specialized zone, which is good because they know a lot about it and can interpret it better than others, but also means they don't know very much about what's going on with the other teams.
We got to see whenever a cutting found a new context, artefact, or feature, what parts of the field were getting zapped with GPR or Radiometer, and even what the data looked like in the Office, while it was being manipulated; all the while collecting our own important information, finishing other projects, and setting up new sites and Datums in preparation for next year.

If I manage to come back next year, I might well be on this team again. I enjoyed it.
-Rozlyn MacDermott

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Talent Show

Reaching for the Stars  by Adin White

Castles and Communities staff member Colin Drake
Jaramillo wows the crowd with a harmonica solo
     When we all arrived in Ballintober, I think it's safe to assume none of us expected to have the opportunity to join locals of the county in comedy routines, live music, and Irish dancing. But, to my surprise, we were actively and enthusiastically encouraged to do so on multiple occasions. One of my favorite memories coming away from Ireland was one such occasion: The 'Reach for the Stars' Talent show. 
     The Talent show was a multi-round elimination kind of thing, and had been going in other parts of Roscommon County prior to our Arrival. Participants were scored by two judges on a ten-point scale based on two criteria: Their stage performance, and their actual perceived talent. 

    Like any talent show, the opinions of the judges were subjective, so it was hard to watch a fellow student get a score that the rest of us may have felt was undeservedly low, but everybody took their scores like champions. 

    The performances ranged from the jokes between the children of the directors, to Ocarinas and something like opera singing. I was surprised by the number of willing participants and even more-so by the incredible response from the local towns people. The crowd of onlookers was huge! I suspect that at least a quarter of the population of Ballintober was there applauding each and every one of us, genuinely entertained by us Americans. 
I personally did not make it past the Ballintober round, but I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it thanks to the warm and welcoming response of the crowd. 

    In closing, I would encourage all future students and staff alike to get on stage and do whatever you want. It's not about winning or showing off, it's about showing that you appreciate the hospitality of the wonderful people of Roscommon county and Ballintober have shown to all of us in giving us opportunities like this, and showing them that you are indeed willing to participate and excited to be in their homeland, not just because you are obligated to do so. 
Highlights for Ana and Sam's children:  I liked meeting everyone in Ireland, Dad can I watch TV? - Catalina

In Ireland, the camp, and swordfight training.
The last day of camp with pizza and water balloons. Party at clonalis with Aaron. - Gael


 Tom giving Gael his award trophy
 Rope pull 2016. We see no adults pulling on this side.

 I really liked duck, duck, water and I really liked camp and all the people - Luna

Siobhan showing kids the dig

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Although I need a few more days to digest this trip, I can say it was a life experience that I will never forget. It was amazing to be able to take in so much culture, history, and archeological disciplines in one go.I learned more than I ever could in a classroom with a textbook . I spent most of my time in the field  on foot survey, gradiometry, and digging/scraping.  I really enjoyed being around so many bright people who are interested in the same subjects as me. The fact that we  got to try and get a taste of learning Gaelic was very cool,  albeit  a bit difficult. One of the most unique things about the field school is that we were immersed into a rural community that the vast majority of people who visit Ireland will never have the opportunity to see. We met so many colorful locals who were more than welcoming, they were genuinely interested in hearing what we had to say. One of their more popular questions was " Trump or Clinton?" I would be remiss if I didn't mention the directors of the project, who showed incredible patience,  and are down right chill people.
--Aaron Turner

Sunday, 24 July 2016


Gradiometry. When I came to this field school I was excited for the digging aspect and being in a medieval castle, so it's kindof ironic that what I spent most of my time doing was walking back and forth through a field, scaring off cows with stakes while looking underground for something we didn't know even existed. But now this whole magnetometry process has touched my soul because it shows that even things that aren't present to us above ground can still leave its mark on the world. I loved the field school and loved staying at Clonalis. The directors were awesome and so down to Earth and willing to let you try anything you wanted to. I can't wait for next year!

