BY Ciarán O’rourke – Head resident & activities coordinator
To say the Champlain Abroad Dublin Fall 2016 students have been busy would be a complete understatement. They are somehow balancing classes, assignments, and field-trips, with weekends trips across Europe, while engaging in a range of activities in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Already this semester they’ve experienced strange new sports, toured the rugged west coast, and enjoyed nights of karaoke, culture, and comedy, and the best part is they’re still only getting started.
Here are some of the highlights so far:
The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt
Although it seems quite a while back now, we still have to mention the traditional scavenger hunt taking place during our student orientation every semester. The Fall 2016 group didn’t disapoint us, and dove into the city and met people with charm and excitement collecting points with their new study abroad buddies.
Experience Gaelic Games
With two students interning with Experience Gaelic Games this semesters, Champlain Dublin’s visit was more homely than ever, in the local community, sports and culture center. Our interns demonstrated their newly learned knowledge of the native Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling, alongside the local Irish player-coaches, teaching the other Champlain Dublin students the rules and skills before taking to the field and playing a match.
All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final
Students learned the games just in time for the following day’s biggest game of the year in the Irish sporting calendar, the All-Ireland Football Final. The country shuts down and the pubs swelled for the afternoon, as all eyes in the nation were fixed to a screen. Our students got behind their adopted home team cheering side by side with the local Dubliners, but as the final whistle blew at the end of overtime both teams had drawn level on points, our students were left feeling more than a little confused. Unlike anything they were accustomed to in the U.S., they learned that they had experienced a rare occurrence in Gaelic Football and the game would have to be replayed all over again in two weeks later. Thankfully their wait was rewarded on October 1st as Dublin were crowned the All-Ireland winners in the end, and by the end of the replay, they had become experts in the rules over the two game, well almost.
Comedy Night in Whelan’s
On Monday 3rd October, Dublin’s most famous pub for live music Whelan’s, (Yes, the one from movie P.S. I Love You) hosted a comedy night. Champlain Dublin Students not only went to laugh at the Irish comedians but one, Greg O’Brien (Criminal Justice’18), was singled out by the M.C. and was prompted onto the stage for an impromptu stand up set. He did not disappoint getting lots of cheers from the local crowd, as Greg shared the stage with comic David McSavage, a household name with his own renowned T.V. show. Perhaps a new sideline career beacons.
West of Ireland Tour
For 3 days and 2 nights, all of the Champlain Dublin students were taken on an exploration of the Ireland’s wild Atlantic coastline. Day 1 was all about the scenery, as students learned about the unique barren limestone landscape of The Burren before taking time to soak in the breathtaking cliffs of Moher. On Day 2, the students were boated out to sea before being set free to explore the Gaelic speaking tiny island of Innisheer, which one student described as ‘ stepping back in time into a postcard’. That evening they explored Galway city, renowned for its street music and lively atmosphere. Day 3 began with a scenic drive through the Connemara Mountains before heading to local sheep farmer Joe Joyce to demonstrate how his trained border collies gather sheep on the steep mountainsides. His new batch of puppies were smothered in affection, and before heading on back to Dublin, a quick check of the bus was conducted necessary to ensure none of the puppies were being smuggled home to the residence by our students.
While all of the Champlain Dublin students attended and many bravely took to the microphone in a great night of fun and karaoke, the less said about the level of singing the better.
Stay tuned for more updates!
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