Site Visit with Education Ireland - Days 4 & 5
Day 4 - Limerick
We woke up early and hit the road from Cork to Limerick at 8:15 am. We received the warmest welcome from the University of Limerick Team (possibly the most delicious scone I have ever tasted)!
The beautiful, sprawling, lush green campus at the University of Limerick is a true gem. It's close to Limerick City, but outside enough to have vast farmland on one side - directly behind the student accommodations.
Many of the buildings on this 50 year old university campus are architectural marvels. The River Shannon runs through the campus, and crossing the river on the famous footbridge often gives people glimpses of birds and other wildlife. It's one of the greenest campuses I've ever visited, and it's a pleasure to stroll along the grounds.
UL is forward focused, and care deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It's clear that they are thinking about the students of today, and the problems of tomorrow. They're designing a student centered university.
CIS Abroad has partnered with UL for more than two decades and I was proud of that partnership when I visited. The campus was lively, and as always the staff were unbelievably hospitable. They took time to showcase the support that they are positioned to give to students through various offices on campus. There's no doubt that CIS Abroad’s students are well looked after.
After our day of meetings and introductions at UL, I met with the CIS Abroad Site Director, Karina Bryne. It was a fabulous visit, and later Karina joined the site visit group for a cultural excursion.
We’re off to Galway tomorrow - I’ll miss you Limerick. I hope to be back soon.
Day 5 - Galway
I have heard about Galway for a long time, but have never had the chance to visit. The picture that had been painted in my mind was of a town that was old and full of life. I imagined buskers, quaint pubs, narrow streets, water, and a distinct Irishness in the air. That is exactly what I found, but better.
Galway is special - it holds a special place in the heart of many Irish people, and after visiting I can easily see why. The town is not huge, but it has all the amenities that someone would want. It's unique, and there's an energy in the air that all of us on the site visit just wanted more of!
We did a walking tour with a renowned archaeologist, who took great joy in sharing his city with all of us. He showed us in the present day buildings, evidence of 700+ years of building, trading, development, prosperity, and conflict. There are castles and towers for protection, there are coats of arms etched in stone that show alliances and announce property ownership. There's layers to this town that can be seen if you look closely enough that show the footprint of Medieval Times.
The pubs has coal fires glowing and radiating warmth, and the people were as welcoming as could be. The weather turned from wind to rain to sun and back many times in our short visit, but that only added to the character of this very charming city.
The National University of Ireland, Galway
The National University of Ireland, Galway is ranked in the top 1% of global universities. They were recently named the Sunday Times “University of the Year, 2022”. It's a large university with over 18,000 students. Like University College Cork, they were one of the 3 original ‘Queen’s Colleges’, and were established in 1845. Though they're prestigious and have a long history, they're very much a university of today and of tomorrow. They have excellent academics and offer everything from Philosophy and Education to Technical Theater and STEM.
There's no doubt about it - Galway is fantastic and it's not surprising that the city is expected to grow by more than 50% over the next couple of decades.