-Valerie Watson


On the trip to see Castlerea for the first time, we (the students) were asked to complete a mini scavenger hunt. We had to find the price of a scone at a particular deli, than we had to find out the average price of a cow, and if the local pizza places would deliver. The trip in general was fun, but Castlerea gave out a different vibe than any other town we have visited. Castlerea is a small town in CO. Roscommon. Not as small as Ballintubber, but still small. Castlerea is a dull and grey town; at least those are the words I would use to describe it. Most of the shop keepers are friendly, but most of the general public there will pass you by without even a smile. The town is abandoned; every other shop there is closed down. I heard it was partly because the town never recovered from the recession. Castlerea has a main street where all the shops and pubs are located. There used to be a hotel there, but since it has closed, the other businesses (shops. Etc.) Have suffered from a lack of tourism. Once a week one of the pubs will host an event such as traditional music, but that is not enough to attract any large amount of attention. Once a week, every Thursday, there is a livestock market held which brings many residents from other towns, which is the busiest day of the week where the most activity is seen. One day during this trip, I went into the town of castlerea and talked to all the shop keepers. I asked them what they think of our project and if it might benefit their town in any way. Many of them said that it would be a great idea if we could eventually get the castle to a point where people were welcome to look around and tour the castle, because tourists would have to drive through their town and doing so could potentially bring more business to the area. Even though that day is far off in the future if even possible, it is good to know that our project has the support of the surrounding towns, not only the community in which we live and work.

-Kayla Ward

Friday, 22 July 2016

Welcome to the Lab!

The lab is where all of the findings go after they have been excavating from the cuttings. The people in the lab wash bones, dry wash artifacts, give them artifacts/sample numbers and put them into the database.  -Dana Noguera

This is the outside of the lab

Drying bones

Artifact bag: Nail

Maya and Rebekah working hard


The Irish National Heritage Park

The Irish National Heritage Park
Ferrycarrig, County Wexford, Ireland

On July 8, 2016, the Castles in Communities archaeology students and staff visited The Irish National Heritage Park.  We toured sites from the Mesolithic (stone age-7000 years ago) through thOe Viking settlement of some 1000 years ago.  We were lucky enough to be able to spend the night in the Park.  We each chose a place to sleep that suited our individual sense of adventure.  I chose a Neolithic (new stone age) farmstead.  The hut was built of wattle, daub, and thatch. It had 3 “rooms” – one large one that encompassed approximately one-third of the hut, and two smaller rooms – each partitioned off, plus a central area.  I image the smaller partitioned rooms were for livestock as they could easily be closed off.  My bed was in the larger room.  It was made of a wooden frame with wood slats, covered with straw, and I added a sheepskin and cow skin for comfort.  It also had a sheaf of bound straw for a pillow.  The hut was warm and even though it rained through the night it remained dry.  My hut and visitors.

- Nancy O'Shea


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Inauguration Rock

Carnfree, the Bronze Age burial mound of Freāch gave insight to the magnitude of the noteworthy significance of the landscape around you. To stand a top the various mounds within distance was an experience to cherish for life.

-Lena Murphy

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Thoughts during the Work Day - Part 3: Castle Crew


"Arthur always has the best music when working in the pit. He plays Lord of the Rings music or metal. Every one and a while a battle song comes on and you get more into the digging. You get the blood flowing and you just can't help but get pumped. He really things about it when he picks the music. Highlights, I definitely think that yesterday when Will was the only one who raised his hand for the internet café was one of my favorite parts. I really liked going to Roscommon and comparing it to here because it gave me a better idea on how rural Ireland is like. One time I fell asleep in the cutting and Niall found me and asked, "Adin, you're not sleeping are you?". I really liked the field trip to Tulsk. Going into the cave [Cave of Cats] was nuts. We weren't in there very long though. Clonalis is beautiful. Quieter and a lot more scenic." -Adin White

"We are looking at what may be prehistoric features [talking about Cutting 2; then someone said she was being too boring so she proceeded it with the following comments]. Niall's bucket sun hat is my favorite part of the project. Hiking up Knocknarea and Mona's jokes." - Rachel Brody

