This morning began as we loaded our suitcases, stuffed full, onto a bus bound for the train station. The first half of our trip has flown by and our time in Cork is gone just like that. We load, unload, and reload our luggage several times as we traveled to Limerick for the second part of the trip.
We quickly dropped of our belongings and left for our visit at Mary Immaculate College. The comparative education group got the opportunity to meet with the president of Mary I, Dr. Michael Hayes. We were also able to have lectures and ask questions of Dr. Eugene Wall and Dr. Patsy Daly of Mary Immaculate College. It was fascinating to hear the variations between the culture of education in the United States and Ireland. So far I have heard many accounts of the high value placed on professions in education in Ireland, differing from the “those who can’t do” philosophy of the United States. Irish teachers are trusted professionals, who are not constantly monitored and evaluated based on standardized scores. While students in Ireland take standardized assessments, they are not made public. School effectiveness is not based solely on these scores, removing the high stakes aspect of testing found in the United States.
After our visit, we hopped on a bus bound for Kilcommon, where Father Michael Wall led us on a hike through the amazing fields and forests in the Irish countryside. We saw a mass stone, where Catholics practiced in secret under the penal laws. Three hours and hundreds of pictures later, we ate another enormous meal and headed off to our accommodations, another successful day on the books.