The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Kelly Mahoney

Hey everyone! My name is Kelly Mahoney from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently a sophomore at Loyola and am spending my semester abroad in Cork, Ireland. At Loyola I am a double major in Political Science and Public Relations but here at University College of Cork I will be taking a variety of classes with almost all of them focusing on an aspect of Ireland or Irish culture. Studying abroad is something that I have always wanted to do so I am so excited to finally have the opportunity. I look forward to blogging about my experience here in Cork, enjoy!
A Thank You Letter to Ireland

A Thank You Letter to Ireland

I know I was supposed to write a blog post about my two weeks of travel that I returned back to Cork from on the 20th. Those weeks were two of the most fantastic I have ever experienced, traveling to Copenhagen, Berlin, Krakow, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, opened my eyes to so many new cultures and new experiences, I am forever thankful that I was able to travel. My travel companions were perfect as well, handling every sleepless night and travel slip-up along the way with ease, grace, and a laugh. However, when I arrived back in Cork, I couldn’t bring myself to write about all of the exciting adventures I had just experienced because I was too overwhelmed by the fact that I only had 4 remaining days left. And today, marks the last day in both a country and city that has seamlessly become my home. So for my final blog post, I want to write a thank you letter to Ireland, the country that has been my home for these past 5 months, the people I have met during my time here, the memories I have made, the places I have visited, and all of the love that I have in my heart for the most amazing study abroad experience I could have ever wished for.

Dear Ireland,

I don’t know how I can express the love I have for you. This country has welcomed me with open arms, from Seany B. the butcher, to Conns man the produce shop owner, to the wonderful professors at UCC, to the Aircoach bus drivers who have aided me in almost every travel adventure, to the workers at Jackie Lennox and Cissie Youngs, and of course to all of the Irish friends I have had the pleasure to meet throughout my time here. Every person I have met along the way has made my day a little bit brighter and only made me fall more in love with this country. I can’t thank Ireland enough for making me feel right at home and having a culture that encourages the development of a person I only wish to become—someone friendly, funny, open, accepting, relaxed, and just taking the piss out of life. I hope to thank Ireland by continuing to grow and promising to return.



Thank you Ireland, for becoming not just my home, but also my launchpad for traveling the world. While Ireland, and both the Cork and Dublin airport, have led me to Amsterdam, Scotland, England, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary, I have never forgotten that Ireland is my home. I have been from Belfast to Dublin, the Ring of Kerry to the Dingle peninsula, the Cliffs of Mohr to Giants Causeway, from castles to harbors, from the busy cities to the quiet countryside, I have traveled throughout Ireland and only continued to fall in love. Maybe it was the color of the grass and trees, because it’s true, the color green in Ireland cannot be found anywhere else. Maybe it was the millions of sheep and cows I have seen as I look out windows. Maybe it’s the people, who always greet you with a smile on their face and ask if you need anything. Yes, Ireland has helped me see many other countries and cultures, but the one I return home to every time is that Irish hospitality which simply cannot be replaced.


Thank you also, to a number of things that have helped me along my study abroad journey. Thank you Dunnes frozen pizza (yes, your 3 for €3.79 pizzas) you have always been the light that welcomes me home from a night out, or helps me get up the next morning. Thank you, to my combat boots, which have literally seen the world with me and not fallen apart. And even though the zipper on the back of the right shoe unzips itself while I’m walking and drives Savannah crazy, you have endured the worst. Thank you, to my Dunnes booties that I bought only the second week here, I have worn you out practically every night. And while I cannot compete with the Irish girls and their heels (which I will forever be impressed with) you did make me feel a little more put together. While you cannot make the journey home, both because you are falling apart and there is no room in my suitcase, you were a true godsend that taught me the importance of a good pair of booties. Thank you to all of the Irish dairy I have consumed this semester, I will never have the same yogurt or spread of butter again, but I will always remember your goodness, especially the butter since I have been to the butter museum in Cork. Finally, thank you to the Centra chicken roll. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t eaten my first chicken roll that fateful afternoon during RAG week, but you have opened my eyes to the simplicity and deliciousness of a €3.50 sandwich that cannot be beat.


I of course have to also thank my parents. Without their love, support (in more ways than one), and continued acceptance of my crazy antics and adventures that have grown throughout this semester, I would not be here. I am so happy that they were able to come and get a small taste of all of the wonder that I have been experiencing for months. And even though I am not really excited to go home, I am excited to see them and tell them about all of the adventures that have taken place these last 5 months. I am also thankful to return to my mom’s home cooked meals, but I need to put that last so she knows that I appreciate her for many reasons greater than her cooking skills.


My final thank you, will probably be the hardest, and even though it’s already begun, I have to thank and say goodbye to all the friends I have made here. Viva la Ocelot, you guys have helped make this semester unforgettable. I have travelled all over the world with you all, explored Ireland, had many crazy nights out, and so many laughs just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt. You all have been some of the most genuine, caring, funny, smart, and simply amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of becoming friends with. Thank you Kristen, for always being there for a laugh or a crazy story (maybe like that time you spent the half of the day an hour off and didn’t realize it?) I can’t wait to see you in Chicago. Thank you Mathilde, for letting me borrow your UCC ID (even if I was called a liar, liar pants on fire one time I tried to use it) and for your amazing crêpe making skills. Thank you Colin, for always being down for a drink and tagging us in all of those Instagram pictures, I can’t imagine a semester without you and your go-pro stick. Thank you Cody, for your incredible literary insight and your impeccable fashion sense. I can only thank you for all of the laughs and great pictures we have taken (that I can now tag you in on Facebook because I don’t know why you thought you could ever survive this semester without one). Thank you Eric, for the knowledge that your eyes are beautiful and the Irish flag is gorgeous. Thank you for always being there to debate the founding fathers and listen to Taylor Swift until your face turns redder. Thank you Corey, for your Irish writers playing cards (that you left in our apartment by the way) and eating half of my chips at all of our Wednesday lunches with Marypaz. Thank you Casey, the true life force behind our group, or I should just say life because I’m not sure if we would all be here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for your cooking, your map skills, your willingness to watch The West Wing, and always being there for anyone who needed you—thanks mom. Thank you Savannah, the best roommate anyone ever could have asked for. Thank you for being supportive when I just needed to binge watch Netflix for a few days, thank you for dealing with Marypaz and I’s Beyoncé addiction (I know you got a bit tired of it in the end), thank you for being the friendliest person I know and always being upbeat. No matter what happens in your life, wherever you go or whatever you do, I know you will succeed because you have the best heart of anyone I have ever met. Thank you for being you, I can’t put into words how much you mean to me (you and your stinky). Finally, thank you Marypaz, I know most people think of us as a unit (and I’m not even mad about it) but I honestly can’t imagine this semester without you. You have been there to full my love for Beyoncé, my love for politics, my love for cheerleader, and my love of Ireland. Thank you for encouraging to really look at everything the world has to offer and to not take anything too seriously. Thanks for dancing with me to Anaconda, getting kicked out of McDonalds and Abrakebabra, making me fall a little bit in love with the EU, for making me watch shit English TV, and for everything. I can’t even think about what my life would have been like if I hadn’t met you, but thank GOD we have Chicago to reunite us. S/O TO THE CRAIC PATROL, ya’ll the real MVPs.


