Emilee’s Guide to Studying Abroad

It’s been a little over a month since my time in Dublin ended, and ever since I’ve been home, I’ve been scrolling through my photos from this past year to remember all of the exciting times I had. While doing so, I was so shocked by how much of a different person I was from when I first started the program to where I am now. It reminded me of how, in the beginning, there were a lot of things I had to figure out on my own, especially as I had never traveled outside of the U.S. before. Thus, what I figured I should do for my last blog post, is a guide for those who are about to study abroad and may have some questions that they can’t find by doing a simple Google search. Most of this will be specific to Dublin, but some will be more general information. Regardless, here’s some information I wish I knew before studying abroad, which I hope can be of help to those who may have the same questions!


The Necessities

Cell phone service: Everyone has a different U.S. plan, so evidently you have to figure out what works best for you. With my cell phone plan (I have Verizon), it was much cheaper for me to buy a physical Irish sim card rather than pay for Verizon’s monthly international plan. When I first landed, I paid for the Verizon international plan so that I would have data when I arrived, but one of my first few days there I visited a bunch of cell providers and asked for their different SIM only plans. My phone plan in Ireland was 30 euros a month through Three mobile, and it had more than enough data than I needed, both in Ireland and internationally. I recommend asking around and comparing different cellular plans, because (unbeknownst to me at first) some of them offer student discounts for SIM only plans. But note, if you have an iPhone 14 or later, you may only be able to use eSIMs, which means you may have to open an Irish bank account if you want an Irish phone plan. One of my friends had this issue, but instead of going through that process, he found it cheaper to buy a used phone and pay for that plan. I think there are apps you can find to purchase eSIMs through, but I don’t know enough about that to recommend it.

Budgeting: I’m probably going to give you the exact same answer that everyone else does. Obviously, how much money you spend and should save depends on your lifestyle. However, the new information I can provide is some insight into the general amount that some necessities cost. For groceries, Lidl and Dunnes will be your best friends. The first few weeks were when I spent the most amount of money, as that was when I was buying all of my kitchen supplies, bedding and toiletries. Set aside more money for your first two months than you’ll need for the rest of the year (in my opinion). Everyone will spend different amounts of money to buy different things, but I had weekly grocery runs span anywhere from 17 euros to 60 euros, depending on what I was making and what I already had in my kitchen. For my Trinity folks, if you want to save on poultry, go to Stephen’s on Meath Street. For laundry, the cheapest load in our accommodation was 7.30 euros. So, use that to gauge how much you’ll be spending depending on how often you wash your clothes.

Getting your IRP Card: This is the card that, if you’re staying for more than 3 months in Ireland, you need to be a legal resident. I’m sure that there’s already been a lot of information given to you guys about what documents you will need and how much the IRP card is, so I won’t repeat all of that. What I will say is a) make sure that you have all of those documents printed and b) to make the appointment as soon as you possibly can. Once all of the full-time international students come into Ireland for the start of school, those appointments will be near impossible to get before your 90-day grace period is over. This website has some more information, including the phone number that you need to call in order to make the appointment at the Immigration Office. There’s a rumor that you can only call the number from an Irish phone, but I’m not sure we had any issues with that.

Getting your Leap Card: So the main mode of public transportation throughout Dublin is the bus system. There is a tram called the LUAS, however if you’re going to and from Trinity and accommodation (if you’re living where we did this past year), the bus is your best bet. In order to ride the buses, there are two methods of payment: cash in exact change, or a Leap card. During your orientation week at Trinity, chances are they will give you incorrect information about getting a Leap card. The Leap card that you should get to save you money will be a Young Adult Leap card, which you can only get by going online and shipping it to your accommodation. The Student Leap card is for Master’s or PhD students, so you won’t be eligible for that one. The Young Adult Leap card has significantly cheaper fares than adult fares, however if you don’t want to wait for it to be shipped, you can buy an Adult Leap card from most convenience stores and pay the normal fare. 


What to pack

Outlets: I highly highly recommend getting this adapter from Amazon. It’s a universal adapter, so you can plug in your wire and then use the adapter to be plugged into any type of socket for any country. Plus, it comes with 4 USB ports, so it’s really easy to charge more than one device. If you’re packing hair dryers, you’ll need a converter. But honestly, I would recommend buying one in Ireland for saving space in your suitcase and not risking an accidental fuse blow out.

Clothes: Pack light. When we first arrived, it was still summer/spring weather for the first few months, and then it got colder. So I would recommend packing versatile clothes, ones that you can layer and mix and match for multiple outfits. Pack comfortable sneakers, because you’ll be doing a lot of walking, especially ones that will handle a lot of rain well. Definitely pack a raincoat, maybe rain boots, but other than that you don’t stress too much about what you’ll need. If you forget something or realize you need an item of clothing, go to your nearest Dunnes or Penney’s and you’ll find what you need.

Medications: As I’m sure you know from the pre-arrival information, a 3 month supply is the legal limit you can bring abroad. Do some research to find out if all of your prescriptions are available in Ireland, which I recommend doing by reaching out to International SOS insurance that we have and asking them how to get more prescriptions when you run out. Also, pharmacies in Dublin are amazing, as the pharmacists help you figure out what you need if you describe your symptoms, like if you’re ever nauseous or have a cold.


