Cliffs, Galway and Hurling

The week was shining with wonderful weather and I could not have been happier. The sun was out and it was the first time I did not have to use my rain coat for an entire week! Fully taking advantage of the weather, I went on a trip to the Cliffs of Moher which was the most amazing experience I have had thus far in Ireland. I absolutely love heights and anything with an adrenaline rush, so being able to sit and stand at the edge of the cliffs was an unforgettable moment for me. The ocean was such a beautiful blue and not one drop of rain came down the entire day. Additionally, it was cool to have travelled from one end of Ireland to the other—from the east all the way to the west! The view outside the window is always peaceful and full of greenery.

After the cliffs, I headed down to the harbor city, Galway. The streets of the city reminded me of a miniature Grafton or Henry Street in Dublin. The streets were aligned with festive flags of different countries, too. I finally got to try my first fish and chips in Ireland at McDonaghs whichI highly recommend, as well. Of course, I just cannot end a trip without eating some ice cream or gelato, so I went to Murphy’s ice cream. By far, Murphy’s ice cream is the best ice cream I have ever had in my life. I would definitely go back to Galway just for Murphy’s. Everyone in Galway was extremely nice and the atmosphere of the city was so peaceful.

Once I arrived back in Dublin, I could see people still celebrating Pride month. It was super fun to see everyone dressed up and the city itself in rainbows. I was so glad the weather was great for such a celebration!

On Sunday, my peers and I went to a large farmer’s market that occurs on the last Sunday of every month. It was really neat to see different antiques and goods at the stalls. I wish I could have bought so much, but I just knew there would not be enough space in my luggage. After thefarmer’s market, my friend and I decided to attend the Hurling championship game at Croke Park. The two teams were Kilkenny and Wexford and during the entire time, the score was tied and the game even went into overtime with Wexford as the champions. For laughs, my friend and I wanted to buy Kilkenny’s colors, solely because their colors were the same as the Pittsburgh Steelers and that we could reuse the gear at Pittsburgh games.

In all seriousness, the whole event was eye-opening because the players do not get paid at all unlike sports players in the United States of America. They play for pride and passion which is incredible and admirable. The sport itself is the fastest I have ever seen and involves so much eye, hand, and foot coordination to the point it was unbelievable. It is upsetting to know that Hurling is not officially considered as the world’s fastest sport, solely because the players are not paid. In general, it was a great experience and I had so much fun comparing the differences of sports events here and in the United States. The most interesting aspect was that fans would use tassels with the colors of their respected teams and tie them around their heads or necks. I thought it looked super cool and fun!

Overall, my experiences at Pitt prepared me quite a bit for this study abroad experience. I was already independent before I came to Pitt, but being on the campus has only strengthened my independency, especially with public transportation. Travelling around Pittsburgh via the Port Authority prepared me for public transportation in Dublin, hence maneuvering around Dublin on my own was a piece of cake as well as taking care of myself without the help of others. Unfortunately, I cannot really say if my academic experience has helped prepare me for this experience. My internship does not really encompass what I have learned in my courses; however, it would be neat to have been able to learn more about Ireland’s culture in depth before flying off to Ireland, such as how the country’s government is run, specifically because my internship involves a lot of politics. I am addressing this gap by researching Ireland’s political system on my own and learning about the different political groups and figures to aid me in my work at my internship.