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!

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