Dublin is the business, sporting, literary and cultural capital of Ireland; a vibrant modern, busy, cosmopolitan city with a special ingredient at its heart – its people are warm and friendly; willing to talk to neighbours and visitors alike; very good at telling stories and eager to hear your story too.
Locals with whom our students come into contact regularly form strong friendships with our foreign visitors and stay in touch long after the students have returned to their home countries.
Dublin is the business, sporting, literary and cultural capital of Ireland; a vibrant modern, busy, cosmopolitan city with a special ingredient at its heart – its people are warm and friendly; willing to talk to neighbours and visitors alike; very good at telling stories and eager to hear your story too. Locals with whom our students come into contact regularly form strong friendships with our foreign visitors and stay in touch long after the students have returned to their home countries.
Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, is home to a wide range of galleries, museums, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, parks and gardens. The population of Dublin at 1.1 million people is quite small by other capital cities’ standards so it is easy to get around and to find the wealth of attractions within the city.
Just a short bus or local train ride from the city centre you will find golf, tennis or horseriding facilities. Some of the best golf courses and horse racing tracks in the world are located in the Dublin area and access is easy and relatively inexpensive.
The mountains and the sea are all close to the centre of the city and can be easily and quickly reached by car or by public transport.
There are 3 main methods of public transport in Dublin. There is a wide network of public buses as well as an urban train system called the DART, which runs along the coast from Howth on the north side of the city to Bray on the south side. There is also a tram system, called the LUAS, which has 2 lines – one of which runs from Foxrock on the south side to St Stephen’s Green in the city centre and the other from Tallaght on the west side to Connolly Station in the city centre.
Students may also avail of a cheap rent-a-bike scheme which is in operation in Dublin city centre – www.dublinbikes.ie.
The following 2 websites provide a wealth of information on what is available in Dublin – www.visitdublin.com and www.dublintourist.com.
One of our students who has returned several times to take an English Language course in Alpha College wrote the following about her impression of Dublin.
STUDYING IN DUBLIN
“Why not learn English in Dublin?”.This is what I thought when I came across an article about James Joyce, Bloomsday and Dublin. Although I had no idea what Ireland would be like, I was looking forward to spending wonderful weeks there.
When the plane landed, shaken by a storm and lashing rain, I thought it was a stupid idea to go on holiday to such a wet island. But my mood changed quickly when I met my friendly host family.
The next day at Alpha College, I was convinced my decision was a good one, when I found myself sitting among young students from all around the world, and being taught by competent and friendly teachers. Soon I realised English could be an interesting language, well worth being studied seriously.
The school’s afternoon- and Saturday-excursions throughout County Dublin’s most interesting sites gave me a first impression of Ireland’s rich history, from the prehistoric Boyne Valley and New Grange sites to Glendalough and Monasterboice early monasteries, with their Celtic high crosses and the Spartan Norman Castles. All these set in the wonderful austere Irish landscape.
To see the most of Dublin, it’s a good idea to go on a “hop on – hop off” bus tour, which starts in the city centre and stops at more than twenty sites like Trinity College, with its historic library and Book of Kells.The National Museum shows all about life in Ireland from prehistoric times to the Christian, Viking and Norman eras, to the struggle for the Irish independence from England.
Another “must” is the Chester Beatty Library, which is famous for its collection of Islamic Qur’ans (KORAN), early Christian gospels and well-selected Chinese and Japanese objects.
Past hundreds of Georgian Houses with their colourful front doors, the bus tour goes to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral and Dublin Castle, Dublin’s Vikings foundation sites. The bus also stops at the popular Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, Dublin Zoo and Temple Bar area, where you can experience Ireland’s sociable, vivacious beer and pub culture.
There are hundreds of pubs with live Irish music, jazz or Irish dancing throughout Dublin. You can also enjoy your pint of Guinness just chatting and having fun with humorous Irish or international friends. Apparently, every pub has a direct pipe connecting them to the Guinness Brewery. No chance to keep sober!
No chance either to starve. You can find anywhere modest or posh restaurants serving all kinds of food and of course “Fish ’n Chips” and sandwiches. Bewley’s Oriental Café, in Dublin’s main shopping centre, serves tea, coffee and food in a cabaret atmosphere. This is one example of the great variety of cafés that can be found in Dublin. Shopping – Dubliners retail therapy – is obviously a great pleasure.
A never-ending stream of shoppers flows through the streets and malls, all day long and everyday, looking for products from all over the world or just having fun while window-shopping and looking at all the people.
Dublin’s excellent theatres, the Abbey, the Gate, the Peacock and Samuel Beckett’s, offer a wide range of plays, both by famous Irish and international writers. The cinemas also show all current and blockbuster movies.
If you enjoy open-air leisure activities, Dublin also boasts a wide range of parks, golf courses, beaches and hiking trails running alongside Dublin’s Bay sea cost, from the north-eastern peninsula of Howth to the southern seaside resort of Bray. All of these sites are easily accessible by the Dart, Dublin’s suburban train.
A wide traffic network of trains, tramways and double-decker buses connects all the districts of Dublin and its outskirts. To find out the correct bus stop, bus number, timetable and step-out stop was a major challenge! In the end though, it was not a real problem.In addition, there are thousands of taxis to take you to your destination after the last “early” night bus.
In conclusion, I can say that I am happy I found the island behind the island –Ireland.Even the weather did not that often live up to its reputation!
Gertraud, a German student studying in Alpha College of English in Dublin, Ireland.