In Ireland, it’s often said that there are over 40 different shades of green. The countryside is lush with color and as Ireland is an island, beautiful coastline surrounds the entire country. Besides a gorgeous setting, the people in Ireland are really what make the country worthwhile. Considering it rains over 200 days out of the year, the people who live here have a fantastic sense of humor and always tend to see the bright side of things.
Dublin is the Republic of Ireland’s capital and largest city. It is situated on the edge of the east coast and holds about a quarter of the county’s population. Once you head west, you enter into the cultural heart of Ireland, where the smaller cities like Galway thrive and most pubs you visit will have some type of traditional music session. Heading towards the southern end of the country is Cork, or “the Rebel Capital,” and second-largest city in Ireland. Here’s a place with a large university, lots of craft breweries, and many characters are housed.
If you like meat and potatoes, the Irish cuisine will suit you very well. Most meals are similar to a “Sunday dinner” with some type of roast meat, potatoes, and a side vegetable. The food really is delicious and in Ireland there’s a heavy focus on local produce and sourcing food organically, which means food is of top quality. Grocery shopping is a pleasure here, where most people know their local butcher.
Centuries ago, Irish was the spoken language all throughout the country, but most people speak English today. All signs around the country are in both English and Irish, and a few Irish words are often included in conversation.
Luckily, the lifestyle is quite similar to those of Americans, but a bit more laid back. People are typically a few minutes late, if a lecture is meant to begin at 1pm, it probably won’t start until 1:10 p.m. The Irish are famous for “Irish-time” and they do use a 24-hour clock so that will be confusing at first. This all means a more relaxed vibe, but also a more enjoyable one!
Going out and and enjoying a drink is a very popular social time in Ireland, especially for students but for professionals as well. The drinking age on the island is 18-years-old, so from college-age on, students are allowed to drink. Pubs are at the center of social life and allow people to catch-up over a few pints. Typically on an evening out, people tend to go to their favorite pub with a few friends to chat or watch a match. The live music that usually fills them makes a fun and lively time. However, there are big European type clubs in the big cities.
Even though Ireland isn’t part of continental Europe, it still is a diverse country and allows many opportunities to visit all the other places to see in Europe. Dublin is a large airport hub so studying in Ireland makes it very easy to take weekend trips to Spain, Germany, France, Sweden, and anywhere else in Europe you’d like to go – making it the perfect country to study!
With a population of just over 4.5 million, Ireland offers wonderful opportunities for studying abroad, especially since the main language is English. In addition to the language, other perks for studying abroad include smaller class sizes, rich history and cultural courses, and a large variety of course selection from engineering to marketing.
Top places to study in Ireland include Dublin, Cork, and Galway. Dublin offers a few different universities with a vast range of options to study, depending on the area of interest. The city of Dublin itself has many tourist attractions and with fantastic public transportation, it’s extremely easy to get around to other parts of the country by bus and train.
The National University of Ireland Galway is located right in the city centre, which is the perfect place to study for general education requirements like history, English and culture. Galway itself is a busy college town, with a very young atmosphere. The town is full of artists, musicians and theatre. The city center is just a few main streets, but there is a strong sense of community and there are always events to attend.
The highlight to studying abroad in such a small country is definitely the people and friends to make along the way. Generally Irish people are extremely welcoming and hospitable, and international students are very well accepted to the community. Most clubs and societies in universities around Ireland love to have international students, and this is a great way to make Irish and European friends while abroad.