One of the highlights of every semester is quickly becoming our Regional Weekend event! The Regional Weekend is a time where our centers in England, Scotland, and Ireland take turns in planning a co-curricular event which brings students from these locations together to explore and celebrate the Arcadia Community! The Fall 2019 semester meant that it was our turn to host, so last weekend we headed north for a few days of touring Belfast and the Antrim Coast!
Each location made their way to Belfast; Scotland students came by ferry, England took their students by plane, and the Irish students met in Dublin to take a coach up to Belfast. Arcadia Ireland had students from Dublin, Cork, and Galway that came along with us! Once we all made it safely to our destination, we met up at the Titanic Center Belfast for the Titanic Experience to learn about the history of one of the world’s most infamous ships. Did you know that the Titanic was built right in the heart of Belfast? The exhibit taught us all about the industry in Belfast and what life would have been like in that time, the process of the Titanic being built and what it looked like, the sinking, and the discovery of the wreckage. To round out our first day together our Resident Director, Tom Kelley, introduced the staff at the weekend and explained the purpose of the Regional Weekend event to the students. We then enjoyed a fabulous meal at the Wellington Park Hotel!
Saturday brought an early start to the day so that we could all get on the coach and head to The Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is a 60 million year old rock formation that in Irish mythology was formed by the Giant Finn McCool. It was quite a cold and rainy day but the students made the most of the weather and explored this unique landscape! Next we made a quick photo stop at The Dark Hedges for any Game of Thrones fans, though they may know it as “The Kings Road.” After returning to Belfast, we were given some free time in the afternoon to explore anything in the city that they wished. Some students explored City Hall and the busy shopping streets of Belfast, others went to the Ulster Museum, and some even made their way to Stormont! Though it was a wet day, we were all able to enjoy the stunning views of the Antrim Coast and the urban surroundings of Belfast.
Our final day came too quickly but we were greeted by gorgeous blue skies. Sunday morning we took a coach/walking tour of the murals of Belfast to better understand the history of the city. Our guides, Dominic Bryan and Bill Rolston, led us through the streets of Belfast and discussed the history of The Troubles and the importance of the murals. This was definitely a highlight of the weekend as our students were able to ask any questions that they had from spending a weekend in Northern Ireland and were able to learn more about the history of Northern Ireland. Sadly, the time came for our time in Belfast to end and for all of us to go back to our respective locations.
A special word of thanks to our colleagues in England and Scotland for such a special weekend! We’re already looking forward to Regional Weekend Spring 2020 when we travel over to London!