Nathan Overlock is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A professional writing and information design major at Cedarville University, he is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Nathan shares five of his favorite study spots that will get you out and about in Dublin.
It’s been a little too easy for me to forget, with everything else going on in Dublin, that I'm here to study. Sure, I attend lectures every day, often for much longer than at my home college. But switching from the weekly projects and essay writing of college in the US to exactly one paper and exam per course at Griffith College hasn't exactly helped... Yet, with assignment week approaching, I can’t help but dread the prospect of spending hours typing essays on my computer with the hustle and bustle of the city around me and the weather shifting from winter to spring. There has to be a way to learn and study without missing out on everything going on in Dublin, right?
Here are five unique study spots that will get you out-and-about in the city!
1. CAMP OUT IN A COFEE SHOP. Coffee shops are my go-to study spots in the US. The caffeine-fueled ambiance gives me the perfect atmosphere and energy boost I need to crack out a paper. So what makes this unique, when it’s a weekly habit at home? Well, in Dublin, coffee shops tend to be a little different. Full-menued cafes that also serve espresso drinks are much more prevalent than dedicated coffee shops. Brewed (or “filter”) coffee is even harder to find. Ordering a coffee at most shops just means two shots of espresso in a cup (Or, with an American enough accent, two shots in a cup of hot water). Don’t let any of this stop you from venturing into one of Dublin’s fantastic cafes for an afternoon study session, though! Just ordering coffee is totally acceptable at most spots, and I’ve yet to find anywhere in Dublin that minded me pulling out notes or a book while I sipped my cappuccino.
The Fumbally, a ten-minute walk from the Griffith campus, markets itself as a farm-to-table café, but feels exactly like the eclectic college-town coffee shops I study at in Ohio. The rustic dining room is decorated with mismatched furniture and obscure miscellanea, and the reading corner with a selection of armchairs, couches, and coffee tables was clearly designed with leisurely reading or lengthy study sessions in mind. Alternatively, Brother Hubbard is ideal for anyone who wants to study out in the fresh air, but isn’t ready to brave the weather. Just order from the counter, and head out to the heated, covered patio!
2. GET INSPIRED AT THE CHESTER BEATTY. This isn't a conventional study spot, but that hasn’t stopped it from being my favorite on the list. When I went to visit the Chester Beatty, it was just another stop on my list of essential Dublin museums to see. Yet, walking among thousands of years of literature, reading snippets of different works, and seeing the meticulous artistry and years of hard work that so many individuals dedicated to crafting epic narratives and propagating knowledge spurred a sudden, uncontrollable urge to start reading, learning and writing.
While backpacks and technology are frowned upon in the galleries, the downstairs café was practically designed to study in, with free Wifi, dozens of small tables, and excellent cappuccinos and snacks. Each of the upper levels offer quiet reading nooks with comfortable couches to relax on, while the rooftop-garden is perfect for calm, sunny days.
3. HUNKER DOWN IN A PUB. A pub may sound like the last place you’d want to go to be productive, but bear with me: if you pick the right pub, go early enough in the day, and prepare properly, you’ll surprise yourself with just how productive your study session ends up being. The snacks, long hours, laid back atmosphere, subdued lighting, and built-in study breaks make pubs ideal for hours-long, or even full day study sessions. I recommend choosing a pub that serves enough food options to get you through the day, without offering a full menu that will lead to crowds throughout the day.
While it certainly has its loud and hectic moments, during an early afternoon Peader Brown’s is generally quiet, with free-wifi, and a relatively well-lit dining nook with tables away from the distraction of the main bar. And, if you’re the type who needs to reward yourself with study breaks for your hard work, or simply enjoys a lively atmosphere while you study, this one has an added perk: the afternoon Trad sessions with local musicians fill the room with fiddle, flute, accordion and harp music without the hype and crowds of typical pub performances.
4. STUDY OVER A MEAL. Yes, this one requires you to spend a little money. If you choose the right place though, it’s totally worth it. I’m always a little cautious about studying in restaurants, since most aren't willing to give up a table to loitering students. But watch for the student deals at restaurants like Wok Inn Noodle Bar, or Boojum (burritos), and you’re bound to find a student-friendly study spot. Keep an eye for upstairs seating, or window-side bars where you can grab a discounted burrito or noodle bowl and sit for as long as you want without taking up a full table.
5. GET OUTSIDE. Dublin’s notoriously unpredictable weather makes any outdoor study session a little risky. Unless you want your productivity cut unceremoniously short by rain, hail or heavy winds, I recommend having an indoor backup close by. But there’s no better way to enjoy the city while you’re studying then to actually be out in it!
Dubhlinn Garden, just outside the Chester Beatty Library, is a small, quiet park with plenty of benches. Within the grounds, the memorial garden, with its stone-walls closing out the city, and the soothing ambiance of a flowing stream make for a relaxing spot to sit and read.
For a more energetic spot, Temple Bar during the daytime is calm enough to sit and study, while still providing the extra excitement of open markets, street buskers, and live music to immerse you in Dublin city life while you hit the books.
While studying is a vital part of studying abroad, it doesn't have to stop you from enjoying everything else about the city you're in!
Nathan's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.