Category Archives: Explore Ireland

Students tell us about different ways to discover the Emerald Isle

Dublin’s Fascinating Churches

Ethan Richie – Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia

I knew Trinity College Dublin was the place for me to study abroad because of the school’s rich history dating back to the 1590s. What I was not prepared for was the wonderfully rich history of Dublin dating back to the 800s. Studying in the School of Religion, Trinity’s locale in Dublin has offered me an extremely unique, once in a lifetime experience. Not only to learn about religion in international relations from seasoned professors from around the globe, but also explore Dublin’s rich religious history. 

For my living accommodations, while studying abroad at Trinity, I found myself in the classic Irish neighborhood known as the Liberties. A working-class neighborhood and home to the famous Guinness Storehouse, the location offers traditional pubs, shops, brick houses, and of course many stone churches. Anyone familiar with Thomas Street would instantly recognize the spire of St. Augustine & St. John Church, commonly known as John’s Lane Church. Built-in 1874, the Church was built in the French Gothic Revival style and adds a sharp tone to the road, and makes for a great getaway for students living around the area. 

St. Augustine & St. John Church’s Spire from Thomas Street and Interior

Another popular destination for students is Dublin’s famous Grafton Street. A pedestrian-friendly street, Grafton is filled with lively local shops, big-name stores, and fun eateries. Hidden in a corridor is the beautiful St. Teresa’s Church run by the Discalced Carmelites. A great location close to Trinity College Dublin for silent reflection, the interior makes one forget the fact they are in a bustling city. 

St. Teresa’s Church off Grafton Street and Interior

Dublin is home to some other fascinating churches filled with abundant history including the Protestant St. Patrick Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, both of which are filled with history and have reduced student rates for admittance. Whether you are curious to explore your own belief system, interested in learning about the relationship between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, or fascinated by history and architecture spanning back 1,000 years, Dublin offers a great location to expand your studies. I can think of no better place to be an undergraduate student interested in resolving religious conflict and peace studies than at Trinity College Dublin.

Dublin Charity Shops

BY CLAIRE ADAMS, STUDY ABROAD STUDENT FROM BARNARD COLLEGE, MICHAELMAS TERM 2019

I love thrifting. Retail shopping just doesn’t provide the same thrill of finding the perfect, yet inexpensive, top after scouring through racks of clothes. At thrift shops, or charity shops as they are called in Ireland, you never know what you are going to find, which makes it so much for exciting. Plus, buying second-hand items is good for the environment, and most charity shops support community initiatives as well. Needless to say, I was overjoyed when I stop in my first charity shop in Dublin. The people were friendly, the prices were unbeatable, and, most importantly, thrifting helped me feel at home in Dublin.

This list contains my favorite Dublin charity shops that have great deals, but I encourage you to type “charity shops” into Google maps wherever you are and just go exploring. (One of the best parts of the Dublin charity shops is that they tend to be clustered together so when you find one, there is usually more nearby!) But remember, most charity shops in Dublin are closed on Sundays so plan accordingly!

Charity Shops near Jervis Shopping Mall (who needs retail!

Irish Cancer Society Charity Shop

This charity shop is a great place to find inexpensive holiday attire, especially for Halloween and Christmas. It is a rather small shop with clothes in the front and random accessories and holiday gear towards the back. The clothes tend to be in the 3€ to 5€ range, and they do not have a section for 1€ items like many other shops do. Nevertheless, this is the best stop for all your festive needs.


Casa Charity Shop

This charity shop is a great place to pick up a mismatched set of dishes as they have a bookcase of them in the front. They also have a rack in the back with items for 1€, which often has a lot of men’s dress shirts from places like Dunnes, so if that’s what you are looking for, this shop is perfect for you. Otherwise, this shop has mostly clothes from places such as Dunnes and Primark at slightly higher prices than elsewhere. The racks are usually jam-packed though so if you look through everything, you can find some good deals! *There is also another Enable Ireland Charity Shop next to the Casa charity shop that is similar to the one described below.

The Goodwill Thrift Shop

This charity shop has the most eclectic collection of items out of all the charity shops on this list. It has everything from old records to nice jewelry to a 1€ rack in the back to several bookcases full of books. Because there is such a wide range of items, you never know what you will find. There is also sometimes a small selection of kitchenware, such as plates and cooking utensils, but they do seem to sell out pretty fast. The quirkiest part of this shop, however, is the tattoo parlor in the back!

Charity Shops on Dame St./Thomas St. (near Binary Hub)

Many international students, like myself, end up living in Binary Hub. Binary Hub is about a 30-minute walk from Trinity’s campus straight (well as straight as Dublin streets go) along Dame St., which eventually turns into Thomas St. Luckily, there are some good charity shops to check out as you walk.

Dublin Simon Community Thomas Street Charity Shop

This charity shop is the closest one to Binary Hub (meaning it is also the furthest from Trinity), but it is worth the walk. There is usually a basket of books out front for 0.50€. They also have a rack of mostly tops, dresses, and light jackets for 2€ right inside the door. While this shop doesn’t have a 1€ section, it does boast a cheap selection of jackets for both men and women. I found one jacket for 6€ from H&M. It was perfect for the cold weather at the beginning of November that I was not expecting.

The Enable Ireland Charity Shop

This charity shop is on the opposite side of the street, only a block and a half away from Dublin Simon Community Thomas Street Charity Shop in the direction of Trinity. This shop is a bit pricier than the others and the quality tends to be better because of it. This shop has mostly clothes and shoes. It does carry jackets for about 20€ each, and they tend to be nicer (so possibly warmer) than the ones you would find elsewhere. This shop also has a good selection of books as well. All round, it is worth the visit since it is close to the other shops in this part of the list, but be prepared to pay a little more on most items.