Thank you Ireland, for inviting me in to your wonderful country. Thank you for an incredible 5 months. Thank you for bringing all of these wonderful people into my life. Thank you for showing so much more, and see what it is like to be truly embraced in another country (even though many of the Irish make fun of the pronunciation of my last name). Thank you, thank you, words cannot express the love I have for this country, its hills, its people, its beer, and its love for me. While I will be returning in the future, I know it will never be the same.


I end my final post with a quote I found in a book while I was waiting about in a hostel in Krakow. The book was titled Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks and after reading the back, I immediately skipped to the last page where I read this final quote that brought me to tears.


“By the time I reached the taxi, my eyes had welled up with tears.

‘Are you all right there?’ said the cabbie as he opened the door for me.

‘Yes, I’m just happy.’

‘Oh right. Where to?’

‘Dublin airport.’

I was leaving Ireland. The affair was over, but the friendship had just begun.”

The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

As May begins, so does my final month abroad. In a few short weeks I will back in the US,  and while there are some things I am looking forward to- seeing friends, my dog, eating Skyline and Graeters, and of course, reuniting with my family- there are so many things I am leaving behind. I have been fortunate enough to truly see almost all of Ireland. This past weekend I took my final Ireland trip, as I headed up north to Belfast. Before we reached Belfast though, Marypaz and I finally had our government weekend. However, as soon as we walked to the bus stop in Cork we realized that we had booked our tickets backwards (to Cork from Dublin instead of to Dublin from Cork) but Irish hospitably never ceases to amaze me, as the driver let us both on anyway and said he would call the office so our tickets would be correct for the journey back. We arrived in Dublin early on Friday and planned on touring the Dail (Ireland’s parliament) but unfortunately Parliament was in session so there were no tours. Next, we visited Kilmainham Gaol, which is the jail in Dublin which is infamously known for the killing of the 14 leaders of the Easter Rising. Touring the jail was eerie and while most of the information from the tour were facts and stories we had already learned from our Irish Politics class, it was still unreal to see the jail and firing squad sites first-hand. After the jail tour we went back into Dublin where we met up with a few friends and spent a night out at a local Dublin club– Coppers (there’s the shoutout you wanted Marypaz).

awesome mural in Dublin to promote marriage equality!
front of Kilmainham Gaol


Marypaz and I then woke up the next morning bright and early at 9am, seeing as we had to check out of our hostel at 10, we figured we had the whole day ahead of us. Our plan was to tour the outdoor stadium– Croke Park. However, as soon as we walked outside, in true Irish fashion, it was pouring down rain. We both had our big backpacking backpacks with us, and no desire to spend the day outside in the rain with our backpacks on. So with 4 hours to kill until we needed to catch the bus up to Malahide, where we were meeting Shane and his car, we had no game plan. Logically, Marypaz and I spent our final 4 hours in Dublin loitering in a variety of shops until we could catch a bus. We first started in a small mom and pop breakfast restaurant, where we spent an hour before we realized we had to leave. We then spent an hour in Starbucks, followed by 30 minutes in Penney’s and 30 minutes in Carroll’s, until our time was up and we went to catch the bus. Needless to say, we were a bit embarrassed but our spirits were lifted once a little boy on the bus asked us if we had just come from the mountains because of our backpacks.

Once we met up with Shane, we took our 2 hour ride up North. We arrived at our Airbnb in a nice college area outside of Belfast, and ate some pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. (Something that I had mentioned hours earlier that I had been craving, so I guess luck was finally on our side). Up North, I was able to see the beautiful capital of Northern Ireland, some peace murals that coated brick walls outside the city, and was able to go an hour outside Belfast, up to the tip of Northern Ireland where I was able to see Giants Causeway. Giants Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and 100% deserves all the recognition that it receives.


The trip up to Northern Ireland only reinforced how beautiful the island of Ireland is and how lucky I have been to spend the past 4 months here. While I don’t leave Cork until May 25th, my month of May is packed with European adventures, meaning that my days in Cork are numbered. My long time friend from home Kitty, along with her roommate Jess arrive here tomorrow. Once they have a few days to settle, we gear up for 2 weeks of traveling together, and our itinerary is packed. We fly out of Dublin early on May 6th and then travel to Copenhagen, Berlin, Krakow, Prague, Vienna, and finally Budapest. We are staying in hostels and Airbnbs, taking night trains and buses, and surviving out of a backpack until we return to Cork on May 20th. Leaving me just 5 remaining days in a country that has become my second home.

While I can barely contain my excitement for the travels that lay ahead, as these are all cities I have never been to but can’t wait to visit, I know my leaving on May 6th is bittersweet. While I am returning to Cork, when I get back, the number of people waiting for me will have severely dwindled. My group of 10 friends who have been with me every step of the way during this great study abroad adventure, are also departing on their own journeys. When I get back May 20th, I will return to 2 of my favorite people, but everyone else will either be on their way home or traveling in Europe as well. This all means that our big goodbye is happening sooner than expected. Tomorrow we will be having our final gathering where I am sure there will be many hugs and a few tears, because I don’t know what I’m going to do without having these people around me 24/7 (because they all were around me practically 24/7). But never fear, because we did of course make matching t-shirts and have reunions planned (ye better be coming to Chicago).

I won’t end on too sappy of a note, because while this is the beginning of the end, it is still a beginning. I have many many adventures ahead of me and my study abroad days are not over yet!

Travel Trials, Tribulations, and Terrific Fun

Travel Trials, Tribulations, and Terrific Fun

After turning in a number of assignments I was finally able to start the beginning of the end. Classes have ended at UCC and while students gear up for final exams and papers, I have had time to travel some more both in Ireland and abroad. My spring break began with the arrival of my parents, and along with them 4 days of being well fed and more adventures. I was able to show them throughout Cork, one of the few major cities in Ireland they had yet to visit. I was so lucky to be able to introduce them to most of the friends I have made while abroad and show them the incredible place I have been able to call home these past few months. We also rented a car for two days and spent one of those days traveling through the Ring of Kerry. The most notable stop was in the town of Sneem, a city I was unable to stop at last time I visited Kerry. Sneem was actually the home to one of my Aunts when she student taught for a few months many years ago. My parents and I were able to stop and visit the family that housed her years ago. In true Irish fashion, even though the mother had met my parents once 20 years ago and had never met me, she ushered us all into her living room and made us tea and gave us bread—true Irish hospitality.


The next day, my parents and I headed to the city of Kinsale which was a beautiful town nestled right near the bay that was full of cute shops and delicious restaurants. We spent the afternoon exploring the town and then drove out to Old Head, which is right on the coast and is a very famous (and very expensive) golf course. It was off-season so we were practically the only ones there, but the view was spectacular, although I did fear someone would fall off of the cliffs. My parents had one more day in Cork, which was unfortunately Good Friday. This meant that most of the city was closed down, but we still were able to wander a bit and visit a beautiful park and they were able to taste some Ireland famous fish and chips and Jackie Lennox for a final Irish meal.


