Paint the Town Green

Ireland is absolutely beautiful. It’s very green! The weather hasn’t been too bad either (even though everyone says it rains a lot) The weather is often cloudy though but when it’s sunny, the green grass shines like no other. It is absolutely beautiful. I have not been to many places in Ireland, I’ve explored more of continental Europe than anything else. So far, I’ve visited Dublin, County Kerry, and County Tipperary. I’m also going to explore County Galway, The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, and more of Dublin next month! I cannot wait!


Father Matthew Bridge, Dublin

Father Matthew Bridge, Dublin

I spent Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin and attended the festival. This was my first time in Dublin and since I went during Saint Patrick’s Day, I didn’t really get to see Dublin for all of its’ glory. Classes were not in session as it was a national holiday. The festival was pretty great. There was a lot of traditional Irish music, as well as marching bands from the United States.

Saint Patrick's Day Festival, Dublin

Saint Patrick’s Day Festival, Dublin

Joceline and I, Saint Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin

Joceline and I, Saint Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin

Irish Garda (Police Officer), Saint Patrick's Day Festival

Irish Garda (Police Officer), Saint Patrick’s Day Festival 

County Tipperary

International Society, Rock of Cashel

International Society, Rock of Cashel

I joined the International Society (similar to the International Student Union at New Paltz) earlier this semester, and it is one of the best decisions I have made while here. They have contributed to making this study abroad experience really memorable. Recently, they have took us on a medieval tour in County Tipperary, 25 miles from Limerick.

The Round Tower, Rock of Cashel

Carey’s Castle, Joceline

Rock of Cashel




We visited the Rock of Cashel, also known as the Cashel of Kings. The stone fort used to be the residence of the Kings of Munster but then became a major Christian center in the early 12th century. The ruins also sat on top of this huge hill which took forever to climb (reminded me so much of going Vandenburg for class!) The view from the hill was gorgeous though. We also visited Carey’s Castle, built sometime in the 1800s by the local Carey family. The castle is surrounded by a forest and a river as well, making the site, beautiful.

Athassel Priory, Medieval Ruins

Athassel Priory, Medieval Ruins

Athassel Priory

Athassel Priory

Carey's Castle

Carey’s Castle








Lastly, we visited that largest medieval priory in Ireland, Athassel Priory. The priory dates back to the 12th century, and was a monastery of many men and women under religious vows (nuns, monks).

County Kerry

The international education division at Limerick took us to the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, last week. The peninsula sits on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and across from the Blasket Islands. It was really pretty. I had lunch at one of the many fish and chips shops. Like in London, fish and chips is a very popular dish here. I, then, had dessert at Murphy’s ice cream shop where I tasted the popular, sea salt icecream. It tasted like vanilla with kick. It was quite interesting. I also was able to visit the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium. It was quite small but at least I was able to see the penguins get fed!

Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula


Ireland is super gorgeous. Out of the three places I’ve been to so far, I can’t say I have a favorite. I am lovin’ it here!

I’m still a pretty classy person!

The classes here at the University of Limerick are really really different from SUNY New Paltz. It’s mostly lecture based with class sizes of 100-200 students in a lecture hall. It’s definitely a culture adjustments as well because most of my classes back at New Paltz involve a LOT of discussion (especially since I’m a Sociology Major). However, the classes do seem easier than New Paltz because the lecturers (not professors) post ALL the notes and lecture slides up online. In addition, there’s also one assignment or exam for the class that make up the whole grade. The courses here are a lot less demanding. But because the courses here are lecture based, are easier, and are less demanding, they’re also more boring. I really miss having debates and discussions in class. Sometimes I find myself zoning out in lectures because I’m sitting in a big auditorium, listening to a monotone lecturer for two straight hours.

I am taking a variety of different courses though. Two sociology – Sociology of Love and its Dark Side, and Gender: Sociological Perspectives, a traditional Irish Music & Dance Course, and one psychology – Psychology of Social Issues. I’m learning Irish Step dancing in my Irish Music & Dance class, it’s quite hard. And there’s a LOT of hopping. We’re having a end of the semester performance for it, next week (I still don’t remember half of the steps!) In my Psychology class, we had to organize and participate in a 10K marathon. The goal was to increase exercise in our daily lives thereby, contributing to one’s mental health and happiness. In addition, we were also able to raise almost €5,000 for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. I have never taken a class such as this, and I’m glad I did!


Plassey 10K Run


Welcome to the Emerald Isles!


Because I had a night flight, I arrived in Ireland at 7am. I did not sleep at all, I was so anxious and excited. There was so many thoughts running through my head. Still to this day, I have no idea how I was able to even stay up for the whole flight especially since there was no wifi on the plane. When I got to Limerick, I toured around campus, unpacked, made myself at home…anything but sleep. I didn’t sleep for 48 hours and I didn’t have any caffeine at all. I was a zombie, I don’t know how I did it. I was just so excited.

Limerick is a beautiful place despite the constant cloudy weather. It’s so much different from New Paltz.


For example, there’s an ensuite kitchen in your apartment (no meal plans!) There’s no roommates, and you get your own bathroom. They provide pillows, blankets, a full size bed, a huge closet space. It’s massive! I currently live in a six bedroom apartment with two Irish students, two Americans, and my roommate from New Paltz, Joceline. When Joceline and I spoke to Sean and John (our two irish housemates) described our housing situations back at New Paltz, they were so shocked, “Wait!, How are you suppose to make toast?!, Fire hazard?, What?!”



The Living Bridge, University of Limerick

After settling in, there was this three-day orientation for all the international students. I felt really, really welcomed. They gave us a beautiful tour of the campus, fed us their best food, and invited us to a concert (see youtube link above) Known for their traditional Irish music, this concert featured a group called, “Celtic Steps”, which consisted of someone playing the bodhrán (traditional Irish drum, similar to our version of the tambourine), the piano, accordion, fiddle (who is also on vocals), guitar/banjo, and four Irish step dancers (two male/two female). It was a stellar performance and I was so amazed by their talents! I wish I had the hand-eye coordination to do any of that!



I am loving it here!



And so it begins…

Hey Readers! Due to technical difficulties, my blog was not published in time before my departure. So…some of my posts may be in past tense! However, thank you for following me and reading about my experiences! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed blogging about them! Cheers, Sandra xx

I remember about two weeks before my departure, I went on this frenzy and panic that everything was going go all wrong. I started imagining crazy scenarios where I was going to be kidnapped or lost in the middle of a mountain region with no electricity or contact with anyone. I remember having to call United Airlines almost everyday with some bizarre question about baggage or my flight, and to make sure everything was okay. I suppose the paranoia was normal, since I’ve never really left the country, and have never really been on my own. It’s a scary feeling…hell, it’s still scary. But even with all the paranoia, I still managed to pack 48 hours before my flight (which is no surprise because I always pack at the last minute.) Even a few hours before my flight, I was STILL packing.

From the 48 hours before my flight, and the 48 hours after my flight, I remember being in such shock. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to really prepare themselves for an experience such as this. They say, studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime, and it truly is.