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Things To Do In Ireland



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For anyone thinking of studying in Ireland, ahem, we are now working with some great Irish schools if you don’t already know! Click here to see where you can transfer to in Ireland through KOM Consultants.

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What does Ireland have that the rest of the world doesn’t? Well, there’s the literary legacy of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and W.B. Yeats; traditional sports such as hurling and Gaelic football; the smooth beverages of Guinness and Irish whiskey; hearty meals featuring soda bread, potatoes and Irish stew; and numerous pop idols such as U2, Boyzone and (love or hate them, they won’t go away!) Jedward.

Aside from all the culture and ‘craic’ of the cities, Ireland also offers large swathes of stunning natural scenery, from the craggy cliffs of Moher to the pony-trekking beaches of Connemara.

The universities in Ireland aren’t too shabby either, judging by their positions in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15. Of the eight Irish universities featured in the international rankings, five are within the global top 400, led by Trinity College Dublin at 71=.

Ready to study in Ireland and fall in love with the “Emerald Isle” for yourself? Start planning your stay, with our top 10 things to do in Ireland

1. Experience Dublin

Top universities in Dublin: Trinity College Dublin (71= in the world); University College Dublin(139th); Dublin City University (366th) and Dublin Institute of Technology (551-600). The National University of Ireland Maynooth (601-650) is also situated just 15 miles west of Dublin.

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Ireland’s urban and dynamic capital city Dublin is historic and picturesque, while at the same time brimming with exciting nightlife and activities. From the Guinness Storehouse to Dublin Zoo, the city’s castle to the Dublin Museum of Writers, not to mention Ireland’s National Gallery, Botanical Gardens and its National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin features heavily on any list of things to do in Ireland.

One of the fastest growing populations of any other European capital city, Dublin is a great place to study in Ireland as it offers a huge, fun-loving international student population and diverse array of cultural venues to go with it. As well as theatre, Dublin is renowned for its live music scene, earthy pub culture, annual festivals and impressive literary legacy.

See how Dublin fares compared to the rest of world’s cities in this year’s QS Best Student Citiesindex.

2. Explore Trinity College and discover the Book of Kells

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Placed 71= in the latest QS World University Rankings, and with famous alumni including Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, Trinity College Dublin is the top-performer among universities in Ireland.

In the QS World University Rankings by Faculty 2014/15, Trinity College also places 63rd in the world for arts and humanities, 69th for life sciences and medicine, 89th for social sciences and management, 105th for engineering & technology and 175th for natural sciences.

Trinity College isn’t only renowned among academics, however; it’s also the location of one of the top things to do in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin’s Old Library is home to the Book of Kells, an immaculately preserved ancient Celtic relic, widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure. A beautifully illustrated manuscript, the Book of Kells contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and is believed to have been created by Columban monks in an Irish or British monastery around 800AD.

So, if you want to explore one of the most prestigious universities in Ireland while getting up close and personal with a canonical theologian text, look no further.

3. Surf the west coast

Top Irish universities nearby: National University of Ireland, Galway (280th in the world), University of Limerick (501-550).

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Ireland may not have the warmest climate, but don’t let that stop you from hitting the waves off the west coast. There’s some great surf up that way and, in fact, various surfing champions give credit to this area, naming the region among the world’s surfing top spots.

Donegal Bay, in particular, has gained much fame among surfers, thanks to the funnel shape of the coastal bay which increases the size of the swell and therefore the size of the surf.

Even if you’re not into surfing, the Donegal coast is still well worth a visit. With its rolling sand dunes, secluded coves and shallow bays, it’s home to some of the most picturesque and sandy beaches you’ll find anywhere – even if it can’t quite lay claim to the tropical weather of the Caribbean! With lush countryside, nature reserves, golf courses and friendly locals, County Donegal is a favorite destination for many a tourist, so make sure to take time out from your studies and get some west coast sea air into you.

4. Get off the mainland and experience the Aran Islands

Top Irish universities nearby: National University of Ireland, Galway (280th in the world), University of Limerick (501-550).


Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 09.56.09Surfing’s not the only reason to enter the chilly waters of Ireland’s west coast; this is also how you get from the mainland to the Aran Islands, a group of three islands in the mouth of the Galway Bay. A place of deep cultural and linguistic heritage – with many native Islanders bilingual in English and Gaelic – the islands are a must-visit for anyone keen to get deeper insights into Irish culture and the Gaelic language.

While you might get away with a “top o’ the morning to ya” greeting in Dublin, the Aran Islands offer a chance to get your head around the challenging language of Gaelic. By the end of your stay you should at least be able to wish the locals “maidin mhaith”, or “dia dhuit ar maidin” (both meaning “good morning”).

And what to do with the rest of your time here? Consider hiring a bike to explore the array of outdoor museums, cliff-climbing sites, historic castles, lighthouses, surfing spots, beaches and craft-producing villages – you’ll soon forget about those looming assignment deadlines!

