It has been my third full week here in Ireland, and finally I got to explore one of the country’s most famous locations, Galway.

Although it was damp, cold and a windy day, Galway did not disappoint. Just voted as the most romantic place in Ireland, it is full of locals and history.

The group of us arrived in two coach buses into the city to embark on a 90 minute walking tour of the city. With local guides who were born and raised in Galway, we learned the history and so much more.

Starting at the historic Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, we walked along the Salmon River into the main streets of Galway. It reminded me of downtown Newport, the small streets were lined with pubs, shops and small markets.

Though I had little knowledge of the city before arriving, I was pleasantly surprised to learn Galway is the original home of The Claddagh. Although it is only a few weeks in, I have already purchased my favorite souvenir, from Thomas Dillon, original makers of the Claddagh Ring.

After the tour and getting to explore the city on our own, a group of us found a true local Irish pub. Not knowing there was a big rugby match going on that day, we were lucky enough to experience the locals enjoy their sport while we enjoyed fish and chips with a pint.

When we returned from Galway, and the weekend ended, the first week of classes began. Though this is normally a week of sadness back in the States, we were all excited to truly experience an Irish lecture. Somehow listening to the Irish professors speak make lectures exciting.

Both the Irish professors and students love having the international students in their classrooms, as we add a unique perspective to the discussions. On Tuesday in a course called The Government and Politics of Ireland, the professors had no problem calling out the Americans to compare their structure with ours.

But as the first week of classes come to a close, an exciting weekend is ahead. On Saturday, we will be exploring two historic towns in Ireland, Dingle and Kerry.  We have heard from all the locals that these two places are truly authentic and are the must see places in Ireland.

The weekend wont end there, as on Sunday we will be traveling locally to Limerick to explore what will be my first castle. We will be visiting King John’s Castle in Limerick City as well as Askeaton Abbey.

It will be an exciting and historical weekend here in Ireland, full of the local Irish people. I look forward to sharing all my adventures from across the west coast, cheers.