Family Comes to Ireland!
While she was here we went rock climbing. I am really afraid of heights and when we were driving there I had every intention of staying on the ground and watching everyone else climb up the rocks, but the guy who worked there decided that this was unacceptable. He decided that it would be his goal to get me to climb all the way to the top and to go on the zip line. I got to the halfway point on the easiest wall and started having a panic attack, so I came back down. Meanwhile my cousin is climbing up the walls like no problems, we are very different … So I took a break for ten minutes. The guy then said that I could do it, so I decided to try again and guess what? I DID IT! I got all the way to the top of the wall, it took me a while because I was having panic attacks in between, haha, but I did it J I felt really accomplished, until he told me I still had to do the zip line. So after everyone was done climbing we went outside. The zip line was we had to climb up this ladder to the top of a pole and then get hooked up to the line and jump of the platform. So its my turn, and I climb up the ladder, slow as can be, and get to the top of the pole. The guy who works there was at the top and he hooked me up to the line and told me to go when I was ready. I decided that I wasn’t going to jump I was going to sit down and fall off, so I did, and I actually had fun. The only scary part was getting up there and after that everything was fine. Not that it means my fear of heights is gone, even though I wish it was!! And of course my cousin was fine with it, she had a lot of fun!
My dad was with us in Dingle for St Patrick’s Day which was so much fun. We got up at 530 for the 6am parade. It was really cool, I felt like I was going back in time, getting a piece of history from Dingle! Then we went back to our cottage and took a napJ. We also watched the parade at 1pm. That one was really cute and small town like. It was nice to experience an Irish St. Patrick’s Day!
I was so happy that I got to share my experience in Dingle with two of my family members. They both had a lot of fun which was also really good!
Maureene King (Spring Semester 2010)
Junior – C/O 2011
It was almost like we were in a movie. Farmers of every age, in their welly’s (rain boots), standing around a pen about 20x10 feet bidding on calf’s, sheep, and cows. It was definitely a site to see as the announcer was talking at lightning speed trying to sell the animals. A few others, including our instructor who bought four calves for his farm, and myself all sat in the back and just watched all these men make the smallest gesture to bid on an animal. It was also, I guess you can say a learning experience, in that I learnt the mixed white and black cows are more for milking because they don’t put on as much meat as a brown or black cow. Also, I learnt how much a calf went for, which was around 150-200 Euros. That is almost like a cow, except maybe a bit more; we didn’t stay to see the cows being sold. Sheep and some rams were sold for about 40-60 Euros each. I think the worst part about the whole experience was the smell. Oh my gosh, I have never smelt something so bad in my life and it didn’t make it any better that (one) we were in a confined space and (two) we were surrounded by about 100 cows! In the end though, it was a great experience and something that I can check off my list.
Kelly Spring Semester 2010
After being in Dingle for a bit more than three months I would like to say that I pretty much feel at home and know almost everything about the place. I never knew, however, what it would be like in the month of April. When we first came in January, Dingle was quite, there were barely any tourist shops open. Then when St. Patrick’s Day came around I thought that was how crowded Dingle would ever get, which was impressive at the time. After our second ten-day break, right around the time of Easter, Dingle was getting a little more crowded. The streets were lined with cars on both sides and the sidewalks were packed with people. Most of the stores now are opened and everyday I find a new store opening, which is very exciting, because you can never have too many shops. The weather has also been amazing. After hearing how back home it is in the 90’s I prayed that we would have some nice warm days. This weekend (April 9-11) the weather was in the 60’s! The whole weekend I sat outside and tried to get as much color as possible. We also walked around town, in shorts, just enjoying the crowded streets of Dingle. It is sad that only in three weeks we will all be back on a plane back home. These next three weeks I will need to get in everything that I can possibly do before I leave. Every day Dingle surprises me and I can’t wait to see what is in my future for the next three weeks! Surprise me Dingle!
This week we participated in the turbo spirituality course at the diseart. Although the days are long, the material that you learn in class is actually very interesting. I expected the whole week to be about Catholicism, however the class focused on Celtic spirituality and how every person can find a connection to the earth and God through everyday participation. This portion of the semester involved a lot of field trips to monastic sites, tomb sites and holy wells. I found this portion boring by the 12th monastic site, however the weather was beautiful and we always ended up at the beach for a while during class so of course that was a plus. Also during this week my friend Steph from the States came to visit me over her Spring Break. Thanks to the amount of pre-planned activities there was never a dull moment for Steph and there was so much to do.
