Everyone who comes to study abroad in Ireland comes for many different reasons. Whether it is for the unmistakably friendly people, the strong traditional music culture, the remarkable natural beauty of the Emerald Isle, or the good craic – the reasons to choose to study in Ireland are endless. For me, I had a hard time deciding which city to make my home base. I ended up picking University of Limerick for its great school and therefore many class options, and its strong international education program. I knew that there would be many other international students here and that I would have the chance to make friends from all over the globe.
What I didn’t realize when I chose Limerick was just how great of a decision that was. I had done my research and had a list of all the sights I wanted to see in Ireland. From the Dingle Peninsula to Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, I knew it would be a busy semester of travel. Upon my arrival I quickly realized that there was an additional whole other list of things to see and do that I hadn’t thought about before I got here – and that was basically my backyard.
What I mean by my backyard is that I discovered that the campus of the University of Limerick and the city center, just a fifteen-minute bus ride away, provided another world to explore in itself. I am about to finish my ninth week here and I have only just made a crack in the list of things to do right around me.
I’ll start with the campus. There is always a multitude of events going on – live music, themed parties, exercise classes, the Tuesday Farmer’s market, climbing wall, movie nights, or just hanging out at one of the campus restaurants or pubs – just to name a few. My favorite part of the campus so far is exploring the nature surrounding us. Going on walks or jogs around campus (if you don’t mind the sporadic stints of rain, hail, and sunshine) always lead to new discoveries. The muddy path along the river (picture below) has become my favorite place to go when I have some free time.
Once you figure out how to get on the bus on campus and head to the city center (which is not hard to figure out) you have just landed yourself with enough things to do to fill up weeks on end. The Milk Market is the perfect way to spend your Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I recommend going on Saturday where you can sample and purchase cheeses, baked goods, fresh ethnic cuisine, sweets, and get every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine. I am a huge advocate of the hot cheese plate as pictured below, sold at Green Acre’s Cheese & Coffee surrounding the main part of the market. Because what is better than hot, melted cheese on warm bread?
Wandering the streets of Limerick is never a disappointment either. My two favorite places that I have found so far are Lucky Lane – a cool secondhand thrift shop with art, clothing, records, plants, furniture, and more – and The Stormy Teacup which is a cozy shop with books, couches, cool artwork and not to mention about fifty different types of teas to choose to sip, in addition to coffees and baked goods. A sneak peak of each is pictured below.
All in all, no matter what kind of experience you are looking for, you do not have to go far when studying at University of Limerick. In fact, you never know where you will end up with just a few steps out your front door.