Thomas K. University of Wisconsin-Stout
Irish writer James Joyce famously said, “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” After spending a few weeks gallivanting around the city I can totally see where he’s coming from. Words cannot describe the history, charm, and culture of this city. You really have to see it for yourself, but I’ll try my best.
I came to Ireland on CIEE’s January in Dublin program and I immediately fell in love with the city. The January in Dublin program is three weeks long, which may not seem like a lot of time, but CIEE provides plenty of opportunities to experience the city while you’re here. I’ll highlight some of my favorite parts of this trip.
While in Dublin I took a sociology course on Irish Culture, Society, and Identity. This course gave me a full breakdown of all aspects of what it is to be Irish. As someone with Irish heritage, this class really made me feel connected to my roots. After we learned about Irish culture each day, we would go on an excursion in the city to some type of cultural landmark. Not only do you get to learn about Irish history you get to live it too!
From Christ Church Cathedral to Dublin Castle we learned all about the rich history of this city which goes back well over 1,000 years. Everywhere you look in this city you see history.
From dining in amazing restaurants to exploring the city’s countless free museums you get to experience this culture from all angles. There seems to be a coffee shop on every corner and enough pubs, churches, and museums to give you that authentic Irish experience.
One of my favorite parts of this trip however didn’t take place in Dublin. Our overnight trip to Belfast happened about halfway through this course. In Belfast you get to learn about Irish culture in one of the most unique ways imaginable. A walking tour by two former political prisoners allows you to hear their stories firsthand.
Belfast was a short two-hour train ride away and most of the other major Irish cities are even closer! I also visited Cork, Galway, and Limerick all in a month’s time! There’s really so much to see on this little green island.
Though as my time here in Dublin comes to an end, I type this blog with bittersweet feelings. Over the last several weeks I’ve made many new friends and experienced so much. It’s been a dream come true and I would recommend this trip to any student keen on adventure. The people, the history and the memories make me not want to leave this beautiful city, but I know these experiences are something I’ll cherish forever.
I know as I board my flight back to America I’ll be thinking one thing. “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.”