All posts by jesspurchon

A Dublin Bucket-List from a Local

Alison is in her final year of an English degree at Trinity, having grown up in Dublin she’s giving us some insider-knowledge on ‘musts’ for your time here…

In preparation for your time on the Emerald Isle among the gingers you might be wondering what distractions the Irish provide to keep you away from your studies. Dublin is a fascinating city full of history, culture and some amazing characters. Here’s a list from a native of some things you should definitely be adding to your bucket list to keep you out of the library.

1. Visit the Book of Kells.

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I know I said this list would distract you from the library, but this one is worth it. The Long Room in the Old Library is filled with some beautiful examples of books, not just the Book of Kells, which is the main sight to see. Go back a few times since they turn a page everyday (and it’s free for Trinity students!)

2. Have a bag of chips from Leo Burdock’s.

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One of the oldest chippers in Dublin, there are many of these around the place so there’s always a chance to pop in. To make it a truly authentic chipper visit grab a slice of batch bread and make yourself a chip sandwich. You’ll won’t want to eat anything else during your visit.

3. Visit the Guinness Storehouse.

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Even if you’re not a big fan of the black stuff the tours in the storehouse provides you with a fascinating history of Dublin and one of its most famous exports. Also the view from the Gravity Bar is definitely worth checking out. Head up there on a nice day and you can get some great snaps of Dublin to share on your Newsfeed and make everyone at home jealous.

4. Check out a trad session.

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If you want to immerse yourself in some good old fashioned Irish tunes head into The Temple Bar some evening and enjoy the mayhem and beauty that is an Irish music session.

5. Check out a match.

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Let’s face it, Ireland has some very unique sports. So why not take the opportunity to check out something you may not see otherwise. GAA, Hurling and Camogie matches are always a great source of craic and atmosphere and definitely something different that you’ll love to tell your friends about.

6. Kilmainham Gaol.

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Another great historical spot. With the upcoming Easter Rising anniversary a visit here will ensure you know what all the RTÉ specials are about over the next year.

7. Take a tour bus.

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The tour buses in Dublin are a hop on/hop off service that will help you cross off all the history spots in the city that you might want to check out. Alternatively you can jump onto the Viking Splash tour for a trip around Dublin with a difference. Complete with helmets and screaming at the natives this is a fun way to learn about the city.

8. Visit Christ Church Cathedral. 

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Dublin is fill of pretty buildings, but this is definitely one not to miss. Also check out the crypt if you want a spooky twist to your exploring.

9. See a show.

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There’s generally something wonderful going on in one of the many theatres around Dublin and it can be easy enough to get student tickets. The Bord Gais Energy Theatre, The Gaiety, the Abbey, and the Olympia are all stunning venues that have an eclectic range of shows meaning there’ll always be something you’re interested in.

10. Sit back and relax in Phoenix Park.

Phoenix Park

One of the largest parks in Europe it contains the Dublin Zoo, Farmleigh House and the Áras an Uachtaráin (or president’s house) among other stunning sights. Here there is truly something to interest everyone come rain or shine (but mainly shine).

So that’s a brief list of some things around Dublin that you should add to your Irish bucket list. One of the best things to do though is explore for yourself. Dublin is a city that is just waiting to open itself up to adventurers so enjoy your time in the ‘big shmoke’ and I hope you have the craic while you’re with us.

 

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Blowing into Dublin

Ariane has come to Trinity from Aberdeen for an exchange semester, she is originally from Germany. 

Dublin is windy. I learned this when I was bouncing at 20,000-15,000 feet for a little over an hour (yes, in a plane). As soon as we landed, everybody took out their mobile phones and immediately called their loved ones. I called my dad. “I have landed.” I told him, “I proudly announce that I have just started my exchange semester in Dublin!”

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Trinity’s architecture conjured up figures like Queen Elizabeth the first and Harry Potter in my mind. It sounded like a new adventure. While I couldn’t realise my childhood dream of feeling like Hermione when studying in the library (I thought the Long Room was a study area!), I could do a lot more things than I would ever have dreamed about.

