Leaving the Leprechauns

It feels like I’ve been in Ireland forever and a day at the same time.

In reality, it’s been nine weeks.

All of the schoolwork, tours, and activities kept me in the moment.

It wil be weird not walking by the old friary every morning on my way to class after picking up my morning coffee from JitterBeans.

I will miss walking by the harbor on my way to classes when I had extra time and taking evening strolls to watch the tides and sunsets.

Although I didn’t go out a lot, I will miss the pub atmospheres. I will miss knowing the bartenders and them knowing me. I will miss the comradery of the entire town.

I will miss the old stone buildings and churches. I will even miss what’s found in them.

I will miss the small shops owned and operated by unique people.

I will miss Dungarvan’s lively art scene as proved by the Storytelling Southeast Festival.

I will miss be able to adventure throughout Europe with my friends.

And, lastly, I will miss having such a lovely place to take pictures and grow as an individual.

Thank you for everything, Dungarvan.

My last night there, I had no wake.

I will return again someday.

London Calling

I had been anxious to visit London since I arrived in Europe over two months ago.

I had been following an old schoolmate, Carolyn, online knew that she was living and attending school in London. So when a group of my classmates announced that they were going to England, I knew that I had to find a way to get there.

Carolyn (left) helped my friends Nate (right), Charlie (not pictured), and I create an agenda and played tour guide, which helped us optimized our 48 hours in the city.

Our first stop was at the British Museum, which is currently housing a Shakespeare exhibit. Below is a cardboard skyline cutout, with Shakespeare speaking.

We stopped in several different churches. Carolyn told us about the different types of music and character that they each had.

We trekked all around the city, including to the most famous landmark: Buckingham Palace. In the park near the palace, there were lakes, birds, and squirrels, all willing to pose for pictures. Below is one of the more photogenic animals.
Both nights, we walked along the water by the London eye and crossed the bridge to get a good view of Big Ben. It was a lovely site to walk by and watch at it changed as our positions changed.

I thought that London would be overrated, but it was not. The individualism of the people and expressions in advertisements made it a unique city and place to visit.

I hope to return someday to visit the museums that I did not have time to visits and sites that I did not get to see.

I am glad that I went!


The evening before we left for Paris was wet, but had lovely light.

This prepared us for the rain and misadventures that my journey with my friends Brittany, Alex, and Allison would bring.

As we were preparing to land, our plane got stuck in a thunder and lightening storm. We tried multiple times to land and we ended up arriving a half an hour late. Since we landed in Paris Beauvis, it was easy to get out of and the bathrooms even had pink toilet paper.

Unfortunately, the delay and miscommunications caused our car service not to show up, so we ended up having to catch a bus to a station. There, we tried to catch a taxi, but we didn’t have the address, only the name, and the drivers couldn’t find the address once we gave it to them.

We arrived late at our hostel in Noisey Le Sec and had a cool room on the top floor. We left early Friday morning for the Louve, where we spent a lot longer than we had planned to, but enjoyed every minute of it. Even getting lost for hours at a time.

I found the views overlooking the city just as gorgeous as some of the art.

After the Lourve, we went to Notre Dame.

The fall views outside the church overlooking the river kept me looking in every direction for another breathtaking view.


Outside the church there were thousands of birds and people feeding them. The expressions of joy definitely worth stopping and watching.

Inside Notre Dame, there were countless candles. These were ones that popped out to me:

After the church, we took a short train ride to the Eiffel Tower.

We arrived just before sunset, which turned out to be perfect, because we saw the lights turning on and sparkling, which made the experience magical.

Here, my friends Alex an Brittany pose in front of the tower.

The next day, we visited Arch de Triumph, followed by hanging out in the tourist area. After some shopping, we found our way to what we think was the capital building as well as a science museum.

Although there were a lot of mishaps in Paris, I’m glad that I got to see the city and that the photos say otherwise.

Au revoir!


For midterm break, my class visited the Eternal City.

I stopped at a different bar to try a different coffee for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. I memorized my favorite order: “Un cafe freddo, por favore.”

Of course I enjoyed Italian pasta. Since I have Celiac Disease and am extremely gluten sensitive, I made use of an allergy card app on my iPhone. My friend got my gluten free pasta one night and I got hers, which was no fun, but all in all, the Italians were knowledgable about gluten and many places had gluten free pasta. Not to mention that I learned all public places have to have GF options- America take note!

On the last night there, my group went to a restaurant with no knowledge of anything. Upon arrival, we descended into a cellar restaurant right out of any Italian romance movie. Wine and salads turned into cheese and meat plates, which turned into pasta, which turned into salad, which turned into dessert. It turned out to be a six course meal- we all regretted not pacing ourselves. Even though I couldn’t eat about half of it, the waiter made sure to bring me and a vegetarian classmate alternatives. I highly recommend the restaurant.

In between, we walked all over the city- from tourist areas, to ruins, to cathedrals, to neighborhood churches, which were just as amazing as the well-known holy places,

While traveling from Point A to Point B to Point C, my friends and I stopped at several different markets. Each had identical scarves and jewelry, but each offered a unique flair brought by the venders.