Once my parents left, I had a few days rest before my next adventure of spring break began, and let me just say it was a journey. Marypaz, Savannah, and I left early on Tuesday and arrived in London that afternoon. After navigating both the train and the tube we walked and arrived at our hostel—a pub. Now, the three of us were going low budget in London, so to stay two nights in London for only 20 pounds was a steal. So when we walked into a bar, was led behind the bar back, into an alleyway where they then had a big room full of bunk beds that fit 15 people we could only laugh. The hostel was just a giant room and in order to tell which bed was yours, you tied a piece of string that had a little piece of paper on it that had your name on it.

After dropping off our belongings, we took the tube to one of the most important places in London—platform 9 ¾. After waiting in line for 45 minutes (which was worth every second of it) we took our picture pushing our carts into the wall and off to Hogwarts. After leaving Kings Cross, we ventured to Camden, which was a super cool part of London. The town was incredible and all of the shops were very unique. We wandered around for a bit, did some window-shopping, and eventually had dinner. We called in for an early night since our next day would be packed with sightseeing. The next day began with a bus ride into the city where we saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Globe Theater, the bridge the dementors destroyed in Harry Potter, the London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. The day was filled with pictures and sites, and we ended the day in the area of Soho.


Soho was close to what you could consider the “Times Square” of London. We did some more window-shopping and exploring the city until we came to a time where we were completely lost and had to pull out a map. We were standing on the side of the street with our map when two people clearly in costume make up to make them seem old, came up to us and asked if we could direct them to some area in London. We were about to tell them to go away until we noticed two other girls in the similar make-up and a guy with a camera. We talked to them for a bit where the two guys danced for us and talked to us in their American accent impressions. After awhile, they called the two girls over who also talked to us and then they all began to sing. Once they were finished and talked some more to us, other bystanders came up to them and asked them for autographs. Instead, the guy who had the camera and had been filming the entire time asked us if we could re-shoot the map scene over a bit more to the side where less people would be in it. One of the guys in costume told us to just roll with it once we told them that we had no idea where they were talking about on the map. After we re-shot the scene they thanked us and handed me a card with their band name on it. As we walked away, Marypaz THEN decided to inform Savannah and I that apparently that was a famous band that was on X-Factor. Once we yelled at her for not having told us earlier and went back to where they had been, they had left. So while we didn’t get a picture with them, we may be famously featured in their next music video.

That night, we attempted to check in to our Ryanair flight to Spain on my phone while we had wifi at dinner. However, an error message kept popping up so we decided we would try again at the Internet café we remembered passing on our way to our hostel. As we walked by the Internet café on our walk back we noticed it was in a barbershop, we walked in and asked if we could use their computers and they led us through the barbershop, through a small living area where a football game was on, and to a room that had four computers in it. A man was sitting at one of the computers and when we walked in the man directing us motioned for him to get up and he offered us his computer. We tried once again to check into our flight and kept receiving error messages. After each of us trying we decided we would try again in the morning and if it didn’t work we would go to the desk at the airport and show them screenshots of us being unable to check in.

However, when we woke up in the morning we woke up to an email that our flight had been cancelled. We hurried off to the airport ready to yell at Ryanair but arrived to a giant line of people all waiting for flight changes due to cancelled flights. What had happened, was that air traffic controllers in France had gone on strike therefore no planes could fly over the entire country of France. In line, were people from all of the flights to Spain and North Africa. Marypaz, Savannah, and I buckled down for what turned out to be a 6-hour wait in the line. We had no wifi and entertained ourselves by playing charades and any other games we could think of. After 6 hours, we arrived to the front where we were then re-routed completely. The next direct flight to Ibiza was on Monday so in order to get there before, we would have to leave the next day in the afternoon to Milan and then the following day at 6 am to Ibiza. Thankfully, both Ryanair and their workers were so nice to us and put us up in a hotel for the night, gave us 15 pounds for dinner, and paid for the cab to the hotel.

The Line of Death


The next day we flew into the town of Bergamo, which is right outside Milan. We went into the city for some Italian pizza for dinner, which we ate at a restaurant on the top of the tallest hill of the city. After our long walk up the hill to the restaurant and our delicious meal, we went back to the airport at midnight where we then attempted to sleep on the airport floor for 3 hours before we had to wake up to check in for our 6am flight. Finally after days of travel, we arrived at 8:45am in the beautiful island of Ibiza, which is right off the coast of Spain, only a day and a half later than planned.


Marypaz, Savannah, and I met up with one of our other roommates Casey who had travel horror stories of her own as she was meeting us in Ibiza from Barcelona. Us four girls spent the next two days in complete relaxation. We spent all of our time exploring the city, drinking lots of sangria, eating, and getting some much missed sun. It wasn’t as warm as we had hoped, but we didn’t have any rain and were able to sit out in the sun for hours on end. The island of Ibiza is a HUGE party island, but since it was off-season we were able to stay in a nice hotel for a super cheap price and enjoy the city without it being packed with tourists. We ate tapas and paella, enjoyed 89 cent wine, looked out at the beach, and enjoyed each others fantastic company. Unfortunately, our two days in Spain ended much too soon, and after 12 hours of travel (flying from Ibiza to Barcelona, Barcelona to Dublin, then a 4 hour bus ride back to Cork) we were back home.



This week will be spent catching up with the friends. I can’t even imagine how difficult it will be to leave them when summer comes because I missed them all too much after not being with them for a week. I will write my final paper for school and be completely finished and ready for more travel come early May. Up next: my nerd self will once again come alive as Marypaz, Conor, and I will venture to Belfast so we can go on the Game of Thrones tour aka sights where they filmed Winterfell, the Twins, and a number of other countryside scenes. More later!

March Madness

March Madness

I know it has been awhile since I have last been able to blog but I have been slammed with both schoolwork and other crazy events. When I last checked in I was about to head off to Scotland. Scotland was 10 times more fun then I ever expected. To be honest, I had zero expectations for the weekend and I was completely blown away from my visit. The trip started with a scare, the scare being that I sat next to two Scottish businessmen on the plane and I could barely understand a single word they said. Both tried to make a joke with me and I laughed (hopefully appropriately?) and then they had to ask me about 3 times before I could understand that they were just wondering where I was going and how many of us there were. Getting off the plane, I turned to my friends and told them that this weekend would be a bit rougher than expected. However, as the next few days went by I realized that while I still had trouble understanding some words, those two men must have the thickest Scottish accent on this earth.

The reasoning behind the trip to Scotland was because our friend Kristen actually has two friends who live in Glasgow. As a result of this great luck, one of her friends was nice enough to pick us up from the airport and drive us to our hostel. My expectations for hostels has also officially sunk over time. When we arrived at our hostel we were a bit worried seeing as a Buzzfeed article had been published about the hostel and it’s not so great living conditions. Upon arrival, our hostel check in was actually across the street from where we would be sleeping. The room had 4 bunk beds, and since there were 7 of us we would only be living with one stranger–an upside compared to Dublin. However, I cannot begin to explain how wrong we could possibly be. Our roommate, who we named Pitbull because he was fat, bald, and annoying, was quite possibly the worst person you could ever share a room with. He snored louder than I have ever heard a person snore in my entire life. I don’t think he was breathing for part of the time. He would not only snore continuously and loudly, he would also shout in his sleep and make other disgusting noises. I maybe slept 3 hours the first night.

