Hello from Dublin!
Our seventh week in Ireland began with nationwide excitement over hurricane Ophelia, the main effects of which in Dublin were just some strong winds and a day off classes. So once the storm had blown over and everyone was returned from their travels we got straight back to business!
First on the agenda was our first proper lesson in the Irish language, which proved to be fascinating and baffling in equal measure. The teacher who met us in a community space in Stoneybatter was eager to tell us as much as he could about his beloved language, and I think we all came away with at least a few useful phrases in the end.
Scenic Bus Tours
At the end of the week, then, about half the group headed off on a bus tour to some of the most scenic parts of county Wicklow: Glendalough and Powerscourt Gardens. Glendalough’s ancient, wild beauty couldn’t contrast more with the controlled, precise Gardens, so we really felt we had a rounded experience of what Wicklow has to offer.
Great Irish Famine Class
At the start of Week 8, to supplement our Great Irish Famine class, we headed to the EPIC Irish Immigration Museum, a brand new interactive attraction that walked us through the history of emigration from Ireland, and the impact it has had both on Ireland and the world.
This week’s ILC topic was Irish theatre, and so our two-part activity consisted of a lecture on the history of Ireland’s National Theatre, and actually attending a show, a stage adaption of James Joyce’s infamous Ulysses.
Lastly, a few of us managed to squeeze in a trip to a rock-climbing gym for an exhausting/exhilarating afternoon before heading home to pack for our weekend excursion to Galway!
The weekend was stuffed with amazing experiences, and even the weather seemed to be trying to make sure we had the best possible time, with gorgeous sunshine for our first day taking a walking tour to explore Galway town and the harbour. Then we finished up the day by coming together for another excellent group meal, in Monroe’s Tavern.
The Aran Islands
We got up early on Saturday morning because after breakfast we embarked on quite a journey: making our way by bus and ferry to arguably the most remote part of the Republic of Ireland, the Aran Islands. The small ferry carried us off from Rosaveal in thick mist, and the mainland soon vanished behind us, before Inis Mór finally loomed up ahead. We were met on arrival by a pair of minibuses, driven by two islanders who were more than happy to answer our many questions about their unique little home. The highlight was definitely Dun Aonghus, a prehistoric stone-walled fort built on the edge of a cliff, which was definitely enhanced by being surrounded by that mysterious mist during our visit.
Did someone say puppies?
We were sorry to leave the island at the end of that afternoon, but as soon as we had settled into our seats on the ferry we were all completely distracted from our sorrow by the appearance of an entire litter of golden retriever puppies, who were being brought to the mainland by a very generous owner…
Sunday was the day we returned to Dublin by coach, but not before driving down a whole section of gorgeous Atlantic coastline, with a quick stop at a castle and several hours spent exploring the absolutely stunning Cliffs of Moher!
Mount St.Mary’s University offer a fall semester in Dublin every two years. Students take two courses with an MSM professor, an Irish Life and Culture Course, and a fourth course on the Irish Famine, taught by a local professor.
MSMU alternates Dublin and Prague during fall semester, and London and Florence in Spring, all in collaboration with AIFS. More information is available on Mount St.Mary’s University’s Study Abroad webpage.