I can’t believe that it was six whole years ago that I was studying abroad in Ireland. Some of those memories are still so alive that they feel like yesterday. These memories are especially vibrant during the month of March, which is filled with green and shamrocks and beer and potatoes and parades and Celtic folk music and all the other lovely things that come along with Saint Patrick’s month.
These photos I will be sharing today are some of the first I took in Ireland, and they feature some of the very first memories I have of Ireland. I’ll never forget how I felt when I stepped off of the bus and looked up at the Bewley’s Hotel in Dublin. After a long flight, my body thought that it was 3am, but I was suddenly awake and alert, so ready to jump right in to everything Ireland had to offer.
Being just twenty years old meant no legal drinks yet in the United States, but on our first night after a long day of orientation one of our group leaders brought us to a pub called Crowe’s. It was exciting to order a rum and Coke for myself! Most of my groupmates ordered Guinesses, but I wanted my first legal drink to be something I would actually enjoy.
I did have a sip of Guinness, but I saved it for when we were atop the Guinness Storehouse at the Gravity Bar, overlooking the city of Dublin. The factory tour was fascinating even though I don’t like beer, and it was one of the first times our group got to really bond and just have fun together. It was also the first “touristy” thing we got to check off our Ireland bucket lists!
After about three days of orientation, we left Dublin and headed for a small university town called Maynooth. It only took a week or so for us to feel at home there, visiting the unofficial watering hole, a pub called the Roost that had flowing drinks and delicious chips. We explored the town and found pretty little hidden spots that looked like they belonged in a storybook.
Before long, I was all moved in to my on-campus flat at the University of Ireland. I had always thought my university in the states had a beautiful campus, but this one was beyond brilliant. Some of the buildings were just massive, with stunning spires and huge doors. It was so picturesque and I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to have my classes inside these beautiful structures.
So as you can see, I met Ireland for the first time in January of 2010… and we became very good friends over the following five months!