Today marks three weeks of arriving in Dublin, but I already feel like I’ve been here for months while at the same time like I got here yesterday. The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind in the best way possible. With this, I have been adjusting to the everyday life of a Dubliner. So, here are some thoughts on what I’ve been up to so far:
To be completely honest, I kind of keep forgetting that I came here to take classes as I have been so wrapped up in exploring Dublin. Despite this, I have really loved the classes I’ve been taking. My favorite class so far (and one I highly recommend) is Irish Communal Identity. This class focuses on exploring the city and learning about how it has changed through the years, really taking on the idea of using the city as a classroom as class takes place all around the city. This class is a perfect way to learn about the history of Dublin on a firsthand basis. Aside from this one, each class and lecturer has been above my expectations and I am learning so much about Ireland already.
Something about class that I don’t love as much is the journey to get to the IES Abroad Center. While it is easily accessible on the LUAS, you do have to pay to get on it each way, which can add up pretty quickly, especially if you’re going back and forth between classes. It’s about a 45 min—1 hour long walk, so not a bad option on a nice day. However, on cold, rainy days this is definitely not my preferred method of transportation. In order to avoid the fees of going back and forth, one of my favorite things to do is walk along the canal for a bit and sit in a coffee shop and get some work done in between classes.
For the first couple weeks of being here, everything was under a strict lockdown with all pubs and restaurants closing at 8pm. However, lucky for us the curfew was dropped by our second weekend here. With this, we thought we would be able to easily find a place to go out that first night. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that almost every club or bar required tickets to get let in. This wasn’t the case for every place, but others just had very long lines. I’m not sure if this is a new thing since Covid or if it’s something that’s going to last, but it is definitely something I would’ve liked to know about. On the bright side, a lot of the tickets are free, you just have to book your spot to get in. If you want to avoid this, you just have to get there pretty early.
While I promised myself I would try my best to not eat out too frequently, I have found it quite difficult to resist going and getting a meal with my friends after class. With this, I have quickly realized that eating out here is not very cheap. However, I have tried many different restaurants and new kinds of food (including getting hot pot for the first time which I highly recommend) and I have yet to have a bad meal.
Getting groceries and eating in, however, is a much cheaper way to eat. Groceries are quite cheap here which was a nice surprise. The issue that I have been running into is that I absolutely love cooking and making intricate meals normally. However, I do not have the same equipment and ingredients available to me here and I don’t really want to invest in such things considering I’d have to leave it all behind in a few months. This means that I have been eating A LOT of sandwiches, pasta, and premade meals that I can put in the microwave (Tesco has lots of great options for this). While maybe not the ideal scenario, having a few easy staple meals is definitely the best option for me personally while being here.
One of my favorite things about being in Dublin is how easy it is to get to other places. My first weekend here, we headed out to Howth, about a thirty-minute ride on the Dart. The Howth Cliff Walk was beautiful and a pretty easy hike with gorgeous views. Even better, there was some amazing fish and chips waiting for us on the pier after the hike. The following weekend, we headed down to Cork, which was a longer venture, taking about three hours on the Irish Rail. We stayed there for a night, and I highly recommend taking this trip as it is beautiful down there. Also, take a twenty-minute bus ride and you can get to Blarney Castle and kiss the infamous Blarney Stone, said to give you the gift of eloquence.
This past weekend, we headed down to Bray on a beautiful forty minute Dart ride along the coast. There, we strolled on the beach and headed on the Bray Cliff Walk. This hike was certainly a bit longer and harder than the Howth Cliff Walk, but again an absolutely beautiful one and probably my favorite thing I’ve done so far.
There are of course plenty of other places on my list to get to in Ireland, including Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, and Glendalough. Aside from Ireland, I have been carefully tracking Google Flights along with covid restrictions to see which other countries I can get to (thanks to RyanAir for the cheap flights). Regardless, there is no shortage of places to go and things to see while I am here.
Keep following along over the next few months as I continue to explore Ireland.
That’s all for now!
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<p>Hi! My name is Maya Reiser and I am studying Psychology, Sociology, and Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. I am studying abroad this Spring in Dublin, and I can't wait to share all of my experiences. My favorite thing in the world to do is travel anywhere I can go. The best memory I have while traveling was watching the sunset on a bridge over a river in Tuscany, Italy.</p>