Tag Archives: Like a Dubliner

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.

meghan-neely-profile

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.

Patrick Kavanagh

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.

maxwell-brisben-poetry-reading-at-the-flying-south

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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Buckle up and come along on the Zach Paulsen Study Abroad Experience

BY Zach Paulsen, PROFESSIONAL WRITING’17

Hey everybody. Looks like I’m your digital Study Abroad Tour Guide for the semester. ‘Cause you know what they say, if you don’t write for a study abroad blog at least once in your life, you’re not living.

To all you youngsters eagerly awaiting the Spring so you too can go abroad, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to have you live vicariously through me. And to all you worried/anxious/jealous parents out there, I suppose there’s room to let you live vicariously through me too.

While we wait, seeing as I have had a month to take it all in and be a tourist in my own right, I should brief you on a few noteworthy things I’ve experienced thus far:

    • A handful of us stumbled upon the Pigeon Whisperer in St. Stephen’s Green.
    • I have hiked around the town of Howth.
    • We have experienced Gaelic Sports (I am very bad at Hurling).
    • We have gone on a trip to the West of Ireland to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the town of Doolin, the island of Inis Oirr, and the town of Galway. Oh, and we got to meet sheepdog puppies
    celtic-cross

    Celtic Cross at Corcomroe Abbey

    shipwreck

    Champlain Abroad student Laura Anderson atop an Inis Oirr shipwreck.

    Well, the time has come, so buckle up, newfound friends o’ mine. It’s time to delve into the patented Zach Paulsen Study Abroad Experience™.

    A brief little background about me: I made the trip to Dublin via a twelve hour plane ride from Seattle, where I’m from. Being from the West Coast, I’m not exactly used to living in a very history-oriented culture. In fact, even when I came to New England, it took me a while to appreciate the fact that I was eating at restaurants that were established before 1970.

    Ireland, obviously, is older still but the island’s rich history is infused in the modern culture in ways that are much deeper than what we experience back in the States. Continue reading

    Dublin became my home away from home

    By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

    For my entire junior year at Champlain College I was able to study in Dublin with Champlain Abroad. There were three weeks between semesters, which I spent backpacking through Italy. When I arrived back in Dublin I had the unique opportunity to see Dublin in a whole new light, different from those who arrive in Dublin the first weekend of orientation and even those who come back after spending a weekend in another European city.

    Spending three weeks in a different foreign country, one where the spoken language isn’t English, showed me the real Dublin. The one I easily looked over my first semester. It’s similar to forgetting how great your hometown is. That is, until you leave it. See, when you live somewhere long enough, you become so accustomed to a routine you don’t even notice it’s a routine anymore. When you leave that routine it’s only when you come back to that routine that you realize how much you missed it.

    Run in the Dark

    Running a charity race through the streets of Dublin with your Champlain Abroad friends.

    That’s what happened with Dublin and I. Dublin became my home away from home away from home, seeing as Burlington is my other home away from home. My actual home being Southern California.

    I didn’t realize what I was missing until I actually missed it. The funny thing is everyone wanted to know how Italy was, and while, yes, it was amazing, I wanted to talk to everyone about Dublin. So let me tell you all about it.

    Cobblestone Dublin

    Cobblestone Streets in Dublin. Photo Credit: Dylan Helstien

    Dublin is quirky and I missed it so much. The sound of horse hooves on cobblestone are a permanent subtle soundtrack and are a welcome reminder that you are no longer on American pavement. Just as crossing any street becomes a game of Frogger, seeing as no Dubliner actually waits for the crosswalk to turn green, which at first was intimidating but soon becomes a right of passage. 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

    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

    The Pub Culture in Ireland

    If I could fit one abstract object into my suitcase and carry it back to Boston with me—besides Ireland’s incomparable beauty—it would be the country’s pub culture.
    A night out on the town in Dublin can be exactly the night out everyone needs: relaxed. Champlain Abroad students are fortunate to be living in a city that is compact enough to walk no more than twenty minutes to a pub, and that there is an endless array of places to visit! After a long week of classes, sometimes the sweetest reward is a pint and trad music.

    Most pubs host traditional music sessions every night!

    Pub Culture in Ireland – Most pubs host traditional music sessions every night!

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    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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    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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    Two Study Abroad students and Their Groceries

    Hello there!

    My name is Sarah and I am a third year Communications major. First things first, I absolutely adore Champlain College.

    Sarah Steward - Champlain Abroad Dublin Fall 2015

    Sarah Steward – Champlain Abroad Dublin Fall 2015

    Over the past three years, it has made me who I am in many ways, and I’m excited to see where my academic endeavors take me while I study abroad with Champlain Abroad Dublin. The next four months will hold a ton of adventure and learning experiences; I am grateful that I get to share them with you!

    Every day I fall more and more in love with Ireland. Everyday I also learn to accept that the things I may have once viewed as oddities are now a part of my new daily routine. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.

    Exhibit A:

    Two girls walk into a bar…

    Scratch that.

    Two American girls walk into a bar grocery store. In Ireland.

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    Irish Vernacular

    My semester with Champlain Abroad Dublin is rapidly coming to an end. It has gone by way too fast and I’ve had such a fantastic experience. I have learned so much and being in Ireland has allowed me to see amazing things, both on the island and in the whole of Europe. I’ve been so lucky.

    One thing I’m also very happy about is a set of souvenirs that I’ve picked along the way during my time here. Even better, these things aren’t something to try to fit into my already-full suitcase! Over the course of my semester abroad, there are a few select Irish words and phrases that my friends and I will definitely be adding to our vocabulary.

    Feck

    Finals Work to Do

    I’ve got so much fecking work to do for finals.

    This one is really interesting. It bears a similar usage to a similarly spelled curse word, yet does not share the strong negative connotation. In fact, it’s a fairly neutral/mild word. One professor even told me it’s the kind of word his sister uses in front of her young children.

    Having a socially appropriate way to add emphasis to a word or sentence, in the way people often do with feck’s counterpart, is not only fascinating, it’s also fairly handy. Maybe not for everyday use, but feck will definitely be kept in my repertoire of Irish words to use in the future. Continue reading