Study Abroad

In May, 2013, the University of Limerick’s International Education Division’s Summer School hosted our MOSAIC group, which consisted of students from Maryville University, Columbia College, and Central Methodist College in Missouri. We joined students from colleges and universities across the United States attending UL summer school. Students chose from six different courses taught by UL faculty, including classes in Irish Literature, Sociology, Law, Film and media, History and Creative Writing. The apartments they shared, each with private rooms and en suite bathrooms, were located in Cappavilla Village on the north campus, overlooking the River Shannon, and included full kitchens with daily breakfast service and housekeeping. Students were provided with vouchers for lunch and supper that could be used at any of the on-campus cafes and restaurants.

Excursions to major Irish attractions were provided by UL, including a trip to the nearby Craggenowen and Bunratty castles, Limerick Milk Market, and more distant excursions to the Burren, the Atlantic shoreline at Kilkee, the Flying Boat museum in Foynes, the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, and to Dublin, where students visited the Guinness Storehouse, Croke Park Stadium (home to the Gaelic Athletic Association), and the Book of Kells in Trinity College. Two of our MOSAIC students attended one of the World Cup 2014 qualifying matches between Ireland and the Faro Islands while in Dublin. We were also hosted with food and drink vouchers to attend the UL annual Party on the Plaza, celebrating the university’s accomplishments during the previous year.

Our MOSAIC sponsored excursions included a trip to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, and the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. Students participated in a photography contest sponsored by the University. Our MOSAIC students, Gabrielle and Mack, took first and second place respectively. Gabrielle’s first-place photo from her trip to the Dingle Peninsula can be seen on the UL International Education, Summer School web site.

MOSAIC students also received credit for our Maryville University study abroad course, “Exploring the Culture of Ireland.” Examples of their essays and photo essays included reflections on The Troubles, GAA Irish sports of hurling and soccer, the fallout from the Celtic Tiger economic bubble, Bloomsday and the books of James Joyce, and the Irish diaspora. For 2014, UL will again offer courses in Irish Literature, Sociology, Law, Film and media, History, and Creative Writing, and they will add two new courses: Irish Myths and Legends, and Nursing.

Ireland is known internationally as the Land of a Thousand Welcomes, and the faculty and staff at University of Limerick demonstrated that sentiment every day of our experience there. I strongly recommend this study abroad opportunity for undergraduate students who want to earn 6 hours of credit and experience three weeks immersed in Irish culture. For more information, visit the MU Study Abroad web site: http://www.maryville.edu/globaled/study-abroad/

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Ollscoil Luimnigh

university of limerick campus

Tomorrow, I leave for three weeks in Ireland. I’ll be traveling with three students from the Study Abroad consortium at Maryville University. We’ll make our home base at University of Limerick and spend more than half of the twenty-one days in Ireland on excursions.

We arrive on Wednesday and on Thursday we’re treated to the annual Party on the Plaza at UL. Under a white circus-sized tent they raise a stage and dance floor. Traditional Irish musicians, folk and roots musicians, and contemporary bands will play there and on both sides of the Abbey River. There’s a pig roast near the Music Department building and across the Living Bridge, on the main campus is barbeque. The UL Drum Corps will lead the procession across the bridge. There’ll be jugglers, unicyclists, and stilt-walkers. Beer and hard cider are generously poured all afternoon.

On Saturday is our first excursion to St. John’s Castle and St. Mary’s Cathedral in Limerick, and then on to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, just a few kilometers outside Limerick. The next day, we’ll take a bus trip to Adare, the loveliest village in Ireland peppered with thatched-roofed cottages and colorful gardens. My camera is ready.

Monday is a bank holiday and we’re traveling west, to the Cliffs of Moher on a PaddyWagon tour. We’ll travel through the Burren and see ancient ruins, testament to the timelessness so common in rural Ireland.

Friday, June 7, is our first trip to Dublin to see Trinity College and the Book of Kells. We’ll be treated to a living history walk through the city center. We’ll spend time in Temple Bar and visit the Guinness brewery, returning that evening to Limerick where Hermitage Green is gigging at Dolan’s.

Sataurday, June 8, is a chill day at the Milk Market in Limerick. Booths laden with handmade pastries and chocolates are plentiful, along with fresh farm produce and locally cured meats and cheeses. There’s a fish stall where mongers toss local catch from the Abbey and Shannon Rivers. Musicians play throughout the day and the flea market stalls just outside the tent can be a treasure trove of books, jewelry and other trinkets.

My students will travel to the Ring of Kerry on Sunday while I’ll join my friend Mary, an American who lives and works in Ennis, for a trip to the Dingle Peninsula. We’ve booked a B&B on the coast. I’ll return to Limerick on Tuesday, June 11, and the next day I’ll travel with the international students to Ennistymon and the Falls Hotel. This was Dylan Thomas’ favorite haunt when he was in Ireland. We’ll see LaHinch beach on the Atlantic coast during this excursion, too.

Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, is my trip with Mary to the Wicklow Mountains. Another B&B; more amazing photos. Then, on Sunday, my students will join us in Dublin for Bloomsday where everything Joyce is celebrated. Look for us in St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square. I’ll say goodbye to Dublin on Monday, June 17, and return to Limerick where, on Tuesday, UL hosts a farewell luncheon for all of the international students. More great food. Tearful goodbyes. This will be our last full day in Limerick. We’ll hit the pubs for one last hurrah.

Wednesday, June 19, we fly out of Shannon Airport leaving as most visitors do a little piece of ourselves in the auld sod, which makes us ever eager to return.