My second encounter with the wind happened on the day I had to hand my essay in to the politics department, which is in the lucky position of being situated between Starbucks and Costa. I proudly printed off my essay (with the credit I had just successfully added online, thanks to the Datapac help desk in the library) and started my trip to my lecturer’s office, when it suddenly started to rain. In a nutshell: I had to print off my essay again (it got wet, it fell in a puddle and eventually, I had to let it go with the wind). From that day on, an umbrella got a special place in my handbag, just next to my extra jumper and leap card.

Getting a leap card is like getting Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, except the stunningly beautiful Irish landscape beats every chocolate river and candy flower. Where I’m from, it takes me ten hours to reach the sea. Here, I could reach the seaside within a few minutes.

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One thing that took me a few minutes to understand was the Irish accent. Oh, you didn’t ask me if I could take the garbage outside, but you said it is gorgeous that the sun does shine? Grant! Oh, you didn’t want a carrot cake but a carrier bag? These misunderstandings are the stories you will tell your grandchildren one day. One thing you learn when you live abroad is to laugh about yourself.

Here is the thing about going on an exchange semester – we may be a little selfish in our motivations. “Exchange Semester at Trinity College” definitely makes every employer have his eyes on sticks. Your friends’  plan to visit you before you even set foot on Irish ground suddenly makes you the coolest person alive. You’re the number one conversation topic at your grandmother’s tea time table. “Oh she is going to Iceland, isn’t she?” (not really, but close). Still, that doesn’t stop your pride from putting a huge smile on your face.

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The truth is – going abroad is the least selfish thing you can do and could be the most honourable decision you have ever taken. Let me warn you – you will not be the same when you come back. You will sit at the dinner table telling your younger brother that it is okay to eat close to midnight and ignore the 6-sharp-German-dinner time, because after all, that is what people in Spain do. You will tell your sister that you know someone in Hong Kong who could help her with her Chinese homework. You will urge your mother to take her own bags to go shopping and please not buy the cheapest peanut butter because it contains palm oil which is the main reason for the extinction of the rain forest. You’ll tell your dad that it is fine, you can change the light bulb on your own and yes, you can fix your bike as well!

My semester abroad will not stop once this term ends. All the memories, the friendships and the experiences I made will last for a lifetime. Yes, it has had its up and downs, but I was warned at the very beginning – Dublin is windy. And if it hadn’t been for the wind, I would never have been so appreciative to land safely on Irish ground!

Bitesize Top 10 Courses: Law

Elaine is a student ambassador in her third year. Here she lets us know about her experience of studying Law at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses.

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Your name: Elaine

Your year of study: 3rd

Your programme of study / course: Law

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

I chose law on a bit of a whim, largely because I was interested in social justice but wasn’t sure if I wanted to do just sociology. I picked Trinity because I knew there was a really strong base of societies and activism I could get involved with. With law, there aren’t that many course hours so you’ve a lot of time to explore other projects, which was important to me. Trinity has such huge breadth of extracurriculars so it was ideal.

What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?

I think my favourite modules were probably the two Constitutional Law modules and Public Interest Law; they were all fairly similar content-wise, but really allowed you  to see Irish society and culture change and how the law has played into that. It’s a very unusual perspective that I don’t think you really get in any other discipline and there was also a lot of space for original research which I really liked.

If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?

The main thing would be get involved in as much stuff as you can. I’m very much of the opinion that the course you study at undergraduate is only half the learning you do, and to leave Trinity without engaging as much as possible with the societies and clubs is a wasted opportunity. As far as academics goes, don’t worry if the reading seems impossible, it becomes much easier as the year goes on and the lecturers are well aware that everyone is very new to it and that’s reflected in how they mark exams and essays. Ask questions too!

What is your favourite thing about Dublin?

I like how small it is, its cool having a capital city where everywhere you’d want to go is within cycling distance. It also means that you very quickly get to know a lot of people.