However, a bad nights sleep did not prevent us from having a fantastic first full day in Scotland. We woke up bright and early on Friday and took the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It was a quick 40 minute train ride and we arrived with the whole day ahead of us. We first went to the Edinburgh Castle, which I once again knew nothing about, and was a little irritated when I found out I had to pay 16 pounds to get in. However, I was completely wrong as the castle was INCREDIBLE. It had about 6 mini-museums throughout the castle so I was able to learn about the history of Scotland’s military, the history of the castle, go into rooms where POWs were held, walk through a few war memorials, tour beautiful rooms, and see the crowned jewels (which later sparked the debate about whether you would rather have a scepter or a wand). We spent a few hours wondering around the castle and taking a number of photos. The castle also provided a gorgeous view of Edinburgh which has a perfect mix of both new and historical buildings. But just when you thought the day couldn’t get any better, something glorious happened– Harry Potter.


After lunch, where everyone in our group tried and actually enjoyed fried haggis, we ventured around Edinburgh to find a cafe called Elephant House. I am glad some people in the group were prepared because little did I know, but Elephant House is actually the cafe where JK Rowling first wrote the beginning of Harry Potter, on napkins. After wandering around a bit we found the cafe where we all sat down with a cuppa and pretended that we were as brilliant t as JK (we’re not). The coolest part of the cafe is actually the bathroom. Inside all of the walls, people have written notes to JK or quotes from Harry Potter. It was the first, and probably last, time that I took about 8 pictures of bathroom walls. Marypaz and I even wrote a note ourselves on the bottom of a wall. Some of our friends may have been embarrassed by how much Marypaz and I were fan-girling, but they were nice enough to not make it obvious.


Our day in Edinburgh ended with us shopping around and not buying anything because the pound is way too expensive. We went back to Glasgow and had a nice dinner and quiet night out at a local bar that had a live band. We went back to the hostel and tried to fall asleep (before Pitbull returned) so we could be energized for the following day. The next day we spent walking around Glasgow. We looked in a few museums, toured some outdoor sites, shopped, ate, and drank. It was a nice relaxing day and we were able to see all that the city had to offer, a special thanks to Kristen’s friend who was able to show us around. We left Glasgow the next morning, bright and early, to head back to Dublin then Cork, and reality.


The past week and half has been crammed with school work and days of fun. Saint Patrick’s Day was obviously exciting and Cork had a huge parade in the center of town with food stands all across the city center. Classes were cancelled for the day, as St. Paddy’s Day is considered a bank holiday, so we had the whole day open for drinking, I mean adventuring. While St. Paddy’s Day is very exciting in Ireland, it is important to understand that it really isn’t that big of a deal compared to St. Patrick’s Day even in Chicago. While there was a huge parade and downtown was packed, no one wore an obnoxious amount of green or Irish gear. It is instead a day of celebration but much more calmer than stereotypes may have you think. We woke up and ate a huge Irish breakfast, courtesy of chef Casey, and mimosas before we headed down to the parade. We were able to sit at a nice rooftop bar for a few hours during the day, since it was exceptionally pretty out, and just relax in the good atmosphere. We went out later that night and had a blast, but we did have class the next morning and real life waiting for us.


After spending the next few days writing a number of papers, I was able to take another day off and go up to Dublin to visit a friend. Allison, a friend who is studying at the Rome center, was in Dublin for 2 days so I was able to spend the day with her and show her around. Although I am no expert, only having gone to Dublin once before, we did do a lot. We walked through Dublin Castle, Saint Steven’s Green, ate some pub food, and, of course, went the the Guinness factory. I could only stay for a day so I headed back that night. It was, however, a nice break from school work.

Finally, two of Marypaz’s friends from Dublin, who we met last time we were up there, came down to Cork to visit. They arrived on Sunday night so we went out to dinner and then to a bar and tried to prove to them how fun Cork is (Dublin people aren’t the biggest fans of Cork). They seemed to have a fun time and we are in the works of making future plans to visit them again in Dublin in April. Since they’ve left, it has been a few days of heavy school work. This is the final stretch as I am trying to complete all of my papers before my parents arrive on March 31st. Super excited to see them and super excited to be done with all this work. As my mom said, it is rude that school is interrupting my 5 month vacation.

Warning: This Post Contains Pictures of Farm Animals

Warning: This Post Contains Pictures of Farm Animals

I apologize in advance for the short and potentially choppiness of this post. I am currently in the middle of writing a 2,000 word essay on the root causes in the Northern Ireland conflict, booking flights and hotels for spring break, and packing to leave for Scotland tomorrow at noon. Please bare with me.

The month of March off to a crazy and busy start already. I was able to spend this past long weekend on a true Ireland adventure. Thursday I took a Paddy Wagon Tour (which I would highly recommend for anyone if they were to ever come to Ireland because it’s just fantastic) with my roommate from back home, Alyssa, to the Cliffs of Moher. When I arrived I definitely had a fear that I would simply just fall off the cliffs by either the wind or me just tripping, however, it was a bit safer than I had thought. There was a stone wall that provided a small barrier from falling to my death, but I would be lying if I said that I stayed behind it the whole time. Alyssa and I ventured all over the cliffs, and pretty close to the edge, but I was more worried about her falling over the edge than me, but we both survived and took some pretty killer pictures.



The next day I woke up and embarked on a three day long trip of the Ring of Kerry. This trip was “paid for” by USAC (yes I’m putting that in quotes because technically “we” paid USAC when we booked my semester abroad (yes I’m putting we in quote because I really didn’t pay those fees)). The best thing about this trip was that we were staying in a hotel for the entire weekend and all of our food was paid for in advance. I do not think I can properly articulate how much bread I consumed in that 3 day period, but it was a lot. We arrived in Caherciveen, where our hotel was, just in time for a delicious dinner. After dinner we sat in a back room and sang some traditional Irish songs (think Galway Girl) and then participated in a trivia contest. The trivia contest was for teams of 5 and luckily it was the 5 of us girls who were in Kerry this weekend so we immediately formed a team and proceeded to dominate. Luckily the combination of the 5 of us provided us with a bizarre arsenal of random facts and information from major river’s names, the president of Ireland, movie facts, capitals of countries, and more. We were also the only team who seemed to be having fun and laughing the entire time, and add the one pint of beer on the table, everyone (including the Irish moderator) thought our team was drunk. So it was especially satisfying when we came in first. Our prize was two coasters made of Valentia Slate, so it was well deserved.

Transatlantic Cable Site


View from Valentia Island

The next day we woke up bright and early and spent the entire day roaming around Valentia Island and other small Kerry towns. We saw baby calves, walked up crazy high hills, saw the location where the first transatlantic cable was connected to Europe, ate more good food, and sang happy birthday to Kristen (who turned the big 2-1) three times throughout the day. That night the group received lessons in Gaelic football and Irish dancing. We learned dances to four traditional group Irish dances, which brought back memories. I definitely remembered most of the dances, and I was even complimented on how well I did, however my calves still burn.

