Go with the flow

Room with a view

While we were on the DCU campus yesterday evening, we stopped in at “The HUB” – the campus pub/coffee shop.  We were the oldest people by about 30+ years, but, the locals were very welcoming and interested in chatting with us.  We met a nice young woman who is a communication and media studies major.  After talking about her (very cool) interests in researching Irish media (in the hopes of changing and promoting it on a wider scale) we asked her for recommendations on where to visit in Ireland.  While the first few days of my trip were strictly business – I also have a few days off the clock for vacation (though I’m happily using that time to scout out places around the country for potential side trips!) She told us we must visit her home town, Clonakilty in West Cork and we *must* stay at Inchydoney Island Lodge. We purposely left a few days completely free of plans (which we never do) to explore and go where the wind takes us…so we let the wind take us to Inchydoney!

I can say, without much hesitation, that this may be one of the most relaxing places I have ever been.  Since it’s low season (pretty sure we may be the only people staying here right now…) and we stopped in late, we got an amazing rate.  The hotel has a heated pool filled with sea water, a huge lounge with big comfy chairs, and a room with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, all of this is to say – one thing I’m learning about the Irish is that they’re a lot like Michiganders. We LOVE to help people, talk to them, and share our beautiful state – and the Irish (at least the ones we have met) have the same passion for their country.  I’ve also (re)learned how much fun travel can be when you don’t worry about reservations, Yelp ratings, or a time table.  Can’t wait to continue the journey tomorrow….

MAET @ Dublin City University – Update on Campus Living & Working

I’m here in Ireland to explore and get this set for our MAET Summer 2012 overseas experience (yes, I do have the best job in the world!)  Dublin City University, the host for our 2012 summer program (or programme.) My first impression? We’re going to really enjoy it here.  For students coming to join us this summer, here are the details you have been waiting for!

Very nice, clean, almost enough power plugs :) We’ll make sure power strips are installed so we can all plug-in. The entire campus is wireless.  We will most likely be housed in the computer science building.  We will have to switch classrooms (due to scheduling) but all facilities will be equal in size. We are not the only ones on campus this summer, so things will be hopping.

After visiting, it makes the most sense to NOT offer a meal plan.  We have full, easy, access to the staff cafeteria and it will be much cheaper for you to pay as you go.  If we book plans, you have to purchase 10-euro vouchers and you HAVE to use the full 10-euro.  I had a nice meal in the full cafeteria (chicken, rice & side of fruit) and it was 7-euro. The food was very good, the salads looked great & very fresh. There are lots of little cafes around campus where you can get a bowl of soup, pizza, etc.  Since we live right on campus, it’s also entirely possible to run back to the dorms, eat lunch, then come back to class.

Right on campus there is a Spar (convenience/food store), coffee shop, pub, pharmacy and barber shop.  Additionally there is a BEAUTIFUL sports complex & you will have the option of purchasing access for the month (I will have the cost for you soon.) Here are pictures of the sports facility – http://www.dcu.ie/dcusport/facilities.shtml#universitysports_complex

Just across the street from campus (about a 5 minute walk) is a EuroSpar that is open until 9 on weeknights.  I would call it a “mid scale” grocery store – they have all the basics you need (milk, eggs, pasta, pop, etc.)

The rooms are very nice – and situated into “pods”.  Each pod has 5 en-suite bedrooms and a shared common area.  The shared area has fully equipped kitchen with microwave, stove, hub, refrigerator, TV and iron.  Weekly linen service/change is included (and toilet paper!) I’ll be emailing soon to determine requests for “pod mates.”  There are two laundry rooms on campus.  The rooms are currently occupied by students (I was able to peek in, but couldn’t take pictures.) Our contact here will be sending me pictures and I will share those as soon as I can.

There is a large TESCO grocery about a 15 minute bus ride away.  The campus is serviced by 4 city buses that come every 10 minutes or so. (We had the best luck with Route 9.) A trip into town was 1.90-euro. There are “rambler” passes available at the EuroSpar that allows you multiple trips over a period of time. We did walk into the city and it took about an hour and 20 minutes.  It was an easy walk.  A cab ride to/from the city is about 15-euro (you can fit 4 people in a cab.)

Dublin is a large city, which affords us many opportunities for excursions and connections to local culture.  I’m working on another post with a rundown of some local and regional activities along with field trips for my next update/blog post!