A Home Away from Home in Limerick

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My New Every Day

Since arriving in Ireland three weeks ago, my daily schedule and habits have changed more than I thought they would. The food that I eat daily has not changed much, but I have been drinking much more tea and coffee. I think this is mostly due to the electric kettle that the apartment was provided with which makes these beverages quicker to make. When I come back home, I am definitely going to consider buying one for myself. The dorm also has an induction stovetop or “hob” as it is called in Ireland that has taken some time for me to get accustomed too (and some time to figure out how to even turn it on) as I am used to a gas or electric stovetop that does not heat up the pan as quickly.

There are other fixtures about the dorm that have taken some adjustment. Our shower is an electric shower which I had never heard of before. To use the shower, we have to pull a cord hanging for the ceiling in the bathroom, then press the power button on the shower panel. One thing that is nice about this kind of shower is that you can adjust the water pressure with a knob. Another difference with the bathroom is that the light switch is on the outside of the bathroom which is something I always forget about until I am in the bathroom and have closed the door.

I have also had to figure out how the bus system works while over here. While I am already somewhat used to buses due to the Metro in Madison, the bus system in Ireland is more extensive and a little bit more confusing as there are a lot of different companies that run buses. I am also required to use the bus more than I do in Madison as the University of Limerick campus is located outside of Limerick City, unlike UW-Madison where the campus is right in the city. There are still plenty of shops near the University of Limerick campus to get groceries such as Aldi, Lidl, and Spar. Receiving my Leap Card has also been a big help as I can use that to pay for the bus and it gives me a discount on the fare.

Back home, I enjoy doing some armature bird watching, so being able to see all the different kinds of birds over here has been exciting, especially since many of the birds do not migrate in the winter like they do in Wisconsin. So far I have seen a lot of Rooks and White Wagtails on campus, and, in my opinion, the Eurasian Bullfinch is the pretties bird I have seen so far, but the European Robin comes in a close second. Below is a picture of a robin I found.

Places I will Miss

Since classes have started, I have joined a few student clubs and societies on campus. These have been great places for me to meet people while also having the opportunity to learn how to do new things, such as rock climbing and surfing. Many times, after the meetings, people will go to the Stables or Scholars on campus which are much like the student unions on UW-Madison’s campus to socialize and get to know each other better. Both are places where I have made new friends and, I bet, will continue to meet new people as the semester continues.

When I first arrived, I was amazed by the number of structures made from stone from King John’s Castle in the center of Limerick to the miles of stone walls. While I have started to become used to these sights, there is one stone ruin next to the University of Limerick’s campus that I find quite relaxing. Coming from Wisconsin winter, the weather in Ireland has seemed spring-like at a consistent 50°F, so I have been walking outside a lot. There is a walking path on campus that follows the Shannon River and eventually reaches Limerick City. Just a short way down the path, there are these old stone ruins that I unintentionally happened upon. It is a nice spot to stop and relax since you have the stone ruins on one side, and the river on the other where there are a lot of birds you can watch, especially ducks and swans. When I got back to my dorm, I looked up the place on Google and it turns out to be the ruins of an old mill. Below is a picture of the ruins the first time I happened upon them. A few times a week, I talk a walk along this path, and each time I take a break here to admire the stone and vines.