Following the end of Lent Term 2014, the College Choir travelled to Ireland for a seven-day tour of Belfast, Dublin and Limerick.
In what proved to be a busy week, the Choir performed several concerts in St Patrick’s Church Belfast, Trinity College and the Writer’s Club Dublin and in St John’s Cathedral and the Irish Academy of World Music and Dance Limerick. In addition, the Choir sang Mass in St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, Choral Evensong in St George’s Church Belfast and took part in workshops with school pupils at Methodist College Belfast and Glenstal Abbey School.
The theme running through the programmes of our concerts was one of journeys. These ranged from journeys through the Church's year to journeys through both time and space in a concert of European Choral Music Across the Ages. Highlights included James MacMillan's Christus vincit, John Rutter's Hymn to the Creator of Light (featured on our Journey Into Light CD), Byrd's Ne irascaris Domine and Stetsenko's Blahoslovy dushe moya hospoda (from the Choir's War and Peace CD). The social media team were overwhelmed with positive responses throughout the tour with the ensemble being hailed as 'sublime' and having a 'fantastic sound' and the Choir enjoyed standing ovations and a warm reception from capacity audiences.
Despite the busy schedule, there was still time to take in the sights of each of the three cities we visited. We enjoyed a fascinating tour of Belfast as well as being fortunate enough to visit the Giant's Causeway, a fantastic coastal site home to equally fantastic legends. Whilst in Dublin, the Choir was told of the stories of corruption that led to the current layout of the city during a tour given by former Jesus Fellow and architectural historian, Dr Eddie McParland.
Having visited sights in Limerick, we also enjoyed a brief stop in the beautiful city of Cork before flying back to London Heathrow on our last day. There are many memories of a wonderful week, including a lunch accompanied by traditional Irish music in Belfast, an evening discovering the joys of Temple Bar in Dublin and our stay in the beautiful monastery at Glenstal, where we were treated to the legendary hospitality of the Benedictine community. Participating in a variety of musical performances, as well as visiting cultural sites, and sampling a 'real' pint (or two) of Guinness, made for an exciting, albeit very tiring, end to a busy Lent term.
Blogs written on each of the three legs of our tour can be found here.