Dublin Up: February 19, 2015

It has officially been one month since I arrived in this beautiful country, and it has been a month well spent.

I truly love everything about this place. Ireland has been friendly, fun and has treated me very well. Although the classes are now in full swing, I am excited about the courses I am taking.

I have taken full advantage of being in another country to learn all about the history and the way the country works. One course I am taking is Early Modern Ireland. Ironically taught by an American-English professor, the course explores all of early Ireland and for someone who did not know much about the history, I have already learned so much.

I stepped out of my comfort zone for my second course. I am not one for studying politics or learning the history, but I thought learning about how Irish politics work could be very insightful. The Government and Politics of Ireland is the name of the course, and it has been very interesting comparing to that of American politics.

On the mark of our official first month in Ireland, the other study abroad students and I did what was only appropriate and explored one of Ireland’s oldest castles, followed by a pint of course.

King John’s Castle is a 13th Century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick next to the River Shannon. And lucky for us, it was only a short 30-minute bus ride away from the UL campus.

It was another cold and damp day in Ireland, no surprises there, but we still got to enjoy all the castle had to offer. Still in amazing condition, we climbed and explored and saw amazing views of Ireland and the Shannon.

But it wasn’t just the castle that we got to enjoy. Along the winding roads to King John’s we met many locals and many horses.

We stopped at a small café, perhaps my favorite part of the day, to dry off, get warm and enjoy a true latte. This was no Starbucks, as these baristas created true artwork in our beverages, something I had never seen.

While it was an incredible day finally seeing my first castle, the rest of the week has been filled with excitement as I finally booked my first European adventure, to Amsterdam.

I knew by studying abroad I would get to explore much of Europe, but Amsterdam was on the top of my list. There is so much culture, history and some of the best nightlife.

With a quick turnaround, we fly out of Dublin into Brussels on Thursday and will take a train into Amsterdam. Unfortunately staying only for the weekend I will be wasting no time.

There is so much to see in the amazing city, the Anne Frank House, the Heineken tour, the Red Light District, The Van Gogh Museum and of course the famous coffee shops.

The list goes on and on for what to explore in Amsterdam and I am beyond excited that I will be there in less than 48 hours. I can’t wait to share all of my adventures from my first European trip, cheers!