Exploring the Gaelic – SCEM students in Dublin
The Republic of Ireland is especially famous for its pub culture and live music, its Guinness beer, breathtaking landscapes and cliffs as well as for an abundance of rain. Within the context of the International Week, the students gained insights that went far beyond these well-known characteristics.
The three sports hurling, Gaelic football and handball all have their origin in Ireland and are by far the most popular sports on the island. The SCEM students learned about the influences of these sports on the island, a history dating back 3000 years. After being introduced to the rules and equipment, the students had the chance get involved themselves and compete in hard-fought games. “It was truly a highly diverse but exhausting day. Everyone had a lot of fun trying out these sports. We all survived and emerged relatively unscathed from these, at times, highly competitive games,” said Director of Studies Asc. Prof. (UAS) Mag. Monika Kohlhofer while talking about her personal highlights of the trip. Together with Angela Scalet, BA, she accompanied the students through Ireland.
By the middle of the week, the students made their way by train to rainy Belfast. Arriving in the northern city, the group was taken on a guided tour of sites related to the Northern Ireland conflict, which was caused by dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. “The impacts of this conflict can still be felt to this day within the urban landscape. It is beautiful to see the conciliatory development of recent years,” as Angela Scalet, BA, summarized this impressive day.
The Titanic Belfast Museum is architecturally significant for Ireland. Besides shipbuilding and the development of overseas tourism, the museum also depicts the fate of individuals who perished in the sinking of the Titanic. The people on the Titanic were from various population groups and there were many tragic fates among the victims of the 1912 disaster.
The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin impressed the students with detailed and personal stories in an itemized presentation of the great emigration waves. Ireland was severely impacted by these massive waves and had to cope with mass emigration over the course of many centuries.
The travel itinerary also included a visit to the Irish play “Solar Bones” at the Abbey Theatre, the national theater of Ireland. The solo play challenged some of the visiting students, both in terms of language and content.
Guinness beer is definitely characteristic for the Republic of Ireland. The students visited the most popular tourist attraction on the Island, the Guinness Storehouse. Here they gained insight into the history of beer and beer-making. Following the visit, there was, of course, the option to enjoy a pint on the rooftop terrace of the museum. The logo of the brewery and the coat of arms of the Republic of Ireland are almost identical, the only difference being that the harp on the country’s coat of arms is mirror-inverted. This is due to the fact that the Guinness Brewery was founded long ago, in the year 1759, and the company was not willing to give up the rights to its logo.
A further highlight for students was the interesting campus tour of Trinity College, led by one of the students. Its venerable halls and history make for an interesting comparison to FH Kufstein Tirol.
Of course, besides the planned itinerary items, the students still had enough time to explore some typical Irish pubs and enjoy the live music culture that seems to be everywhere.
The trip to Ireland was also an excellent opportunity for the part-time students to really get to know each other and bring some exciting impressions home with them.