New Traditions, New People

“What can I say—life is good.” This is the general go-to answer I’ve employed every time a friend asks me how my year in Ireland is going. It is a concise and fitting description most definitely. In the last couple of months I have run the Dublin marathon; traveled to Germany, Turkey, and England; and spoken in debates hosted by the Hist, a college debate society that is considered one of the oldest in the world (dating back to 1770) and which was founded by one of the world’s most famous political philosophers (and TCD alum), Edmund Burke.

Indeed, this is shaping up to be an excellent year in between my undergraduate and law school educations. The opportunity to experience a new country and culture over such a long period is one I’d never experienced until now, and an opportunity for which I am incredibly grateful.

Ever a creature of habit, I have developed a couple of traditions already, with hopefully more to come, helping me acclimate to my new life on the Emerald Isle. Every Sunday when I am in Dublin I have come to eat a Full-Irish breakfast, usually at the Beanhive Café on Dawson Street. Though Grafton Stret and Bewley’s Café are the touristier locations, nothing beats the Beanhive Full Irish (see photo below). I’ve also taken to happily strolling around St. Stephen’s Green on sunny days, and attending (if not speaking) in the Hist debates that take place every Wednesday. Debate topics thus far have included euthanasia, the merits of capitalism, and the Northern Ireland peace process—important and controversial topics!

But even more important than these habits and traditions, I have found the single greatest part of this year to be the new relationships I am forming with my fellow Mitchell Scholars and new Irish friends. Over countless drinks in the pub, meals out on Tuesday (our usual Dublin gathering day), and formal Mitchell get-togethers, I feel as though I am certainly gaining some new steadfast friends. I look forward to the Thanksgiving gathering scheduled for next week (for the chance to get the gang together as well as for the food of course). While I will most certainly miss my family back home in Cincinnati on this day (it will be my first Thanksgiving not with them), it will be comforting to spend the annual feast and give thanks with a wonderful group of people, all of whom have much to be tremendously grateful for.

I imagine by the time I write my next blog post I will have even more traditions to recount from my time in Dublin and even more new friends to mention. What’s more, I hope to continue to use this year as an opportunity to travel, around Dublin and Europe, and thus anticipate having anecdotes from new countries and locales. But, as of now, there seems to be no fitter ending than that with which I started—“What can I say—life is good.”

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