Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2022

Mercyhurst travelers gather at the Mercy International Centre on Baggot Street in Dublin. They are, front row, from left, Mikal Abraham, Delaney Cranston, and Lily Smith; back row, Eva Philips, Kasey Short, Madison Bottcher, Jameson Stoner, Gerry Tobin, and Emma Kuchinski.


Beir bua agus beannacht. In Irish it means, “Take a victory and a blessing,” and, indeed, we did. After a two-year absence due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mercyhurst students once again experienced the warm hospitality of the people of Dungarvan, Ireland. Dr. Heidi Hosey-McGurk was determined to breathe new life into this incomparable study-abroad opportunity, and so a stalwart group of eight students and three faculty left Erie for Eire, landing in Dublin on March 10. In many ways it was a leap of faith for the students, most of whom did not know one another prior to departure, but the magic of Ireland soon forged friendships that promise to last a lifetime. We began our journey with a four-day tour of Dublin that included visits to Kilmainham Gaol; the General Post Office, site of the 1916 Easter Rising; St. Patrick’s Church, where once Jonathan Swift was Dean; Dublinia, a museum highlighting the Viking presence in Dublin; the House of Mercy on Baggot Street, where Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy; and the essential visit to the Guinness Storehouse and a first taste of Guinness. From there, we departed for our eight-week home in Dungarvan. There, students had classes and enough free time to explore the

area. We marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Waterford City and were cheered along the parade route. The newly opened Waterford Greenway extends from Dungarvan to Waterford City and offered a great walking/bike path and stunning views of Dungarvan harbor on one side and the towering Comeragh Mountains on the other. The week before Easter, President Kathy Getz and her husband, Gary, along with Dr. Dyan Jones, visited the students and toured Declan’s Well in Ardmore, the Blarney Castle, and the Jameson Distillery where Irish whiskey is distilled three times—to be sure, to be sure, to be sure. Another highlight of the trip was a presentation to the students by Member of the European Parliament Grace O’Sullivan, who shared her path from university to Greenpeace to politics. We also were invited by Waterford City Mayor Joe Kelly to a visit in his chambers. He gave us a grand tour and was a delightful host, inviting the students to sit in his office where Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla had sat just a week earlier, telling the students they were as important to him as any royalty. We also had a weeklong tour of Ireland that included Glendalough, Clonmacnoise, Kylemore Abbey, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle

Peninsula and the Gallarus Oratory, the Rock of Cashel, and Kilkenny Castle. We certainly got to know the saints of Ireland! Sadly, we learned of Heidi’s untimely passing during our stay. For many in Dungarvan who had worked with her for 10-plus years, Heidi’s death was a tragic loss. In early May, we had a memorial Mass at St. Augustine’s College, where our original relationship with the people of Dungarvan began with alumni including John Melody and John Deasy, Class of 1990, and others who found a home at Mercyhurst. Heidi’s memory will live on for all of the future students who will have this life-changing opportunity. Too soon, it was time to raise the parting glass, but each of us takes a victory and a blessing. And as Eamon Kelly, one of the last great Irish storytellers would end a tale, “That’s my story, and if there be a lie in it, ‘twas not I who put it there.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Gerry Tobin is professor of psychology at Mercyhurst. Faculty joining him in Dungarvan were Dr. Laura Lewis and Dr. Randy Clemons; students who made the trip included Mikal Abraham, Madison Bottcher, Delaney Cranston, Emma Kuchinski, Eva Philips, Kasey Short, Lily Smith, and Jameson Stoner.


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