During my time in Dublin, my team and I have been working four days a week with a telecomm company located just across the street from Trinity College Dublin. Trinity is Ireland’s oldest and most famous institution founded in 1592. Located in one corner of the college is the Science Gallery, a small children’s science museum with interactive exhibits. It was here that my team and I discovered Mindball.
Mindball is a two-person game produced by the Swedish company Interactive Productline. Mindball is a simple game: each player sits on one end of table and straps electrodes to their head that are wired to an Electroencephalogram (EEG). The EEG measures each players alpha and theta brain waves. In the center of the table sits a ball, it moves (by a magnet under the table) away from the most relaxed player (i.e. the one with the lowest alpha and theta waves). When the ball is pushed all the way to one end of the table, the player at that end looses the game. A monitor in the center of the table displays the EEG readings from each player.
We have frequently visited the Mindball game (which is free to play at the Science Gallery) on lunch breaks and after work. The game is fun but challenging. Everyone has a different strategy. I’ve found if you react to the “score” (the location and direction of movement of the ball) you risk becoming less relaxed and allowing your opponent to move the ball toward you.
Last Monday I got to check out the “Gaelic Football Match of My Life” or at least the only one I’ll be attending for a long while. Gaelic Football, which is closely related to another Irish favorite—hurling, is a hybrid of soccer, rugby, American football and basketball (!). It basically works like soccer except (A) everyone can use their hands at all times, and (B) there are two ways of scoring: a goal (in the soccer sense) in worth three points, and a ball kicked through the uprights above the goal is worth one point. The game is played with a soccer ball and each team has an astounding 15 players on the field. To complicate matters the score in kept in a rather untidy way; instead of “13 to 8” the score is expressed as “1—10 to 1—5” where the first number in each score represents the number of three-point goals and the second represents the number of one-point field-goals. This means you actually have to do math to tell who’s winning!
The game I attended at Croke Park in Dublin was the once-a-season rivalry of local favorite Dublin (called the “Boys in Blue”) and Kerry. (The teams are all amateur and represent their county in the Republic of Ireland.) We wore blue to support the home team. Unfortunately, Kerry’s 31-year winning streak stood with a final score of 1—24 to 1—7 (i.e. 27 to 10).
The majority of the group spent last weekend in Galway on the west coast of the island. Galway is a one of the favorite tourist towns in Ireland, home to the Galway (horse) Races and a destination of the Volvo around-the-world yacht race. On the way, we paid a visit to the Cliffs of Moher: 400-foot vertical cliffs down to the Atlantic. Unfortunately, the experience of walking along the cliffs doesn’t transfer very well to film, but I did my best to capture these awesome pieces of nature. I climbed a tower built by Cornelius O'Brien, a significant feature in the history of the area (County Clare), marking the highest point above the Atlantic. The turret structure has a small observation deck providing an unforgettable view of the cliffs and the ocean.
After our brief stopover at the cliffs, we made our way into Galway just in time to grab an amazing dinner—at gourmet pizza restaurant—and then plunge in to Galway’s famous night life. The majority of our group (probably around 20 people) found our way to The King’s Head Pub for a live cover band at the end of the night.
The next day we had an opportunity to browse the many restaurants, and shops in the town. This included several jewelry shops selling the Claddaugh Ring—a popular design sold around the world associated with Claddaugh, a fishing village adjacent to Galway.
I am writing from a dorm at the Griffith College Dublin. There’s a euchre game going on, The Green Mile on TV and music courtesy of Adam. Our second night in Dublin has been pretty chill by design—my team begins work Monday with a Telecomm Company in Downtown Dublin. However, on Saturday we used a birthday in the group as an excuse to get out and explore the town.
Since being here, I’ve gotten an opportunity to do some historical (and touristy) things including: seeing the Book of Kerry at Trinity College (this was a “must see” according to friends from home that have been to Dublin before) and touring and hiking in Glendalough (mean “glen of two lakes”) a medieval monastery founded in the 6th century.
At St. Kevin's Church or "Kitchen" in Glendalough
Sunday we had lunch in Avoca, a small town in County Wicklow. I ate with a few of my classmates at a little shop that sat right between the town’s main bridge and the river (also named Avoca). After lunch we toured a small textile operation in town—home to the international line of scarves and blankets also, also Named Avoca.
There's more on the beginning of our consulting project coming soon.