On top of one of the Stone Forts
A bit windy on the top of Geoghan Mountain

Sunday was spent doing the full Ring of Kerry, and the highlight of it all was getting to hold two, 3-week old, baby lambs. (Yes I made a number of Silence of the Lambs jokes and my friends definitely wanted to feed me to Hannibal Lector by the end). The Ring of Kerry was simply gorgeous. It was beautiful rural Ireland, that we saw while driving through a number of small towns, and stopping at a number of locations. We saw so much in these three days, and they even gave everyone a flyer that laid out everything that we saw:

Some of the grounds of Muckross Castle


Crag Caves, Castelisland


Transatlantic Cable Cite, Valentia Island

Geoghan Mountain & Fogher Cliffs

Valentia State Quarry

Skellig Experience

Ballycarberry Castle

Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church

Stone Forts– Cahergal & Leacanbuaile

Cumakista Pass

Derrynane House & Beach

Ladies View, Ring of Kerry

Torc Waterfall

Killarney National Park

Muckross Castle


Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. So many sites and experiences crammed into one weekend. I arrived back in Cork throughly exhausted but completely content. Now, time to pack and get ready for a weekend in Scotland!

Dub-town Funk You Up

Dub-town Funk You Up

With a stuffed backpack and bus ticket in hand, (and by in hand, I mean on my phone because it still takes me way to long to figure out the printer on campus) I headed off to Dublin on Thursday afternoon. While I was extremely excited to visit Dublin, I didn’t have much on my list to see, I had tickets to see the Book of Kells and go to the Guinness factory, but apart from that, I was just ready to explore. Luckily, I had the best tour guide sitting right next to me on the bus ride down. My friend Marypaz, had actually interned in Dublin for about 2 months a year and a half ago. While she didn’t have the city completely memorized, she did know what places to hit up, Irish friends to meet up with, and was ready to share it all with me.

Thursday night we arrived in our hostel where we quickly realized how spoiled we were in Amsterdam. In our Dublin hostel, we had no table or chairs, the wifi wasn’t that awesome, but the most awkward thing of all was that there were 3 strangers in our room with us. However, we chatted with them for a bit when we arrived, it was a French couple and a guy from Brazil who is currently living in Amsterdam, so we learned that they were cool, aka we could leave our backpacks in the room and not lock them up. That night we met up with two of Marypaz’s Irish friends, Shane and Conor, who brought us to a more local Irish night club where we were able to dance the night away (literally the night away since Savannah and I left ‘early’ at 3:30). We also were able to snag a Captain Morgan t-shirt that a worker was handing out and make the walk back with no trouble whatsoever.

We woke up early on Friday, and while the rest of our group went to the Guinness Factory, Marypaz and I went all around Dublin. We went shopping on Grafton Street, visited Trinity College, Saint Stevens Green, the Dáil Éireann (the house of Parliament), the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin castle, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. During our activities we were also able to squeeze in a lunch in a cute cafe and drink a cuppa in Dublin Castle. My favorite stop of the whole day was probably the National Museum where we were able to look at bog bodies. Bog bodies were bodies of people who have been thrown into the bogs in Ireland usually as a sacrifice of some sort. The bodies we saw were from 200-400 BC and yet, you could still make out the fingernails on their hands because the bogs are able to preserve the bodies so well. We even saw their hair. It was super cool and I took pictures at the beginning, but in the end, I felt a bit queazy and had to stop. Marypaz and I also wanted to tour the Dáil but we missed the tour times, so we could only stand outside and stare at it. However, everything else we did was very fun and exciting and after we met up with the rest out our friends, we geared up to go out to Temple Bar. Note: Temple Bar is not just one bar, it is a street of many different clubs and pubs, and it is also very touristy, it’s not exactly a place that the locals hit up on the weekend. We did have fun though and made it back to the hostel in one piece so we could be up and ready for another busy day.

Bog Body fingernails
Drinking a cuppa a Dublin Castle

Saturday was equally as busy. I woke up and went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the old library. All I can say about that exhibit is WOW. It sounds cheesy, but it was so beautiful and impressive I was seriously blown away both by the artwork of the book and the history behind it all. One of the most interesting things for me was that the Book of Kells was made around 800 AD and in 1661 the book was given to Trinity college by the Bishop of Ussher. To me, it was amazing to think about how in 1661 the importance of this book was recognized and at such an early time, and the steps were made to ensure that it was preserved all the way until now. But not only was the Book of Kells magnificent, but the old library in Trinity college was mind-blowing. Fun fact: the library in Harry Potter was actually modeled off of the old library in Trinity, so that should give you an idea of how beautiful it was. I think that if this was the library I could actually study in, I may complete my homework in a timely manner.

Old Library


The Old Library


Book of Kells

After the Book of Kells, I was able to take a different tour of Dublin. Savannah, Marypaz, and I actually took a bus to the outskirts of Dublin to a place called Howth. Marypaz had previously said that her favorite place in all of Dublin was Howth so I knew that was definitely going to be something to check out. When we arrived, we met up with Shane, who was going to be our tour guide for the rest of the day (tour guide being taken very lightly). We looked out into the coast at Howth and walked around for a bit before the rain caught up with us. Luckily for us, Shane had managed to borrow his dad’s car for the day so we were able to be chauffeured around to see all these little suburbs outside of Dublin. We were able to see a castle in Malahide, try Nandos (a super good chicken place that isn’t in Cork), drink a couple of pints, and relax with great company.



Malahide Castle

My final day in Dublin was exciting because at 9am I was able to see my roommate and Chicago buddy, Alyssa. Alyssa flew in and arrived early on Sunday so as soon as she dropped her stuff off at the hostel I was staying at, I had to fill her up with an Irish breakfast, and then go to the Guinness factory. Pretty much ensuring she would be aware that she was in Ireland within the first few hours (plus it rained half of the way there, in case she wasn’t sure).  After the Guinness factory, we stopped in a little pub for lunch where we were able to watch the start of the Ireland vs. England rugby game (Ireland won btw) before we had to head off to the bus station.

Enjoying a pint at Gravity Bar in the Guinness Factory

Overall, my weekend in Dublin was fanatic. One interesting aspect about Dublin though was when I was at Dublin Castle and Trinity, I noticed pig statues all around the place. For all of my Cincinnati readers, you will know why I thought this was so funny. But for everyone else, in Cincinnati there are statues of flying pigs all over the city (the Cincinnati marathon is even called ‘The Flying Pig’) so I saw a little connection between my home town in Dublin. Another realization I came to when I was in Dublin was how happy I am that I am studying in Cork. Visiting Dublin was extremely exciting and it reminded me a bit of Chicago– both major cities, but because of that it made me recognize how safe Cork is. Cork is much smaller and more centralized, and while I have never walked home by myself in Cork, I would feel completely safe doing so. That means for people who say that Dublin is so much better than Cork, have you even been to Cork? Both cities are very different, but I am happy with my choice.


Finally, Marypaz and I are already planning a trip back to Dublin. I didn’t realize how much there was to see in Dublin until I was there and leaving. We hope to go back again in April and have a political tour of Dublin. We want to try to tour the Dáil, go to Arbor Hill cemetery, Croke park, and any other place we can squeeze in. Hopefully this happens because the more and more I learn about Irish politics, the more I want to visit all of these historical places. I also have to mail my postcard from the GPO which I was unable to do this past weekend (and yes the postcard is written to me, so it can wait to be mailed, I’m not going to be home anytime soon).