What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?

Community-based, active, innovative

If you would like to get to know Trinity College and the city of Dublin better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events.

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My 5 favourite things about Trinity

by Caoimhe Tyndall – ‘The list certainly could go on forever!’


Living in Trinity Hall

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Thanks to Freshers’ Week, JCR events, Hall’s Musical, and generally the close proximity of all the houses, I have built incredibly close bonds with hundreds of people and friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. While there is never a dull moment in Halls, the atmosphere is extremely warm, welcoming, and safe. No matter what time of day, there is always someone just a few meters away to have a cup of tea with. Trinity Hall is where I am comfortable, and where I have been given the freedom to truly explore and discover myself.


A Great Location

dublin

TCD is located in the very center of one of the most iconic cities in the world. Living in Dublin and having all kinds of events and activities at your fingertips allows you to gain a strong sense of independence, and places you in the middle of a wide range of opportunities for both leisure and success. However, being a student at Trinity also provides you the typical college-campus feel that many look for. There is no better experience than the perfect mix between city-living and campus-living that Trinity provides; it truly is the best of both worlds.


Trinity’s Societies

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Trinity has an endless number of societies that all allow you to share your talents, practice your skills, make great friends, and do what you love. Joining the Sailing team in particular during Freshers’ Week was without a doubt the best five euro I have ever spent, and one of my favorite things about Trinity. I am very proud to represent Trinity on a team that competes all over Ireland and the UK, and have made incredible friends doing so.


The Teaching Style

Trinity's Ussher Library
Trinity’s Ussher Library

Unlike the majority of American Colleges, the education system in Trinity does not force you to take any kind of General Education classes or classes you do not have an interest in. From your first day as a student, you specialize in one specific course, and focus solely on the modules in that course, without being swamped with other classes that are in your timetable simply to maximize credits.


Studying in a Landmark

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Another aspect of Trinity that I would consider a favorite of mine is seeing tourists on campus every day. It makes me so proud to know that the place I call home is a place people travel to from all over the world for their own enjoyment and curiosity. While discovering Front Square, the Campanile, and the Book of Kells, tourists are fascinated each day by what my school has to offer, as both a university and beautiful place to sight-see, and I enjoy having that eclectic collection of diversity and culture on my campus.

Bitesize Top 10 Courses: Computer Science

John, one of our student ambassadors, let’s us know what it’s like to study one of our Top 10 Courses, Computer Science

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Your name: John Murray

Your year of study: 3rd

Your programme of study / course: Management Science and Information Systems studies (School of Computer Science and Statistics)

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

Trinity has an amazing reputation for academics and great professors. Also, the students in Trinity are all fantastic people (well the ones I have met thus far anyway!)

What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?

Leaving my Job, my apartment and my friends.

How did you overcome the challenge?

I just weighed the pros and cons and found greater benefits to be had from studying in Trinity. I also immersed myself in college life, got jobs in and around the college and socialised as much as I could.

What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?

Everything. It was all a new material for me and I loved every second of it. If I had to pick one thing it would be how helpful and involved the professors were. You weren’t just a student ID or a grade to them. They actually cared how you were getting on and went the extra mile to make sure you achieved your potential. Rozenn Dahoyt, Myra O’ Regan, Aideen Keaney, David Abrahamson, and Arthur Hughes to name but a few who have been amazing throughout my college career.

If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?

Learn as much as you can and be friendly with your class mates. MSISS is a small course of about 30-35 and we are all incredibly helpful to one-another. Every one of us wants to see the others succeed. Also a general tip, find the Global Room and use it! It is a great hub for info and international events. It is by far the best place on campus (I swear I’m not biased!)

What is your favourite thing about Dublin?

It would have to be that, even though you are in the city centre with everything you could need in walking distance, you can still get peace and quiet in trinity where the sounds of the city are dulled out. It is quite the experience.

What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?

Social, Accommodating, Friendly.

If you would like to get to know Trinity College and the city of Dublin better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events.

