As part of our orientation into the MyIreland program, FIE took the group students to Causey Farm, located in County Meath, about an hour outside of Dublin. When we arrived to the farm, we were greeted by an enthusiastic guide named Ella, as well as a few adorable dogs.
Ella brought us to a room full of baking supplies and informed us that we would be making traditional Irish soda bread. Soda bread is a bread that is very quick to make, and baking soda is used as the leavening ingredient rather than yeast. To add a bit of a challenge, Ella would not allow us to finish combining the ingredients until we had thrown the eggs across the entire room to our partners without breaking them. Adrenaline must have been running high, because every pair caught their eggs safely.
Next, after popping our bread in the oven, we explored the farm a bit. This seemed to be everyone’s favorite part of the day. We met some adorable piglets, puppies, goats, cows, and one giant pig named Selfie. Myself and a few other girls were able to coax the piglets in close enough to feed them, which Ella told us never happens! We must be pig whisperers. They were extremely tiny and adorable, and I really wished I could take one home with me.
After getting acquainted with the animals, Ella taught us how to do an Irish jig. The dance that we learned was a Céilí dance, a traditional Irish dance which is commonly done in groups or in large social settings. In my opinion, we did a pretty terrible job. But, we tried our best and we had a great time learning!
For the main event, we walked up to the local bog. Ella explained to us that bogs are very important wetlands in Ireland. Most of these bogs have been around for thousands of years, and the peat that they create has been extremely important to industry in the past, because it can be used as fuel. Today, Ireland works to protect their bogs and keep them in pristine condition since they are so old and are prone to over-harvesting.
When we got up to the bog, we were given the opportunity to JUMP into it! Now, its important to understand that the bog is essentially a giant pool of mud. I didn’t jump in myself, since I wanted to avoid being covered in mud for the hour-long bus ride home, but I did enjoy watching the other people jump in and roll around in mud.
At the very end of the day, we returned to the farmhouse and we got to eat the soda bread that we had made earlier. Ella provided us with butter and delicious homemade jam to pair with the bread. I was very impressed with how my loaf of bread came out, and I quite enjoyed eating it! All in all, it was a great way to close out the day experiencing the countryside of Ireland.