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.I arrived in Limerick at 6:55 am Irish time (in America, it was 1:55 am.) I tried to sleep on the plane, but there was so much nerves and excitement, after awhile I gave up. By the time I got through customs and to the dorms, I was so tired I almost fell asleep standing up! I am living in Plassey House, a customary freshman dorm, and I have 7 other roommates. The apartments have 2 levels with 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on each level. The most interesting thing about them is that the heat is only on 3 hours in the morning, and 3 hours at night (due to high costs in heating and air conditioning.) It’s actually not that bad when you get used to it (but you have to plan to take a shower between those times.) I unpacked my things and ventured across campus to where we were going to have coffee and fresh scones (which were delicious.)Because of the time difference and lack of sleep, I didn’t do much that first day. The second day, however, was LOADS of fun.
STUDY ABROAD TIP: If you bring electronics, make sure they are low voltage when you plug them into your adapter. After I took a shower, I tried to plug in my hair dryer and it sparked and started a small fire! Needless to say, I broke not only my hair dryer, but also the adapter and had to walk around with wet hair – so be careful!The next day we toured the Bunratty Castle and & Folk Grounds in Limerick, Ireland. Bunratty Castle was pretty small as far as castles are concerned but what it lacked in size, it made up in rich history. The castle was built in 1425 and has many awesome characteristics including trap doors and a super creepy dungeon. One thing that I thought was astounding was that there was a small hole in the wall above the “main guard room” where the Earl would have his meetings. A guard would be peeking through that hole watching the meeting, just in case there was a problem. The hole would be covered by a picture or tapestry and the eyes would be cut out for the guard to see. This is where the saying “there are eyes in the walls” comes from.
Another cool fact about the castle was that it was designed for the castle’s guards to have advantage if they were ever in battle. Advantages such as the doors were purposely made narrow so that the enemy lines could only attack one person at a time. There were also “murder portals” on top of entrances where men would dump hot water or oil on the approaching enemy.
After we toured the castle and grounds, we went to the famous Durty Nelly’s pub. I had some delicious fish “n” chips! The pub was probably my favorite part of the trip because I felt like I experienced something that a typical Irish person does. And what an experience that was!
GOING TO BUNRATTY CASTLE TIP: If you plan on going to Bunratty Castle, wear good walking/hiking shoes. There are many steps in the castle and the grounds are big, so it is good to be prepared.
As for today (Thursday), we are attending orientation and learning all about how to sign up for modules (the Irish word for classes), what the University has to offer, the clubs we can join, and papers that need to be signed.I am looking forward to sharing all of my Irish adventures with you! And as the Irish would say it – Éirinn go Brách! (Ireland Forever!)