Category Archives: Activities

Meet Ireland through Sports, Culture & Comedy

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.

The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger HuntThe Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt

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. Continue reading

All Things Irish Sports

By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

Hurling ball and Hurley

Hurley stick and sliotar – part of the Irish sport of Hurling

Hurling, is one of the three famous Gaelic or Irish sports. If you asked me about it before coming to Ireland I would have no idea about Gaelic Football, Handball or Hurling. Only now I know Hurling is one of the most interesting and fun to watch sport out there. Imagine the aggression of lacrosse with the agility of rugby and speed of baseball all played out on a soccer field with the point system of football (there are two goals, one with three points and the other worth one point). Each player has their own hurley, a hockey type stick, but instead of being played on the ground like hockey, the sliotar (leather ball), is hit with the hurley towards teammates in hopes that they will catch it with their bare hands before running it up the field or passing it on. The sport is full contact and the only padding they have is the recently added helmets to protect them from the hurleys, which are handled like baseball bats. Sounds terrifying if you ask me.

Champlain Abroad Dublin was kind enough to introduce us to this sport by giving us the opportunity for first hand experience through the coaches of the Dublin company Experience Gaelic Games. We began with learning the rules of the game (there aren’t many rules) before being thrust into a game ourselves. Of course, we were only playing against each other so it wasn’t the most thrilling game as we struggled to get the ball off the ground, but nonetheless, it was exhilarating.

Champlain students experiencing Irish sports in Dublin

We were also taught how to play Gaelic football, which is basically rugby but with a soccer ball, before being able to play a game between ourselves. Having played soccer for most of my life I would have guessed I would like Gaelic football more than hurling but with recent experience playing volleyball I kept trying to set and spike the ball, go figure. Although it was a great experience I think I’ll stick to watching the sport. Something that would actually come to fruition as Champlain Dublin staff worked out a deal on tickets to a game at Croke Park.

Everyone who was interested in going to the game met up in city center before making the short trek to the stadium. The closer we got to the stadium the more exciting it all became as street vendors selling merchandise became more frequent and the roar of the crowd grew louder. Once we found our seats it was easy to jump right into the game. There was two games, the first game was hurling and the second was Gaelic football both of which were between County Dublin and County Cork. Of course, we wanted County Dublin to win as any true Dub would. The stadium was full of Dublin fans decorated in the Dublin colors of blue and navy. There was always a good laugh when a diehard fan would start yelling profanities in true Irish nature at whichever player they believed wasn’t doing their best. It was even more funny when we turned around to see the diehard fan was a young teenage boy.

Croke Park Dublin

Champlain Abroad students attending a Gaelic Football match in Croke Park, Dublin.

The first game was really fast as each half of the game is thirty-five minutes long and they don’t stop the clock for anything other than halftime, something I really appreciated. American sports stop the clock every 10 seconds, meaning one game can last up to 6 hours. Not only did the time go fast because they didn’t stop the clock but the ball is constantly moving with the players elbowing, tripping, and shoving their way to victory. How could you not watch? There’s something about watching players rip each other apart to win a game all in good fun. It’s also fascinating to see them hit the ground like a freight train only to bounce back up and run for the ball. I couldn’t help but compare them to every soccer player who gets a boo boo. The players reminded me of one of my Irish professors who told me that the Irish are resilient. Continue reading

Dublin at Christmas

As crazy as it sounds, ‘tis the season!

Champlain students take on Dublin at Christmas!

Champlain students take on Dublin at Christmas!

November 12th marked the first of the official holiday light festivities in Dublin, happening on Henry Street. A majority of students were eager to go; with the spirit upon us, it wasn’t a tough decision. Three of my good friends and I arrived just past four, after a quick run to Simon’s Place—which has excellent cinnamon rolls—and were able to take in the sights of the Christmas tidings greeting us on Henry Street. In the windows of one department store are Lego towns, constructed into scenarios from Star Wars and James and the Giant Peach, as well as a Night Before Christmas-esque bedroom. Christmas ornaments have been hung up inside of shops, white lights twinkle overhead outside, holiday sales and fashion are marketed, and a wintery darkness settles over the city quite early. I was continuously surprised that evening to remember that it wasn’t even quite the middle of November. Continue reading

Halloween-Dublin Style!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so when I realized that I would be studying abroad during October, I was excited to experience what this time of year is like in another country!

