October 10th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Ireland | No Comments by
It’s been a little while since my last blog post mainly because my course load has increased and because I have been spending all of my weekends traveling around Ireland (I can’t complain). I have had such a wonderful time during the past few weeks that the semester is already starting to fly by. I cannot believe that it is already week 6!
Since my last post, I have visited multiple cities in Ireland including Galway and Kilkenny. Both of these cities had their own charm and unique features. Me and my friends, that I regularly travel with, fell in love with Galway’s main pedestrian streets that featured an array of tiny shops painted all different colors. Our main purpose for traveling to Galway was to participate in Galway’s International Oyster Festival. In a large tent on the edge of the bay, we tried raw oysters, drank local beer, and shared delicious muscles all while listening to live music and watching children play with hula hoops. Essentially, it felt like the Oktoberfest of Galway.
This past weekend we spent time in Kilkenny for fun and exploration planned by IFSA Butler. Kilkenny is a city with a lot of medieval history. At the end of the city’s main streets, lined with welcoming bars and shops, sits a castle originally constructed in the 12th century. During the weekend, we toured this castle and also went on a ghost tour and learned about a witch trial that took place in the center of town. We also had an opportunity to try hurling, an ancient Irish sport that is played all over Ireland and is particularly popular in Kilkenny. I was a lot better at this sport than I thought I would be!
Overall, my time here has been wonderful and I am so excited to learn and adventure more.
Until next time,
September 19th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Ireland | No Comments by
Wow! So much has happened since I wrote my pre-departure blog post. I boarded a plane from New Jersey to an island all the way across the Atlantic Ocean! Over these last few weeks, this island has become my home. I feel completely settled in at Dromroe Village at the University of Limerick here in Ireland. Living among picturesque walking trails and being a short bus ride away from a hip and cultural city is my new reality. At this point, I have explored and discovered a lot of what Limerick has to offer. Walking trails along the River Shannon are just outside my window, complete with castle ruins and tiny homes belonging to fishermen and their loyal dogs. The nearby city of Limerick has beautiful river front views of a medieval castle and wide array of stores and places to eat that are both modern and classically charming. My favorite spot in the city is the Milk Market which consists of a large circus tent in the center of town and local artisans and farmers that set up stands to sell their products on the weekends. The market has anything from fresh Irish produce and delicious sausage breakfast sandwiches to crepes and real hot chocolate. At the market, you can also buy handmade pottery and potted plants. It has everything!
In addition to exploring the local city, I have also had the opportunity to explore more of what Ireland has to offer through the Student Union on campus that has discounted tickets to bus tours of famous Irish sites. So far I have seen the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Inis Oírr and a few other sites on only two bus trips! I will add photos of these places along with photos of Limerick below.
I’m super excited to see what the rest of the semester has to offer. I have met so many kind people inside and outside my Ifsa Bulter program that I feel safe, comfortable and supported here. In fact, have a few trips planned this semester already with friends I have made here that I will share soon!
As for my academic life at UL, I am also excited to learn more in my classes. While at UL I’m taking 3 classes that will focus on Irish history and culture. I am really looking forward to attending more of my Irish music class in which I will get to try out Irish Dance! (Wish me luck!) I have a strong feeling that what I learn in the classes I take here will resonate with me for years to come.
Until next time,
August 23rd, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Ireland | No Comments by
Welcome to my first blog post! My name is Katrina O’Donnell and I am a Biology student at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. I have always had an interest in study abroad and my school helped me decide how and when to fulfill that interest. After months of decision making, I decided to attend the University of Limerick (UL) in Limerick, Ireland for the upcoming fall semester, which happens to be the start of my junior year at school. I chose UL for different reasons, one of these reasons being that they offer many science and engineering courses that sounded very interesting and that will help keep me on track at school. Another reason is that I have always wanted to venture to Ireland, partly because I am a quarter Irish and partly because I have seen many beautiful photographs of its beautiful castles and green hills.
Anyway, as you can tell by my post title, I have not left for my trip yet. I am three days away from driving to the airport from my home in Audubon, New Jersey. This also happens to be the last day I will see my home because my family will be moving to a new house while I’m away. I am currently feeling both excited and sad. I am sad about leaving my childhood home, but at the same time I am excited to start a new adventure that I know will change my life for the better. Read More »