General information and advice for Trinity/Dublin

  • Buy all of your bedding and kitchen supplies once you land. Do not!!! order one of those college supply kits that you may see ads for, because they won’t arrive on time, you’ll have to pay a lot of money on customs if it’s shipping from outside the country, and you can get better quality stuff for cheaper at Dunnes.
  • The Liberties, where we stayed, is truly such an amazing part of the city. My favorite coffee shop with the nicest people was right across the street, Meath Street has the best poultry, meat, and produce markets, and there are countless pubs and bars that have such fun events and atmospheres. Explore the area, sit on the grass at St Patrick’s Park, and enjoy experiencing the neighborhood outside of city centre. 
  • Sign up for the societies (clubs) that really interest you the most. It’s a great way to meet new people, and a lot of them also host pub nights after an event which is great for socializing. Try something new, as it’ll help expand your horizons (and make for a great ICIP topic!). The food and drink club is one that you should join not just for the events, but for the membership card that gets you discounts to a bunch of places around the city.
  • Apps that will make your life easier: Leap Top-Up app is how you can add money to your Leap Card in such a convenient way. TooGood2Go is a meal saving app where restaurants will put up meal bags for really cheap, so you’ll get a discounted meal but may not pick exactly what you want. Google maps is the best for making lists of places you want to go and pinning the different locations. Blackboard is the Canvas of Trinity, so this app allows you to see everything on your phone. Whatsapp is the main source of communication for everyone, that way you don’t use up your monthly texting and calling limit.
  • If you can, try your best to snag a ticket for TBall. Trinity Ball (TBall) is the end of the year music festival held on campus for students, in which the entire campus is shut down and stages are constructed to host different artists. 
  • Walk around a BUNCH and try different things! Dublin has so much to offer, from amazing restaurants, fun pubs and clubs, and amazing concerts. However, Ireland also has much more than just Dublin. The rail tickets that take you all over the country only cost 8 euros with a Young Adult Leap card, so definitely take advantage of that. My favorite day trip was to take the DART from the station near Trinity to Howth, which has the best seafood, an amazing cliff walk, and is an easy escape from the city.
  • Go to as many of the Holy Cross hosted events as you can!! Our cultural advisors are truly the best and planned such fun events, so make the most of it!!


Okay, I know that this was really long and didn’t have any fun pictures or whatnot. But, I hope that this can be a useful guide and can provide some helpful information! Ultimately, the best thing you can do is to throw yourself fully into the experience and explore the wonderful city. If you have any questions or want some recommendations, feel free to shoot me an email at earori25@g.holycross.edu, but I definitely recommend doing some exploring to find your own places. Have the best time ever, and I hope you enjoyed following along my study abroad journey!

Beyond the City, Across the Country!

Welcome back everyone!

Hope you enjoyed my piece about my favorite lunches in the city, there are a lot of great eats in Dublin. However, speaking of great eats, there are plenty more outside of the city. One county deemed the “Food Capital of Ireland” is Cork, which I had the pleasure of visiting this past November. I went for a long weekend to visit my good friend and fellow Study Abroad Blogger Erin O’Donovan, and she made sure to give me such an amazing tour of both Cork and the surrounding towns. When I first arrived, we got some delicious food at her favorite cafe and she showed me around the gorgeous University College Cork campus. We also walked around the city and through the infamous Marina Market Cork, which had endless food vendors, living up to the city’s nickname. Beyond the city, we traveled around the southernmost part of Ireland, first stopping at Kinsale (the cutest town ever) before making our way to Old Head, which is located at the edge of the town. It was a great way to get away from the city and catch some beautiful views of the blue Celtic Sea. Later that weekend, We went to the Blarney Castle to kiss the lucky Blarney Stone, and met up with some of our Holy Cross friends for a meal.

Now, one of my first trips outside of Dublin last semester was to Galway, on the complete opposite coast of Ireland. Right on the water, beaches everywhere, and home of the infamous Claddagh ring, there is so much to see and do. It was about a 3 hour train ride from the city, and my friends and I planned it as a spontaneous day trip the day before we went. We first stopped at the center of the city and walked around the market that was selling amazing arts and local food. Next on our list: obtaining our Claddagh rings. The original store famous for creating the rings is called Thomas Dillon Claddagh, right in the heart of the city. However, for college students on a budget, their prices did not quite match ours. So we found an amazing family run store that sold them for a much better price, called the Claddagh and Celtic Jewellery Company. After that, we got some tea at a restaurant called The Secret Garden, which was a perfect recommendation from some friends. We also walked to South Park, which was right along the water and had beautiful views. Next time I go to Galway, I’m definitely hitting the Aran Islands.