"Shit. I'm not answering any questions without my lawyer. I really miss feelings with Chad, it got me through a lot of hard times. I think we all miss Chad, we have to get our feelings out to vent. It's a lovely day to move dirt." - Bryce Beasley

"My favorite part is I like mattocking and Niall yelling, "This girl has some anger!". Dead magpie inside the Mansion house was pretty horrible, gave me nightmares about the movie, "The Birds". I like the walk from the Mansion, it's soothing. I like the rain, that's probably my favorite thing. I love making up nicknames at the cutting: trowling trolls, mattocking maniacs, dirt maids, sexy straighteners, trowel beasts. The smell of Luca's dirty hair. Eileen Kenny. Oh and Rachel's constant compliments, working with her is great because she is always saying: "You're doing archaeology. Thanks guys. You're doing great." - Mona Abboud

"Highlight was probably I really liked the tour in Tulsk (Rathcroghan, Cave of Cats, etc) it was really interesting, the tourist center was great. Historical documents that tie into the history and the O'Connors. Seeing the landscape and imagining how it would be in the past. Going to the inauguration mound and then seeing the coronation stone at Clonalis. It was cool to see the history dotted around. Just seeing all the different type of landmarks was cool. I really liked Carrowkeel, it was pretty." -Lauren Obrien

"Working in the castle on a nice bright sunny day...never thought this would happen in Ireland. Finding amazing things: a cobbled stone floor on the 2nd to last day of digging. Story of my life. Shocked how my name can be likened to a chicken squawk when artifacts are discovered by eager students. Ireland is awesome! Students are awesome and staff are awesome." - Siobhan Boyd (our project Canadian)

"Heritage park was amazing with the Viking raid we did. That was awesome! Everything was great this year. Mad Hatter's Ball [at Kenny's Lounge] was crazy! I love cutting 2 definitely, it's my baby. Vive la France, vive la revolution!" - Arthur Briens

'This is one of my most favorite time of the year, that I get to meet all the Americans, it's really nice to see everyone happy and partying. It's nice to see everyone work together. Wait, wait, wait, I'm trying to think! It's so nice to see the community do so much for during the time that we are here. Umm...stop writing! That everyone is just amazing in the their own way. That's it." - Luca Brady

"It's fun, huh? I hate social media. My favorite part is meeting all these people and getting to work with them and sit and pick their brain, to have an intellectual conversation is an amazing experience. Am I done? Don't read it back to me." -Leena Murphy

"Feck! As good as begging as there ever was! Favorite food: chicken curry. I eat that shit up! The chips at Kenny's! Favorite day: the attack on the Vikings in Wexford yelling and running int he middle of the night was great. Whiskey helped. What else. Really happy no one pooped anywhere inappropriate this year. Dishes getting out of hand but I'll take over that debauchery. Caught me on a slow day. We get to close the last two weeks with Jose. Shout out to Ileen and James Kenny. And a...yeah. Don't the poucheen kids." -Dave Wachsman (also known as Thor)

"Umm, I'm really enjoying the weather, it reminds me of California though. I really love it here, but I miss my family, I'm excited to be home. It's only been two days but I miss the rain. I hope I don't get sunburned, but catch me at the end of the day and I'll look like a lobster. I'm excited to come back next year. I don't know, I feel awkward, I'm done." - Erin Olewinski

"My interview! Well, I've been excavating a lot. At the beginning, I was just moving buckets so I snuck into the cutting and started working. It's been really cool. One day I found a lot of stuff like a bead, belt buckle, potter pipe. Now we haven't had the same turnaround on finding artifacts. But we have a  lot more stones an walls so we are moving a lot more dirt so it's been harder. It's a good feeling. I really like going to the cliffs and going to the tomb [Queen Maeve's tomb; Knocknarea, best view in the world. The ring fort [at the National Irish Heritage Park, Wexford] was fun and smoky so far I haven't had a bad day and I love it. I can't believe I'm sitting in a castle, working in a castle and digging in a castle, it's amazing" - Rebekah Mills

