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Tales from Abroad: Ireland

Allison Keene blogs from Duquesne' Galway, Ireland campus about her experiences while studying abroad for a semester.

Duke Editor

9 postings

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Week Five: Dublin Sessions Steal My Heart

03/20/12 20:49 PM

  By Allison Keene Irish musicians are a sociable bunch. It is not uncommon for a group to frequent a pub on a weekly or nightly basis—casually bringing out their guitars, Bodhran drums, whistles and accordions—to sit and improvise together. Friends, spectators and other musicians are welcome, creating a core of live music performers that can range from one lone guitarist to a veritable army that fills the establishment. While in Dublin, I happened upon one such lucky pub that was not even in the center of town, but on a small side street near our rather out-of-the-way hotel. Despite its less than desirable location, this small pub hosted one of these authentic sessions every Tuesday and Sunday evening. The night we visited, a gentleman...

Week Five: Dublin Then and Now

03/14/12 23:02 PM

By Allision Keene   I have been fortunate enough to travel to Ireland’s capital city twice during my stay here, once on an International Student Society tour with 60 of my closest friends, and once when my family came here to visit. Although this iconic city looks different when viewed from a hostel bunk room than a comfortable hotel, its charms abound from both perspectives. Dublin is a city immersed both in modernity and the past. Once a home to the Viking raiders, the city now plays host to thousands of tourists, University students and young professionals. In my visits, I’ve seen both the year-old Book of Kells and an impassioned ACTA protest, complete with students robed in black and disguised with Guy Fawkes masks....

Week Five: The Gift of Gab

03/07/12 23:00 PM

By Allison Keene   I believe that most people have a bucket list, a handful of goals that they would like to accomplish before they “kick the bucket,” so to speak. And I am no exception. It was two weekends ago that I had the distinct pleasure of crossing off perhaps the oldest item on my list, one that I’ve had since the ripe old age of four years old: kiss the Blarney Stone.   The Blarney Stone is situated in an obnoxiously precarious spot on the tower of Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland, and is believed to bestow the Irish Gift of Gab on anyone who kisses it. Although the task of puckering up to an ancient stone sounds simple enough, actually accomplishing the deed is not so easy. To kiss the... 0 comment

Week Three: The Cliffs of Moher

02/26/12 18:48 PM

By Allison Keene The countryside of Galway county is green and rocky, littered with thousands of boulders and patched with small towns and carefully-tended farmland. As they approach the western coast, Galway’s rolling hills lean into the ocean, rising up one last time before falling dramatically at the water, a vertical drop of 390 feet into the churning Atlantic Ocean below. The Cliffs of Moher are perhaps Galway’s most famous sight. In the summer time, busloads of tourists arrive at this astounding cliff face to stare down the brittle shale cliffs into the ocean. From this vantage point, the violent waves appear gentle, the seagulls white specks against the sky, and the people on the opposite cliff face ants testing their limits against the fast-moving wind and... 0 comment

Week three: education abroad

01/26/12 21:39 PM

By Allison Keene Growing up in the United States, I believed I could safely assume that the style of education I received was universal in the Western world. People learned they way they learned, schools operated the way they operated, and students were assessed the way they were assessed. Naturally, as I got a little older and less blindingly egocentric, I realized that, even within my country, education systems vary between states, counties and even individual institutions. I knew that education must therefore be different in other countries as well, and now that I am experiencing university life in Ireland, I took the opportunity to record some of the starkest differences here.   1) Assessment   There is no continuous...