Our first three days were rather busy and stuffed with fun activities (read more below) like a day trip to Glendalough and a quiz to get to know the city centre. From Monday on we went to language school and learned a lot about Irish history and about how to survive in Ireland 😉 It was only on our last day that we got some free time to shop for some presents for our families and friends.
Our host families
Each student was finally satisfied with the host families they had to stay with. Unfortunately, five girls had to move due to various reasons. Even though the majority of us got sandwiches and crisps for lunch, the experience of living with other “parents” was good fun. I started calling my host mom “mom”, which probably made me more likeable as Irish people have an excellent sense of humour.
Dublin – the city
The streets and houses in the outskirts of Dublin all look the same. It’s impossible to find your way through this maze – especially in darkness. In comparison to that the inner city with its various buildings, parks and districts (e.g. Temple Bar or Georgian Dublin) is full of life. Dubliners, who are actually very kind, take a lot of risks crossing the street because no one ever crosses the street when the traffic lights show green.
Kilmainham Gaol is mainly famous for imprisoning Irish rebels at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916. In addition it gives you an insight into Irish politics in general, social problems and the history of prisons. The building was extremely cold and I can hardly imagine how terrible it must have been back then.
One day we had Irish Dance lessons, which were a funny experience. Two women introduced us to this part of Irish culture and we can now all dance to and sing Irish songs.
This was an extraordinary visit to Jameson Distillery where we learned how this famous whiskey is produced. At the end we had the chance to taste various whiskeys which were distilled differently.
The Guinness Storehouse
Originally a brewery the Guiness Storehouse is now a museum that combines Industrial and modern architecture. The museum as such provides information on the brewing process and the various ingredients used. The tour ends in a bar covered by a glass cupola which offers an incredible view of Dublin. You get your free sample of “the black stuff” there, which most of us didn’t like.
The Leprechaun Museum
This is a tiny and mystical place where Irish myths and legends are told. You learn a lot about the different creatures, especially about leprechauns. We had a very passionate storyteller.
St Patrick’s Day
On 17 March all people, Irish or not, celebrate St Patrick’s Day, which is a cultural, religious and national holiday. Everyone wears something green and there are thousands of people from all over the world to watch the famous parade.
Howth is a small town close to Dublin. We took a walk along the beach and finally reached the cliffs where we went on a short walk enjoying the impressive view of the Irish Sea and a lighthouse in the distance.
Glendalough is in the Wicklow Mountains just outside Dublin. You can see the remains of an old monastery and a beautiful ancient graveyard. The sanctuary is surrounded by nature and is near to two lakes where you can go for a walk.
After the Wicklow Mountains we visited Kilkenny, where we strolled around the city and went to the castle. We also visited the town hall, which was a prison once.