Category Archives: Dublin

The Story of Dublin

By: Meghan Neely, Professional Writing’18

 

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I’ve been able to talk. Narrative is the air I breathe. It’s the core of my existence and it’s how I connect with the world around me. It’s how I form relationships and it’s what helps me to make sense of who I am. It’s my passion, this love of story, which defines me as a writer. Like any kind of love, though, it can be confusing sometimes.

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Meghan Neely, studying in Dublin with Champlain Abroad in the Fall of 2016

There are a lot of days when my writing and I don’t speak to each other. Days when I tear up pages and sit on the edge of my bed wondering whether or not I made the right choice. I could have picked a more stable major, something in technology or business. A course of study with a logical, proven pattern and an annual salary. But here I am. I chose writing, and I chose Champlain. This September marked the beginning of year three, and I clung to my writing like a dog with a car tire and let it carry me overseas.

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Statue of Irish Poet and Novelist Patrick Kavanagh

When I first stepped off the plane in Dublin, my stomach was in ropes. I had no idea what to expect from this strange, new city looming over me. I knew that, within weeks, it might make or break me as both a college student and as a writer. I felt like the struggling indie musician setting foot in New York City for the first time, guitar on my back and heart on my sleeve. Anything was possible, but could really I make it big? Would Dublin really be the city for me?

It’s been a long time now since my arrival in Ireland, and while I have many more weeks of growing ahead of me, I’m starting to think Dublin and I will be in love for a long time to come. This is the city of writers, after all.

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Champlain College student Maxwell Brisben, Creative Media’18, performing at the Flying South Open Mic night in Dublin.

Its street corners bleed inspiration from deep seated veins pumping literary history and new talent. Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce — their faces reside in stone and museums across the city. Dozens of poetry events fill the night air with emotion from cafes along the River Liffey. No matter how far I travel, the writers are always there, watching and reminding me that yes, it can be done. You can make a living this way.

Every morning I wake up in Dublin is a morning I wake up a little more inspired, a little more confident. When I board the city bus for my internship, I know that there’s a career ahead of me, that what I can do is important. There’s never once a dull moment in this city, and I find myself shredding the pages of my notebook less and less. I’m writing more, reading more, and I owe it all to Dublin’s authors, old and new.

 

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P. S. I'll Miss You

Until we meet again, Dublin, I’ll be longing to return. But the memories, shaped over one hundred and seventeen days spent in the company of you and your European neighbors, will be savored for eternity. So thank you, first, for giving me only so much time.
I’ve always been aware of making each moment count; but with only so many moments allotted for me this time around, I was busier and am more satisfied with what I’ve done. Thinking back to the first few weeks of studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin, I’m often surprised to recount a trip to Cork with new friends, a jump into the Irish Sea, dinner in a refurbished church, and a ride through Phoenix Park, feeding deer. Small moments in class, and larger weekend journeys, have been fitted into every corner of my mind and collectively have formed an experience that I never realized could be so full. There is no room for me to regret not having done something. Are there things I’d still like to see? Of course. Doesn’t that just mean I’ll have to come back for you, Dublin?

Champlain Abroad Dublin students at Ballintoy Harbour in Northern Ireland

Champlain Abroad students at Ballintoy Harbor in Northern Ireland

You gave me the chance to create new, meaningful relationships, for which I will always be grateful. I joined this program knowing that I was the only student outside of Champlain College to attend this semester. A slight panic seized me the closer that my time to leave came. To me, it felt like freshman year of college, having to find my place. But I found that I blended into the group effortlessly, everyone welcoming me with open arms. Still, friends here have said that they forget I won’t be with them at school next semester. I’ve only known my forty three peers for four months, but you could tell me that I’ve known them for five years and I would believe you more. Champlain Abroad Dublin boasts a small and intimate group, and I’m proud to call myself an honorary Champlain-er. I’ve felt torn between worlds, missing my friends at Emerson while loving my new friendships. Next semester, I’ll be torn in the opposite way… But now, I have the chance to visit Burlington. And I will have times to relay to friends in Boston, while strengthening the friendships I’ve established here. 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.

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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

Dublin's Hidden Gems

This past summer, in anticipation for my semester with Champlain Abroad, I read every single travel book on Ireland that my town library had. I scribbled down notes about the different attractions that I could visit in Dublin, the trendiest (yet most affordable) restaurants, and even looked up how far away these places were from my apartment.

So, when I actually got off the plane, I already had a good idea about what sorts of attractions awaited me in Dublin. I knew that I would be living along the River Liffey, which divided Dublin into its North and South sides. When Ciaran O’ Rourke, Champlain Abroad Dublin’s awesome head resident and activities coordinator, took us for a tour of the city during our first few days, I was able to take pictures of these amazing landmarks, like Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, that I had read so much about.

Champlain Abroad Dublin students outside Trinity College

Main gate of Trinity College

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Hiking Howth

Northeast of Dublin, no more than thirty minutes on the DART, local train service, is the coastal village of Howth. The village isn’t one of those well-kept secrets we all hope to stumble upon in our travels; it was pretty crowded with tourists on the Saturday that I went. Still, if you want to get […]

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Dublin people will melt your heart

We all know all big cities have their problems, the same thing goes for Dublin. However, the Irish capital also has the best of people. They are warm, friendly, witty, intelligent and charismatic and will simply melt your heart. Just ask any of our Champlain Abroad Dublin alumni. Young Irish filmmaker Rebecca Bermingham, focuses on […]

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