We got up at the crack of dawn for breakfast and then loaded up into the bus for a seemingly endless drive to our next location. On our bus trip we passed town after town on our way to our first stop for the day, the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way we passed through Lisdoonvarna, which hosts the biggest Matchmaker's Festival in the world in September.
The arrival at the Cliffs of Moher was a long awaited stretch of the legs along with a view that was breath taking in more than one way. We were able to view this excellent sight from more than one location though you had to walk up a steep hill or climb a number of stairs depending on the angle you wanted to view the cliffs from. We had a perfect day with blue skies and puffy clouds to view the cliffs and we could see for miles and miles. We took lots of photos and also took out the troop, American and Irish flags for photographs. After taking in this amazing view we loaded back up into the bus and headed for Limerick, our next destination and our big event for the day.
We dressed up all prim and proper in our Boy Scout uniforms and loaded up onto the bus the 42nd Limerick Meelick Scout Troop arranged for our transportation to their meeting place. This is one of the troops we have had an ongoing exchange scout program with for about 25 years.
The Meelick scouts, leaders and families were waiting for us as we arrived and then after introductions we started playing some games in the back of their meeting area. First we played a game where we ran around in circles until they called out a number and we would have to get in groups of that number. Billy Boroski was the last American scout in the game with two Irish Scouts. We also played some hacky sack and saw that some of the Irish Scouts were able to do it a little while some of the others just kicked it around crazily or ran away form the hacky sack. There was also a game sort of like Chicken that we play in the pool, with people bumping into each other with people on their backs. We also built human pyramids.
Following the games outside we went inside for some delicious food like chicken wings, sausages and salads. Then a group of locals played traditional Irish music while Mrs. Doris Ryan and some of the other Irish Scout Leaders taught us some Irish Dancing. I think some of our scouts got the hang of it but others were just tripping over their two left feet. More than half of the Meelick scout troop is composed of girls, so that’s why I think some of our scouts enjoyed the dancing.
Following the dancing we started the indoor campfire. Both groups were signing campfire songs that they knew, getting us all to hear new things. Though I think that Adam Cleri took the spot light at the campfire with his performance of his Gang Show song “Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band ?” from the Producers. Adam also performed his Grinder song, which I’m pretty sure at times cared some of the Irish scouts.
This was an evening to remember, no matter who you were as long as you were there. We were able to talk with exchange scouts of past, even Kevin O’Shaunnesey, who was an exchange scout exactly 20 years ago. Also Richard and Steven Hayes, Nigel Ryan and the two recent exchange scouts Neil Ryan and Adrian Coffey. We also had Troop 3’s 1999 Exchange Scout Sean Henri there too, so it was a real reunion. Some of us had our photos taken for the local Limerick newspaper and then Limerick Meelick Scoutmaster Michael Ryan and our Scoutmaster Randy Ritter exchanged plaques commemorating the event. Our scouts then presented all of the Meelick scout parents and leaders present with our friendship gifts of Woodbury Pewter American Eagle bells. Mr. Ryan then presented each of us with a nicely framed set of Irish scout patches. We ended the campfire circled around the campfire, joining hands for our traditional campfire closing vespers.
We were able to talk with exchange scouts of the past and meet new people. I had a great conversation with Neil Ryan, who who spent time at my house when we hosted him in 2005. Scouts also exchanged patches, neckerchiefs and t-shirts as memorabilia of this outstanding night that should be remembered in the minds of everyone who was there.
It was a long goodbye to our new friends, though some of the “lucky” scouts got email address to keep in “contact” with the Irish Scouts, even the male ones, so that they could exchange letters and also so we can send them some Lucky Charms, seeing that they do not have that in Ireland.
After this eventful night everyone had the long bus ride back to the hotel, where I’m told everyone but the chaperones went right to bed (the Irish scout leaders came to the hotel for an additional get together. Thus brings an end to the day that will be among the greatest on our tour of the UK and Ireland. Now I Stephen Poppa, am signing off, completing my journal for this excellent day.