Study Abroad Blog: Dublin, Ireland

Follow Brooke as she documents her study abroad experience in Dublin, Ireland this quarter.

Study Abroad Blog: Bonjour au France!

posted Feb 25, 2011, 5:26 PM by College Gloss   [ updated Feb 27, 2011, 11:58 PM by Stephany F. ]

Follow Brooke as she documents her study abroad experience in Dublin and across Europe!

This past weekend, I flew down to the south of France for a weekend trip to Carcassonne, a small town about seven hours away from Paris and two hours away from Barcelona, Spain. The city of Carcassonne is a medieval city that  dates back to around 1659. It was restored in the 19th century and is one of the most magical places I have ever gone to.

I felt as if I was transported back in time when I was walking through La cite.  The roads are all cobble stone and a distinct smell of crepes could be smelled wherever I went. The city of Carcassonne itself (the new city) is very picturesque with cobble stone roads, stands of vegetables and outdoor cafes located both in the square and on the narrow streets. 

Being so close to Spain, many tourists wandering around are Spanish.  One thing I applauded the locals on is how easily they can switch languages. I envy them for being able to do this. In La Cite, most people working there just jump from language to language to see which one suits you, and I was envious the entire time.

On Sunday, my final day there, it was in the lower 50’s temperature wise, and for a student who is accustomed to Vermont weather, it wasn’t that bad at all. However, the tourists from Spain and Italy thy were completely bundled up in puffy long coats with fur lined hoods and wearing scarves gloves and hats. I was wearing a dress, boots and a light coat and was perfectly fine.  

I want to come back when it was warmer though and sit at the outdoor garden cafes and see the flowers and trees blossom. We all decided to buy crepes and sit in the square and just take in this special city.  We had fun people-watching, and it was such a great experience. At midday we said au revoir la France and headed to the airport.

Au revoir! Until next time!

Study Abroad Blog: Bargain Shopping in Dublin

posted Feb 15, 2011, 10:55 AM by College Gloss   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 11:01 AM by Stephany F. ]

Whenever I think of fashion, I think of London, Milan, Paris, and European designers and celebrities. I am just drawn in to the sophisticated European style. In Dublin, I made sure to stop by Henry Street, a shopping district in walking distance from my apartment!

Henry Street spans for four blocks on a street just for pedestrians. Any college fashionista would be in heaven with stores such as H&M, Topshop, A/Wear, and Penneys to name a few.

Because I’m planning to travel on weekends, budgeting is a major necessity.  As of today, one Euro is equivalent to $1.36. Knowing this is key to whatever country you are in, mainly because you don't want to buy a dress that is 20 Euros and realize that it really is nearly 30 dollars. This is when sales become your best friend. One store that I absolutely love is Topshop, a favorite of  Emma Watson and Kate Middleton. Unfortunately, the prices there are steep for a  traveling college girl, and even the sale section can be expensive. So what's a college fashionista to do? Keep searching!

I soon discovered two stores that reflected both my style and my price range. It's hard to walk down Henry Street without seeing people with bags from Penneys. Penneys is a department store with chic clothing for all ages, all at affordable prices. To be honest, I liked almost every article of clothing I saw. Something about the floor designs and the styles suited me. A/Wear, on the other hand, only has women's clothing and has separate lines: vintage, Closet, and regular. The prices on the sale racks are phenomenal! The prices for the Loft and vintage lines are expensive, and the regular line is fair but not the best in price. That's why this sale section stood out. There were 5, 10 and 20 Euro racks. I found a purple wrap dress there that I fell in love with, and it only cost me 10 Euros!
If you’re traveling to Dublin, make it a point to visit Henry Street, there are tons of great deals that are waiting to be discovered!

Weekend Adventures at a Seaside Village

posted Feb 15, 2011, 10:54 AM by College Gloss   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 10:54 AM by Stephany F. ]

During orientation on the weekend, we traveled out of the city to see the lush green grass and blue skies typical of postcards and scenic photographs.  We traveled by train to Howth, located on the seaside about 30 minutes away from Dublin by train. 

Apparently Howth, pronounced with a long o, is a a fisherman village. We all got together to get a group picture of my study abroad group on the docks, and we were allowed to explore the town.

I experienced my first Irish rain shower as my friends and I climbed a road that appeared to be going up the cliffs. The weather was nice and sunny, but I saw grey clouds approaching. The more we hiked up this road, the prettier the houses were and the faster the clouds were approaching.  The next thing I saw was the rain hitting the docks below us, and people were running inside for cover, and suddenly the rain hit us. Luckily, it only rained for about five minutes.  The sun came out and lit up the grass and the ocean. The next thing I saw was a genuine Irish rainbow!

We hiked on more and got to the top of the cliffs where we could see for miles.  We’re planning on going to there again for a picnic and to see the sunset.  If you ever go to Dublin, take advantage of the DART and the fresh ocean air. A roundtrip ticket is only four Euros, which is five American dollars. The pictures can only do so much justice.

Until next time!

First Days in Dublin

posted Feb 15, 2011, 10:53 AM by College Gloss   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 10:58 AM by Stephany F. ]

I arrived in Dublin, Ireland for my study abroad experience last Sunday. Seeing all the airlines and their tail wings made me excited that I was finally here; the possibility of travel is such an adrenaline booster.  After getting off the plane and going through immigration, I went to search for my bags.  Fortunately, I saw both of them going around the carousel.

It was still dark when I got outside.  Luckily, a whole line of taxis were waiting. As the friendly cab driver drove me to my new apartment, I noticed something unexpected: there are palm trees in people’s front yards! Who would have known that palm trees are popular in Ireland?

After the 30 minute drive, we arrived in the heart of Dublin.  Being Sunday, very few people were out on the streets.  As we drove along the Liffey, the river running through Dublin, it almost didn't seem real.

After I got settled into my apartment, I went out to find somewhere to get food.  The Head Resident showed me around, and we walked everywhere! The one thing I noticed and love about Dublin is the fast walking pace people have here. This comes in handy, as the walk to the Academic Centre is a good distance from the apartments. Walking around Dublin, I also noticed that tons of streets are dedicated to shopping. I had to refrain myself from splurging on clothes and cute boots so I can afford to travel to other places in Europe.

This week, I headed down the road to visit The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland. It has been around since 1198! I entered through a stone archway, and was greeted with a patio filled with bar tables and locals drinking and laughing. The first room is filled with old woodwork and paper bills from all over the world, along with little tables and a bar.  In the next room, a live band plays traditional Irish music every night as the locals sing along.

I also visited the Guinness Storehouse. After walking through the marble gates, I was instantly teleported back to the 18th century when Guinness was started.  I walked around the cobblestoned streets of the factory until I came across the museum section and the souvenir store.  Larger projections of Guinness beer surging and settling made it feel as if I was in a pint.  When the tour began, a guide explained that the storehouse is designed to look like a pint and is the largest in the world. It can hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness! At the base of the factory is the lease signed by Arthur Guinness himself. The lease is for 9,000 years, so have no fear if you’re not planning on visiting soon.

I honestly thought we'd be in a factory and then getting a free drink, but as soon as I got there, I realized that I was wrong. I learned so much about their advertising, and how there is far more involved to get that famous taste than I imagined. At the end of the tour, we were invited to head up to the Gravity bar the top of the pint, where we all got a free pint of Guinness and enjoyed a beautiful view of Dublin in this 360-degree lounge. 

This was a great way to kick off the semester in Ireland.  Until next time!

1-4 of 4