In many ways, the Irish and American Halloween seasons are very similar. Shops are filled with themed decorations throughout the month and kids go trick or treating dressed up in costumes. It’s not unusual for me to see cobwebs, skeletons, and pumpkins on my walks to the Academic Center.

DSCN0949  DSCN0953

The leaves have also started to change colors and fall from the trees. Being from New England, I’m used to amazing fall scenery and places in Dublin like St. Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park offer views that remind me of home.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

The Halloween season in Dublin has its differences as well. For example, there are parades, bonfires, and fireworks around the country to celebrate. The fireworks are really interesting to me because that’s a tradition that I have never heard of in America. Since I will be around for October 31, I am really interested in going out and experiencing what a Dublin Halloween is like and immersing myself in the celebrations and traditions of another culture. Even if there are a lot of similarities, there are bound to be some differences as well! Continue reading

At the Theatre

Boasting a playlist primarily made up of show tunes and Broadway soundtracks and a slow-but-steady collection of plays filling my shelf, my love for theatre runs deep. I’m left reeling for weeks after leaving a performance, and try to stay up to date on the latest shows and performers—a Hollywood of sorts. One of the greatest privileges in life is to witness live theatre. There’s simply nothing like it.
Like writing, theatre has the power to touch, to move, and to inspire. It can provoke belly-aching laughter in one instant and, in the next, leave almost sorrowful tears streaming down audience members’ faces. It leads us through the journeys of its characters, and we leave the confines of the theatre with a lighter step and more peace of mind. More insight; more humanity.

Dublin Theatre Fest 2015 logo Continue reading

A Typical Tuesday With Champlain Abroad Dublin

Many people hear about the wonderful trips that study abroad students go on and the unforgettable places they see. These are semester highlights and no doubt I will have many of those by the end of my time with Champlain Abroad Dublin.

But what does the average day look like for a Champlain Abroad Dublin student? Those days when I spend more time at the Academic Center  than I do exploring Dublin or other places are just as interesting. I’d like to lead you through my typical Tuesdays!

I’ve always been a morning person, so I wake up for my day around 7! (I know, crazy right?) Recently, the sun has begun to rise later, so it’s often still dark when I wake up! But here’s an early morning view from my apartment:

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For the Love of Gaelic Games

Of two things I am positive: Irish sports are some of the most exciting games to partake in, and I should stick to watching as opposed to actually playing.
This weekend, more than half of the Champlain Abroad Dublin students attended Experience Gaelic Games, an almost four hour session where we were taught the art of three of Ireland’s most popular sports—handball, hurling, and Gaelic football. There was time devoted to each to learn the basics, work with a partner to put passing techniques into practice, and finally to play a match.
I’ve never been athletically inclined. Growing up a dancer, with the only equipment needed being performance shoes and a ballet bar, I’ve been so out of the earshot of sports. In gym class throughout school, I would stand back and let everyone else duke it out on the court or field, and follow the herd of kids running towards the ball in play. But I was pumped for the day. New sports, new me, right?

Champlain GAA

Champlain Abroad students learning hurling techniques

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Champlain joins the hunt for Leprechauns!

On March 29th, Champlain Abroad Dublin students hiked over the Cooley Mountains and down into the medieval village of Carlingford.  Departing early that morning, they were joined by international students from from the neighboring English Language School Linguavia to travel north to the border with Northern Ireland. But they had not risen early on a Sunday to climb the misty mountains famed as the setting of Ireland’s most famous mythical story An Tain, nor were they there to explore the relatively untouched medieval village’s abbey and castle, no they were under taking the serious business of leprechaun hunting.

Rachel Hatem and Marissa Laro – Two of the Champlain College students taking part in the annual Leprechaun hunt in Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland.  Photo Credit: Rachel Hatem

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Inaugural Inter-College Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

On a sunny evening in Dublin, the inaugural Inter-College Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt was launched in St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of the city. Teams of study abroad students from Champlain College and Duquesne University raced through the streets following clues to find the famous monuments scattered throughout the old Georgian section of the city.

Inaugural Inter-College Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt hosted by Champlain Abroad Dublin

Participants of the Inaugural Inter-College Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt hosted by Champlain Abroad Dublin

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