I just experienced my first full week in Dublin, Ireland, and it was amazing. My week had begun with me landing at the Dublin airport ready to experience a brand new city, country, and culture. I arrived before most of the other students since I have the Resident Advisor position in Dublin. After landing, I made my way to the residence, called Highlight Student Accommodation, in a taxi. Looking out the window of the taxi gave me a small taste of where I would be living for the next four months, and I liked what I saw. A gorgeous landscape at first in the distance that transitioned into a lively city as I got closer to the center of Dublin.
After arriving at the residence and settling in, I began familiarizing myself with the area around the residence. The residence is in an area of Dublin called The Liberties which has a rich history. There are various local shops around that sell amazing products ranging from fruits and vegetables, to various meats and fish, and even nice snacks and pastries. Highlight is surrounded by so many amazing locations that students can utilize while living in Dublin.
The first week in Dublin is orientation week which includes learning a bit about the culture in Dublin, meeting the locals, exploring the city of Dublin, learning about policies and procedures regarding living in Dublin and academics, and going on a day trip to Trim Castle and Causey Farm.
Meeting the locals was an amazing experience. I find that everyone I have talked to is very friendly and I felt very welcome the second I arrived in Dublin. You will also get a chance to talk to all the local shopkeepers who own shops on Meath Street, which is right around the corner from the Highlight residence, all of whom are very nice. After talking to people in Ireland, I found that there are certain sayings in Ireland that aren’t used in America. For example, craic(pronounced “crack”) means fun. Anyone who is coming to Ireland for the first time will notice these slight differences.
The city of Dublin is very lively and has some amazing architecture. There are many historic buildings and it can be a great experience to just walk around the city and look around. The walking tours during orientation week introduced me to many areas of Dublin that I look forward to exploring more. Thomas Street, which is the street that the residence is on, has some shops such as Lidl, which is a grocery store and has Meath street branching off of it, which is where more local shops and pubs are. There is also Grafton Street and Henry Street, which are both pedestrian-only streets with many shops. Every time that I have gone to Grafton Street and Henry Street, they were always lively, and on the weekend, there were multiple impressive street performers. There is also Temple Bar, which is known to be a very touristy area. There are also a lot of shops and pubs at Temple Bar, but it tends to be more expensive to make purchases there since it is such a draw for tourists.
On the last day of orientation week, the Champlain students were brought on a day trip to Trim Castle and Causey Farm. The Trim Castle tour was an amazing experience. I was able to learn about the history of the castle while walking through the old structures and climbing the windy steps to the top of the castle. A fun fact about Trim Castle is that it was actually used in the movie “Braveheart”!
At Causeway Farm, the first activity was bread baking. Everyone made Brown Soda Bread which is very tasty. We then walked around the Farm to look at some animals, including alpacas, dogs and puppies, pigs, horses, cows, and more! We then went to a bog which students had the option to jump into. I jumped into the bog and it was great fun! To end off the day at Causey Farm, everyone was able to see a sheepdog in action. It was amazing seeing how the dog listened to commands so precisely. The day trip to Trim and Causey Farm was a perfect way to end off orientation week and start an amazing semester in Dublin, Ireland.
I would highly recommend that everyone give themselves the opportunity to study abroad in Dublin by applying. It is an experience of a lifetime and I’m incredibly glad that I chose to come here for a semester. There is so much fun to be had and I look forward to sharing future experiences!