The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Abigail Mason

Abby Mason is an English major studying abroad at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland in the spring. She is a junior at Loyola University of Chicago and is from Cleveland, Ohio. This is her first time abroad and she excited to share this new and interesting experience with everyone.
The Family Visits Ireland

The Family Visits Ireland

Sorry I have not posted in a while, but there has been a lot going on for me in Ireland. Since I last posted I have seen significantly more of the country and have a lot of good times with friends and my family. Yes my family did visit and they were here for two weeks. They stayed at a Mill Cottage in a town called Bruree, which is about 25 minutes away from Limerick. It was a wonderfully charming little cottage with warm water and wifi, so were were very happy and comfortable. The woman who ran the place, Jessica, was very nice and accommodating and gave my family their first taste of Irish charm.

On our first full day, we decided we would start with Dublin, so we took the train and spent two days and a night there. We got to see the Guinness Factory where we learned the history and the process of brewing the beer. My sister, brothers, and his girlfriends also took the Guinness Academy class where we learned to pour a perfect Guinness and then we went up and enjoyed them at the Gravity bar, which overlooks the whole city of Dublin. Next, we went to Trinity College where we were truly amazed at how beautiful the campus and even more amazed when we saw the famous Book of Kells and the Long Room, which is Trinity College’s Library which was a magical thing to see. We also visited the Oldest Bar in Dublin, which is called the Brazen Head and had delicious food accompanied by live music. We had an amazing time.

I also visited Cork twice, while my family was here and I finally got to see Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone. It was a gorgeous castle and there was no line, so we were easily able to explore it thoroughly. We then did the Jameson Experience where we took a tour of the Distillery and I even volunteered to be a certified Whisky taster. Maybe something to put on the resume. We also visited Galway, (I have been there three times now) where we splurged on more jewelry and actually found a pub with the best live music yet and they actually played Galway Girl.

Another important thing my family wanted to do while they were here was to visit County Mayo, particularly Achill Island, which is a place where our family is from. It was tiny, but it was absolutely breathtaking. And, most importantly, my sister and I made a puppy friend and we played with him on the beach. An important observation I have made here is that the animals are all very friendly and playful. I rarely see one on a leash.

For St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, we decided to stay in Limerick and go to the parade, visit a few pubs, and just eat and drink all day to enjoy ourselves. We had a blast. There was a little fountain in the center of the city that was dyed green that reminded us of the river in Chicago, we saw a few friends march in the parade, we went back to the apartment and played games and we ended the night at O Dwyers pub just like every Thursday I have been here, but we were in full celebration mode. Now I am getting ready for Easter break and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the week. IMG_5891




Cliffs, Dodgeball, and New Friends

Cliffs, Dodgeball, and New Friends

I need to make corrections to my last blog post. As it turns out the Milk Market is EVERY WEEK, not an annual thing. I guess I should have been playing closer attention, but I am finally getting used to being here. A lot has happened in my first few weeks here and it just keeps getting better and better. So far, It feels like I have seen almost all of Limerick and it is truly a beautiful city where there is always something to do. I also visited Adare and Cashel where I found little village walks and plenty of castles. Last weekend, a friend and I planned a hiking trip to Doolin in County Clare and were surprised to find ourselves so close to the Cliffs of Moher! So, feeliing adventurous, we decided to walk the entire length of the Cliffs and it completely amazed us. The pictures we took do not do it justice.

If you are going to travel around in Ireland, I highly recommend Bed&Breakfasts because you meet incredibly interesting people and you feel at home. My friend and I stayed at Doll’s Cottage and we had two warm beds and full Irish breakfasts each morning along with some great stories from our hosts and the wonderful company of their big dog called Johnny Depp. Just to give you an idea of Irish hospitality, they gave me one of their coats because they knew mine would not be warm enough and then they drove us to the cliffs so we would not have to take the bus. We even made a stop at St. Bridget’s fountain, which a lot of people pass by. I am so glad we stopped. It was filled with pictures and candles lit for those who come to pray for loved ones who are sick or dying.

If there is one thing I am so happy I did is get involved and join a society. For the sake of keeping some free time to travel and explore, I joined one society which is the International Student Society. Through this, I am able to meet new people not just from Ireland, but from all over. We even plan trips together so we can all explore the country as a group. Just this past weekend, about 30 of us went to the Ring of Kerry and had a great time. We also have weekly movie nights and epic dodgeball games. With all this going on, I can say that I have never in my life been around people who are so nice and welcoming to everyone. Hopefully I will be able to keep in touch with the friends I make here after I go back to America. 

My first Week in Limerick

My first Week in Limerick

It took three flights and a whole day of travel to get to Limerick, Ireland. As our plane departed Newark airport, I looked back and saw New York City lit up like a Christmas tree and it hit me that this would be my first time being away from America and the farthest I have ever been from home. It was both exciting and terrifying. I am still in a state of disbelief that I actually made it here. I already miss my family so much that all I can think about is them coming to visit me. The first day I was here was rough because the Jet lag hit me hard and my unawareness of how to get around in this new city in this new country was daunting. It’s not hard to stick out like a sore thumb here and feel insecure about being an American, but the people could not be friendlier. Everyone I have met so far has been very kind and talkative with the ever charming Irish wit. I’ve been told that, like the people, the weather in Ireland is lazy and is slow to get going in the morning, which is true. It was still dark at eight in the morning, but it soon faded in to a pleasant blue and refreshing day, quickly followed by a lot of rain.

It feels like I have been awake for 48 hours straight and I am anxious to get past this slump so I can enjoy my surroundings even more and meet new people. I met quite a few at Mary Immaculate’s orientation and everyone is very nice and as excited to be here as I am. Tomorrow is the first Saturday I will be here and to start off the day I am getting up in the morning to go to the Limerick Milk Market which is an annual Limerick festival and I am going with some friends that I met yesterday.

I had my first fish and chips at the Milk market. I’ve heard that Limerick is the best place to get fish and chips and I don’t have any base for comparison, but I can say that it was delicious and made me feel very European. The festival was by a shopping center down town where I found clothes stores, book shops, restaurants, and more pubs. Out of the pubs that I have visited so far, Dolan’s is probably by favorite, but I also loved Fennessey’s. At Dolan’s you can get traditional Irish stew, burgers, and various other kinds of pub grub. I had the delicious seafood chowder and it was fantastic. At each pub, I had a pint of Guinness or “the black stuff” and it was enough to put me to sleep at the end of the day (still suffering from jet lag). Altogether, it was a pretty great first week in Ireland. I still cannot believe I am here and can’t wait to plan trips all over the country and to other countries. Everywhere I want to go in Ireland is only a few hours away from Limerick, which blows me away. I have already mapped out routes to Dublin, Cork, Clare, Mayo, Galway, and Dingle and have promised friends from home in Italy and Germany that I will see them soon. Also, “The Bank” is not a bank. Surprise! It’s a pub.


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