"I don't know what to say. I like Ireland. Can this not be put anywhere? I like Ireland. I don't do interviews. Wait, this is going to sound bad. I don't know if I could eat potatoes ever again. I don't want my photo on there with my dumb interview. Ireland is very green. I don't know, it's really hot today. I like wearing shorts but I think my legs are very confused. Are we still interviewing?" - Maya Dillworth

"Drama, drama, drama is annoying, but living with a lot of people, I guess that's to be expected. I like working with the laser. I like how we have been doing cultural stuff in addition to the dig. We are also interacting with the community and local history, which gives better context about what we are working with. Doing excavation is cool because you're able to see which things are next to each other so it's easier to interpret what it was. For foot survey, I kept tripping so it wasn't as fun for me. With the total station, you can learn from every section so you can get a lot of information, fast. Tomorrow I am going to the library in Roscommon for my independent project and I'm hoping they have the information I need and that I have enough time there. As for the housing setup, it's interesting how sickness moves around. The whole place, and Ireland itself, is interesting; the scenery, plants, animals, etc." -Rozlyn MacDermott

"In general, this whole trip has been one big adventure. Traveling around and hearing the myths, seeing the sights and meeting all these amazing people. Rich heritage and deep pride in their history. Hearing all the history and magic that this place has and working in a castle is incredible. It's a life altering experience that I will always remember." -Jaymi McGinn

"Ballintubber has been very, very good to me. I'm really enjoying the program with a lot of friendly, great people. I've enjoyed all different aspects of the project I've been put on. I've also enjoyed the massive amount of bananas we've been getting. I didn't know that Ireland is a large banana producing nation and has a great abundance. I have been flooded with information and sensation of the rich history of this area of Ireland. It is going to take quite a while for me to process it. I am still filtering it in my brain. Thank you and I think I'll return next year." -Scott Brogley

Thoughts about the Work Day - Part 2: The Lab

"This is one of my favorite years far! I've been running field schools with Sam, Chad, Siobhan, and Mo for the last ten years and I've had such a great time in Ireland this year. I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the local moms in town and the children. My kids have also been enjoying their time as well (look for their blog soon). The Foothill students and staff have been working so hard uncovering beautiful Medieval architecture and finding cool artifacts!! We will definitely come back to Ballintubber next year!" - Ana Lucia Gonzalez

“You tell one little beaver story and you are marked for life as an automatic weapon! All I said was imagine the last prehistoric beaver alone in a cave, dying, because he can’t find a mate! Although I am surprised that the directors, Ana and Sam, call me that. You know, it’s all your fault! You started with the sloths! [talking to me, Cristyna].” –AK-47 (aka Aleks Jimenez, aka Aleks with a k, aka Beaver Killer, aka achoo achoo achoo (she never sneezes once)…theres a lot more aka’s)
"The lab is pretty awesome! Bones are pretty cool. I learned how to identify ONE BONE since I’ve been here and it is called the atlas it holds your head onto your body. My favorite thing abut the trip: the Dublin museum, the ancient Egypt museum was the best! This trip was defiantly a great experience, even though the weather sucks… Except right now!" – Kayla Ward

"I like the Tayto’s they are my favorite! I eat one bag a day. I love postcards! I send 10 cards a week to different people. Mom got four, my boyfriend got four my friend got three. I don’t know how many that is I’m not a math person. I GOT TO MEET RAMIEL! I’ve really liked meeting new people, that I like and dislike… I learned I really liked cleaning bones, I guess I’m a Lab person. Everyone in our house is messy, I got tired of washing dishes in the first week so now I only wash my own. “Look at this. Look at this bone. Ramiel look” People and the locals are really friendly here. I really like traveling but I’m getting homesick. “Hi Cristyna, I feel like you leave our house because we have no food. We only have eggs. I don’t know what else to talk about. I’M NOT DONE. Give me a minute to think. This seems interesting I want to see what you got. Give me something that we did… OH, GOING IN THE CAVE. That was cool. Did everyone talk about feelings with Chad? I liked that I got to tell Chad everything I hated, such as being messy in our house. OH MY GOSH! Want to know what annoys me the most… When people leave a plate on the counter when the sink is four feet away. Yeah I can’t handle a roommate, I’m commuting to school. I think it’s because my mom always made us be clean so I’m used to it." – Dana Noguera

"Alright. What’s the first question? I would say one of my favorite things is definatly getting to leave home, and come up to work with old friends. Like Cristyna, and Jose and Dave. As for working in the Lab it is a change of pace from working in the field for 3 weeks. It’s nice because we have enough people so we don’t have to always rush everyday. Other than that… The only problem is I feel like we run out of stuff to do right now. It felt like that yesterday.  As for the house for this year, it’s about the same as last year. So I knew what to expect in terms of messiness. Excuse me a minute, I need to get… Hang on… I just needed to grab another bag. What was the most fun things was the hikes… Even if they were tiring.  Although I did get lost going up there I took the wrong path. Meeting the new students was fun. It’s a learning experience for the staff. Don’t really have a whole lot to say other than hope I get the chance to work with you again next year." –Johnny Beran

Knitting an Irish Sweater

Knitting an Irish Sweater

When I was packing for the dig, I was pretty confident. Being a Seattle native, I was sure that I knew exactly what weather to expect. I packed for camping in a Seattle summer, building my wardrobe out of long pants and tank tops. I packed only one sweater, for the one or two days I imagined would be under 65 F. My first day in Dublin, I could see that I had been much too optimistic about the average temperature. My single sweater was perfect for the chilly, overcast Irish June, but it quickly became dirty and ragged from being worn in the field every day. I needed another sweater, but something cotton or acrylic from the store would lose all warmth and become uncomfortably heavy as soon as the rain hit it.

I decided instead to knit myself a traditional Irish sweater. It would be cheaper than buying one at the store, and I had always wanted to make one anyway. My first challenge was to find the wool. Every store I visited was stocked with 100% acrylic. One of the clerks told me this was due to the prohibitively expensive price of pure wool. I prepared myself for a heavy price tag, something I’m used to from knitting in the states. The sweater I had brought with me cost $150 to make, which is considered only a bit high of standard in the States. Yarn for hand knitting is sold in such limited quantities that it tends to be overpriced by the mills, to offset the inconvenience of pulling the yarn out of the milling process and cleaning, winding and dyeing it in suitably small batches.

Finally, on a field trip to Sligo I managed to find some pure wool in a craft store. I scraped together enough for a sweater by combining two different shades of white from two different companies. I braced myself as the cashier rang me up, and got all of my large bills together. She looked up apologetically at the high price of the pure wool.

“Fifty euro, please.”

Carting my steal home, I considered my options. I would only have an hour or two to knit a night, and I wanted the sweater done before the field school ended. In the states I had a friend who was a single mom who worked from home, and the only way she ever finished a project was by constantly knitting every chance she got. On the bus, waiting for diner to boil, or in the few minutes before a movie started, she would take out her project and do a few stitches. I decided that I would emulate her, and challenge myself to find as many opportunities during the day as possible.

I found 20 minutes in the mornings while riding the bus into town. I knit through every lecture, and while waiting for dinner to be served. I knit in between sips at Garvey’s. I gained nicknames and became the subject of in-jokes. I was greeted every night in Garvey’s by a “hey, is that jumper done yet?”

The last Sunday of the project, half of the group went to a Gaelic football game on the bus. When I stepped on my friends applauded me, and I beamed. I was wearing my sweater, finished after three weeks of constant work. I gained more compliments I could count over the next few days, as I wore my creation proudly everywhere I went. I also gained strange looks and many expressions of concern for my mental health.

The weather had turned that Sunday. The last week of the project averaged 80 F, and it didn’t rain once.

- Erica

Monday, 18 July 2016

Thoughts about the Work Day - Part 1: Garvey's Field

"I'm having fun today because the sun is out, we are playing American barbeque songs, Will is working, Jose is riding a bike, very smart move. we just had an Irish breakfast. I fixed a bucket. There are four more days left. My kids are happy in summer camp. And the students are great this year, I have been so happy with their progress and accomplishments. Even Ramiel. And Joseph is wearing rubber pants." - Sam Connell (Our fearless leader)

"Exhilarated. I feel wonderful. Just look up, it is a sunny day in Ireland. Nice hole [in reference to the cutting in Garvey's field]." - Colin Jaramillo

"No comment... Please, No paparrazzi. Step away from the bike! (continued riding bike to site) [20 mintues later] Alright since you keep bothering me, I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille. My feelings about this project so far?.... I thought I came to work hard and expand my knowledge of castles; I never thought I'd come to Ireland and get a sexy tan. Yet here I am, with a sexy (farmers) tan and in Ireland. Great weather Irish weather gods. I wonder how much it would cost to get an authentic taco truck from Mexico to pull up at the schoolhouse; Bosco has connections with transportation. I'm going to ask him. Speaking of Bosco, shout out to all of Ballin T! No more questions." - Jose Martin

"I have my secrets and I am not telling." - Nancy O'Shea

"The sun is out today. It is probably the hottest day, I've worked so hard. Ramiel is looking extra sexy today. My pants are halfway off because I am wearing shorts so it is acceptable. Got a good Irish breakfast today -lots of protein- unlike our normal soup, bread and butter. Will is working today, he's putting in hard work. So it's a good day." - Joseph Phan

"It is such a relief that it is the end of the day. I like it when it is sunny. I feel more full of energy. I like the feeling of being able to finish a day's worth of work. It feels satisfactory. I like finding things [artifacts]. i like seeing all of the cows. It's surprising how green it is here." -Will Matthews

"The alarm goes off. Its 7:01am. Theres a buzz, theres a buzz. Where is my phone? I reach for my phone. I dont see it. I look down there is a little screen flashing on the floor. I reach down to the floor I turn off my alarm. I slowly creep out of my bed. Water bottle? Bosco! Schoolhouse fire? Spice girls. Irish breakfast...lunch? Dirt moving. Running away. Garvey's field. Water screening. Irish breakfast! Cristyna drinking? Joseph strips! Joseph trust. Strong arms. Fin." - Ramiel Petros

"I like riding the bike in the country side. Coasting is nice. I like that I was able to be useful and that people liked my photos. I like being able to document all of it [the project] and being able to talk with people in town. And I love being able to walk the dog [Tubber, a dog owned by the local bike shop owner, Collum]. I like how green it is here and how scenic it is. There are so many picturesque views; as an artist I like it." -Jackie Melo

"It is a beautiful day, watching a trust building exercise, digging dirt. This is the best day I have seen in Ireland yet. Now if only I could get my GPS to hold a charge, then the day would be perfect. But my favorite day was still at Wexford." -Ann Warfield-Hooker

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Ballintubber Heritage Day - Saturday, July 16, 2016

Here in Ballintubber we have been celebrating Heritage Month throughout this month of July. We have gone to do peet cutting in the bogs (hilariously fun, pictures to come!), lecture on Medieval show making techniques, Irish Dance performances, etc.

Yesterday, we had Heritage Day where the community has food, crafts, and events. It's like a farmers market mixed with a festival. We saw how to churn butter, tug o war matches, delicious treats (scones from Benny's are the best you'll ever have). The project participated by giving guided tours of the castle so people could come in and see what we have been working on. There were around 200-300 people who came out and spent the day here in Ballintubber for the event which is AWESOME! Completed not anticipated and it was great to see everyone come out and join us!

Below are some pictures of such an amazing day!


Craft market

Yummy sweets and tea/coffee

GPR Demonstration

Groups lining up for castle tours

Explanation of Cutting 1

Using the total station to shoot in artifact points

Explaining Cutting 2

Tug O War! U.S. men vs Irish men