It worked out well having a friend visit, because there is more than enough room in the house to accommodate guests. Since this week was also the week that Sacred Heart students came over for their spring break, group dinners and trips were also organized. One afternoon we went rock climbing and zip-lining in Dingle, and that was a lot of fun and something different than what we normally do. The students that were only here for a week also had the opportunity to go horseback riding, and Steph was able to participate in that as well, which I heard was an amazing experience. If your friends ever want to visit you while studying in Dingle, I would highly suggest telling them to come over. By now, you will know the in’s and out’s of the entire town, and the weather will be warm enough that there will be endless amounts of things to do outdoors as well.
This week we had a group trip to Killarney and the Blarney Stone, and it was nice to get out of Dingle for a while. We all kissed the Blarney Stone and ran around the Castle, and then headed back to Killarney for an afternoon in the town. Killarney was very similar to Dingle, just four times bigger and we stayed in a beautiful hotel. Killarney also offers a very lively nightlife, so be sure to save some energy to check out the live music and pubs!
Over the Spring Break allotted by Sacred Heart University, I had the opportunity to travel to London, Amsterdam, Belgium and Florence. For this trip I met up with my best friend who is also studying overseas and we traveled around Europe together. London is a must see if you get over to Ireland, not only because there is so much to do, but because it is so cheap to fly there on RyanAir. My plane ticket ended up being about ten euro each way, so why not! There is an organization called ‘new europe’ that offers free and paid tours, as well as pub and bar crawls in major cities. We took advantage of the free walking tour and spent three hours running around the city with a comedic tour guide and managed to see every aspect of London. At night, we participated in the pub crawl, which was worth the eleven pounds, and we got a nice taste of the English nightlife for a very reasonable price.
Amsterdam was an amazing city, for obvious reasons. The buildings are beautiful, the city is so clean and you feel as if you are on a different planet. Everyone rides bicycle, and there really are no cars at all. Everyone was so nice,used bicycles and canals for transportation, and the natives seemed very content with their lives. After getting lost a few times in the outskirts of the city, we managed to learn the streets of Amsterdam like the back of our hands. For the evening,we spent our time in Rembrandt square, which has numerous clubs, bars and cafes. Obviously we had to see the red light district, and there really isn’t much to do there other than walk around, so we spent most of our nights in Rembrandt square.
In Belgium we lived on a diet of Belgium waffles, chocolate, and French fries (where they are actually invented) and beer. After stuffing our faces, we walked around Brussels and visited the ‘mannequin piss’, which is a famous statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain. The chocolate shops have huge sculptures of this everywhere which is kind of hilarious. The chocolate museum was only 4 euro and worth seeing, and since our hostel was located in Grand Place Market, we were in the center of everything and all historical sites. At night, we checked out Delirium, which is in the Guinness Book for serving over 2000 different types of beer. Across the street there is also an absinth and tequila bar as well, so there is really no reason to leave Delirium village. In Belgium we experienced hostility from the natives that I expected from the French citizens in Paris, and we had major problems with our dysfunctional hostel. Looking back, the hostel experience we went through was hilarious, but at the time we were afraid to sleep! Being mindful of strangers and your safety are so important when studying in a different country and I would suggest always carrying the number for the American Embassy in your pocket, just in case.
Our trip ended in Florence, where my best friend and I met up with another close friend from America who was studying in Rome. I loved Italy, and in the future I plan to rent a car and spend two weeks traveling all over the country. The pasta was amazing here, however I found that the pizza in New York is better! Wine was less than 3 euro for a bottle, so we had wine with every meal and before we went out to the clubs at night. The nightlife in Italy is much different than Dingle, and people do not go out till much later and stay out much longer. When going out in Florence, I would not suggest going alone, and we found the Italian men very aggressive. One Italian guy walked up to my friend, took a lick of her gelato, said thanks and walked away. The weather here was beautiful and we were able to break out t-shirts and flip-flops. Florence is also known for their leather, so definitely take advantage of this and purchase leather goods for yourself- invest in a leather jacket!
Not everyone had the opportunity in our group to travel as much as I did around Europe while in Dingle, and traveling is not for everyone. I learned to be more aware of my surroundings as well as to be open minded about trying new things and being a part of a different culture.
Three weeks left of our time in Dingle. It is unbelievable how fast the past few months have gone by. Being here gets more fun by the day, now that we have made friends with the locals and have picked our favorite pubs. I personally love Monday nights at The Droichead Beag because they have a nintento wii set up on those nights. Everyone gathers around in the back room and competes in all kinds of games. We mostly play darts, Mario Kart, and tennis. It really is the funniest thing I have ever seen. I always look forward to Monday nights!
The past week we had our spring break. Most of the students in the group went away to adventurous places in Europe. Between them they went to Amsterdam, Italy, Iceland, Poland, and Austria. I went to London for the first weekend, but my friend from home visited for the week. Despite the horrible weather we had an amazing time. It was so great to share this experience with someone from home. We took a hike to see Fungi, but he didn’t show up. We also rode bikes around Slea Head which was absolutely beautiful. It was nice to show my friend all of my favorite pubs like Currans and Foxy Johns. We also went to the aquarium which was actually more interesting than I expected it to be. It felt weird not to be home for Easter with my family, but it was special to spend the holiday in Dingle with some of my closest friends. Although I am jealous of everyone else’s European adventures, I wouldn’t have traded this past week for the world.
