Journals from Ireland, National University of Ireland in Galway
2011-01-30 Comforts of Home
Early morning along the River Liffey in Dublin.
Do you know that feeling when you are coming back from a trip and the thing that you are most excited about is the comfort of home? Being able to sleep in your own bed. Having the ability to make your own meals. And most of all the familiarity.
Last weekend, we decided to venture away from Galway and try two days in Dublin. What an incredible city, so full of life and energy. We spent a great deal of time just walking around the city and getting familiar with the area, which I would highly recommend doing – it can be kind of overwhelming at first. Of course, we went to all the “must-see” places that Foder’s and the other travel books recommend in Dublin. On the second day of sight-seeing a few of us decided to take the Dart out to Howth, which is a small fishing town just outside of Dublin. It was well worth the four euro, because it gave us a little break from the high energy of the city. By the end of the second day when we were on the bus back, I kept thinking how nice it would be back at home in Galway and sleep in my own bed. As ridiculous as it may sound, that is when I knew that Galway was and is my home for the five months. I’ve always called Linfield my home, but this now holds special meaning to me too and I think there is something settling and relaxing about that.
Prior to our weekend in Dublin, a lot has happened. We have all officially registered for classes now that the “shopping” period is over. We’ve celebrated our first birthday here. Happy Birthday Brenna! Most of the group joined the mountaineering club, which hosts hikes each Sunday in different places, so we all donned our hiking boots and trekked over the Burren in County Clare a few weekends ago. It was a sunny and very windy day. When we reached the top I thought the wind might pick me up and carry me away! I’m only joking, but it was quite breezy. Hiking with the mountaineering club was a great way to see some Irish countryside and learn more about the land. In the group I went with we had a guide that used a compass and a map because there were trails. In fact, most hikes do not have trails to follow. Something I’m not used too, even as a true Idahoan hiking the Sawtooth Mountains for most of my life. Our guide was really helpful and made the experience more memorable.
I am enrolled in a class called Service Learning, which is only offered to visiting students from the U.S. What it entails is volunteering in a local Irish homework club and attending two classes each week that teach how a child learns and how their brain develops. It is by far my favorite class. The professor is great hands down, but the children that I have gotten to work with are incredible. I feel really lucky that we are allowed to come each week and help students with their homework on an individual basis. After homework is done and I’m able to talk with the student, I’m getting the chance to learn so much more about the culture here. They love that I’m from America and think it is so neat that I would come to Ireland! Though I’m experiencing Irish culture at the university, it is different from the perspective of a student in elementary school. I have only gone twice, but it has been a positive experience both times and I’m excited to see what the rest of the semester holds.