The First Weeks- An Adventure in Ireland

This post is from our official student blogger, Sandra Mercer. Sandra is from Westfield State University, and is an Elementary Education Major studying in Galway, Ireland

It has been just over one month since I landed in Ireland for my little Spring adventure. It hasn’t been the easiest month by any means, but it has certainly been a crazy, fun, life-changing adventure already.

Our plane landed in a little airport in Shannon, Ireland at about 6:30 A.M. on Wednesday January 4th. Our exhausted crew of 16 immediately hopped onto a bus (after grabbing a tea, of course) and drove an hour and a half to our new home: Galway.

Seated on the coast of Western Ireland in the province of Connacht, Galway is known for its friendly people, beautiful landscapes, rich history, and bustling city center. Just driving from Shannon to get there was an adventure in and of itself. Our accommodation (what they call housing here) is beautiful, the city is thriving, and the green is greener than you’ve ever seen. From the minute I stepped off of the plane, I did not regret my choice to study in this amazing place.

The past month has been filled with countless little adventures (and some big ones, too). We started classes at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) last week, found an adorable breakfast place that serves the best pancakes I’ve ever had, and met people from across the globe (and from my home state, Massachusetts, too!) We’ve explored downtown Galway countless times; I seem to have fallen madly in love with Shop Street, especially Shop Street at night.

Our first weekend landed us on an all-day trip to the villages of Connemara, and all of us agreed that pictures just don’t do this amazing place justice. The mountains faded elegantly into the fog, the tops hidden in the clouds of mist. It seemed that the rolling hills went on forever with its steep inclines rising into an endless sky. Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden had to be my favorite part, though. If you get the chance to spend a day in Connemara, this must be one of your stops. Though pictures may not show how tremendously gorgeous this hidden Ireland gem is, they can certainly try their best. Here are some of my favorites

Our second weekend landed us in Dublin for two days, traipsing through places like Phoenix Park, the Dublin Zoo, and a fantastic little 50s-style diner called Eddie Rocket’s (which had absolutely killer milkshakes). I even got to ride on the top of a double decker bus for the first time (which, as awesome as it was, was a lot colder than you’d think). Here are some photographic highlights:

On Jan. 21, we headed off to The Burren in Co. Clare, Ireland. I’d been waiting for this trip for what felt like my whole life. We got to explore the Aillwee Caves, Dunguaire Castle, and of course the Cliffs of Moher. Like most of the sights in Ireland, pictures will never do it justice, but I took over 100 of them so here are a few!


As the next three and a half months unfold, I expect many more adventures to come. Planned already are trips to The Burren (again!), Blarney, Belfast, and 
Edinburgh, Scotland! More updates to come, friends. Cheers! (or, in Gaelic, sláinte!)

 

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