by , Michael Mah, No Comments

Mar 22

Ireland Diary Part 1

by Chad, Michael Mah, Comments Off on Ireland Diary Part 1

Mar 22

March 22, 2007

Just returned from a whirlwind visit to Ireland, where I gave my talk entitled, “Is the World (Really) Flat? Measurement Insights from Around The World” to a group of about 90 people who participated in the Software Process Improvement Conference 2007 in Galway, Ireland.

Here’s a photo from a delightful day in Galway City, before the talk:

Galway Street.gif

There is so much to say about my visit to this marvelous land that I don’t know where to begin, so bear with me and I’m just going to let it flow in a brief stream of consciousness. (Forgive me for it possibly being rather unedited.)

First, I was taken by the absolute beauty of the countryside and the incredible kindness and hospitality of its people. Even in March, the meadows were lush, and dotted with livestock and stone walls. Now I know why God made the color green. The Irish own it.

I traveled to Galway on the western coast of Ireland. It is a prosperous port with a beautiful bay on the and splendid countryside. I was fascinated to learn that in 1625 and 1690, it was nearly destroyed by Cromwell’s and then William of Orange’s attacks on Catholic Ireland. You can sense the richness of Galway’s heritage in the buildings and architecture. Today, it’s home to a national university with a historic town center and hi-tech industries, but I also noticed from the newspapers that much of the region’s manufacturing is being outsourced. Even Galway’s and Waterford’s famous crystal apparently is sourced from Eastern Europe, although the designs are still etched in Ireland.

Flying into Shannon airport, one comes into the southern part of Galway county, the second largest in the country. A delightful man named Robert met us at the airport and drove north to our hotel at Galway Bay. The land is absolutely gorgeous. I had to get used to the right hand drive cars and narrow roads, and on more than one occasion I could tell that if I were driving with my reversed perspective, there would have been a high risk of a head on collision. Robert said that many American drivers often break off the left hand mirrors of rental cars because they can’t get used to driving on the left side of the road.

Ireland Road.gif

The conference was at the Galway Bay hotel, which looks out on the water not far from Galway City, a short cab ride to a fantastic downtown area. It’s a university town, so in addition to the tourists, there’s a vibrant energy from students strolling the pedestrian walkways and shops. I got a sense of “old Ireland” from the architecture and the land, but you could tell that there was also a healthy industry in the area and there was a balance between the pastoral feel of the countryside and a modern economy.

Keep checking this site… I’ve got more to say and not enough time to say it right now…


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