International Law – Academic Discoveries

There is a 10m high book vault and robotic crane in the UL Library

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

International students arrived early, for a week-long orientation.  I was the only law student; and, apparently fell into a category of “mature student” – not necessarily a lovable label.

For life-long learners out there like myself, be prepared to ignore this label (and all undesired labels) and continue making connections and finding likeminded souls – those who love to travel, learn, and meet people – because our hearts are open, our minds are wise, and we span all ages and nationalities.

An Irish classmate from Comparative and European Criminal Justice provided insight into Modules and Programs

Sample Modules? And, Pick?!

At UL, we sample modules for two weeks before making final selections. This may sound strange, but a gift in practice – a chance to really consider and commit to your academics.

In my first class, Dr. Coffey announced he was here to be our “guide on the side” – his heartfelt attitude toward our genuine learning distinctive and admirable.  He went on to provide an overview of Policing and Human Rights (the next day, International Criminal Law), and detailed upcoming experiential learning trips, the laws we would explore, and the thinking we were allowed to do.  I was hooked!

UMass Law approved my final selections without complication.  For those considering a law semester abroad, note that I reserved the majority of my electives and exercised deliberate planning with esteemed advisors.  Both UMass Law and UL were extremely helpful and supportive.  Special thank you to Dean Mitnick, Dean Specer, Dean Cahill, Dean Quinn, Professor Flanagan, Professor Rudko, Dr. Coffey, Nancy, Gina, Dan, Gavin, and Ally. 

Studying in the Glucksman Library


The University of Limerick is huge, with the Law School taking only a portion of the Foundation Building.

My classes are in both the Foundation Building and the Main Building.  I was psyched to get them all on a Monday through Wednesday schedule, allowing ample time for travel throughout Europe. Follow my IG to see more photos.

Because our Professors post generous material online, I can pretty much work in any café in any country.  A way of life I have indeed become accustomed to.  If you have a passport, why not use it?

Class Dynamics

My classes are comprised of students not only from all over the world, but from various educational programs.  At UMass Law, we study with other law students.  Here, I get to study with Barristers and Solicitors, Garda, Human Rights Activists, Counselors, and more.  Some of my classmates are pursuing a Masters in Human Rights, while other are almost done with a Masters of Law.  We have classmates in other programs and as well as those merely taking a module for career broadening.

I appreciate the life-experiences and contributions of the varied expertise in the physical and online classrooms.  The ability to apply knowledge and understanding to actionable results is how the world evolves.

Professor Eoin O’Meara Daly leads us to explore and understand Youth Crime and restorative justice in Ireland

Experiential Learning

Each of our Professors coordinated guest lecturers for us.  Whether it’s a trip to the Garda Station on Henry Street, a day at the Garda Training College, a trip to The Hague to tour the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, inviting a French Professor to teach us Criminal Justice from the French perspective, or coordinating multiple podcasts with experts in Youth Crime – these professors are grand.  They have created an academic experience far surpassing expectations.

Something UMass Law and the UL School of Law have in common is the desire to ensure their students can go on to practice the law, fully prepared and extremely competent.  Our field demands we be zealous and ethical advocates for our clients and communities.  My most cherished part of this study abroad is the school and how much it complements UMass Law.

The University of Limerick School of Law offers incredible modules in International Law and Human Rights

Life on the Emerald Isle

This Bostonian is happy to tour the Wild Atlantic… despite speedy bus rides along steep and windy cliffs

How are Ye?

Do you find yourself when you travel? Some say yes; some say no.  This post is about adjusting to a new culture, to a new world, and to being open to new experiences.

A city girl used to working long hours, I’ve found life incredibly slower in Ireland.

Walking here makes me dizzy, and I’m never quite warm enough.

I’ve found reasons to laugh, made some lifelong friends, fallen further in love with international law, and can’t explain just how much joy the River Shannon brings me.

Exploring Dublin

We Walk Where We Like

Which side of the road does one walk on? Which side of the windy sidewalk?  Which side on the stairs?

After interviewing many locals, the truth remains gray – “We are Irish, we go where we like,” and, that is that.

This is not the case in Washington, D.C., where we all know that unless you are climbing those escalator stairs, you have no business marking time on the left side of that step!

Frozen Toes

Ever stood in a very hot shower, but somehow couldn’t thaw your feet?  Welcome to dorm life in Ireland!  It’s a shared experience for most dorm residents – this feeling of never quite being warm enough.

“The Irish can apparently spot foreigners, because they use umbrellas… Always wear sensible durable shoes, the weather could turn at any time… It’s Irish tradition to sing during Christmas dinners…found that out the hard way.” – Ayo Ademuwagun, Nigerian Barrister/Solicitor (UL, LLM 2021)

We are encouraged to run our heat sparingly, and accommodations limit when warm (let alone hot) showers are available.

Friends have resorted to burying themselves under electric blankets, taking multiple showers, and negotiating with hot water boosters in their bathrobes.  My favorite student hack: hot water bottles in the sheets!

Of interest: Restrooms are often almost freezing.  And, a fun UL quirk:  There is barely an electrical outlet on campus!  It can be frustrating when your laptop dies in class and there isn’t an outlet to be found in one of the many collaborative study spaces.

After much investigation, I discovered one outlet in Starbucks.  It’s possible that I rush to it on Tuesdays at 4.00 pm on the regular.  I am very grateful for this sole energy source.

Finding a Good Laugh

The Irish love good craic.  They value chats with friends, old and new.  The humor is almost more important than anything.  Messages about slowing down, enjoying the moment, and laughing with people we love are grand, for it is the relationships in our lives which matter most.

Caroline, from the UL Concert Hall, suggested I attend “The Punchline” where I laughed the night away to an Irish Comedian.  That comedy show could not have come at a better time as I have definitely been missing my family, and my niece, especially.  Check out Danny O’Brien Comedy, if you’re in need of some good Irish craic.

The People Make the Place

UL International Society Committee Trip Leaders and Health and Safety Officer at the Torc Waterfall

I love meeting people from all walks of life and nations.  My classmates’ varied world views are integral to developing even greater depth in my expertise in International Law.   I am grateful for the kind interactions and professional debates with students, faculty, staff, and the local Irish.

Enjoying coffee in Killarney

Within days of arrival, I was scooped up by the UL International Society and volunteered as a Leader on an adventure through the Dingle Peninsula.  I have no idea HOW those buses can cruise around the edge of cliffs as they do.   Unashamedly, I whispered many a prayer that day… and, every trip since!

For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that within a month in a new country, I was elected to Committee and am planning a Spring 2020 Masquerade Ball for 200 international students.  Se la vie!

I’ve been to almost every coffee spot on campus.  One of my baristas likes to say things like, “How are you, Pet?” and “How are you, Love?” – I just adore her helping to make Ireland feel a bit more like home.

River Shannon Views

River Shannon Swans

My favorite part this new life in Ireland is literally the view from my dorm room.

I had never considered living on a river before, but I can see ruins, swans, dogs and the ever-rising waters on the daily.  We were hit with several storms – and, well, stormy nights along the river are just sensational.

I’ve lost hours watching the sun rise and set on the River Shannon.


What’s Next?  Studying law in another country: Professors who inspire my love of international law – legal experts who view themselves as “Coaches.”  It’s incredible!