My name is Gabby! I am 21-year-old Political Science major who just finished my 3rd year in Ohio! On May 27th I flew to Dublin, Ireland to start my 5-week study abroad in Cork! The first few days were a whirlwind; from a 6-hour flight delay and a 4-day tour, I was pretty excited to get to my apartment in Cork and settle into my new routine. After an orientation and a scavenger hunt in the city center(my team came in second), I was ready to explore my new home and start classes!
I wanted to share some of my experiences in my first few weeks in Cork!
Taking in the Culture:
Throughout the first half of my trip in Cork, I’ve had the opportunity to experience so many small pieces of Irish culture without even trying! Walking around the city center has been a joy, especially hearing the many musicians playing on street corners. From guitars to harmonicas and saxophones, you can’t walk very far before you hear someone playing something beautiful. I have also had the opportunity to attend Catholic Mass on my first Sunday in Cork! As someone who has a Catholic background, getting to experience my religion in a place where its roots are very deep has been so interesting. Even more fun has been visiting some of Cork’s prettiest Cathedrals and churches, including St. Finbarr’s, St. Mary’s, and St. Anne’s.
I am taking classes at UCC for these 5 weeks! My International Conflict Management and Negotiation class has been a great way to explore international relations theory through the perspective of Irish history. They approach things differently than the US and their unique history is part of the reason why. I am also taking a class on the tumultuous time period of 1912-23 in Ireland. My school back home doesn’t offer any Irish history classes so this is a time period I have no knowledge of (besides Downton Abbey) so learning about the events that took place has been very eye-opening!
After the first week of classes, we decided to knock some things off our Ireland Bucket List. Friday, I took a walk around the city and stopped whenever something caught my eye. This is how I stumbled upon the Shandon Bells. I climbed the tower and got a beautiful view of Cork City. I also found the Butter Museum, which was such a surprising find, I had to go in! On Saturday we took a very short bus ride to the Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. The gardens surrounding the Castle were beautiful and helped us appreciate how lucky we have been with the weather so far! Sunday, USAC led us on a field trip as a group. We started the day at the Rock of Cashel, where we took in the amazing history of the area and ended the day at Cahir Castle. This past Sunday, I was able to take a bus trip to the Cliffs of Moher in Galway. It was a little cloudy but once the sun broke through, the views were spectacular!
I’m so excited to continue exploring both Cork and the rest of Ireland for my remaining weeks here! When I first arrive in Dublin, I was overwhelmed by how many things I wanted to do! Now, I’m so thrilled that I get to spend every waking moment seeing everything I possibly can.