To experience a unique culture and rich history, look no further than the Emerald Isle. The Republic of Ireland has a rich cultural history, with distinctive musical, linguistic, and religious traditions that have influenced Western culture for centuries. This nation offers much for seekers of knowledge to learn about, and for seekers of adventure to discover.
Ireland has grown in the past few decades to become one of Europe’s richest countries, so it also provides modern social life and entertainment. Visitors can explore Ireland’s charming towns and castles or its lovely lakes and coastal areas by day, then hit up the bustling cities for a football match and a pint at the local pub. Half of the population is under the age of 26, so international students will find a vibrant youth culture among the Irish.
Ireland’s ties to the UK mean there are many similarities between their cultures, especially in terms of politics, economy, and society. The Irish people are known for being friendly and hospitable, which is especially useful for visitors hoping to chat up the locals and commiserate about the rain.
The most popular sport in Ireland and the UK is football (soccer), and each country has its own National team, with hundreds of teams in the English league. Tennis, cricket, rugby, horse racing, and golf are other popular sports. Outdoor activities like water sports, hill walking, rock climbing, and caving are also some of the other available activities in Ireland’s diverse environments. Rugby players should consider the University of Limerick, a top destination with world-class sporting facilities and a Fall Semester Rugby Abroad program.
Student life often revolves around the local pubs and discos, especially after sporting events. Many bars and restaurants close at 11 pm, so nightlife tends to start early. There are some marked “alcohol restriction zones,” but in general many areas of Ireland and the UK don’t have open container laws. While alcohol consumption is a popular pastime in society, binge drinking is also a common problem, so visitors should take care to drink responsibly.
“Ireland is a dynamic, lively, modern country with a young population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world…a country where music, conversation, culture, traditions, time to relax, listen and make friends…matter. A country renowned for its beautiful, unspoiled countryside and scenery as well as its cultured, cosmopolitan and lively cities.” ~ Education Ireland
Staying in Ireland affords the savvy student many opportunities to travel. BritRail offers a wide variety of tickets for exploring the UK and Ireland but must be purchased outside the countries. For local travel, buses are a popular form of travel. Most cities and towns have some form of bus service, and the National Express buses run throughout the UK and Ireland. In addition, Ireland is just a quick flight to mainland Europe, where there are many travel deals.
If you don’t decide to travel outside the country, you can experience other cultures just by exploring Ireland. Due to the area’s location near the US, Africa, and Europe, Ireland has a blend of many ethnicities, religions, and races, especially from immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Ireland’s capital city Dublin has a population of 1.5 million. From its museums and art galleries to the traditional nightlife at its many pubs and cafes, the medieval city offers ample activities for extracurricular exploration. As the home of many famous writers, students of the Humanities should also take advantage of this to study Irish literature and history first-hand. Dublin is also the home of several universities.
Posted by Roslyn Ayers. Roslyn holds a B.A. in Writing & Communications from Maryville College.
Note, photos are public domain, from PD Photo.