To Ireland and back.



The creative science project got a request last February from a LEADER + project, in Northern Ireland, about a possible transnational partnership.
A maritime museum with a planetarium was building rockets, together with students, which they loaded with eggs and then launched. Their slogan is, egg up, egg down, no omelette.
Per-Arne Ekström and Pierre Jamot from the creative science project went over to Ireland to discuss the possible collaboration.

We took off from Landvetter’s airport on a gray Monday morning in June. The plane flew to Dublin via Copenhagen. At the airport in Dublin, we tried to ask for the direction to the car rental company, Irish Cars. Per-Arne got an answer in Irish, which was impossible to understand, so we laughed and then we went on. We had  better luck with the signs and at last we saw our car, a red Peugeot 407.
Now we had a 250 km car ride in front of us. We were going to Greencastle in the area of Inishowen in the Northern part of Ireland. We went on the N2, it was a beautiful road and the trip went well until we got to Monaghan. P-A took a left turn instead of a right turn in a roundabout, but we ended up finding a great place to eat instead. Their chicken curry was extremely hot, but very good.


The trip continued towards Derry where we had the luck of running into a friendly Irishman who showed us the little narrow road to Greencastle and Inishowen Maritime Museum. After a five-hour drive on the left hand side of the road, and gear shifting with the right hand (very hard), we arrived at the museum.
In the museum we met Gillian McColgan, local LEADER + representative, Gemma Havlin, the manager of the museum and Ash McFadden, in charge of the planetarium and the rocket launches.

We talked for a while and told them about our trip and then got a tour of the museum and the planetarium.

This is an Irish leather boat. Brendan the monk traveled in a leather boat, but a larger size, to America in the year of 551.


Ash showed us his rockets, some of the larger ones were really impressive.

The latest rocket was made out of a plastic tube. Ash said that hopefully the rocket would be able to fly through the sound barrier later that summer.


After the tour we went to a guesthouse with bed& breakfast that was located right next to the museum.
Here is Peter Smith, our host, he is the president of the Maritime Museum. The view over Lough Foyle was incredible, even if the weather was slightly gray.
Later that evening we were taken to the local pub and tried Irish Guinness beer.




The next morning the whole town of Greencastle was without electricity, so we had to go home to Ash for a rocket launch. From where he lived there was a remarkable view over green Irish hills and a violent bay.
One of the ships from the Spanish armada was shipwrecked here a couple of hundred years ago.


Ash also showed us his laser-cutting machine and told us about his laser show.
The rocket launch was successful but on its way down the rocket drifted out to sea and disappeared.



On Wednesday morning, after a delicious breakfast at Peter’s, we went to the museum.
Ash had a group of school children from Moville there. They learned the basics in Rocket Science and Ash showed them a slideshow in the planetarium about the solar system.
The students got rocket construction kits to take home and put together, and then come back again to have the rockets launched. The launches take place on the first Sunday each month in the Greencastle harbor, with finals in September.


After the visit we discussed the collaboration plans. Here is a short version.

Four people from Greencastle come to visit Vårgårda.
Day 1   Visit the Vårgårda District, the town +  the country
Day 2   Visits Industries and Projects
Day 3   Visits in schools
Day 4    LEADER+ in Vara, discuss our participation in Ireland

  Fall –05  Prepare net meeting with web camera

Spring –06  The sixth graders “meet Ash on the net”, read about Ireland and Irish stories in English.

  May –06  Ash comes to visit a week and launches rockets with all the sixth grade students in the Vårgårda district.



After we had said goodbye we drove off towards Belfast and then Dublin.

The trip back went well, P-A drove on the left hand side so good that you would think he had done it his whole life.
That evening we walked around in Dublin.
Thursday morning we flew back to Sweden with some great memories, and a lot of i
deas, from Ireland

Per-Arne & Pierre


Photo Per-Arne Ekström