Tag Archives: Rachael Elmy

Visit to the Little Museum of Dublin provides a visual journey of the city

By Rachael Elmy, ’19 // Professional Writing, Champlain College

A trip outside the classroom is always exciting, especially in a city like Dublin! Nicole Rourke’s 9.00am Writing in the City class is no stranger to these little trips. Many of us had just gotten back from Spring Break and were in no mood to sit down and listen to a lecture. We still wanted to get up and explore, and of course, Writing in the City let us do that. Even though it wasn’t a huge outing, it was still pretty cool.

We took a trip to the Little Museum of Dublin, about a ten minute walk from Champlain Abroad’s Academic Center through St. Stephen’s Green. The museum certainly was little. It used to be a Georgian house, but now, it is filled with artifacts donated by the people of Dublin. These artifacts included items from the 1916 Rising to U2 memorabilia. 

Champlain College students in the ‘Writing the City’ class visiting the Little Museum of Dublin.

Champlain College student Artemis Walsh, Professional Writing ’19, exploring The Little Museum of Dublin.

The great thing was, I could touch almost all of this, especially in the self-guided part of the tour. I’m one of those people who will touch things even if there is a big fat sign saying I shouldn’t. I loved the fact that I could sit in a big spherical chair inside the U2 room or play with an old typewriter in a mock journalism office. You could even sit at a small student’s desk and color if you wanted.

The first part of the tour had a guide, and you did the second part on your own (this would be the part with the big spherical chair and coloring). When we arrived, we wandered through this room full of some of the wildest fashion I had ever seen, all created by Irish designers. Some of us played a game of who would wear what (apparently, I would wear a skirt with pink and green patching) and others just read about the designers on the walls. I personally appreciated this part because I love fashion and I wondered why fashion history overlooked these designers. They were so talented!

Champlain College students in the ‘Writing the City’ class visiting the Little Museum of Dublin.

After admiring the clothes, our tour began. The guide took us on a visual journey of Dublin through the decades, from around the early 1900s until now. It didn’t feel like a lecture or a history lesson. He was telling us about the saga of Dublin. Even the self-guided parts presented side stories in the overall epic that is Ireland. Dublin is basically on this one continuous journey that started all the way back in 1916, and its story isn’t finished yet. In many ways, Ireland is a lot like the United States. We both had a fairly recent independence, we both have what we consider Founding Fathers and Mothers, and we are both proud of our national identities, down to the littlest detail.

 

VISIT CHAMPLAIN ABROAD TO START YOUR IRISH STUDY ABROAD JOURNEY!

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Hostels aren’t as scary as your parents think

BY RACHAEL ELMY, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

My parents weren’t exactly thrilled when they learned that I’d be staying in a hostel for Champlain Abroad’s Northern Ireland tour. The first thing that came into their minds was probably unwashed sheets, unlocked doors, and people sneaking into the room late at night to steal my stuff.

Probably from that influence, I had no idea what to expect from my first stay in a hostel. I figured since our program director Stephen was staying there with his family, it most likely was somewhat safe and decent. 

staying in a hostel

Staying in a hostel is a new experience to many study abroad students.

I imagined all 53 of us staying in one big room full of bunk beds, some peacefully snoring and others using pillows to block out the sound. However, I learned that there were separate rooms that could house 3-10 people when room assignments were sent out. That was a bit of a relief, knowing that there was some organization (and doors!). I was roomed with six other girls who luckily, ended up being very quiet sleepers. My sensitive ears were grateful.

When we arrived at the hostel, my first thought was; “This looks a bit hokey.” There was a statue of a man dressed in red pointing at the hostel, and a picture of horrified-looking sheep on the sign. I did check this place out online a few days before we left and saw that it had good reviews, so I tried to keep my hoity-toity self optimistic.

The room I shared was small, no bigger than an average triple back at Champlain, or maybe even a large double. The ceiling was slanted with one foggy window smack-dab in the middle. At the end of each bed was a set of folded sheets and blankets. To my relief, they actually seemed freshly washed. Later on, the hostel owner came in with clean pillowcases for the pillows that waited for us against the radiator. The only downside was the mattress. It felt like it wanted to be memory foam, but you could probably break your tailbone if you sat down too hard.

game of pool

Ready for a game of pool?

