Hands and Feet Project

MSCM – Ireland Trip

Top of the mornin’ to ya. 

A lot of people have asked me about my trip to Ireland with my graduate program cohort. Unfortunately, when I’m asked how it was or what we did, I have a hard time putting into words all of the stops we made, or what it specifically was that we learned about. Primary reason being we experienced a lot and we learned a lot.

I constantly found myself being quiet (at peace) through out our trip, because of all of the inspirational people and stories we encountered. These were people we met during tours, interactions at a pub, and designated learning sessions.

Ireland, as a whole has been through so much, yet they are the most positive and collective group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with. The peace I felt during my time there, was similar to the feeling you may have gotten when you leave a really good sermon at church. A sermon that just struck you to the core and got your attention; or the feeling you get when you’re open to hearing and experiencing new opinions and insights – a total state of learning.

If you’re at the pub grabbing a pint, they immediately know you’re not from there and will make sure you leave feeling welcomed.

Their music and dance culture is amazing.

and yes, their Guinness does taste different, better.

So with that, this is my attempt to summarize my 8 day trip with some of the most amazing and motivational people I’ve ever met.


Fresh off the plane.

Everyone who knows me, knows I am NOT a morning person. BUT, I got it together this week (for the most part) and was really excited when we hit the Irish ground (I immediately started taking photos, hence the photo from a moving bus).

Our first stop was Monasterboice Round Tower and High Crosses.


Area surrounding the Celtic Crosses.


The crew filing in and zipping up.


Area surrounding the Celtic Crosses pt. II.


Area surrounding the Celtic Crosses pt. III


Inside the Cemetery.


Beautiful farm house nearby.

Crumlin Road Gaol

Our next stop was the Crumlin Road Gaol (prison), (I’m not going to go into the history lesson of this, you can click the link to read more about it). BUT it was cool, and had a really positive spin on their atrium of the prison.


Here she is.


Underneath the Crumlin. This passageway would take the prisoners over to the Courthouse.


Tam being artistic.


Our tour guide really had our attention. Pretty sure he was telling a ghost story here.

This next photo kind of got me. Our tour guide took us into a room, which was the final living quarters for a prisoner who was sentenced to death. Prisoners who entered this room were never seen coming out of it.

They would spend weeks in the room secluded with stationed guards until their execution day. The room had a trap door built into it and when that day came, the guards were able to flip the prisoner around, strap them to the noose, and then they would drop to their death, all within seconds and no warning.


The last thing a prisoner sentenced to death would see.


Mediation Northern Ireland

The next day, we got to spend time with some professionals in the CM industry. Picking their brains in the peace process following The Troubles, the role of the community during the process, as well what family mediation looks like from the Irish perspective.


Beautiful Lauren


Joe being suave.


Here is that “picking of the professional brain”, I was talking about


Streets of Belfast ❤

Peace walls

These walls border the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. If you want a really good info documentary look up the Art of Conflict on Netflix. It provides a lot of good context about these murals and their possible future.

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This mural is a reminder of those who were involved in the 1981 Hunger Strike


Looking into the Protestant side of town through their wall  – There are literally walls that separate the different communities in N. Ireland.


View from the Stormont building.


Area surrounding the Carrickfergus Castle.



Ph D. Dave – inside Carrickgergus.


City of Carrickfergus


City of Carrickfergus pt. II


I can’t really put into words how SMALL this place made me feel. I could have sat here all day long BUT, it was raining and very wind/ cold… AND we had other places to be, so I couldn’t literally sit there all day long. 😉


Giants Causeway pt. II


Giants Causeway pt. III


Giants Causeway pt. IV


Giants Causeway pt. V

If you are ever in Derry – this museum is a MUST.


Inside the Museum of Free Derry pt. II


The City of Legend-Derry 🙂


Free Derry Corner.


The most awesome tour guide – Garvin

This man, was able to speak to us about his personal Bloody Sunday experience, without any hatred or upset in his voice. He had so much positivity that he made you want to hug anyone who had ever done you wrong.


View from atop of Derry’s walls.

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Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral


St. Patrick’s Cathedral


Gorgeous architecture. Gothic and Romanesque arches 😉


Phoenix Park – 1,750 acres of pure green!

So, hopefully this gives you some idea of the experiences and stops we made in Ireland.

With that,

and the rest of the day to you”. 


Janet (Juh-net). Coffee times.


You guys better get to know this lady. She’s next on my list for the hands and feet project. This girl has so much love in her body, you just don’t even know. I’m going to save all the nice things I have to say about her until the project post.

She’s one of those friends that I don’t have to be be “in the know” about all the time, because when we get together everything is totally normal.

She’s also my #1 kayak buddy; someone to paddle down the river with and talk about whatever. I love this about her.

Our story of how we met is so weird to me. We used to work together at American Eagle Outfitters and just hung out one day. I guess we just decided were were friends after that. I’ve never kept in touch with a old co-worker as long as her, but people are put in your life for a reason.

I can’t wait until we get to do a for real photo shoot.

Dana Mac.

Dana Mac-Where you will go

This is about my close, close friend Dana. She’s a fighter in every sense of the word and everyone she meets instantly knows it. When I say, “fighter” I don’t mean someone who enjoys the act of fighting. I mean someone who will push and shove to do whats right, to help others out, and who will make her stance known.

When Dana was in her last years of high school she started to have some medical problems. She was having trouble eating, keeping food down and would pass out through out the day. She had gone to the hospital several times, where the medical team just deemed her pregnant, (even though that wasn’t possible). One day at work, she passed out and couldn’t tell people where she lived, so they took to a hospital. They did a scan and discovered she had a brain tumor. They immediately took her into surgery to remove the mass.

(This is the funny part)
When Dana woke up, the doctors told her that they removed a mole on her head, so not to freak her out and keep her still. All of her visitors were crying, and she had no idea why. She kept saying, “Guys, its just a mole!”

Ever since, Dana has been vigilant in spreading the word on brain tumors and making their presence known. She has worked in a mental facility working with and assisting men with mental disabilities and she volunteers once a year in Lourdes, France baptizing people.

The girl has purpose.

Dana has friends probably on every continent, (except Antarctica, although I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow she did) and I chose to use her passport to define the, “Where she has been”. It’s literal, I know that, but she has literally been everywhere and its not usually for vacation. Its to go somewhere and help others. Selflessness–something many American’s know nothing about. Doing something for others, just to do it.

For her “Where you will go”, portion I chose to focus on some kick butt boots. Nothing will ever get in her way, I can’t think of a better image to show that, (other than an actual picture of her kicking someone’s butt). Dana is going to go far, and probably end up on the same level as Mother Theresa. She is one of the most selfless and full of love person I know, and I haven’t even known her very long!

I am thankful for you, and all you do Dana. You make the world a better place.

If you would like to get in touch and help Dana in her quests, here are some links: