UCC International Pre-Departure Blog Series: Counting Down


UCC Ambassador Elena Montes continues her Pre-Departure Series with her newest blog! 

August 27th.

The day my lease begins; the day I finally arrive in my new home.

Each day that passes brings me closer to the rest of my life. And as I work two jobs and laze around in the in-between, I dream of the near future: making lists and maps and itineraries.

Thanks to Twitter*, I’ve already made my first Irish friend, Colm. Over our correspondence on Facebook, he has snuck me inside info on the Computer Science department, as well as written an entire introduction to Cork for me! Taking tips from some of his cultural and culinary suggestions, I thought I would list out some of the places I’m most excited to visit.

I’ve split this post into nice little categories. Also, I’ve made some Google maps to go along with two categories, because who doesn’t like a good Google map**?

 * Not sponsored by Twitter either. But the same goes for you as for Skype…

** Richard Williamson, creator of Apple Maps and former Apple exec, probably does not like Google maps.


I have heard mystical tales of Barry’s tea, chip butties and real Irish soda bread. Jackie Lennox fish & chips, the best butter in the world and addictive Caffrey’s Snowballs. And, of course, Guinness.

I’ll likely have to up my cycling habit to remedy the effects of trying out every scrumptious food Ireland has to offer, but I’m willing and able. I know the rest of the Western world contains its own variety of processed foods, but I hope to steer clear of Cadbury’s and instead try out some of the more traditional cuisine on offer, like freshly made bread (which, as it turns out, is difficult to find in the US if one is on a budget).

I discovered an awesome blog post chock-full of restaurant suggestions that aided in my wish-list map-making (so many dashes!).


If you watched my introductory vlog, you’ll know I am quite obsessed with music. A reliable source (Colm) tells me that certain stereotypes – Irish musicians playing traditional music in pubs – are, in fact, true. I cannot wait to scope out local musicians and hear their music, whether it be traditional folk or hot alternative. The guy I watch perform in the pub around the corner could be the next Hozier. You never know.

A fair amount of musicians make tour stops in Dublin, so I’ll likely be buying cheap train tickets every few weekends to see them***. I’ve got to look out for my hipster cred – I’ve only been to three concerts ever, but don’t tell anyone. Colm tells me there are a few festivals coming up; perhaps I can get myself involved as more than a concert attendee…

Cork Opera House

Cork Opera House, a popular venue for concerts

*** I will not be seeing Jedward live.

History & Culture

Sadly, I never learned much Irish history in school, despite America’s close connections to the island across the pond. Texans were more concerned with making their impressionable young learn as much as possible about the Battle of the Alamo (which meant taking Texas History for two full years – “We were a republic once! Never forget!” *Shakes fist, tips cowboy hat and rides off into the sunset*)

I firmly believe in deviating from the textbook as much as possible in the process of learning. Thus, even if I can’t squeeze an Irish history course into my schedule, I will be exploring it on my own in the form of visits to historical sites and lots of reading. History for me becomes infinitely more fascinating when you focus on the people instead of the dates, so I look forward to delving straight in, in person.

Final Words

I will keep updating those Google maps as I discover more fab places I’d like to visit. Thanks so much for reading!



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