In the third of our internship series of blogs Kelsey Gamble talks about the wider cultural immersion that comes with committing to a study abroad program like an internship. Specifically this week Kelsey looks at Dublin, where nearly all our students arrive and depart from.
All About Dublin – Kelsey Gamble
Thinking about Ireland, as an international traveler some of the first pictures that come to mind are of rolling green hills for miles or quant pastoral lands with sheep happily munching on grass. While this is scenery I observed frequently in Ireland, it is by no means the only one available. From the beautiful lakes in Co. Wicklow to the bustling streets of Dublin, Ireland boasts a wide range of scenic options for every traveler. Dublin in particular because of its ‘big city’ status offers so much, and definitely cannot all be seen in a single day. As a fan of history, archaeology, and museums it follows that my Saturday day trips into Dublin were definitively academic in nature. Though to be fair, as an avid food lover, picking where to get my meals and snacks was definitely a high priority as well.
Places to See
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is a grand sight to behold, regardless of your religious affiliation. The architecture and memorials on display are absolutely stunning. One of the memorials, a four tiered masterpiece depicting 4 generations of the same family, may be of interest to science enthusiasts as it memorializes Robert Boyle, the “father of modern chemistry.” Another well known individual buried and memorialized within Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the author and poet Jonathan Swift – a writer whose works many of read as course requirements in High School.
Trinity College Dublin: The campus of Trinity College, “the Harvard of Ireland,” while beautiful in its own right , is perhaps best known for the Book of Kells. While the time you get to see the book is relatively short, the experience is still well worth the trip. Before entering the room with the books laid out, you pass through an exhibition which outlines the history and importance of the book. For those interested in how things are made and not just why, the exhibit gives a detailed explanation on the creation of a medieval manuscript. The tour ends with a journey through the beautiful ‘Long Room’ of the Old Library, where busts of notable scholars can be seen flanking the aisles of books.
National Botanic Gardens: For those interested in herbology and nature the National Botanic gardens, are an absolutely gorgeous, must see attraction. Even for a history buff like myself, there was an exhibit about Viking gardens. A replica Viking building stands within a small gated yard, surrounded by some of the most commonly used/grown plants at that time. Well placed informative boards describe both the plants and their common uses for Viking homesteads. Overall the National Botanic Gardens is an amazing sight, especially on a nice sunny day.
Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum: Adjacent to the National Botanic Garden is Glasnevin Cemetery, Ireland’s first non denominational cemetery. Roaming about a cemetery may seem like a strange way to spend a holiday, but for an archaeologist (especially one trained in funerary culture like I am) it is a glimpse into a society’s thoughts and feelings on different types of people. The sites also contains a museum, which covers everything from the how and why the burial grounds were opened to an exhibition on freedom fighters who fought for Irish independence – quite a few of whom are buried at Glasnevin.
Must Have Food
Throughout my adventures in Dublin there was one snack that was without a doubt the absolute best. Butlers Café has the most delicious hot chocolate! Drinking a cup of butlers hot chocolate is a little like drinking a melted chocolate bar but in the best way possible. It doesn’t hurt that with every purchase of hot chocolate you get a free chocolate truffle. When it can be found a €2 bag of salted caramel filled dark chocolates is one of the absolute best flavours, in my opinion anyway!