NCBI Charity Shop

This charity shop is only one storefront down, towards Trinity, from Enable Ireland Charity Shop. It is one of my favorites as it has several racks of clothes for 1€ in the back section all the time! Most other items in the shop are between 3€ and 5€. This shop mostly has clothing (shirts, pants, skirts, dresses etc). It doesn’t, however, have many coats. It has a small section of bags and jewelry at the front. It also has a section of ball gowns and blazers in the back so as long as you aren’t looking for something high-end, this shop is a good place to pick up an outfit for your society’s formal!

What I wish I would have known about study abroad

By Leah Bode, third year Biochemistry, pre-med student from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN; Michaelmas term at Trinity College

It seems that whenever you see or do something new, people are always asking, “what do you wish you had known beforehand?” I usually try to take this question with a grain of salt because if I had known everything before having the experience, then the mystery and the joy of doing it would be taken away. However, when it comes to studying abroad in a foreign country, there’s a bit more at stake than just having a good time. Studying abroad doesn’t just mean abroad, it also means studying. And when it comes to academics, there are some things I wish I knew beforehand.

Leah (Cliffs of Moher)

TCD’s Global Room team had lots of great resources on the topic – I would definitely take advantage of those. However, I didn’t get a students’ perspective on what it really means to go to school in another country’s educational system until it was my own. Out of my experience, I’ve come up with a few pieces of advice that I find notable, especially in regard to the differences between the American and Irish college systems.

Academic Registration is a bit stressful, but it will be okay

I came into Trinity with an idea of the exact modules I wanted to take here. My home university had an extensive list of all TCD classes that had been previously approved, and I had cross-checked all of these with the module enrolment page on Trinity’s website. However, when I got here, only one of those modules that I had meticulously picked out was still being offered. At Notre Dame, I take classes in a variety of disciplines every semester. This means that at TCD, I was signing up to take modules in 4 different courses. Which meant criss-crossing all over campus that first week to get hand-written signatures from Every. Single. Department. Coming from a school where scheduling is done online, in one sitting, with all the timetables posted in the same location, it felt a bit hectic. But in the end, it worked out okay for me. And it will for you, too. If you have any questions about the madness, don’t hesitate to ask the Global Room staff – they are super helpful and conveniently located right next to Academic Registry! Just be ready to get your steps in on Week 1!

You have to hold yourself accountable here

At Notre Dame, I usually have exams every 2-4 weeks. Between those exams, I have problem sets due weekly, usually a couple of papers per semester, and quizzes sprinkled throughout. I usually spend a minimum of 5 hours a day, more when I have papers or exams coming up, on homework and studying, something that is fairly typical in the United States. Here in Ireland, I feel accomplished if I’ve done 5 hours of work in a week. No one is checking up on me or giving me assignments, it’s all on me. My piece of advice is to create a system that works for you early on in the semester and challenge yourself to stick to it as much as possible – keeping up on reading and notes will be integral to succeeding.

Make the effort with your professors

Similar to #2 above, professors aren’t going to make themselves as obviously available as they do in the United States. In my experience here, the professor is usually the last one in the room and the first one to leave. They will have office hours posted, but you’ll be lucky if they’re always in their office during those times. BUT, don’t let this deter you from emailing them after class about scheduling a meeting, or tracking them down in the hallway as you leave. My experience has also taught me that professors are just as excited to answer your questions and talk about the subject they love as they are in other countries – you may just have to do a little bit more work on the front end to track them down.

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Live and let go

Not everything is going to go perfectly while you’re abroad. You’ll miss flights. (check) You’ll arrive and find out that your favorite class is no longer being offered. (check) You’ll get sick. (check) You’ll fall behind on reading. (check check check) You get the point. While it’s important to stay on top of things and ensure a successful semester in the classroom, it’s also important to remember that the chance to study abroad is once in a lifetime. One bad grade is not going to tip the scales in the direction of a bad life over the incredible experience of living and studying abroad in a completely new place. So live it up while you can, and cut yourself some slack!

Music is the perfect type of art. – Oscar Wilde

By Ava Kristy, UC Santa Cruz student studying at Trinity College Dublin

I think one of the things people most readily associate with Irish culture are its pubs. When I told family and friends that I had decided to study at Trinity, I got a lot of pub recommendations and a couple warnings about not drinking too much. While I would say that drinking is a big part of college culture in any country, Ireland does it in a really unique way. The live music in almost every bar I’ve been to has been one of my favorite things about going out in Dublin.

Continue reading Music is the perfect type of art. – Oscar Wilde

How to find your niche or “home-away-from-home” while studying abroad in Ireland?

By Jordan Hall, Michaelmas 2018 Study Abroad Student from the University of California, Santa Barbara

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Between studying for classes and exploring the sights, it can be difficult to find the time to root yourself. You may convince yourself you don’t need to make connections, especially if you are only staying for a short time, like a semester. But, a lack of connections can make us feel isolated and lonely while in an unfamiliar place. I can assure you that your experience will be much more enjoyable if you make an effort to meet people. It doesn’t have to be a deep connection and you shouldn’t try to force any friendships, but finding your niche can give you an enormous sense of well-being, even if you only connect with your group once a week. It goes beyond answering the small-talk questions like, “What are you involved in?” Joining a group or society allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and make your mark. It allows you to place yourself among the constant backdrop of life in a foreign place that you are only a temporary part of. Continue reading How to find your niche or “home-away-from-home” while studying abroad in Ireland?