The following is a piece written by Ms. Ingyeong Choi, winner of the Ireland Korea essay competition about her month in Ireland. We would like to take a chance to thank our sponsors, Etihad Airways, Emerald Cultural language Institute in Dublin and the Embassy of Ireland, Korea and Listowel Writers’ Week for their continued support.
Winning the Ireland Korea essay competition was one of the luckiest things that has happened to me this year. I spent one month in Dublin as the prize.
For the first two weeks, I had hard time getting used to the longer daytime of June in Ireland. It was bright from 5 a.m. till 10 p.m. I usually cannot wake up in the morning without an alarm, but the early sunshine opened my eyes automatically. Besides jetlag, that made me keep yawning during the English class in the Emerald Cultural institute, for some time.
My daily routine in Dublin was attending the Emerald Cultural Institute, a language school, which was part of the prize. What I was looking forward to was meet diverse people from around the world and I did. There were a lot of students who had different reasons to study English: a French surgeon, a Venezuelan official, English teacher from the Czech Republic and Italy, students from Japan, Uruguay, Brazil, Russia, and Spain. Could I imagine conversing with someone from Latin America, before leaving Korea? It was exciting to share ideas in English with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
I took two classes in the mornings, grammar and conversation. The teachers were experienced and gave out interesting topics to discuss. In the afternoon, I participated in an extra conversation class, where I freely talked in a smaller group.
During the classes I learned that I needed to learn more vocabulary and natural English expressions. One month study was not enough time to perfect my English, but the time left me eager to keep practicing English. Learning a language was never-ending, I thought.
On weekends, I went on trips outside Dublin, short excursions to Dun Laoghaire and the Wicklow Mountains. Also, I went on day tours to the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway. It was possible to travel from Dublin to the west coast or to the north end within a day. The prevailing scenes outside Dublin were so green. Indeed, I was in the Emerald isle.
The memorable scenes in the Dublin city were street artists and buskers. There was always music in the Grafton street and the Temple bar. The buskers are from a teenage boy to an old man. The music ranged from modern rock to harp melody. The street musicians made up a unique vibe in Dublin.
Also, pubs. There were pubs everywhere in Dublin. In the wooden interior, with nice music, drinks, and some good company, pubs are perfect places where you can feel alive.
I had heard a lot about Guinness before visiting Ireland, but I didn’t know Irish butter was so good. I found that Irish butter was superb. My host mother proudly said that it was because Irish butter was fresh.
It is difficult to generalize people of a country, but I had an impression that Irish people liked to dance. On a Saturday night, there was an old man singing and playing the guitar on the Temple bar. An Irish girl jumped in front of him and started to dance. She was quite a good dancer and people around started to sway to the music too. Once, on the Henry Street, I saw a pair of girls dancing to the street music in the middle of the day. Once, in a pub too. I guess good music brings some moves from people, but I witnessed it more often in Dublin.
I think I will always recall Dublin with its buskers. Ireland had many charms. The one month I spent there was stimulating. I felt one month was too short.
At the Emerald Cultural Institute with teacher Desmond
Landscapes of Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher
The Giant’s Causeway
On the way to Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland
Seafood chowder& bread and butter
Irish coffee has whisky and thick cream in it
Guinness beef pie & some chicken dish
Leprechaun on the Grafton street