Lucky to be a Jayhawk: Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

Posted on Jun 7, 2018 in News

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

I always knew it was great to be a Jayhawk, but after spending a week with 13 fellow Jayhawks in Ireland I realized just how lucky I am be a part of such a great community. Together we rode on a charter bus across the west coast of Ireland, endured the spontaneous rain showers, enjoyed a cup of Irish coffee, laughed with Joe as he told his jokes and appreciated the rich Irish history we were lucky enough to experience. It was a Wild Atlantic journey that we will never forget.

Westport, Ireland

Westport, a beautiful town in County Mayo, quickly became our temporary home away from home. It didn’t take long to see why Westport had been voted the “best place to live in Ireland.” It’s a picturesque town with streets lined with local shops, restaurants and pubs; stone bridges that cross over the Carrowbeg River; and a rich culture in the surrounding landscape and people. The town has something for everyone, and it provided the perfect setting for us to come home to after excursions throughout the day.

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way via charter bus

We spent a great deal of time together aboard our charter bus in the trusty hands of our driver, Joe. He was always prepared with a lesson for the day, witty jokes to help pass the time and an occasional song.  It’s safe to say Joe was never short on information.

As we rode from place to place we enjoyed the beautiful green sceneries while learning about Irish history, culture, economy, folk tales and more.

Croagh Patrick

This immense mountain is the first thing you see as you enter Westport, and it’s one of my favorite sights and stories from this whole journey. Croagh Patrick is a holy mountain, named in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick. More than 100,000 people climb Croagh Patrick every year in pilgrimage. It’s a tradition that dates back at least 5,000 years.

At the top of the mountain sits a little white church that can be seen on a clear day. It’s a tiny white speck from the mainland, but its significance to County Mayo and Ireland certainly is not small. One of our very own Jayhawks was lucky enough to climb Croagh Patrick while we were there. She recounted the climb as a deeply moving experience and was honored to make the same pilgrimage of so many people before her.

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

Castles and churches and sheep, oh my!

Ireland definitely isn’t short of castles, estates, churches and sheep. These four things can sum up our week in Ireland almost perfectly. Sheep are found everywhere—probably because there are more sheep in Ireland than people. But, that just means more wool for sweaters (for us to purchase) at Foxford Woollen Mills.

This was one of my favorite places we visited, and not just because of the great shopping. The history behind the making of wool sweaters and blankets goes back to the 19th century, and the machines that make the fabric are large and require special attention. Before our shopping spree, we walked through the factory to watch the making of many different types of fabrics.

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

A couple of days later we got to see the other side of wool, live sheep, up close and personal! We went to see a sheep herding demonstration. The man who gave the demonstration had an interesting story of how he came into the business, but you would think he’d been doing this his whole life. His dogs Holly and Lizzie gave us quite a show. It almost made us forget that it was raining the entire time, but hey that’s Ireland!

In addition to the hundreds of sheep we encountered we saw our fair share of castles, estates and churches. From our first stop at the medieval Dunguaire Castle to the large estate at Kylemore Abbey and the Westport House, each stop offered beautiful sights of historic structures and green landscapes. We were fortunate to have expert guides at each of our stops to walk us through the history as we took in all the natural beauty around us. I could go on and on describing each place we went, but they’re all so beautifully different and had their own unique styles. So I just ranked my favorites by pictures so you’ll see what I mean.

1. Kylemore Abbey

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

2. Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

3. Westport House

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

All in all, it was a memorable week and I’m lucky I got to experience Ireland with a fantastic group of Jayhawks. Oh, and as if we couldn’t get any luckier, we saw a rainbow while in Ireland… how fitting! Slàinte!

Flying Jayhawks in Ireland

The Flying Jayhawks trip “Wild Atlantic Way” took place May 8-16, 2018. The trip was hosted by Crysta Moon, coordinator of membership and business development. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.

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Meet the Staff: Crysta Moon

Posted on Jan 9, 2018 in News

Crysta Moon, coordinator of membership and business development, KU Alumni Association

Crysta Moon graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and minor in Business. Choosing to attend KU was an easy decision, as Crysta, c’17, is a third-generation Jayhawk and native of Mission, Kansas. Some of her favorite childhood memories include coming to Lawrence with her parents and brother for KU football and basketball games. Before joining the membership and business development team, Crysta was an intern for the alumni association for nearly two years, which prepared her to tackle any “Tegan or Teri project” that lies ahead. In her free time, Crysta enjoys watching KU and Kansas City sports teams, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

I became a Jayhawk because…​

I became a Jayhawk because of my family. I’m a third-generation Jayhawk, so the decision to continue the tradition was an easy one. I love being a part of a huge KU family and sharing stories and experiences with other students and alumni.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

The view of the Campanile and Potter Lake from Snow Hall. Some of my favorite childhood memories are playing around the lake and on the Hill before a KU football game. Later, as a student, it was my favorite sight to see when walking to and from class.

My favorite KU memory is…

The many hours spent in Allen Fieldhouse camping for KU basketball games!

My best advice for college students is…

Enjoy every moment and take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you. There are so many ways to meet new people and get involved on campus and in the Lawrence community. So take the chance, because those are the moments that make your college experience memorable. Also don’t forget to establish your camping group for basketball early, that’s very important.

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