Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

From Limerick to Galway Back to Limerick and Off to Scotland!

I decided to take a break from studying for my Irish history final exam (I can not believe I just said final exam… what?!) and catch up on what is going on with me these past few weeks. I feel as though each time I sit down to write, I’ve done something new and unique which I feel has epitomised my study abroad experience… I’m definitely not complaining!

As I explained in my last blog post, I was looking forward to visiting Connemara.  People I spoke to told me about the sheer beauty that Connemara had to offer and after spending two days there, I could not agree more.  Connemara is located in County Galway and is about a three hour drive from Limerick.  As I sat in the back of my aunt’s car, I couldn’t help but stare out the window the entire time.  The drive up itself was magnificent.  The landscape, geography and scenery were something I had never in my life seen before.  Driving through Galway is really cool because of the Gaeltacht section(s). ‘An Gaeltacht’ as it is traditionally referred to is/are Irish speaking parts of the country.  These people almost only speak Irish and have an extremely high regard for their Irish culture and heritage.  Only a small portion of Ireland is still this way and as more and more generations are born, the Irish-only culture is slowly fading away.  Unfortunate, yes, but what this part of Ireland has to offer in terms of landscape is magnificent. There are so many (and by so many I mean hundreds, potentially thousands) of lakes dispersed all of there place quite randomly. Some of these lakes are even connected with small streams and rivers.  Oh and let me not forget to tell you about the boulders.  Like the lakes and streams they are literally everywhere.  It’s almost as if an insane meteor shower graced the land thousands of years ago (realistically speaking, that’s probably exactly what happened).  As we drove along these windy, sometimes bumpy and makeshift roads I couldn’t help but notice that the boulders starting to become bigger and bigger – then suddenly we were driving through the most beautiful green mountains.  After hours of driving we finally got settled at our B&B, and as I’ve become so accustomed to these last few months, we stopped into the local pub.  This pub happened to be the same pub that the 1990 classic movie, ‘The Field’, was filmed… Very cool history.  The next day I got to do a lot more sightseeing.  We took a stop at Kylemore Abbey which is a beautiful, late nineteenth century mansion.  After the owner’s had passed away, it was given to Benedictine nuns who have kept the grounds running ever since.  It was really nice to see such beautiful architecture; the structure almost looked like a miniature castle.  It even had it’s own church, cemetery grounds and enormous garden… Oh and remember those lakes I was telling you about?  The estate was conveniently built right beside one of the bigger ones I had seen with some gorgeous mountains in the backdrop.  I could only imagine the time and effort it took to build all of it while being in such a remote area.  In essence, my time in Connemara was well spent and I’m very thankful (special thanks to Antoinette Reilly for making it possible) for having the chance to do some sightseeing there as it is one of the spots I wanted to get to from the time I initially came to Ireland!

My next adventure begins on Thursday as I go to visit my Scottish sister in Scotland.  I will be really glad to see her because it’s been nearly two years since I last did.  I’ve never met her family either so I am looking forward to meeting them.  We have a lot planned but one thing I am especially excited for is watching Glasgow Celtic at Celtic Park.  Glasgow Celtic is a storied soccer team that I have followed since I was a boy.  Celtic Park is supposed to be one of the greatest soccer venues in the world with an atmosphere like none other… To top it all off, if Celtic beat Aberdeen they clinch the Scottish Premiership Title.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see them playing at Celtic Park and potentially win The League.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

My time is slowly but surely dwindling and unfortunately I have come to terms with this.  The things I have done here while studying abroad are memories I will never forget… But don’t worry I will be sure to keep you posted about my trip to Scotland and anything else I wind up doing!

Wish me luck on my final exams!

‘Til next time.

-CJR

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