British Isles International Tour 2005
Every three years, the Purdue Varsity Glee Club has the fortunate opportunity to tell the Purdue story across the globe. This year's international tour brought us to Europe, where we toured England, Scotland and Ireland. It was the trip of a lifetime, regardless of how much it rained!
Our expedition began in West Lafayette, where we assembled, loaded the buses and headed to Chicago to catch our flight to Manchester, England. We arrived around 8:30 A.M. local time, 2:30 A.M. back at ole Purdue, and immediately headed to the famous Belfry Hotel. After acclimating to the new time and culture, we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare.
We had the option of taking a tour of Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, and what an option. The castle was amazing! The towers soared over 130 feet tall, definitely not for those wary of heights. While some took the tour of the castle, others stayed back at the hotel and elected to play a round of golf on one of the hotel's courses, which holds the distinction of hosting four Ryder Cups, a golf tournament between the United States and the Europeans. That night we performed with the Birmingham Ickneild Male Voice Choir and the Second City Sound at the town hall.
Our travels then led us from England to Scotland, where we arrived in St. Andrews to the unmistakable sound of bagpipes and site of men in kilts. Our first full day in the famed historic city presented our second optional tour, a tour of Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the late Queen Mother. Others visited the city, played golf and toured the scenic coastline. The evening ended with a Glee Club worship service, an evening show at Holy Trinity Church and a few pictures on the 17th green on the golf course. How amazing is it that we were standing where golfing legends like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have won major championships?
Other highlights of Scotland included a tour of Edinburgh, the capital city, quick stops at the Scone Palace and the Glenturret Distillery, and a stop at Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, where we performed at the immense Glasgow Cathedral. The cathedral was erected in the 11th century, and it was a marvelous venue.
We then departed for Killarney, Ireland for some shopping and a quick lunch. Our first night in town included an evening of Irish entertainment at The Laurels Singing Pub. We embarked on a daylong trip around the Ring of Kerry, a road that runs around Kerry County. What a site. We drove through mountains, valleys and even by Oceanside. The last optional tour was a journey to Muckross House in Killarney National Park, a top tourist attraction. Our final show of the international tour, as well as our final Glee Club show of the year, took place that night in the main ballroom of the Hotel Europe.
Though we may have been done performing, we were not done touring! We traveled to Dublin, stopping to see the world famous Blarney Stone, as well as St. Patrick's rock, along the way. We arrived in Dublin and toured the Guinness Brewery, which housed a seven-story pint glass at its center. Seven stories!
It's hard to believe our tour of the United Kingdom is over. It has been an amazing two weeks. However, American soil never looked so sweet. The places we went, things we saw and people we met truly made this an adventure we will not forget.