Welcome to Dublin!
Well, I have officially been in Dublin for two weeks now, and every moment has been incredible! I was lucky enough to arrive a few days early with my Dad, which was a lot of fun. We ate and drank in typical Irish pubs, saw Riverdance, ate baguettes in St. Stephen’s Green, admired works in the National Gallery, strolled through Grafton Street and Temple Bar, saw the Book of Kells, and met some incredible people along the way. However, one of the highlights of the trip was touring the Guinness Storehouse, where we both enjoyed a pint in the place it was brewed.
As hard as it was saying goodbye to my dad, it was very exciting meeting all of the people I would be studying with for the next three and a half months! Orientation began with a Viking Splash tour, which took us by all of the major sites in Dublin, including U2’s recording studio! We ended the night with dinner at a sushi restaurant and a few pints at local pubs. The following day brought me back to the Guinness Storehouse (what a shocker!). We enjoyed pints of Guinness at Gravity Bar, overlooking the whole city. The view was spectacular!
We met some amazing people during orientation, and had some incredible adventures! Ger and Suzi from IFSA butler prepared us for life in Ireland (especially the social aspect of it), the many different people we had to ask for directions were all extremely friendly (except for the man holding a map who told us never to ask a person with a map for directions), and the bartenders were all very eager to tell us which pub or club we should go to next (the consensus was Dicey’s, one of the hottest clubs in Dublin, right in the city center). The most memorable person we met, was not even a person, it was actually a horse named Charles. After leaving the Guinness factory, we decided to take a horse drawn carriage ride back to the hotel. Sitting in the open carriage with Charles clopping ahead, we rode back to St. Stephen’s Green in style.
While orientation was a lot of fun, the true adventure began when we moved into our flats on campus at UCD. The biggest shock of living at UCD is the fact that we don’t have a meal plan here. That means that I have to cook every meal for myself. Which I am NOT used to. Even though I was worried about having to cook for myself, it has turned out a lot better than expected. I learned that it’s fine to eat peanut butter at every meal, that frozen pizzas are the answer for everything, and that I have to make friends who can cook. The biggest struggle with the food situation is the grocery shopping, which they just call ‘the shoppe’. People in Ireland are very conscientious of the environment, so they do not give out plastic bags. Instead, you have to buy reusable bags to use when shopping. The key is that you have to remember to bring them with you to the store, which I learned the hard way, and had to buy more!
Even though some things are very different in Ireland, the currency, their accents, and just the general way of life to name a few, I seem to be adjusting pretty well. I have learned that you should NOT go to Dicey’s on a Monday night (because it is so packed that you cannot even move), that you should go out with your friends Sunday through Tuesday nights (instead of Friday and Saturday), that you should get to know that taxi drivers (especially those who make fun of your accents because they are the funniest), that you should have a coat, sweater, and scarf with you at all times (because you never know when the weather is going to change), and that you should say “What’s the craic?” (instead of “What’s up?”). I have also learned that one of the most important things in life is to have a great group of friends!
So for now, I’ll leave you with that. I can’t wait to see what Dublin has in store for me this week!