I have been abroad for a little less than a week so far and I have loved everything about Ireland. I am so lucky and grateful to have this opportunity to study in a foreign country where my family is originally from. Every day my group of friends and I find somewhere new to explore and find a beautiful spot to snap beautiful pictures.
My great grandfather is originally from Waterford, Ireland so I feel that I have a strong family tie to Ireland. My connection to this country has made this whole experience more exciting. Prior to departure, besides what I had read online, I did not know too much about the culture or professional background of Ireland. However, now that I am here I am eager to learn and explore. My travels around Dublin so far have been a lot of fun and if the rest of the summer is anything like tis week has been it will be incredible.
After a seven hour flight landing Monday morning in Dublin, I toured the campus of the University College Dublin – my home for the next twelve weeks. That night the other Pitt students and I headed to the on-campus bar to grab a few drinks and get to know each other better and even meet some of the other students on the trip.
Tuesday was just an orientation day which to equip us with all of the knowledge we need about Dublin in order to get around. After this we headed into Dublin to explore more and found a pub to grab some food at and then we wondered along the river Liffey. We actually ended up in the Temple Bar area which is only a five minute walk from my internship! After snapping away in front of the iconic pub and along the beautiful river, we headed back to campus for some much needed rest.
Wednesday was an excursion to a local Gaelic Football Club where we learned three big Irish games: hurling, handball, and gaelic football. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the other people in the program and learning about such a huge part of Irish culture. I was most amazed to learn that the athletes that play the highest level of Gaelic football do not get paid and just play for the love of the sport. All of the money that comes from the sport goes back into the clubs – like the one I was at.
Thursday I went in to center city for an interview with the company I am interning with this summer and everyone there was really nice and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone there. After that, I met up with my friends and we toured Dublin on a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour which gave us an overview of everywhere in the city which was really nice and a great way of familiarizing myself with the city.
On Friday, there was an excursion to Wicklow to that included a trip to the Powerscourt Estate which is 47 acres of gardens and a large house. As we explored the grounds it became extremely real to me that I was walking around and seeing a castle in Ireland. After the gardens we explored a small town, Laragh, and then it was back on the bus to head to the monastic site of Saint Kevin – Glendalough. Along the drive, we passed through the Wicklow Mountains National park, Lough Tay, the Guinness Estate, Glencree German Cemetery and the PS I Love You Bridge. When we finally arrived at Glendalough it began to rain, but nonetheless my group walked through the rain to see the sixth century stone ruins. Even better, while we were there we randomly ran into other abroad Pitt students and I got to see one of my close friends. After seeing the two lakes we headed back to the bus to begin our journey back to Dublin after an incredible day exploring the green beauty of Ireland.
My travels to come and my experiences with everyone in this incredible city will make this summer unforgettable. Hopefully the sunny weather stays the entire trip and makes each day better than the one before.