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Bitesize Top 10 Courses: English

Jess is a student ambassador and blog manager in her fourth year. Here she lets us know about her experience of studying English at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses.

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Your name: Jess Purchon

Your year of study: 4th (final) year

Your programme of study / course: English

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

I’ve always loved losing myself in a book, so English was the natural choice when it came to picking a university course. Trinity’s English department is very highly ranked and has a fantastic literary history to draw upon.

What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?

Because I knew no-one in Ireland (let alone Dublin) when I first moved here I was a little scared about establishing myself. However, the welcoming Freshers atmosphere meant I met loads of people in the first few days and made some great friends.

How did you overcome the challenge?

By getting involved in loads of societies and going to as many events as could I met people who shared my interests. Putting yourself out there really pays off at Trinity as everyone is very welcoming.

What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?

The overall breadth of my course has been my favourite aspect; however the modules which fascinated me the most have connected literature with its cultural and political context. At the moment I’m studying an author-specific course on George Orwell which I love as I am able to really delve deep into the development of a single author across their body of work.

If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?

Make sure that you engage in tutorial discussion instead of sitting silent. You have the opportunity to engage in detailed discussions about the course texts and delve deep into potential arguments you may wish to explore in an essay or exam. By not letting your opinions be heard you are wasting a great chance to improve your arguments and develop your perspective.

What is your favourite thing about Dublin?

Dublin is a capital city with the atmosphere of a small town. It has everything you would expect from a capital city (great restaurants, cultural attractions, a fun nightlife) along with some extras you wouldn’t expect (like Phoenix park!)

What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?

Progressive, historic, community.

If you would like to get to know Trinity College and the city of Dublin better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events.

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Bitesize Top 10 Courses: PPES

Elli, one of our student ambassadors, let’s us know what it’s like to study one of our Top 10 Courses, PPES

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Your name: Elli Brennan

Your year of study: 2nd year

Your programme of study / course: PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology)

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

I chose PPES because I had taken politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy classes in High school and knew those were subjects I wanted to pursue in the future. PPES was a great opportunity to go in depth into all of them at one of the best universities in the world, without having to fulfil unrelated classes requirements in my first two years like in American colleges. Also the size of the course, only 36 people, was very appealing because you get to know everyone really well and become really close. It was all the benefits of a small liberal arts college within a big university. I became very interested in moving to Ireland and studying at Trinity ever since visiting after sophomore year of High School. I saw college as the only opportunity in life to easily live abroad, and didn’t want to waste that by staying close to home.

What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?

The hardest part about moving to Ireland for me was getting the courage to go 5,000 miles away from my friends and family to a place where I didn’t know anyone.

How did you overcome the challenge?

Skype, long summer and Christmas holidays, loads of fun things going on in college, and living in Trinity Halls surrounded by lots of very friendly people who are all away from home for the first time too made being far not nearly as scary as it sounds. The time has flown by.

What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?

So far, my favourite part of my course has been statistics and international relations. These were things I had taken in high school as well, but going more in depth in college and getting a more global perspective has been a great experience and really reinforced the idea that I’m definitely in the right place doing what I love.

If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?

The most important thing you can do is balance school and fun. Especially in your first year there’s fun things to do every day and night and you’ll want to do it all. You should definitely try new things and meet new people, but make sure you don’t forget you’re also here to study!  You don’t want to find that out when you get to finals. That being said you can definitely find a good balance between the two.

What is your favourite thing about Dublin?

I think Dublin is the perfect city. With just over a million people it’s big enough that there’s always something going on, loads of great shops and restaurants, and a great buzz in the city centre, but not too big that you feel overwhelmed. It’s very walkable, but also has safe and reliable public transport. Not to mention it’s stunning with beautiful old buildings, parks, churches and even castles around every corner.

What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?

Welcoming, Impressive, Hogwarts!

If you would like to get to know Trinity College and the city of Dublin better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events.

Trinity cat!
Trinity cat!