I was fortunate enough to have a lovely spring holiday last week. I think it is safe to say that it was truly the most amazing spring break I have ever had. One of my good friends in the Irish General Studies program here in Dublin joined me on an excursion to Scotland for three days! We flew into Glasgow and headed off to Edinburgh to do some exploring around the city. Edinburgh Castle was absolutely amazing, and the views from the castle walls were unexpected and beautiful! I didn’t realize that Edinburgh was surrounded by hills and mountains! It even snowed when we were walking around the castle grounds, which was a pleasant or unpleasant surprise–I can’t decide which! We even had some great Thai food for dinner that night. Who would have thought that Scotland would have amazing Thai food. That has to be one of the things I love most about all the European cities I’ve had the chance to visit, they are so culturally diverse! Our second day in Scotland consisted of a breathtaking tour of the Scottish West Highlands, lochs, and castles. My family has Scottish roots, and though we have been unable to pinpoint the direct origins, I felt right at home riding along the twists and turns of the roads. I’ve always loved the mountains and their majestic nature; it was a comfort to look out from the Rest and be Thankful Pass and see some gorgeous and massive hillsides. On our third day, we explored some more of Edinburgh before heading back to Dublin. We walked down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, and made our way back up to Calton Hill. Wow, that day was a challenge walking up and down all those hills with my heavy backpack. I definitely wasn’t expecting Edinburgh’s terrain to be so hilly.
After spending two days in Dublin at my internship, my friends and I headed off on an IES planned trip to Northern Ireland. We took the train into Belfast and did a Black Cab tour to see murals in Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods of the city. In my classes, we have been studying the course of the Northern Irish conflict, so it was surreal to see some of the murals I’ve seen in books in real life. Later that afternoon, we drove up to Portrush, which is right on the northern coast of the country. Over the weekend, we crossed the rope bridge at Carrick-a-rede, hiked around the Giant’s Causeway, toured the Bushmills Distillery, explored Dunluce Castle, and walked through Glenariff National Park. The cliffs and ocean views were absolutely amazing. I have never seen anything like it! My camera was completely full of picture I will look back on and remember what it was like to be there.
I wish I could put into words what it was like being able to experience Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was almost to awesome for words, as cheesy as that sounds. This study abroad experience has opened so many doors for me to travel to new places, make new friends, and experience my surroundings like I’ve never been able to before. It was a huge blessing to be able to travel to not one, but two foreign countries for my spring break. And I got to do it with the fantastic friends I’ve made while studying here. I cannot thank IES enough for the opportunities they’ve provided me. I can’t wait to see what my upcoming trips and excursions have in store for me! This weekend, I’ll be going to Galway on the west coast with my parents who are visiting me. I am very much looking forward to showing them how well I know Dublin, and I can’t wait to show them how much I love my study abroad experience.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Emily and I am currently a junior at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, and I am studying psychology. I hope to attend law school someday and work with children and families. In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar, watching reruns of “Friends,” and spending time with my friends and family. I have a passion for travel and good food, so this experience in Dublin is absolutely incredible! Check out my blog and feel free to leave comments or message me!</span></p>