Now that I’ve visited Rome twice, I hope to visit a different city in Italy next time.

Dye Dungarvan Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To kick it off, the Mercyhurst University Ireland study abroad class coordinated with the Dungarvan town council and schools to dye the park fountain pink.

On the far left is Carmel Keith, a breast cancer survivor. Next to her is a local school teacher, followed by Mercyhurst class representative Larae, and another local teacher.

Here, Larae laughs with the teachers.

In the next one, a local girl smiles during conversation.

Lastly, Mercyhurst student Clair prepares to leave the event on bicycle.

Lastly, I encourage you to join efforts to raise money for cancer research and remember in your community.

Midterm Update

I had an amazing day!

We started with classes in the morning, followed by the tour of a church and graveyard on a hill, with rich history, called St. Mary’s.

Then, my class toured Nemeton TV studio, which makes movies and broadcasts all Irish. We viewed a film they made called Kennedy’s Cadets about the Irish guards JFK loved and who served at his funeral.

After the tour, we stopped for tea and coffee at a local boarding school called St. Agostine’s, where all classes and interactions happen in Irish.

The building was haunting yet lovely in the evening light.

Below, my friend Allison poses with her cup of tea.

As we walked in, students greeted us in Irish (one even nodded with his best American accent and said “Sup?”

While we were drinking, I took my camera to the window to take pictures and was surprised to find that students were curiously looking and smiling.

I cannot stop starring at this photo of three girls:

Here, my classmates pose outside on the lawn.

After tea, the headmaster gave us a tour of the area and we visited a famine cemetery, which was extremely solemn and moving.

Here are my classmates Clair and Chelsea posing at the harbor.

Below them, our bus driver John O’Brien waits for us to finish our history lesson.

Our day ended at the Marine Bar in Dungarvan with professors, guides, and classmates eating Mutton and potato stew. There, the owner played a set of songs and told about time time Brad Pitt visited when he was staying at a nearby castle. This was followed my friends taking over the microphone and the owner accompanying them on guitar.


Dublin Weekend

This weekend I stayed at a hostel for the first time when my school group travelled to Dublin!

We stayed at the Ashfield House, which had some awesome desk staff and interesting travelers to talk to.

It took a while for me to learn that the ground floor is considered ‘zero’ in Europe, while it’s considered the ‘first’ floor in the United States.

Our first evening in Dublin, we had an intense tour of the city while we raced the sun.

Downtown was definitely worth a re-visit, especially since it was a circus of street performers, shops, and venders of all types. I didn’t know which direction to look!

These guys were my favorites:

After the group tours, we were allowed to explore in small groups. My friends and I found an awesome indoor and outdoor market that sold things with tons of colors and textures.

On our last day there, we stopped at the Irish Museum of Natural History.

Although it made me a bit queasy, it was fun to watch the people of all ages explore the countless animals- I heard a parent explain it to their child like this: “It’s like a zoo, where the animals were stuffed.”

On our way back to the hostel, I saw this poster:

It’s definitely worth checking out the website that it sends you to.

Finally, during our free time, I dragged my friends through blocks of older real estate to find the Sisters of Mercy International Center and Catherine McAuley, the Sister of Mercy’s foundress, house on Baggot Street. Sadly, the buildings were closed, but I left feeling closer to my roots, since I am a Mercy Girl.

There was so much left to explore in Dublin that I hope to visit again before I go back home at the end of the term.

I’m Studying Abroad!

This term, I’m studying abroad with my school in Ireland- more specifically Dungarvan- which is in County Waterford between Dublin and Cork.

Here I am on the harbor located right outside of the downtown.

Like I’ve seen in the movies and heard about, Ireland has tons of green fields and old castles and buildings.

There’s not many old buildings in San Francisco, since they get destroyed and burnt down during earthquakes, so this I’m always fascinated by the stone structures.

Another interesting aspect of the area is that there is a river with a harbor. Before the bridges were built, people had to wait until low tide to cross the water. If you look out at the right time of day, you can see boats in the middle of water sitting on silt islands.

The people here are all friendly and my school coordinates with a local named Tom that is our tourguide through the surrounding areas. The staff at the coffee chain, Bagel Bar, already know me and my order. Even places I visit every day back home haven’t learned mine yet.

As an introduction to the area (and to keep us awake long enough to set our sleep schedules), school had us spend the day after our flight at Kilkenny Castle.

Below are shots that I took right outside of the castle in the gardens, looking out into the nearby town.

I’m anticipating all of the adventures around Ireland and other European countries, which school has planned and we’re allowed to go out on our own for the weekends.

But I can’t forget that I am on a study abroad trip.

This term, I am taking European Literature and Film and Sociology at the Mercyhurst University building in Dungarvan, as well as taking a bus with my classmates to the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) once a week for Irish Language, Culture, and History.

On our second visit to WIT, Cadbury visited campus. They had clowns riding around on all sorts of unique machines and handing out chocolate. Here is a picture of their bug that was parked outside one of the main buildings.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with more pictures from my new home.

Until next time,