By: Jackie James
Hi! My name is Jackie, and I am a junior at the University of South Carolina and studying Marketing and Management. Currently, I am abroad in Limerick, Ireland as an Exchange student. Throughout the semester I will be sharing my personal experiences with academics in a new setting, the amazing sights Ireland offers, cultural differences between Americans and the Irish, and my travels to other countries throughout Europe.
Since my last blog post, I have started my first week of classes and have visited some more places around Ireland. One of the trips included the Milk Market in Limerick, Ireland. The Milk Market is basically a giant farmer’s market. There were a lot of homemade cheese and bread stands (which I loved), as well as some fish and meat stands too. I bought some fresh goat cheese, apples, a bunch of bananas, and some chocolate. For lunch, my friend and I both bought a foot-long “hot dog” (which was more like a bratwurst) on a baguette with sautéed onions. It was DELICIOUS.
STUDY ABROAD TIP: Make sure you are looking out for your bank account! Even though something may look inexpensive in Irish euros, because of the exchange rate, it is more expensive in American dollars. It is extremely easy to forget this – so stay alert!
The next weekend we visited Blarney Castle and toured Cork City. Blarney Castle was absolutely beautiful. It was extremely cold and windy (especially at the top of the castle) but we made it and kissed the Blarney Stone. In Irish folklore, if you kiss the Blarney Stone will give you the gift of eloquence. I am not going to lie – kissing the stone was absolutely terrifying. You are lowered 4 feet on your back over the edge of the castle to kiss this (wet) stone. I was expecting the gift of eloquence as soon as kissed it … but I still haven’t felt a change! While walking through the stone walls of the castle, it was crazy to think of all of the history and people that have visited one of Ireland’s main tourist attractions (including President Reagan.)
I have to admit though, my favorite part of going to Blarney Castle were its grounds. They were absolutely beautiful! They had a “poison” garden where they grew numerous poisonous plants (for what reason I don’t know.) Then they had many different walks around the grounds and other gardens. We didn’t get to see it all, but what we did see was absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite parts of the experience was the “Rock Close.” This 20 minute walk featured waterfalls, caves, and beautiful scenery.
We then boarded the bus and traveled to Cork City. It was lively with many shops and street performers. We shopped around a bit, and then made the 30 minute walk to tour St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral. As we walked into the massive church, a person was playing an ornate organ. The details in the church were immaculate, and was amazing to see.
My Irish adventures are just getting started! Until next time, Éirinn go Brách! (Ireland Forever!)
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