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Spending St. Patrick’s Day in Galway

St. Patricks Day is Ireland’s most famous and renowned festival in the whole world. It also happened to be my first celebration of the festival ever, and it really was an amazing experience! 

The most amusing train trip from Maynooth to Galway

I travelled to Galway with a friend of mine from university. It’s about a three-hour train journey from Maynooth to Galway. I assumed it was going to be the usual boring train trip until I actually reached my destination. But boy, was I wrong! A bunch of people all dressed in green (well obviously, it is Paddy’s Day after all) and started playing traditional Irish music for the whole train compartment to hear! To be frank, a lot of people weren’t too pleased, but I for one enjoyed it!

The parade at Eyre Square

Finally, we reached Galway and I walked into Eyre square – It was like looking at a field of green! It was so crowded, and everyone was dressed in various shades of green and wore all kinds of St.Patrick’s day accessories. It was wonderful to witness!

The parade had also just started at that point, and the people from Galway truly strutted their stuff! I got my face painted as well as bought a funny little Paddy’s day accessory, as you can see in the picture. There was a commentator who spoke about each group of people who passed by and their contribution to/or achievements for the town, which I thought was lovely! And there were very loud and enthusiastic bands all along the parade, playing some great beats!

The general atmosphere was one of chaos and happiness! Apart from St.Patrick’s day celebrations, Galway in itself is such a beautiful place! Its streets are very quaint and filled with all kinds of restaurants, shops and pubs. The food I had there was brilliant as well. I stayed at a hotel which was right in the middle of the city, which was easily accessible to most places in Galway and was very convenient!

My Facepaint and hat for St. Patrick’s Day

Traditional Irish music in the pub 

At night, my friend and I explored the pubs as the concierge of the hotel told us about live traditional Irish music, especially played for that occasion. We went to these places, and the music was fantastic! Everyone who knew the words was singing along in merriment. Unfortunately, I’m new to Irish music and could only just tap my foot and enjoy the music! It really was a wonderful experience.

The next day, we woke up early morning and we went to Salthill, which is the seaside area in Galway city. The view was breathtaking, and it was generally a very serene and quiet place to visit, which was much appreciated compared to the hustle and bustle of the main city!

Overall, I can truly say that this trip to Galway was a lovely one, where I got to experience the Irish culture, explore the quaint city of Galway and spend time with good friends! I truly recommend it to anyone who is up for a great time, not only on St.Patrick’s day but just Galway in general! A must-visit place with fun experiences for everyone!

Why Study Abroad in Ireland? – University College Dublin

There are so many reasons why an international student would want to study abroad in Ireland, and in the capital city of Dublin.

One of the most important reasons is that Ireland is a perfect destination for an international student who wants a world-class education in a progressive, innovative country with promising career options. It is also perfect for students interested in stunning scenery, beautiful coastal and mountain walks, ancient culture and architecture. Those who prefer the indoors life will adore Ireland’s numerous museums and art galleries, gourmet food, coffee culture and cosy pubs with their traditional live music. 

Graduates who want to stay in Ireland for longer after they complete their studies and pursue a career will be happy to know they can avail of either one or two-year stay-back visas.

Study abroad in Ireland

Ireland is a very safe, friendly and welcoming country. On the Global Peace Index Ireland is ranked 12th in the world, and 22nd in the World Happiness Index. Young Irish people have the fourth highest standard of education in the world, according to the OECD 2019 Education report.

The Bloomberg Innovation Index 2020 has ranked Ireland as the 16th most innovative country in the world. Ireland is also home to five of Forbes Top 10 companies; Apple, Google, Alphabet, Amazon and Samsung. 

Study in Dublin

International students will feel right at home in Dublin city, which topped the 2020 Condé Nast list of Europe’s friendliest cities. They will sure of a warm welcome! The cosmopolitan city centre has all the amenities of a European capital city and is easily traversed on foot or on public transport. 

Dublin is the gateway to exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East. Here you will find beaches that attract surfers from around the world, cliffs, mountains, ancient ruins, hiking trails and world-renowned food and hospitality. It’s also the gateway to mainland Europe with affordable and regular flights.

Why study at University College Dublin?

University College Dublin (UCD) is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. In the overall QS World University Rankings 2020, UCD is 177 in the world. UCD is number one in Ireland for graduate employability, and 78th in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020). UCD has been number one for three consecutive years!

In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UCD has four subjects in the top 50, see more on our subject rankings section. For the past two consecutive years, UCD has also been named the number one university in Ireland by US News & World.

Established in 1854, there are now 34,000 students studying at UCD – more than 8,400 are international students from 140 different countries. The UCD Alumni Network is influential, successful, active and truly international.  Many of the 288,000 UCD global alumni network, living in 169 countries, hold positions in leading organisations around the world. 

Undergraduate students love the UCD Horizons programme which is much more flexible than traditional degree programmes. It offers students the choice to adapt the curriculum to their personal preferences. Along with core and option modules that make up their main degree, students can choose two elective modules from outside their degree. We’ve had Medicine students who have chosen Psychology and Orchestra!

