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Monday, March 9

The Irish Rover (Dropkick Murphys)

Recently, we brought you several crafts and a traditional Irish meal........and with St. Patrick's Day approaching, we wanted to share an Irish adventure!  

One of the blessings of marrying a foreigner is that you get to travel overseas to visit family. My husband Niall is from Ireland, and this Christmas we were able to bring our kids, ages 3 and 1, for their first Irish visit. 

The local library was one of our first stops. We are avid library goers back home, so it only made sense. I was surprised to find out that in Ireland they charge you to open a library account- while children are free, working adults pay five euro yearly, and unemployed adults pay two euro. Not too expensive in the grand scheme of things, but definitely different from the States. 
My husband's hometown is part of what's known as the "gaeltacht"- back woodsy portions that kept speaking Irish when it was outlawed during English occupation, mostly because they just slipped through the cracks. My husband went to a public school that taught all subjects in Irish. I was thrilled to see the tiny library's children section filled with Irish titles. While I can't even begin to pronounce this tricky and unfamiliar tongue, my husband and his parents and siblings were more than happy to oblige. We would love for our children to learn Irish! 
It's very easy to teach impromptu history lessons in Ireland, because everywhere you look you can see living history. Crumbling ruins of stone walls and houses fill every field. Monasteries and castles built as early as the 1100s litter the countryside. If you look closely at the rolling hills, you can see ridges in the ground that mark people's desperate attempts to grow potatoes in the most desolate of places during the potato famine. My father-in-law is a wealth of historical information, and loves to rattle off the dates and background information for every site we pass. While I hope my kids learned a lot, I know that I sure did!  

Ireland also presents a wealth of opportunity for scientific observation. Because it is so far north, the days are much shorter. The sun doesn't rise until nearly nine a.m, and it sets as early as 4 p.m. It never gets too high overhead- usually it just looms low in the horizon. In summer, the days are extremely long, with day light lasting until 10 p.m.  

Bird watching is also a treat around these parts. Did you know that the bird North Americans identify as a robin is in fact not a robin at all? It is actually a type of Thrush. It was named for the English robin {which is also found in Ireland}, because both birds are brown with a reddish orange belly. Robins in Ireland are such jolly little folks! They are smaller and rounder, with bigger eyes and puffed chests. Ireland is also home to magpies- black birds very similar to crows, except for their white markings. 
Photo Credit: Gidzy
Our children are still small, but I look forward to furthering their home education on Irish visits in the future! with so much to see and learn, I am thrilled that they were given this international heritage.

Ireland unit :


Rachel O'Neill has been married to her husband Niall for 6 years. They live with their daughter {3} and son {18 months} in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Her favorite things include reading, tea-drinking, and knitting, and she is a big fan of literature based learning. She blogs about faith, homemaking, and family at The Purposeful Wife
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