That’s all for now! This coming weekend– Kerry (aka I better get to hold a lamb)

p.s. look at this super cool picture of me touching the bullet holes on the GPO (great post office) where shots were fired at the 1916 Easter Rising. I was probably way too excited than I should have been.




Last week at UCC was the best week in the academic calendar– RAG week. RAG week, which stands for Raise & Give, is 4 days that are crammed with a number of events that all raise money for different charities. Events normally start around 10am and run until 4pm that any and all students can participate in. The on campus bars also open at 12:30 everyday and are packed with students from open to close. Walking into New Bar on campus, is just like walking into a night club– dimmed lights, blasting music, swimming with people, and flowing drinks– all at 1pm. This makes the general tone of the entire campus like a party. Some students participate in as many activities on campus as possible and some just use RAG week as an excuse to drink 24/7. But no matter which way you spend RAG week, it is for a good cause, so drinking that pint at 2 isn’t as bad when you throw a Euro into a bucket for charity while you drink it.

The table of the campus’s New Bar (the club is called Áras)

It is also important to note that Cork City is largely a college town, this means that it’s not just the campus that goes crazy when RAG week comes around– the whole city does. People who don’t attend college at UCC will come for RAG week, practically all of the pubs and clubs have some kind of drink deals during RAG week. We went into the city on Monday night at 10:30 and the line to a popular club was already around the block and the club didn’t open for another half an hour. The whole city seems to go crazy for RAG week, the week before RAG week we were in a cab and the cab driver spent half of the time talking about how people from the country come into Cork for RAG week. Each apartment in the complex that I live in received a letter from our landlord reminding us of some of the apartments rules and threatening serious consequences to tenants who break these rules, such as throwing eggs out of the window or at other buildings, tampering with security cameras and fire extinguishers, and so on. There would also be a security guard on the premise during RAG week instead of our usual night wardens. This letter made me wonder what has possibly happened in past RAG weeks to prompt this type of letter.

The letter from our landlord

So how did I survive RAG week? Did I even survive RAG week? Yes and yes. I actually only had one class all week of RAG week and that was my music class on Monday. My two government classes were cancelled because it was reading week. My folklore class had a story-teller guest speaker for one class and the other was just cancelled. This left me with a week for free time to enjoy this crazy cultural phenomena that is RAG. On Monday I shot clay pigeons with two other friends. I was horrible. I did not hit a single pigeon thus embarrassing my gun-loving American stereotype. On Tuesday, we watched some of the ‘iron stomach’ competition which consisted of the contestants taking off one of their socks, putting it over a carton of milk, and drinking the entire carton. Wednesday, my roommate and I woke up at 12:15 and some how made it to the color run at 12:30. Thursday, we went to the on campus bar again to watch some student karaoke. And Friday, I did not leave my bed. RAG consisted of a lot of dancing, borrowing roommates clothes, laughing, and a relaxing feel-good atmosphere that never really seems to be missing in Ireland. It was a week that I will never forget, and my liver will never forgive me for.

Marypaz eating a chicken roll– a staple of RAG week cuisine


Sadly, the end of RAG week brought me back to the harsh reality that I am in Ireland to go to school. As March approaches, I have major, assignments for all of my courses due. With papers and projects due every week, it is time to buckle down and get my study on. There are many silver-linings to a month of hard-work. The major one being that after April 2nd, I will have only one more paper due (a paper in my music class due on the 24th) and then I will be completely finished with class assignments. No finals for me, which means I will have practically 2 months to fully enjoy my time in Ireland and abroad. With many trips planned on the horizon, all it takes is a positive attitude, and lots of cups of tea, to get me through this month of work and to the end of the tunnel.

I should be quick to note that this month of work will definitely not be only work. This weekend I head up to Dublin with some friends and leave with one of my roommates from Loyola. My roommate, Alyssa, is visiting me over her spring break and I cannot be more excited to show her how I have been living here as she has been experiencing one of Chicago’s coldest February’s ever. Once she leaves, I have a weekend trip to Kerry planned as well as a weekend in Glasgow. The end of March also means a visit from a Rome-center friend, Allison, whose plans we are still trying to iron out. With so much work and play in my future, it is crazy to think how I will ever adjust back to life at home. It is safe to say it will be a more difficult transition home then it was to get here.

Thats all for now! More later!

There Are More Bikes Than People in Amsterdam

There Are More Bikes Than People in Amsterdam

Last weekend, I had the amazing privilege to spend Valentine’s Day weekend with some of the most amazing friends I have met here in another amazing city– Amsterdam. This was my first time in the Netherlands and while there is a lot of hype surrounding Amsterdam, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, any expectations I may have held were completely blow away by the beautiful city. Our group landed in Amsterdam around 7:30pm, navigated the crazy airport (well not that crazy but it was the first reminder that I wasn’t in an English speaking country anymore as all of the signs were written in Dutch), managed to figure out the bus system so we only had to pay 5 Euro for a bus ride instead of a 70 Euro cab ride, and finally walked to our hostel in the dark with our walk being lit by streetlights that cast shadows on the amazing architecture that the city has. Our first night in Amsterdam was our friend Colin’s birthday (the reason for the trip in the first place) so we went to a nice restaurant called “Bazar” where we stuffed ourselves with delicious middle eastern cuisine. We then went out to the city center and hopped around a few different bars until we realized that it was 2 am and we had to be up early the next morning.


Friday was most likely my favorite day in Amsterdam. We woke up, ate breakfast (which consisted of a Belgium waffle smothered in chocolate) and headed off to the van Gogh Museum. Going in, I had basically zero knowledge of van Gogh apart from knowing 3 of his paintings and the fact that he cut off his ear. However, the museum was INCREDIBLE, not only was I able to see most of his works, but I also felt like I knew him as an artist. The museum went in chronological order of his life so you were able to see his paintings develop and towards the end there was a large exhibit of the letters between him and his brother. Theo, his brother, helped finance Vincent (yes I am on a first name basis with van Gogh because I have learned so much) and was also the one who paid for his stay when he was in a mental hospital towards the end of his life. It was sad to watch the progression of Vincent’s talent and passion of his work never fade but his mental health deteriorate which eventually caused his suicide. Some amazing note about van Gogh was that in the final months of his life he painted 75 paintings in just 70 days (how????) and it was also his sister-in-law (Theo’s wife) that pushed for the recognition of van Gogh’s artwork. Theo died six months after Vincent did, so it was his wife, Johanna, that pushed for Vincent’s work to be recognized.

mean muggin outside van Gough

After van Gogh we spent the day wondering around the city where we took cheesy pictures of the I AMsterdam sign, walked uptown and gazed at the beautiful architecture and the canals that run through the city. We spent the night out in the city center again at a giant club where we danced until our feet hurt and finally made our way back to the hostel after stopping for a late night burger. The next morning we tried to wake up early again and went to the Heineken Experience. In general what was most impressive wasn’t the beer or how it is brewed, but the marketing aspect of most of the tour. There was games, pictures, and commercials that made you crave a Heineken (even if you never had one before).


After Heineken our group broke up and my friend Kristen and I were on a mission– find and ride bikes. Our friends were a bit hesitant to rent bikes with us for obvious reasons, biking in Amsterdam is on a whole new level. The bikers ride ridiculously fast, weave in and out of traffic, and have their own lane right by the street. However, Kristen and I figured we had what it takes to ride with the best (not really but we wouldn’t die) but while we may have had the determination to ride the bikes, we did not have anything it took to rent them. Our first stop was a bike shop that the receptionist at our hostel recommended but when we arrived they wanted a copy of a credit card to have on record, and both Kristen and I only had debit cards. Instead, he said, we could leave our ID and 50 Euro, but if we were not back in exactly 3 hours we wouldn’t get our money back. The issue with that plan (apart from obvious reasons) was that we wanted to return our bikes at the downtown location which was where we were meeting our friends later, and we didn’t think we would have time to ride there and back in 3 hours. So we went to a different bike shop where the guy not only wanted 50 Euro, but he also wanted our passports to hold onto while we rode the bikes– a big no no. So at last, we gave up and walked to the other part of the city. We did get to see more of the beautiful city as well as a protest (all on bikes of course) for climate change and getting rid of fossil fuels.


We met our friends at a World War 2 monument that was in the heart of the city. After dinner we did a quick walk through the red light district– don’t worry it was at 7pm and there was a group of 9 of us– but I couldn’t go to Amsterdam and not have at least taken a peak at the infamous area. After a little bit of wandering and shopping, we headed back to our hostel and spent the night laughing and playing cards against humanity since we had to be up at  6:30 for our flight the next day.

After arriving back in Cork, and taking a 3 hour nap, I began to mentally prepare myself for the week ahead– RAG week. RAG week (which stands for Raise and Give) is a week long event at UCC where there are new things going on every day to raise money for a large number of different charity organizations. While that seems fun and easy enough, there is one thing you must understand– the students go crazy. People who do not even attend UCC come for the week to take place in all of the crazy events. The bars on campus open every day at 12:30 and all of my classes for government were cancelled, with the excuse that it was “reading week”. I will be sure to go in depth about everything that has been going on and will continue during RAG week, but for now, I must nap and prepare myself for what continues to lie ahead.

What’s More Irish: Whiskey, Castles, or the Countryside?

What’s More Irish: Whiskey, Castles, or the Countryside?

It seems as though weeks have gone by since I last blogged. Not because I have been particularly busy, but I have done and seen so many things in just a week and a half. Last Friday, a group of us went to the Jameson Distillery which is about a 15 minute train ride away. The distillery is located in Midleton which is a small town in county Cork. We were able to tour the old distillery where some of the buildings dated back to 1795. After the tour (which was much chillier than anticipated due to old drafty buildings) we were able to warm up with taste testings of whiskey. The taste testing consisted of a half a shot of Jack Daniels, a Scottish whiskey, and, of course, Jameson. In comparison to the other two whiskeys, Jameson was much smoother, most likely as a result of being distilled three times. The end of the taste testing resulted in me receiving my own certificate as a whiskey taste tester– something I will be sure to put on my resume.


The next day, we woke up early, climbed on a bus, and headed to the Rock of Cashel. This trip, provided and organized by USAC, was a fantastic look at one of Ireland’s oldest castles. The castle was gorgeous and one of the few projects that are under Ireland’s preservation work, so it was in excellent shape. We toured the castle which during its time was used as the seat of the kings of Munster and later on the head of the Archbishop of Cashel. The tour was both outside and inside the castle but when we ventured outside it brought be right back to Chicago. Not only is Ireland a bit windy naturally, but the Rock of Cashel sits on top of a hill resulting in extremely strong winds hitting the tour group as we moved in and out. After the tour of the castle ended we had lunch in the town and then went and visited Holy Cross Abbey. The church is still in use today and was a perfect little stop to end our day trip.

inside of the Rock of Cashel
Windy City pt. 2
Holy Cross Abbey

After our exciting adventures, we spent the next day gearing up for the Super Bowl. While one of our friends, Eric, is actually from Boston and was intent on watching the game and rooting for the Patriots, the rest of us had one thing in mind– food. As a group we planned and cooked a feast consisting of wings, chips and guacamole, burgers, fries, crepes, cookies, brownies, and more. After thoroughly stuffing ourselves with as much food as possible we went down to a bar that was showing the game. The game didn’t start until 11:30 and to my great dismay, they didn’t show any American commercials. While this makes sense in hindsight, the sorrow I felt after the first commercial break was extreme. We left in different groups throughout the evening, others lasted much longer than I did, but I went home not even before the end of the first quarter. My excuse was that I was waking up at 8:30 the next morning, but to be honest, if there wasn’t going to be fun commercials to watch, then why stay?

The week passed quickly as usual, and I even had to complete a homework assignment*gasp*! But a 1,000 word article review couldn’t bring me down, as the girls and I planned for one thing to keep us going– treat yo self. For all you Parks and Recreation fans out there you know what this means, and for those who don’t, all your questions will be answered if you just watch this video. Our treat yo self day was in honor of us all no longer being sick and was just what we needed. Since we didn’t have class on Friday, we began our day with brunch at Soho, where we drank champagne cocktails and ate waffles, we then spent all day shopping where I splurged on a purchase of a leather jacket (but that’s ok because treat yo self), we then ate some Mexican food (which was surprisingly delicious) and drank sangria, and ended the day with face masks back at our apartment that we had bought for 1 Euro at H&M. The day was fantastic but at the end we remembered that treat yo self can only happen once and we are now having a save yo money month.


Finally, 5 of us spent all day yesterday in the BEAUTIFUL Dingle Peninsula. I had stayed in Dingle the other time I had come to Ireland when I was 12 and knew I wanted to go back. We booked a Paddy Wagon tour, which put us on a bus with 20 other tourists from around the world as we drove all over the countryside of Ireland and stopped throughout Dingle. The day was too perfect to describe. There was no rain, not even a cloud in the sky, and everything I saw I felt like I was seeing in HD. The tour started in Cork, stopped in Killarney, then went to Dingle where we visited Inch Beach, Coumeenole Beach, and the town of Dingle, as well as taking a number of photo stops along the way. It was a perfect day in every way imaginable, complete with wonderful scenery, a wonderful tour guide, and of course wonderful company.

Inch Beach
Coumeenole Beach


Up next is AMSTERDAM! T-minus 4 days until my first out of the country trip and I cannot be more excited. Until next time…



A Blog Post Made Up of Lists

A Blog Post Made Up of Lists

Things Making Me Feel European: 

1. Grocery Shopping— No, it is not the fact that I have to be a self-sufficient human and shop for myself, it is the process that is grocery shopping. I have begun to develop a bit of a routine to buy my groceries but it still is much more of an ordeal than in the States. There are 3 (sometimes 4 if you are feeling fancy) main stops you must make in order to stock your pantry and fridge. First, there is Sean B. Murphy’s (the butcher) where I have pretty much just been buying chicken every week but I may be branching out soon. Next, is Con’s (the produce stop) where you can get your milk, eggs, and any and all fruits and vegetables. It is a cute little stop, just one room, that is super well priced. Finally, the real trek, Tesco. Both Sean B. Murphy’s and Con’s is about a 2 minute walk from my apartment. Tesco, however, is down in the city center and at least a 20 minute walk. Tesco is where you can by your cheese, spices, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen pizza, ect. Normally that’s all it takes, unless you want some real goodies. Then you need to stop by the English Market in the city center as well, where you can buy realllllly good bread, meats, cheese, pastries, ect. So after all of those stops, you finally have your kitchen stocked, and will go through all of that food in one week easily, and will be back shopping soon. While this is a bit of a process, and when it is raining I don’t exactly enjoy it, I do like the feeling that you are mostly shopping in little mom and pop shops and are really buying and eating high quality meat and produce.

Entrance into the English Market


2. Drinking Tea— I drink some tea at home and school, the occasional cup, which I am more likely to drink when my mom is the one making it. However, nothing can compare to the amount that I drink here. I easily drink 1-2 cups a day, which has been helping keep me warm, but has not helped me get over my sickness. The tea is delicious, and just one fun fact (although not so fun) is that they do not have strings for their tea bags, it’s just a little bag of tea. I am sure most people take the tea bag out with a spoon, but I am always too impatient (and I don’t want to have to wash a spoon) so I pick the tea bag out of the mug and hope I don’t burn my fingers too bad.

3. Walking up Hills— You know the saying “back in my day, I had to walk uphill both ways to school” well that is how I feel (although not entirely accurate). Going to school and to the city center is fairly quick and easy, the walk back, however, can be a bit brutal. I am talking some steep hills on the way back. Having class 4 days and week, and going into the city center at least 4 days a week, ensures that I am getting my fair share of hiking. Every time I come back from the city center I am amazed that I make the same walk back to the apartment on nights when I am wearing heels and not exactly 100% sober. I have yet to fall so far, and hopefully that will continue.

Up from the City Center
Up from the City Center


Things That Are Harder Than They Should Be: 

1. Laundry: The first time I did laundry was just embarrassing. In order to be able to do your laundry you have to go to the front desk and buy laundry tokens (in order to do one load it costs 5 Euro aka a rip off). This seems easy enough, but the guy who works the front desk only works until 2:30 everyday and I normally have classes during that time, and he doesn’t work on the weekends. So as soon as I purchased my tokens, I made my way to the laundry room where the laundry machines looked extra foreign and took me a solid 5 minutes to read the directions and put my clothes in. Finally, a little number pops up on the machine which I assume is the time of how long it will take to wash the clothes. However, when I returned 25 minutes later, the machine then read 35 leaving me very confused until a roommate explained to me that those numbers was the temperature the water is in the machine. So I am still clueless as to how long it actually takes to do laundry, a mystery I am not sure I will ever have the patience to solve.

2. Thinking Of Meals To Cook: I would say I am fairly confident in my cooking abilities. However, I only seem to make the same 4 meals (or variations of them) day after day. I will either eat pasta (with chicken or other meat), some form of a sandwich, eggs of some kind, and chicken and potatoes. That’s pretty much it. When I then get hungry later I just eat toast and Nutella or yogurt with granola. I can’t seem to come up with any other things to cook, and am feeling especially uncreative. I did buy a frozen pizza to mix it up a bit but I don’t think that is exactly the change in diet I need. So if anyone has some few-ingredient meals they want to throw my way, feel free!

3. Walking Up Stairs: Sometimes the stairwell is just a free for all, and there is no clear direction. Yesterday, Marypaz and I were walking to our Irish Politics class, and it became clear that we were in a foreign land when we were directly running into people on the stairs. It took me a few seconds to remember that their way of traffic is not the same way of traffic that we have which explained why we were clearly walking on the wrong side of the steps.


Questions Everyone Is Asking:

1. Do You Even Go To School?: Yes and no. Yes I do attend all of my classes, although total hours I am at school every week is only 8 hours  and I don’t have class on Fridays. Classes here are very different, I don’t have any little assignments or even assigned readings every week. Instead, I have an average of 2-3 essays due throughout the semester and that’s about it for my final grade. I have no complaints, although the few weeks when all of my essays are due may be a bit of a pain. This schedule allows for a very relaxed atmosphere and encourages extra time for me to do things that I normally don’t have time to do, such as make weekend trips, see the city, and even just read some novels that have long been on my “to read” list.

2. Have You Made Any Irish Friends?: It is harder than it seems. I have met some Irish people who are super friendly and nice (a bartender at a local pub, my friend Kristen has two Irish roommates, and one or two people I have met at a club/pub). However, to truly make an Irish pal is a bit more difficult for a number of reasons. One, most of my classes are all visiting students or if there are Irish students it is very segregated, Irish students in the back, visiting students in the front. This is because the way the courses work here, it when you go in seeking a degree in a subject you only take the classes for your degree, so many of these students have been in the same classes for a number of semesters and have their pals all situated. The second reason why it is harder to befriend the Irish is that when we go out, we have a group of about 8+ people, clearly American, which can be somewhat off putting when we are in pubs and clubs. This hasn’t stopped everyone, but as we tend to dance or talk in our own, not so little, circle it doesn’t leave much room for others to join in. Lastly, the students here go home almost every weekend and have a much heavier course load than us, which limits their free time during the week. Sometime it is just simply harder to make the time to see people. But I have become close with one of Kristen’s roommates who is French and a German student in my Irish politics class, so it’s not all Americans!

3. Have You Met A Cute Irish Boy?: See answer to number 2. That and (prepare yourself for a bit of a rant). I did not choose to study abroad in Ireland to meet and marry the man of my dreams. I decided to study abroad to become a more independent person, to experience new things, see new places, learn to think differently, appreciate new cultures, and more. All of this I can do by myself or with some friends. While meeting a cute Irish boy would be an amazing experience, it is in no way a priority, or something that will hold me back from having the time of my life. So no, I have not yet met the cute Irish boy that my mom will love, and that doesn’t mean that I won’t and it doesn’t mean that I want to. All I want is to soak up as many experiences as I can that I will remember for the rest of my life. Rant over.

Some of the Crew


Things I Am Looking Forward To In The Next Week:

1. Tomorrow, we will be heading to the Jameson Experience where at the end of the tour I will become an official whiskey taste tester (my dad will be so proud)

2. On Saturday we have a day trip to the Rock of Cashel but unfortunately we will not be able to see the Cahir Castle because it is under renovation. This is supposed to be one of the must see castles in Ireland so we will maybe return on a later date to check it out.

3. On Sunday we are having a big Super Bowl meal followed by going to a club where they are showing the game.

4. On Monday we might go on the night tour of the Cork city jail which will be cool and spoooooky.

That’s all for now!


Cultural Notes:

~The pharmacist is called the chemist. A super sweet woman has been my knight in shinning armor this week when I finally decided to take some medicine to get rid of my 2 week long cold. At the chemist you just walk up to the counter, tell the person your symptoms, and then they give you options for medicines you can take and advice on which one is the best. Not only are they SUPER helpful, but the cost of medicine is ridiculously cheap. One friend bought cough medicine for 2 euro and I bought a decongestant medicine for only 5 euro. Yay for cheap healthcare!

~Convient stores are a huge place for people to go grocery shopping or pick up something to eat. Back home, I know I would never go to UDF or 7-11 for some lunch let alone actually shop there.