Did you know…? The three Aran Islands are called Inis Mor Island (“the big island”), Inis Meain Island (“the middle island”), and Inis Oirr Island (“the east island”).

5. Participate in the St Patrick’s Day revels

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Although it’s celebrated almost everywhere in the world, it’s easy to forget the real reason for this Irish celebration; for many, it’s just a fun excuse to dress up in green, talk in a bad Irish accent, and consume too much Guinness. Celebrated annually on 17 March, St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, commemorating and celebrating the life of Saint Patrick himself, the principal champion of Irish Christianity.

St Patrick’s Day features on this list of top things to do in Ireland, since it’s now become a week-long festival in honor of St Patrick. As well as bringing the community together, the celebration allows the country to showcase its culture, sense of fun and tourist attractions to the world. Whether or not you can handle a week of Irish festivities (they certainly know how to party!), make sure to join in with some of the celebrations, attempt an Irish jig, and experience St Patrick’s Day as it should be spent… in Ireland!

Did you know…? The color originally associated with St Patrick was blue but over the years this has changed to green.

6. Head south to explore Cork

Top universities in Cork: University College Cork (230th in the world)

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 09.59.14Tripe, a dish made from various animal stomachs, is one of Cork’s traditional foods, but we’re pretty sure that if you choose to visit Ireland’s second largest city, you’ll be able to get a feel for the place without having to try any… unless you want to of course!

Those without the stomach (get it?!) for tripe will be glad to hear there are plenty of other things to do here. Admire the city’s Georgian architecture, visit the medieval Red Abbey or walk down the wide and historic St Patrick’s Street for a nice bit of window shopping.

And if that’s not enough, why not take a trip to Cork Opera House or sample some more appetizing local foods at the famous English Market. Aspiring artists and performers may also be keen to know that Cork is home to a number of highly reputed art and design colleges, as well as an arts calendar filled with events such as the Cork Film Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival and Live at the Marquee.

7. Visit Northern Ireland to photograph Belfast’s murals

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 09.59.26You’re correct – Belfast is not part of Ireland; it’s the capital city of neighboring nation Northern Ireland. However, it’s just a short drive away and surely worth a visit while you study in Ireland. Widely known for its history of political instability, Belfast was a key location in the sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants throughout much of the 20th century, and this history is strikingly depicted in various murals around West Belfast.

Known as “The Writing on the Walls”, these murals depict issues relating to politics, freedom and loyalty, while some also pay homage to sports stars, Northern Irish achievements (the RMS Titanic, for instance) and, of course, football.

8. Marvel at the Giant’s Causeway

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 09.59.46While you’re in Northern Ireland, why not visit the Giant’s Causeway? A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Nature Reserve, this natural wonder is comprised of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, evidence of an ancient volcanic eruption. Visitors can walk on, over and around the many hexagonal columns, watch the waves crash against the rocks, or simply marvel at the sheer size of the cliffs. The freedom to explore every part of the cliff face has kept the Giant’s Causeway among Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.

Other ancient natural wonders to explore as part of the Giant’s Causeway include The Honeycomb, The Wishing Chair, The Giant’s Granny, Lord Antrim’s Parlour, The King and his Nobles, The Keystone, The Chimney Pots, The Fan and The Punchbowl.

9. Enjoy a summer of festivals in Galway

Top universities in Galway: National University of Ireland, Galway (280th in the world).

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.01.51Galway calls itself the festival capital of Ireland, and, with a calendar of events that celebrates everything from oysters to jazz music and horse racing to literature, this is pretty well justified. Ireland’s third-largest and fastest-growing city, situated on the west coast of the country, its summer calendar is packed full of events including the Galway Oyster Festival, the Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Film Fleadh, the Cuirt Literature Festival, the Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, the Connemara Marathon and the famous Galway Races.

Regardless of where you choose to study in Ireland, you should certainly plan a summer visit to Galway, to make the most of one or more of these fantastic festivals.

10. Experience the winter solstice at Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.02.06Older than both the Giza Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge, the Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb is one of the world’s most famous pre-historic sites.

Made up of a series of passage tombs, Newgrange is perhaps best known for the shaft of sunlight that reaches the chamber floor on the shortest day of the year. The chance to experience this winter solstice sight is chosen by lottery, but if you visit the tombs your guided tour will include a re-enactment of the sun appearing in the chamber at sunrise – a sight first admired some 5,000 years ago. Now that’s a history lesson worth writing home about!

The tomb is located just a 45 minute drive north of Dublin city, making it an easy day trip for those studying at any universities in Dublin.

Other top things to do in Ireland…

  • Kiss the Blarney Stone.
  • Listen to some traditional Irish music in Johnnie Fox’s, Dublin’s highest pub.
  • Sip the world’s finest pint of the ‘black stuff’ at the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin.
  • Give ‘coasteering’ a go, although be aware, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

This blog was taken from Top Universities website topuniversities.com

 

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