After January exams, I had some time before starting classes again and I decided to use the opportunity to see more of Ireland. To get to Galway, I journeyed almost directly across the country from east to west by bus. I was interested in Galway because the National University of Ireland Galway was my second-choice university, after Maynooth of course. After seeing th
e city, I think I could have been happy there, but my course in Maynooth has suited me extremely well. I’m happy in the town and its proximity to Dublin, and I love that it is a student town.
I arrived in the city of Galway in time for a delicious lunch and spent the afternoon exploring the city. This trip was my very first time traveling alone, and I loved being able to spend my time doing everything that I wanted to do. The highlights for me (an English Literature student) were the Oscar Wilde statue and a cosy little bookshop overflowing with second-hand books.
Being from a landlocked country, I am always fascinated by the ocean and I was looking forward to seeing the sea in Galway. Before coming to Ireland, I had only visited warm beaches in South Africa and did not know what to expect from a beach in a cold winter. The wind and grey waves and ocean smell were exhilarating. I was not tempted to go for a swim, but it was a great view and luckily it didn’t rain and I could amble about enjoying the atmosphere.
In the early evening, I walked back to my hostel via the main street with all the activity. The street was lined with lights and people. As I walked down the cobbled street, I could hear traditional music being played in most of the pubs. Maynooth main street is just as bustling, but I have not often heard such a range of music. When I got back to the hostel I found out that they had taken guests to listen to traditional music at a bar and I was disappointed that I missed it, but I have now learnt to ask in advance for activities at hostels!
After my short but sweet Galway visit, I hopped back onto the bus and arrived back to my friendly and familiar Maynooth apartment, ready to start the second semester. I am glad that I had the chance to explore more of Ireland during the break from classes! In first year, I didn’t venture out of Maynooth or Dublin much, but in second year I wanted to explore a bit more and make the most of my time in Ireland. This coming academic year I hope to visit Belfast in Northern Ireland, as well as Cork. All the Erasmus and Study Abroad students I know visited all these places in one semester, and I am taking three years to get to all of them! I am lucky to havemore time than them, but I am hoping that I can fit it all in before the year comes to an end!