Freshers Day, Settling In, and Limerick

I am definitely slowly sinking in to the daily differences that’s slowly becoming like familiarities in UCD. ife has been more exciting than ever though, and looking at the calender I realize that I have just a little bit left more than three months left in the semester – “Jaysus”!

This past week, UCD organized Freshers Day (which is similar to the co-corricular extravaganza at Holy Cross in mid-September), which gives the new coming student plenty of chances to see what UCD offers in terms of socities and clubs. I ended up splashing 20 euros or so (because joining each club costs 2 euros and it is a typical Karen thing to do to overcommit) and ended up joining the Musical, Drama, Spanish, Jazz, International Student and Law Socities and CSSA(Chinese Students and Scholars Association). The societies do present an impressive amount of activities though, including various debates to a vocal group to discussions with the Script and with the author for 13 reasons why, and I feel like I will at least try to go to 2-3 kinds of activities every week or so.

A picture of all the membership cards from all the societies that I joined during Freshers Day!

Classes wise, it has definitely started to feel more “real” since the last weeks. I am starting my tutorials/practicals (which are like TA hours and labs) this week, the reflection journals that I am writing after each music class is being graded now, I am reading a play for each theater class, etc. I also was working on applying to continue working for Gateways Orientation and a whole bunch of internship applications, and I’m also looking into my options for summer research (and refining my work from last summer). I also try to practice piano for at least two hours a day – Phew! It is definitely a lot of work, but fun work too.

For those of you reading after 10pm who doesn’t wanna shove down a midnight snack, skip this part because there are gonna be a lot of delicious pictures! For those of you who don’t know, I am obsessed with literally all kinds of food (and takes a lot of pictures of them!). Aside from the daily grinds of being a student, it was very fun to be tagged along to an impromptu trip to Limerick. On Thursday night, I was getting dinner with Charlotte (mentioned in the last blog) when I was asking her if she had anything planned for the weekend and she mentioned her plans for Limerick or Cork, and she invited me to tag along – it just so happened that all my classes on Fridays are tutorials and none of them had started last Friday. I have never really researched into either Limerick or Cork before – but all the more reasons to head on the trip!

When deciding between Limerick and Cork, it looked like Cork was raining for a more substantial amount of time – Limerick it was then! We booked an airbnb when we met up first thing next morning, and took the next bus to Limerick. The ride was about three hours – wasn’t too bad for crossing half of the country!

St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick, close to where Charlotte and I stayed. Still can’t seem to find a proper way to take pictures of large tall architecture..

Limerick is a very charming smaller town, and Charlotte got her inspiration for visiting from one of her favorite authors Frank McCourt. There was plenty to see over there, including several museums such as the Hunt Museum and the Limerick Gallery of Art, King John’s Castle, Adare Castle, etc. When we got there, we didn’t really had any plans in terms of what we are doing for the night, so we just went for a venue with free Irish live music, which turned out to be The Still House for us. When the two of us sat down and we both showed signs of our not-Irish-accents, we were approached by some Irish men asking if 9-11 was a government conspiracy (quite the interesting atmosphere); on the one hand it was very nice to have friendly people around (and that they don’t feel there are any strangers to themselves but the tourists), but it was also borderline scary for a bit. We then headed to the Glen Tavern because there wasn’t any food in The Still House, and there the famished two found the place to be.

Traditional Irish Lamb Stew at the Glen Tavern with Ruby Irish Red Ale. Charlotte is pescatarian and she got fish and chips. Yum!
Lots of Guinness ads

The next morning, Limerick has its Milk Market, which is like an a lot larger and diverse farmer’s market compared to the farmer’s market around Birchtree’s Bakery. They sell everything from everyday groceries to flowers, clothes, vinyl records. Ohh, and they make a good French raclette too.

Look at that cheese drizzling down to the raclette. Yummmm.
The Site for the Milk Market (in and out of the boundaries).
Milk Market Symbol
Irish kids playing “Let her go” in the Milk Market
Cheese selection

After the visit to the Milk Market and picking up an issue of NatGeo from 1975(Which is not that much younger than my parents’ generation!), we headed to the Hunt Museum, which holds a number of personal collection from the family of the Hunt Family along with some temporary exhibitions and college student work. Later, we also went to King John’s Castle (but only after it was closed since we spent a significant amount of the day in the Hunt Museum).

King John’s Castle in the sunset; picture taken from the other side of River Shannon
Pretense of Cliffs of Moher realness here?

Because of the short nature of our weekends, we headed back to Dublin later on Saturday. We definitely didn’t see all that we wanted to see during the weekend, but we already have plans to getting back over to the West Coast (travelling isn’t hard at all – 3 hours and you are on the other half of the country!).

A note to the Airbnb host, Claire, who treated Charlotte and I like her two granddaughters and provided us with all her warm water, tea, bread and love!

And that’s a wrap for my journey in Ireland for last week! For this coming week, a bunch of Holy Cross students in Dublin are going to get dinner together and I am super psyched to get to know all the HC people that I haven’t got a chance to know! I am also planning to see a hurling game this Saturday with my friend Mark (also mentioned in the last blog) as a possibility. Stay tuned!

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