Madeline Messina is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Advertising major and a French and Francophone Studies minor at the University of Florida, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post Madeline describes how CAPA staff helped her explore some of the more hidden parts of Dublin.
The lovely staff at CAPA made a list of My Global Education events that are suggested to go to so that we make the most of our study abroad experience. These activities have enriched my experience here and I am so glad to have been given such an extensive list so that I can explore as much as I can! Here is a list of some of my favorite My Global Education events.
1. George’s Street Arcade
The George’s Street Arcade, for starters, is a beautiful piece of Victorian-era architecture. It houses several cute pop-up shops that sell unique clothing, Irish souvenirs, music records, and more. It’s a charming place to spend an afternoon shopping or even just to grab a coffee and a pastry from Lolly and Cooks.
2. St. Stephen’s Green Self-Guided Tour
Wandering around St. Stephen’s Green is the perfect way to decompress after a long day of work. The grounds are gorgeous, with flowers growing around every bend and statues at every corner. Each of the statues has great historical significance, so it’s a nice way to get to know the kind of history that is important to Dublin’s people. And the wildlife that calls St. Stephen’s Green home is not to be missed. Along with the pigeons and gulls you see all over the city, you can find cute families of ducks and fully-grown swans gracing the waters of the St. Stephen’s Green ponds. Seeing the swans gliding elegantly under the cobblestone bridges that stretch over the ponds is an idyllic way to spend a day out in Dublin’s city center when you need a break from the busy city-life.
3. Traditional Irish Music at the Brazen Head
The Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub and a popular tourist destination. The Brazen Head surprised me at first, because I assumed it would be overrated and overpriced since it is really popular with vacationers. When I first went to the Brazen Head, however, I found it to be a lovely unique little spot. Each room is decorated differently and packed with Irish memorabilia ornamenting the walls. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, perfect for a typical Dublin rainy day. We were lucky enough to stumble upon some traditional Irish music when we were there, too. It’s an amazing experience to see such talented musicians perform right in front of you as you eat traditional Irish fare. I would definitely recommend the experience!
4. Powerscourt Gardens
Listed as one of the top three gardens in the world, Powerscourt Gardens boasts immense greens that overlook the Wicklow Mountains. The estate has beautiful statues, huge fountains and gorgeous flowers decorating the grounds. The gardens also have something for everyone, such as the Italian gardens, the Japanese gardens, the Walled gardens, the dolphin pond, and the pet cemetery. I enjoyed the Japanese gardens the most because they were peaceful and full of lush greenery, unlike anything you usually see around Ireland. If you make a visit here, be sure to bring picnic supplies to have a nice meal by the pond!
5. Botanic Gardens
The Dublin Botanic Gardens has been one of my favorite things to see in Dublin. There are several greenhouses throughout the gardens that house the most beautiful and unique flowers I have ever seen. The rose garden there is also not to be missed. My favorite part, however, was walking through the path under the pine trees. One thing I miss from home are my walks through the metro parks in the forest, so this was a great way to get a little taste of where I am from.
I think that the Global Education events have been a great way to get to know my host city more. A lot of them are off the beaten path so they make you feel like a true local. The events have also helped me take on the role of the flâneur, or one who strolls and wanders. We have talked about the flâneur a lot in class, and it is really rewarding to apply practical knowledge from class into everyday life. It’s so important to slow down and take in your surroundings when on study abroad, and that is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned while in Ireland. I am so happy that these events have helped me connect to Dublin even more. I’ve learned that a simple walk through a park or stroll through a garden reconnects you to the world around you, and that I will take with me back to the States.
Madeline's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.