Tag Dublin

A Month of Milestones

April was a month of big milestones for me: It marked 18 months since my leg surgery and the chance to get outside of my comfort zone. So I decided to take a solo trip to Ireland and just…explore. It was empowering to realize that I had control over every single second of my day. I saw Dublin and Belfast, visited castles and murals and museums, and even won a Literary Pub Crawl t-shirt (here’s to being obsessed with Oscar Wilde trivia).

I even visited some universities over there, as many of our students are considering applying to colleges like Trinity, Dublin University and other UK schools. (Link to that blog post ICYMI) But this empowerment also led me to a desire to learn more and use my newfound independence to better myself. I ask my students to consider the same thing: maybe you can’t jet off to Ireland, but can you arrange your schedule or plan experiences that inspire you to become a stronger person or a better prepper?

I also decided to run a 5K- the Race for Peace in Wheaton Regional Park on April 20. My goal was to finish without embarrassing myself (since running is still a bit hard with a metal leg), and I had been training for it for a couple months. Imagine my surprise when I somehow finished in 2nd place overall for women (and 4th overall regardless of gender). It showed me I had set my bar too low. While I am certainly not going to blow anyone away in a tougher field, I now know that with proper, gradual training and a goal-oriented outlook, I can conquer previously-impossible goals. Hmm, sounds like there’s a college app/test prep metaphor in here….

Here’s to our newly warm weather and a fabulous wind-down to the school year!

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Irish Colleges & Universities – Part I

“Dia duit!”

That means “Good day!” in Irish (don’t call it Gaelic there!) and it’s almost always a good day in Ireland. Usually rainy, sure, and often a little chilly, but the warmth of the Irish people make up for it. Having just returned from a little jaunt to Dublin and Belfast, I’m reflecting on not only the great times I had (Dublin Literary Pub Crawl Quiz and T-Shirt Winner here!, castles, Irish chocolate, the Guinness Factory) but also on the excellent universities I was able to visit and learn about. With more and more American and international students considering European universities, I thought it best to go directly to the source of some of Ireland’s finest institutions.

Trinity College is one of the most famous schools in the world and the pride of Dublin. Set in the heart of the city, you have to enter a Harry Potter-type archway just to enter the campus grounds, and once inside, you can continue the Harry-Potter-esque ambience by visiting the Book of Kells, an amazing 9th-century illustrated manuscript, and the Long Room, Trinity’s oldest library and the inspiration for many scenes in the Harry Potter movies!

But Trinity is more than just gorgeous: it boasts top educational programs and counts authors Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Samuel Beckett, actress Ruth Negga, and philosopher Edmund Burke among its esteemed alum. In fact, as one of Europe’s historic universities, Trinity College Dublin, which was founded in 1592, is, according to their website, “renowned as a centre of teaching and research excellence. This is supported by the fact that Trinity is Ireland’s only university to rank in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings.”

Perhaps one of the drawbacks of the Trinity experience is the housing issues. In America, we’re pretty used to students having guaranteed on-campus housing, at least for the first year, as well as plenty of apartment or shared housing options nearby. This is not so in Dublin, a fairly small major city and one that is somewhat unprepared for the influx of top students coming to Trinity. In speaking with students, they all recommended searching for housing at least six months before arriving to start the term, and to be prepared to pay. Some websites they suggested looking into were:

  • daft.ie – search for all sorts of housing in Dublin
  • rent.ie – a little more student-focused housing in Dublin

One student said to expect to pay as much a $600 Euro for a shared room in a house (about $733 U.S. dollars) and up to $2000+ for an apartment (about $2450 in U.S. dollars).  Definitely account for both housing searches and housing costs in your budget!

Stay tuned for Part II of our Irish Universities spotlight.  In that post, I’ll discuss some of Ireland’s other gems: Dublin’s University College and Belfast’s Queens University! 


(that means cheers!)



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