When Family Comes to Visit During a Semester In Dublin

Nov 28, 2019 9:14:00 AM / by Ellie LaFountain

Planning to have your family and friends visit while you're abroad? Dublin blogger Ellie shares some insight into how to balance classes, an internship, and spending time with your visitors. Check out her blog post to find out more about the sights she explored around Ireland during her visit with her family!

Hello everyone!  This past week I have been lucky enough to have some of my family visit me in my home and away from home, Dublin.  In today’s blog, I will be sharing with you how I spent the week with my family and tried to pack in “the best of Ireland” in just one week!  

Being in Ireland for the past 2 months has been amazing, and I have had a lot of time to explore with my friends from the CAPA program.  Now that I feel comfortable with both the city of Dublin and my travel abilities, I feel so blessed to be able to show some of my favorite places to my family (and continue to travel to new ones)! Before I departed for Ireland, my family members and I tried to determine when and if they would be able to visit me while I was studying abroad.  We all knew they wanted to come, but figuring out the logistics was quite tricky.  We had to think about when they could come, how long they would stay, and how we would spend the time when they were here. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_RingofKerryThe LaFountain Family (minus my brother!!) take on Ireland!  I feel so lucky to have had such a supportive family through this whole process. I was looking forward to their visit from the very beginning.

My parents and older sister decided to come to Dublin during the week of Thanksgiving, as they would have a few days off from work for travel.  I am very happy with this decision for a few different reasons. First, since I have now been here for a few months, I feel prepared and excited to show them some of my favorite places such as Grafton Street and St. Stephen's Green.  I have spent the last few months becoming more and more comfortable with navigating the city, and I am proud to show this! In addition, at this point in my abroad experience, I have realized some things that I am really missing from the USA.  Lucky for me, my parents have not only brought themselves, which is a piece of home, but they have also brought some of my favorite goodies that I have yet to find in Dublin such as Cheez-Itz, Cheddar Popcorn, and Reese’s Cups! While these treats have been a great reminder of all the things I miss about home - the real treat has been seeing my family during this holiday season.  A lot of students tend to become a little bit homesick during this time, (which you can read about in this blog) but knowing that my family was on their way allowed me to focus on enjoying my time in Dublin rather than thinking about being home.

So let’s get into their trip!  My family was here for one week, arriving on Friday the 22nd and departing on Friday the 29th.  Because I knew they would be quite tired on their first day, I made sure that we had a chill day.  We went out to lunch and then did a little bit of shopping for some forgotten necessities, like gloves, hats, and an extra umbrella!  Since it was a Friday night, I was sure to book a table at “The Landmark,” so my family could experience a real night out in Dublin and so that we could avoid the constant struggle of finding a place on a busy night.  From there, we hit a few pubs (Huck’s, Devitt’s, Whelan’s) and were able to catch up on everything that had been going on in our lives that hadn’t been spoken about over our phone conversations or group chats. We ended the night with some late-night comfort food from a local shop and headed to the hotel, as we had a big weekend ahead of us!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_TheLandmarkThe Landmark was a great way for my mom and sister to start out the trip.  They loved the vibe, the live music, and the food and drinks that we had!

For the weekend we took a two-day Paddywagon tour to Northern Ireland. This was an awesome thing to do with my family as it was a new experience and exploration for all of us.  I will never forget the Black Taxi tour we took in which the taxi driver discussed The Troubles and our trip to the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had quite the turnover from Sunday night into Monday, as we headed out for another tour of the Ring of Kerry at 6 am.  Even though this called for a busy and tiresome few days, I really appreciated the excitement and enthusiasm that my family had for Ireland. We all knew that it was worth both the money and the energy to do these tours, as none of us have any idea on the next time we will be back to this part of the world, the Emerald Isle.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_RopeBridgeMy mom was clearly very excited for the Rope Bridge, Carrick-a-Rede,  in Northern Ireland. Not only were the views great, but the weather was good too which is always a bonus in Ireland!

We spent the next few days in Dublin, and since I had both my classes and my internship I gave my family some ideas of things to do to spend their days. My mom and sister spent a lot of time hitting the shops of Dublin, from charity shops to the classic tourist shops, looking for the perfect Irish knit sweater. My Dad was on the hunt for an Irish Claddagh ring to honor his Irish heritage. We spent our evenings enjoying each other’s company at restaurants, pubs, live music halls, and ice cream shops.  

I could not have asked for a better visit from my family in Ireland. I was truly able to show my family how much I had grown and matured through my time abroad.  Seeing them gave me a final push to continue to capture and enjoy each and every day that I have left in Europe, as I know that come December 14th I will be home and missing all the things that Dublin has to offer.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_NorthernIrelandAnother big thank you to my amazing parents for making this whole process possible. Their stories about their own abroad experiences have always been a big inspiration to me and my siblings.  I am so glad that they got to be a part of mine. 

Thanks, Ellie!

Ellie LaFountain


Ellie LaFountain is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Media & Communications major at Ursinus College, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

Ellie's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Dublin Program

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations