Latha Math! (Gaelic for Hello). As Christmas days are approaching it’s time for me to introduce the beautiful country of Ireland to you and the beautiful city of Dublin as well. While flying home to Germany for Christmas, I reflected about the time I spent in Ireland. From 10th September until the 21st of December 2015 I was in Ireland. I will be there again for twenty days in January 2016. What did I expect from Ireland before I came to Dublin? Guinness comes to mind, the colour green and kind people. All of it is really part of Ireland, I recognized.
There are so many things I enjoyed while I was in Ireland. First of all, the extreme kind and welcoming Irish people. I will remember little things, like the sound of the traffic lights every time we crossed the street. They sound like a Pacman game. Or French fries with salt and vinegar, at first, the most disgusting thing I had ever eaten, but the best food after a night out.
Dublin and Ireland have plenty to offer:
There are the Irish Pubs, all in their own fashion unique, some of them with loud music and people dancing around, some cozy and relaxed, others full of sports fans cheering at their favourite sports team or ranting about the referee. The Leonard’s Corner, a comfortable pub, in the same street as the Griffith College, quickly established as our favourite pub. We met Paul and Gary, the likable barkeepers and had a pint of Guinness (0,568 Litre) every once in a while. I took a step into the Darkey Kelly’s which provides live music every day of the week. I went inside the famous Temple Bar, which gave a whole district of Dublin its name. The Temple Bar is always overcrowded because it is a tourism hot spot, but it is still a nice place to go. I tried the Temple Bar whisky. It’s expensive, but it tastes awesome. I had a pint of Guinness in the Brazen Head, which is officially the oldest Pub in Dublin. The staff inside the Brazen Head is just relaxed and the pub appears like an Irish beer garden. I took a look on the wall and recognised pictures of celebrities who visited the Brazen Head. For a good night out, we visited the Bleeding Horse or the Hogans.
I traveled around the country to see the beautiful nature of „the green Island“: Howth, a fishing village not far from Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains, beautiful mountains with two big lakes right underneath or the Cliffs of Moher in county Galway, magnificent cliffs washed around by the Atlantic Ocean. A scene of Harry Potter was filmed at the cliffs. Bray, a city at the seaside with around 26 000 inhabitants was worth a visit as well. The view over the sea and the city was just epic.
I made a trip to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Around Christmas time, the Continental Christmas market is magnificent. You can learn everything about the famous RMS Titanic at the Titanic museum and take a ride with the typical UK taxis.
As a sports journalism student, I will remember the fantastic atmosphere in the Croke Park, the third biggest sports stadium in Europe or in the Aviva Stadium. I will remember Gaelic Football, Hurling and Handball as fast. competitive and spectacular sports. I do not understand why these are not famous all around the world. I will remember Rugby fans, screaming their head off to support their team. I will remember the special task of the clubs of the Gaelic Athletic Association to cultivate national pastimes. A lot of fun was the visit of the dog race. The lean, little dogs run so fast. In my opinion, the dog race is good entertainment and the dogs get to do what their like to do (run), so it is basically a win-win situation.
I visited some museums as well. If you want to learn something about the history of Dublin, visit the Dublinia, the museum of the historical origin of Dublin. Irish people invented whisky. I learned everything about the history of Irish whisky at the Irish whisky museum and tasted the best whisky in the world. The Guinness storehouse told me the story of the famous beer brand and I learned how to tap a pint of guinness.
I will never forget the moment Shane Long scored the crucial goal against the German national soccer team and how the crowd in the pub reacted afterwards. Even as a German, you were infected by the celebration of the Irish. I will never forget, how proud the Irish taxi drivers were, even months after the win for the Irish. I will never forget the sentence of my professor Geraldine McGing: “Irish people do not have an alcohol problem, their just having a good time“ or the warm familiar feeling that dominates every Irish pub. The courses at the Griffith College were similar to those in Germany, so nothing new here, but I found new friends, not only from Ireland but also from other continents. The Griffith College is very international, which makes it fun because you can connect with people from all around the globe. In fact, I will never forget the wonderful time I had during my semester abroad.
As a journalism student, my days in January will be packed with learning for my microeconomics exam, but there is still time to see more, like the famous Jameson whisky distillery or the famous Phoenix Park.
I highly recommend choosing Dublin and Ireland as the place for a semester abroad, because the people are nice and welcoming, nature is beautiful and Dublin as a city is perfect for students. I just love this country and you will definitely too, I promise.