Flying Jayhawks Guest Post: Fifty Shades of Green

Posted on Aug 18, 2016 in Alumni News and News

The eight-night “Celtic Lands” Flying Jayhawks voyage took passengers to historic sites in France, Ireland and Scotland. Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, hosted several educational talks aboard the ship. Jean Kerich, ’60, shared her memories and photos of the trip.


It’s no mystery why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle.  That description becomes immediately obvious the moment you sight land. The landscape featured the green hills, more often than not squared off by ancient rock fences, but also spectacular cliffs and barren rock expanses.  During our ‘Celtic Lands’ Flying Jayhawks trip we were treated with ample opportunity to enjoy all of Ireland’s beautiful scenery as well as many other uniquely Irish experiences.


For example, we had a taste of mead, one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man. Meade is made from honey and water via fermented yeast. We also sampled Irish whisky and Guinness (perhaps more than just a taste!)

We had a look at castles, extraordinary manor houses, churches and thatched roof huts.  We enjoyed a pair of Irish dancers (who provided a lesson for two of the younger members of our group), a whistling cook, and a demonstration of sheep herding by two unbelievably clever dogs.


Our tour guides taught us about the ecology of the island, the history, the politics, and the origins along with the uses and gathering techniques of peat, a type of vegetation natural to the area. There was talk (and a brief lesson) of hurling, one of the national sports of Ireland, and of rugby and horse racing. We traveled impossibly narrow roads while our extremely knowledgeable bus driver and tour guide gave us the lessons of the land. Additionally, the food, the accommodations and the other passengers in the group were all excellent! This was truly an unforgettable trip.


Read a diary of the Celtic Lands trip by Heather Hawkins, j’06, and see more pictures from the group’s adventures. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2017 schedule, visit

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