Arrival: The Good, The Bad, and The Boggy

Mariana Considine headshot
Mariana Considine
September 26, 2023
An old looking stone coach house, in a green field. People walk around in the background. A modern office building is visible behind it.

There is a small green composition book on my desk. I packed it the day before I left for Dublin, thinking I would write down my daily activities to have an awesome record of everything I do here, that I could easily translate into a blog post every two weeks.

Well, today marks my 11th day in Dublin, and that book has about 3 pages filled.

Although I’m kicking myself a little bit, sitting down with nothing to write, it’s only because I have been so busy and excited about everything around me, that I have hardly had a moment to sit and scribble down my thoughts. So to catch up, here is my catch-all update on the last two weeks. (Written over the last four... oops.)

Day 0.5 - 1: Travel. Departing my home in Vermont around 1 o’clock EST Sunday, September 3rd, I arrived at the Boston airport around 6pm, for my 8:30pm flight. After a 6 hour maintenance delay, I finally stumbled into my new apartment building almost 24 hours after leaving home. I then promptly took a big nap. (This is not advisable, because it will only serve to worsen your jet lag, and make it that much harder for you to sleep the next few nights. I was warned.)

Week One: surprisingly warm. We spent this week doing orientation with all of the American students, and exploring the city. Some highlights included hiking the cliffs at Howth, facing my fear of eating fish, and swimming at Forty Foot. I learned two important lessons this week—‘fish and chips’ does not mean fish nuggets like it does in your high school cafeteria. I was honestly a little surprised when I opened my takeout container to discover a whole fried fish laying in a bed of potatoes. As someone with a strict aversion to seafood, I was quite proud that I finished it all—and enjoyed it. The second thing I learned, is to always wear sunscreen—even in Ireland. I got so sunburnt hiking the cliffs, because there’s no tree cover at all!

Week Two: This week, we started our courses at the IES Abroad center. The center is just a short train ride from our apartment, and is located in a quiet part of the city surrounded by coffee shops, charity shops, and restaurants. It is also right along the Grand Canal, which is a beautiful walk in the mornings. 

Because my classes at the Gaiety School of Acting don’t begin until October, we have three weeks of a course dedicated to the Dublin Fringe Festival. We spent time in class reading and discussing classic and contemporary Irish playwrights, and creating some of our own work based on themes from those plays. We also were required to attend five different shows from the fringe festival. These shows ranged from one woman comedy shows, to abstract blackbox horror, and one was even located in a bus parked in a deserted alleyway. (Blue Thunder, look it up!) This course was a really great intro into the basics of Irish theater history, and it was so cool to see the work of so many local artists, and of my classmates. It also allowed for myself and my classmates to bond before the shift to Gaiety classes. 

To finish out the week of classes, we all took a trip to Causey Farm—about an hour bus ride out of the city. We got to pet all sorts of animals, had a delicious meal prepared by their kitchen staff, and finished out the day by jumping in the bog. I really had to psych myself up to jump in with the freezing cold wind and rain, but it was surprisingly warm! The worst part was getting out and trying to clean off… sad to say my jeans did not make it out alive. One thing I learned this week—when they say don’t jump in with your legs pointed down because you’ll get stuck, you should probably listen… 

After an exciting two weeks, it was time for me to wash out the bog and take a big nap. See you all next time.

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