Researching Ireland & Hilary Swank~A Pre-Departure Preparation

Allie Lawrence
May 23, 2017

Hello! My name is Elisabeth, most people call me Allie, but I will respond to most everything. My middle school science teacher called my Liz for a month before I corrected her and I became Ellie for the remainder of the school year. No wonder I’m not a science major…


It’s official! In less than two weeks I will be leaving the dry, flat landscape of Denver, Colorado for the lush, rolling hills of Dublin, Ireland. On June 7, 2017 I will start my adventure of a lifetime when I arrive at the Gaiety School of Acting!

On April 4, 2017 I received my acceptance email from IES Abroad. I did a little dance, pulled out my duffle bag and began to pack. I made a pile of books to read for the plane ride, I folded my shirts in tight rolls to avoid wrinkles, and as I was putting my toothpaste into a Ziploc baggy (just in case it might explode), I realized I still had a month before the Spring semester was over and I should really be writing papers and studying for exams. Instead, I decided to research Ireland. First, I did a word association in my head of things I associated with Ireland. The list I came up with included beer, potatoes, Niall Horan (formerly of One Direction), and the 2007 romantic comedy P.S. I Love You, which partially takes place in Ireland and stars Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. This got me thinking…what ever happened to two-time Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank? I then fell into a Google Search rabbit hole as I tried to figure out what Hilary Swank is up to in 2017. In the end, I learned very little, but I’m hoping I might run into Hilary Swank in Ireland. Who knows? Maybe she’ll be filming P.S. I Love You 2.

As I continued my research, I learned that the Titanic Belfast, a museum and monument where the RMS Titanic was built, is located in Northern Ireland. I am named after my great-great-great aunt, Elisabeth Walton Allen, who was the first listed survivor off the Titanic. My family and I are fascinated by the Titanic; so much so that when my study abroad experience at the Gaiety School of Acting ends, my family will be flying to Dublin so we can all visit the Titanic Belfast in the hopes of finding my great-great-great aunt’s name. I am so excited that I will be able to experience Ireland’s history alongside my family’s history at “The World’s Largest Titanic Attraction.”

Speaking of large world attractions, through my research I also learned that the Guinness Storehouse is an extremely popular Dublin attraction. I have heard from friends that the Guinness brewery is like the Disney World of Beer. I’ve never been to Disney World and my knowledge of beer breweries is limited, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the beer experience to end all beer experiences.

Through IES Abroad I will be participating in the Gaelic Games and Causey Farm field trips. I am so looking forward to learning the techniques of Gaelic football, hurling, and handball on June 10. Then on July 1 I am excited for the potential to dance a jig, milk a cow, and visit the bog for an optional bog jump!

I am most excited (and a little nervous) to experience the intensive acting program at the Gaiety School of Acting. I know that I will grow as a person through my entire Dublin trip, but I am eager to grow and learn as an actor, performer, and student at Gaiety before returning to Tacoma, Washington for my final year at the University of Puget Sound. All students at the Gaiety School of Acting are required to wear black, navy, or dark gray attire for classes, so I’m off to find dark colored socks.

Stay tuned for lots more excitement, photographs, and updates on my Irish adventure; including updates on my search for Hilary Swank!

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Allie Lawrence

<p>Hi There! My name is Elisabeth &quot;Allie&quot; Lawrence and I am a Theatre and English double major with an emphasis in creative writing at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. At UPS, one of my favorite activities is being a coproducer for the sketch comedy troupe on campus, Ubiquitous They. I am beyond excited to be able to experience Dublin, Ireland for the first time and grow as an actor in the final summer before my senior year.</p>

2017 Summer 1, 2017 Summer 2
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University of Puget Sound
Theatre Arts
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