I’m looking forward to all of the fun activities we have coming up. We are going hiking up Mt. Brandon, horseback riding, surfing, and kayaking out to see Fungi. The weather is finally starting to warm up, thankfully. I am so excited to go home and see my family again, but it is extremely hard to think about leaving here. I want to enjoy every minute in Dingle as I can. These next few weeks are going to fly by.
Shannon H. Spring Semester 2010
For our ten day midterm break I did a lot of traveling with Kathleen and Kate. Our life in Dingle seems enough of a vacation, but we were lucky enough to have a break. My parents were visiting the week before, so I met up with Kate and Kathleen in Paris. I literally had twenty-four hours to conquer the city of love. We went to the Louvre. The building itself was incredible; however the Mona Lisa was a major disappointment. The painting is small in size, but it is displayed on a giant wall by itself, making it seem even smaller. There is also protected by layers of glass and the crowds are ridiculous. After the Louvre Kate and I went gallivanting throughout the city, taking it by storm. We visited the Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower again at night. I ate the most delicious crepe. I had never had one before but I doubt I could ever have one better than the one I had in Paris. The Eiffel Tower at night was my favorite part about Paris. There is a spectacular light show that is absolutely unbelievable. The Eiffel Tower during the day was equally as exciting. I was there Valentine’s Day weekend so the City of Love was in full swing. Under the Eiffel Tower we witnessed a proposal. A man had people hold up a giant sheet that said “will you marry me?” on it. It was cheesy, but adorable all the same. My twenty-four hour tour of Paris was definitely a success.
Our next stop of Porto, Portugal. Portugal was never somewhere that I expected to go, but I loved it. Porto was this small town on the water. It is famous for its port wines. The first night we were there was Valentine’s Day. Kate, Kathleen, and I treated ourselves to a delicious seafood dinner at this quant restaurant on the water. We had the entire place to ourselves. I went on tours of both the Sandeman port wine cellars and the Ferreiro port wine cellars. They were really interesting and were definitely highlights of our time in Portugal. We also did a bus tour and a river cruise.
The final place we went to was Barcelona. Barcelona was definitely my favorite city of the trip. It was energetic yet relaxed at the same time. The weather was warmer and the sun was shining. Kathleen’s Dad was there for a business trip. We spent a lot of time with him which was great. He made me feel like my own father was there. We of course found an Irish pub to go to. I love being anywhere near the beach, so I loved Barcelona. Kate and I did a lot of walking around a place called Las Ramblas. That was a cool area with a lot going on. There were many shops and restaurants. We also took another bus tour there so we got to see several sites that I probably would not have seen otherwise. I loved everything about Barcelona.
As great as the trip was, it is great to be home in Dingle with everyone. Just last night we went to the Small Bridge and exchanged stories of our travels.
Shannon. Spring Semester 2010
Looooved Dublin. The Temple Bar area we stayed in had small cobble stone streets with numerous bars and shops to go into. We stayed at the Barnacles hostel because none of us had ever really been to one before and with our ten day breaks ahead it was a good way for us to become familiar with them. The people at the desk were pretty cool and it was definitely an experience with all nine of us girls in a room with one bathroom. We spent the majority of our days there walking around seeing the city and hopping on and off the bus tour. Going to the Guinness factory was definitely a pretty cool experience. The seventh floor, which was the top floor, had an almost 360 view of the city. Being familiar with New York it was odd that such a relatively short building was probably the tallest. Trinity College was also amazing with its old buildings and The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript, was pretty incredible. When I got back I started looking into going to Trinity for grad school because Dublin was awesome.
Monika. Spring Semester 2010
Such a great little town. When I first got here, it reminded me so much of my grandmas town which was great but it definitely has its own personality. The main street is composed of old and colorful pubs- some which even double as hardware stores. The people here are also really welcoming and friendly. Haven’t gotten a chance to go on a hill walk yet which is a bit of a bummer but the weather hasn’t really cooperated with us when we had them planned. Classes are going pretty good, they’re just the right amount of challenging and the teachers are all helpful and interesting people. Music is probably my favorite though I couldn’t tell you what interments you hear in a song to save my life. The tin whistle is definitely fun though and I don’t think we’re too terrible at it which is a plus. I’m really glad I picked Dingle and I’m thrilled I was able to take the time to do the semester program. I can already tell I’m going to be sad when it starts to wind down.
Monika, Spring Semester 2010