Downstairs was the mess hall/gaming area, where there was a pink ping-pong table and a free pool table. For a while, it was just us girls being super competitive and silly at the same time. Most of us were terrible at ping-pong especially. Every time the paddle hit the ball, you had to duck and cover, praying it wouldn’t smack you in the forehead.

ping pong match

Ping-pong matches can get serious!

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Caves of Keash: Probably the Most Uncomfortable (and Best) Day Trip Ever

BY Rachael Elmy, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

My alarm went off at 6am on a Saturday morning. Outside, everyone was still asleep, including the sun.

We agreed to meet outside the student residence by seven, whether or not everyone was there, to be able to catch an 8am train from Heuston Station in Dublin to Ballymote in county Sligo. By the time I got outside, my three friends were already walking past my building. I ran to join them. I was excited, but I had no idea what the day had planned for me.

There was no doubt that it was quite cold and wet, and I was worried that it would be so cold that I wouldn’t enjoy my experience. Despite going to Champlain College in Vermont, I actually hate the cold, and could easily live in 90 degree weather year-round if possible.  It didn’t help that on that four-hour train ride, everything we passed by was covered in snow! It wasn’t like Vermont snow, though. It looked more like someone lightly dusted some powdered sugar onto the fields and trees. It seemed tamer or more poetic than a Vermont winter, but that doesn’t deny the fact that it was cold!

As we got closer, there was less snow but more mist, sort of like someone was breathing onto a window. We hoped the moisture would bring a bit of warmth with it. Spoiler alert: We were wrong.

We called a cab once we got off the train. It was a small town, nothing like the busyness of Dublin, so I believe there was only one taxi service in the area. It was run by this sweet, skinny older man in a big white van (I know, that sounds sketchy, but don’t worry, we’re alive and well). We told him to take us to the pub closest to the Caves of Keash.

When we got off the cab, the pub was basically deserted. No cars were in the parking lot, and no lights were on inside. It was 11:30, and the pub did not open until noon. I could feel the cold begin to rise up from the pavement, through the rubber of my sneakers, and then settle into the soles of my feet. We told the driver that we would be okay with waiting there until staff arrived. He nodded, told us to pay him at the end of the day, and left.

The pub was in the middle of nowhere. It was across the road from a fenced-in field with some large hills behind it. The road itself stretched for miles in either direction. You could sit in the middle of it for a solid ten minutes and nothing would happen, except I wouldn’t suggest doing that because if a car did come, it basically came at the speed of light.

The Caves of Keash adventurers, (from left to right) , Rachael Elmy, Artemis Walsh, Molly Moseley and Sarah Bellefeuille.

The Champlain College Caves of Keash adventurers, (from left to right) , Rachael Elmy, Artemis Walsh, Molly Moseley and Sarah Bellefeuille.

While we waited for a half hour, we sang some really obnoxious songs from summer camp and my friend Sarah tried to make friends with the cats that lived around the pub. We looked like tourists who had been day-drinking, and we really hoped that no one saw us, because we looked kind of ridiculous.

The pub owner finally drove in about a minute before noon. We kind of awkwardly nodded to him as he unlocked the door and began to set up inside.

After about five or so minutes, we were let into this cozy little bar with a nice roaring fire, stone walls, and comfy chairs. My friend Molly ordered a Guinness, and the rest of us ordered tea, wanting to rid the cold from our bodies as soon as possible.

We asked the owner if he normally saw tourists heading to the caves. He told us yes, but normally during the summer. “The people who go during this time are…brave.”

We laughed, knowing “brave” was synonymous with “stupid” at this point.

We also met an older man, probably in his late fifties, with his mother, a woman in her late eighties. He talked our ears off. He was incredibly friendly, and even bought us all drinks, welcoming us to the West of Ireland. He told us a brief tale of folklore surrounding the caves. Apparently, one of the greatest high kings of Ireland, King Cormac Mac Art, was taken from his mother by wolves when he was an infant and raised in the caves. Now, do I believe that? Not particularly, but hey, I’m in Ireland. Using my imagination is a requirement.

Sligo scenery

Sligo scenery on our way to the Caves of Keash. Photo Credit: Rachael Elmy

By the time we left the pub, the weather was much more tolerable, but that didn’t make the climb up any easier. Continue reading