Capitalizing on Craic: Travel and Activities

With midterms and a plethora of activities underway, it can be difficult to balance travel too. Luckily, us Linfield students have managed to do a bit of everything. As promised, many of us have gotten involved with clubs and societies here at NUIG. I was cast in a student written one act, Catraz Park by Sinead Ryan, and we just had our performance this past weekend! Lexi Kerr and Carole Thomas have taken their soccer skills abroad and joined the women’s soccer team.  Lexi has gotten involved with the Mountaineer Club as well for some outdoor adventuring.

Spot Lexi Kerr and Carole Thomas with the NUIG women's soccer team!
Spot Lexi Kerr and Carole Thomas in the NUIG women’s soccer team!

Getting involved on campus has been a great way to meet Irish students as well as students from all over the world. I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such talented individuals during the one act performances. Nothing makes new friends like show lights and a murder plot.

From the left, Eoin Mullins, Jordan Keller, Alisha Finnerty, Megan O'Neill, Pauline Smith, and Noel Minogue ready to perform Catraz Park!
From the left, Eoin Mullins, Jordan Keller, Alisha Finnerty, Megan O’Neill, Pauline Smith, and Noel Minogue ready to perform Catraz Park!

I was also able to support some of my fellow cast members by attending the Musical Society’s production of Pippin along with Kristen Burke and Paige Phillipson. (Sorry, trying to be inconspicuous is not conducive to photo quality).

NUIG Musical Society's production of Pippin
NUIG Musical Society’s production of Pippin

Kristen, Paige, and I put aside the extra-curriculars for a weekend, however, to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We took an incredible Black Taxi tour where we got a taste of the city’s vast collection of street art and learned a bit about the political and cultural history that has shaped Belfast into what it is today.

One of the numerous peace walls within the city of Belfast, remnants of 'The Troubles'
One of the numerous peace walls within the city of Belfast, a remnant of ‘The Troubles’

After the tour, we wandered through the city, enjoying the beautiful architecture including numerous cathedrals, landmarks, and art installations.

Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland
Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland
'The Spirit of Belfast' art installation in Arthur Square, Belfast
‘The Spirit of Belfast’ art installation in Arthur Square, Belfast
Crescent Church, Belfast
Crescent Church, Belfast

Taking the recommendation of a kind pair of women on the train, we took a break from the bustle of the city to watch the Ireland v. Scotland rugby match. Having never watched rugby, I missed some of the finer points, but the local restaurants and pubs were packed with people invested in the excitement.

Kristen Burke and Paige Phillipson strolling through a Belfast alley
Kristen Burke and Paige Phillipson on the hunt for a place to watch the anticipated rugby match

After the game, we took some time to explore Queen’s University. The campus was absolutely stunning, and the brick buildings reminded me a bit of our own campus at Linfield. We were also pleasantly surprised to discover its Tropical Ravine, a garden paradise within the Botanical Gardens.

Queen’s University, Belfast
Queen’s University, Belfast

Most importantly, throughout all of these activities and travel adventures, wherever we are, we haven’t forgotten to have a bit of fun, or as they say here, a bit of craic!

Kristen Burke and Paige Phillipson making room for silliness in Belfast
Kristen Burke and Paige Phillipson making room for silliness in Belfast

Jordan Keller