So I’ve been to the south coast of Ireland, west coast of Ireland, and recently made my way to Northern Ireland, as one major area on my bucket list was to hit Giant’s Causeway. Two weeks ago, two of my friends joined me on a lovely weekend trip up to Belfast, making good use of our Bank Holiday weekend. We spent the first day walking around the city by visiting the Botanical Gardens, learning about the Titanic (as it was built in Belfast), and grabbing food at the different markets around the city. If you ever get the chance to try the Belfast Bap, make sure you have an empty stomach and are not planning a major meal for the rest of the day. It is a delicious, but very filling, sandwich. After exploring the city, we took the next day to adventure up all the way to the top of the island through a tour that took us along the coast all the way to Giant’s Causeway. This was one of the most beautiful areas I think I’ve ever been to and highly recommend anyone to go if given the chance. With whipping winds and crashing waves along crazy cliffs, you understand why the area is as famous as it is.

Now, I can’t finish this blog post without talking about my favorite spot outside of Dublin City. Back on the east coast of Ireland, still in County Dublin but only a 30 minute DART ride from the city, is Howth. Over the years, this seaside town has become a lot more popular, as it is known for the stunning cliff walk that takes you around the town with beautiful views of the ocean. I’ve yet to do the entire cliff walk, but I’ve been about three times thus far and look forward to the next time I go. When I need to get away from the city, or want to eat fish and chips while looking at the water, this is my go to spot. There’s also a super cute market right by the train station with vintage jewelry and delicious food I highly recommend checking out. Howth is a great place to go if you need to escape the city feel for a few hours and get some gorgeous seaside views, plus a great way to see the sunrise.

As much as I love Dublin and will continue to praise it in my other blogs, there is so much to see and do beyond the city, especially along the coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Thanks for reading about my coastal adventures all around the island!


Until Next Time,


The Dublin Diaries: Cheap Student Lunches

One of the best parts about living in a major city is getting to try a bunch of food. The beauty of going to Trinity is that the school is located in the heart of Dublin, which means that finding good food is no challenge. However, finding good food that fits into the budget of a student provides a challenge. Therefore, I decided to accumulate a list of some of my favorite cheap eats as a student, with the focus mostly being on good lunch food for in between classes.


MAJOR TIP: Join the Food & Drink Society. This society comes with a membership card that includes a bunch of discounts at restaurants and to-go spots all around campus. Helps with that student budget a lot!


Prime area on the list: Dawson Street.  One of the best locations for takeway lunch food right across from the Trinity Arts Building.

Starting off at my personal favorite spot: Carluccio’s. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I literally do not eat anywhere else. Every semester weekday from 12pm-2pm you can get a regular box of pasta for 5.50 or a large for 8.50.  It’s a Trinity staple, as the line is always out the door and you will see almost half of the students in the Arts building walking and eating their box of pasta during lunch time.

Picture of the speck pasta from Carluccio's
Carluccio’s, the love of my life

Next up: Tang. Perfect place to grab the most delicious Middle Eastern flatbreads (aka burritos) or salads for such an affordable price. My go-to is the chicken flatbread with regular hummus, all of their toppings (pickles, onions, lettuce, etc.), and tzatziki sauce. Perfect to hold while walking, but you will definitely want napkins to wipe up the sauce.

Picture of my spicy taco bowl from sprout
Spicy bean taco bowl from Sprout & Co.


And the final lunch stop on Dawson: Sprout & Co. One of the more healthier options, with delicious salads and bowls made from fresh ingredients. It’s super easy to place an order for pickup, and if you use the monthly food and drink code you get 15% off.



Next up are some of my favorite spots near campus but not on Dawson, as it doesn’t hurt to walk a little for good food.

First up: Mama’s Revenge. You know the craving you get for a burrito every once in a while? When you desperately need a giant meal in one go? This is the spot to hit. They use the best ingredients they can find for delicious burritos, and if you show your student card you get a free drink with purchase.

A bereal of me with my burrito from Mama's Revenge
A burrito Bereal

Next issss The Pig and Heifer. As a New York native, I was very skeptical when my friends suggested that we go to this New York Style deli. However, I decided to take a chance, and I am very glad that I did. Although it is not a true New York deli, the sandwiches are unbelievably delicious and hit the spot every time.

A picture of the Pig and Heifer menu
The Pig & Heifer menu!




Finally, the true Trinity staple: KC Peaches. This chain has multiple locations right around campus, always flocked with Trinity students. The lunch options here are various, satiating any craving you may have. They have salad bars, hot foods, bowls, soups, and pastries if you’re not feeling very hungry. In general, all students get 10% off here, but if you’re a member of the Trinity food & drink society, you get 12% off.


Finally, it would be remiss of me if I did not mention the on campus eateries I have experienced (although I believe you can find much better off campus for the same price).

The Buttery and the Dining Hall: two great options serving the same food for all Trinity students to enjoy. They have daily meals, and if you load up your student card with money you get 10% off your purchase!

The Perch: In the Arts building (which is where most of my classes are), this cafe also has a meal deal where you can get a sandwich, chips, and drink for 7.50, which is a great deal when you don’t want to leave the building.


Alas, those are not all of my food recommendations, just the lunch takeaway ones. But do not fret, as there will be more to come soon. For the time being, however, you now have a cheat sheet for the best lunches in Dublin for Trinity students on a budget!

Eat your little heart out,