Friday, July 16, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
(Note: This week I am in Dungarvan, Ireland for the Global Intelligence Forum. I will posting impressions and reports from the conference as time permits.)
I arrived in Ireland early this morning from JFK. It was about as good a flight as can be expected when traveling in coach these days. I came into Shannon instead of Dublin and I can recommend it. Shannon is a small-ish airport as international airports go and you are through customs and the baggage carousels in a flash.
To the extent that I was dreading this trip, it was largely due to what was going to happen next -- the bus ride to Dungarvan. I had been told that it was upward of three hours.
I shouldn't have been so worried. I spent the better part of it chatting with the other attendees, including a long discussion with Will McGill about my recent experience in using games in the classroom. The rest of the time...well...I was in Ireland! People talk about the beauty of the countryside and, while I have spent a number of years in Europe, I have to admit that I have never been to the Emerald Isle.
Big mistake. It is every bit as lovely as people say -- some really breathtaking views of the countryside that even the best photos don't do justice. I also had some time to walk around the town of Dungarvan. Charming, absolutely charming. While I have to admit that I am a sucker for the Irish accent and, as a consequence, my positioned may be a tad biased, I can honestly say that the Irish people are some of the kindest I have ever met.
My accommodations at the Park Hotel are also quite nice. There are a lot of old hotels in Europe and a lot of hotels in Europe that have modern conveniences. Few hotels have the right mix of the two. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the experience is to walk through the lobby and see the wide variety of analysts -- not only from all over the world but also from all different types of disciplines -- gathered in one location, talking and exchanging ideas.
It has been a good trip so far and I expect it to get better tonight as we start the conference with a reception and then kick off the presentations in earnest tomorrow.