Through six Colleges, UCD offers Ireland’s most diverse range of graduate opportunities. Masters programmes are led by academic experts and offer international graduate students unparalleled choice at all levels. UCD’s graduate programmes are recognised and valued by academic institutions and employers around the world. UCD offers Doctoral Programmes, taught and research masters, graduate diploma, certificate programmes and higher diplomas. Taught programmes are modularised to facilitate access, continuing professional development and life-long learning.

UCD is situated on 133 hectares of beautiful, green parkland – one of the largest urban campuses in Europe. Students live and study in modern, world-class buildings surrounded by beautiful, green parkland, wildlife and fabulous facilities. Take our 3D campus tour to experience it for yourself!

Some of the world-leading facilities our students benefit from include the UCD O’Brien Centre for ScienceUCD Sutherland School of Law and UCD Lochlan Quinn School of Business.  

Number 1 for Graduate Employment in Ireland

UCD was ranked number one in Ireland for graduate employability and 74th in the world, for the third consecutive year in the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Rankings. The career services UCD offers our students are top class. Through the Jumpstart programme, international students begin their preparations before they arrive on campus. They have access to interview preparation, internship opportunities, and alumni connections.

Scholarships for International Students

There are a wide variety of scholarships and awards for international students at UCD. These awards are highly regarded by employers and industry and celebrate the diverse talents of our students. There are also a number of Global Excellence Scholarships available to international students. They are competitively awarded based on academic merit and offered by country and/or by discipline. Students must hold an offer before they can apply for a scholarship. Full terms and conditions apply. 

International Student Life at UCD

At UCD our students benefit from a unique and world-class experience, through involvement in clubs, societies and sports, volunteering opportunities, and exposure to active and independent learning strategies. 

UCD students are the most engaged in Ireland with over 100 clubs and societies in which they can explore new interests and friendships. These experiences and our campus environment mean that UCD offers unparalleled experiences for students looking to study abroad. Our students enjoy woodland walks, biodiversity areas, wildflower meadows, as well as outstanding sports facilities, health and fitness centre and the UCD Student Centre.

For more information about studying at UCD, go to www.ucd.ie/global and select your country of residence for specific entry requirements, study options, scholarships, fees, accommodation and much more.

Click to find out more.

Enjoyed this article? Discover more reasons to study in Ireland.

How to Train as a Tour Guide in Ireland – AATGI Collaboration

Are you interested in working in Ireland and have a passion for the country’s history, heritage and culture? Whether you’re an international student studying in Ireland for university or have a passion for business and tourism in beautiful countries, you should consider a career in tour guiding. There are various courses available throughout Ireland that can prepare you for tour guiding, and provide you with the necessary skills and qualifications to become a registered tourist guide.

  • Tourism-based degrees at higher and further education institutions
  • Specialised training programmes certified by Fáilte Ireland and FETAC (Further Education and Training Awards Council).

Tourist guides can work in various roles. Some work on specific sites or attractions, some do half-or full-day city tours and others do regional or country-wide tours that last several days.

Why train as a tour guide?

Being a tourist guide involves having a real interest in, and passion for, learning about Ireland, as you must continue to learn about Ireland throughout your career.

Guiding is not just about telling stories; you need to know about day-to-day living in Ireland as well as the geography, dates, history and culture. Not all of this will be taught to you; you must spend time independently learning everything possible in order to give a knowledgeable and interesting tour.

Having a connection with Irish people and experience living there is a plus, so studying in Ireland will be great preparation. You must also be good at organising and have skills in customer service and talking to people. Being fluent in a language other than English is also a great asset and may help you get more work.

The tourist guide industry in Ireland is not yet regulated, but having training and the necessary qualifications means you will find it easier to find work and can be certified and registered by a professional body, giving you an advantage over unqualified guides.

How to be a tour guide

Training and Association Membership

When you have the necessary qualifications, you can apply for the Failte Ireland Tourist Guide Badge, for which you must complete six, four-day tours evaluated by an employer. Once you have this badge, you will be able to apply for membership to AATGI – The Association of Approved Tourist Guides of Ireland.

AATGI is the professional body representing tourist guides across Ireland and lobbying for better working environments for them. It was founded in 1977 and currently has nearly 250 members. It is a member of the Federation of European Tourist Guide Associations and can assist members with:

  • Advice
  • Job seeking
  • Insurance
  • Guiding rates
  • And ongoing training such as first aid.

AATGI advises that you must have a love for the business to be a successful tourist guide; the work is seasonal, meaning it cannot bring a year-round salary unless you work elsewhere during the winter. For this reason, many tourist guides have other jobs such as teaching.

They also warn students to be aware of recruiting companies who offer tourist guide training. Some of these will provide the minimum training and then do not allow students to work for other companies, tying them down to one place.

For more information about tourist guide training and certification, including about higher and further education courses, visit – www.aatgi.ie – or – www.failteireland.ie

This content has been provided by The Association of Approved Tourist Guides of Ireland.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other articles on living and working in Ireland.