Your Ireland To-Do List

By Lauren Ponsi

Photo credit: Photo by Madelon 🇫🇷

 

Your bags are packed, visa in hand and you’re off to start a new adventure in Ireland. Going to a new country can be a little bit scary and maybe even a little overwhelming. But, you’ve already made the biggest leap by taking a gap year.  Taking a gap year allows you to transition from tourist to local and after spending almost a year in Dublin, here are my tips and tricks to a year in Ireland

 

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone.

A big city with a small town feel

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone. Utilize social media to find out what’s happening within the city.  If you’re like me you want to find the Instagram worthy hot spots. I like to use the explore page on Instagram to find different places to go.  You can find great brunch spots, or those little coffee shops that wouldn’t pop up on your average tourist guides. Also, the events tab on Facebook is another great way to find what’s happening in Dublin.  This allows you to filter by where you’re living or even by your interests.

My favourite Instagram finds:

The Jar: Bottomless pizza on Sundays

Eat Yard: Food Truck like spot

Platform 61:  Insta worthy brunch

The Comedy Crunch: Free comedy show (with free ice cream) at the Stags Head

The George:  Amazing Drag shows

 

 

Photo credit: Adam Markon

‘Round the Island

With the whole country the same size of the state of Indiana, it’s not hard to get out of Dublin for a day.  Ireland is made of 26 counties and 6 counties part of Northern Ireland. Each county is unique to one another and you’ll find that such a small country is full of so much culture.  There are tons of day tours that will take you to the popular hotspots around the country. But, the public transportation around Ireland is also really simple to use. You can get to most places by bus or rail and sometimes just getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city is relaxing.

My Favourites:

Cork & Blarney Castle: Get the gift of gab and make sure to pick up some fresh finds at the English Market in Cork

Galway & The Cliffs: Travel along the Wild Atlantic way and see the breathtaking views of the west coast of Ireland

Belfast & Northern Ireland: layered with troubled past and Irish folklore. And fun for you fans of Game of Throne fans.

 

Photo credit: Cathal Mac an Bheatha

A Hop, jump and skip Away

Centrally located, Ireland makes traveling mainland Europe super convenient. Dublin is the home to budget airline RyanAir which you will have a love-hate relationship by the end of your gap year.  Utilize RyanAir’s frequent sales to travel on the weekends. With most destinations being no more than an hour to two away you can find yourself wandering the streets of a new city on a Saturday and be back in Dublin by Sunday afternoon.  At the beginning of your gap year create a list of all of your dream countries and cities to see, then list out your bank holidays (three day weekends). Bank Holidays are the perfect weekends to schedule that weekender away. I personally like to use flight and travel apps on my phone to set alerts on certain flights for bank holiday weekends.

My Favourites:

Skyscanner: Finds the cheapest flights available and allows price alerts

Hopper: Predicts the best time to book flights

EuropeWSA: plans guided and unguided weekend tours (great if you’re lazy at planning like me)

Now, this is only a peek into what to do on a gap year. Ultimately, the year is what you make it and the possibilities are endless.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you possibly never imagined. Transform from being that lost tourist to that knowledgeable local.  

The Gap Year Balance

Blog by Lauren Ponsi (picture credit: JESHOOTS.COM)

 

The working holiday visa comes with immense benefits compared to regular travel. You get 365 days of living AND working in Ireland all while having fun, making memories diving into Irish culture.  In order to survive your working holiday, you have to find that that work-play balance that is ideal to you.

 

Work balance

Most likely the first thing you’re going to do once you land in Ireland is start job hunting. Think about what your goals and budget are.  For me, I registered with a few employment agencies, started off with temporary job assignments. This put me at working 35-40 hours a week Monday through Friday. This fit my goals and budget because I made enough money to pay rent, travel every so often as well as go experience the Dublin social life.  I had weekends off to travel, go out for the occasional Tuesday night trad session and even enjoyed take away a few times a week. This is what worked for my lifestyle within reason, I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

FYI: If you know you hate mornings and sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day will drive you crazy, then temp jobs won’t be your thing. Dublin is such a diverse city, there are all kinds of jobs you can apply for. You don’t want your gap year ruined because you’re at a job that is not on par with your expectations.

 

Photo credit:  Angela Compagnone

 

 

Ballin on a Budget

Along with your gap year expectations, comes the price tag. When you’re thinking about the lifestyle you enjoy and the goals you want to accomplish in the year think about how much things cost.  Create a budget for yourself, what are the things that you can’t live without, how much do you need to save for travel and what are those extras you can forgo. Plan out the trips you want to take in advance, this way you can pay a little at a time or put extra cash away each paycheck. Also, Ireland likes to give everyone a little 3 day weekend every now and then called bank holidays. Utilize these to your advantage because it’s a free paid day off in most Monday to Friday jobs.   

 

Budgets are a good habit to get into, and it helps you become aware of how you’re spending your money. If I want to do more traveling I will maybe limit my take away and cook more, or skip out on that Wednesday after work drinks event. And that is a great benefit to taking a gap year, you don’t necessarily have to be go-go-go all the time. It’s fine to take a weekend off to save a little extra for that beach trip next bank holiday weekend.

 

Photo credit: Jess Watters

 

 

Work Hard Play Harder

So we all aren’t going on a gap year to strictly work, of course,  we want to meet new people and jump right into the Irish culture. The Stint Gap Year Program is a great way to kick-start your year in Ireland.  Before you even land in the country you’re already being linked with people on the same path with their Facebook community. Here you get the chance to make friends and find those who are similar interests as you.  With Stint, you’re never alone and there will always be someone who would be interested in doing stuff with you.

 

Along with Stint, there are so many social applications such as MeetUp, GirlCrew and the Facebook Events section are a few of my favorites because it allows me to filter by interests. You can find weekly hiking groups or what events are going on that week in the community and even get involved with some locals.

 

Photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz

 

A working holiday gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow into a new culture. You create an everyday life in a new country and can find yourself amongst the locals. Find the balance the perfect balance of travel, work, and friends to create the best year ever. Interested in hearing more about The Gap Year Program? Fill out a super-short form and we will give you all the infomation you need. 

Considering A Graduate Program?

Graduate school can seem a little intimidating. You’ve just spent the guts of FOUR long years doing your undergrad. The thoughts of more all-nighters, increased student loans, and a pretty competitive jobs market- boo!

What if there was an option that was lower in cost, took less time and came with some pretty sweet perks…sounds too good to be true?! Well, it’s not. Here’s why you should consider a graduate program in Ireland.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Timeframe…

Time is money and money is being able to get that guacamole on your burrito, win/win! You’ve spent at least FOUR years as an undergraduate, the thoughts of two, three or even four more years to gain a masters degree is killer right?! Fear not- most graduate programs in Ireland take one or two years maximum. Short and sweet!

 

Cost…

Program costs can vary depending on the course and university, average costs are between $10,000- $20,000 per year which is significantly lower than in the US (medical based graduate programs can be higher). Sidenote: you will also have the ability to earn some cash while you study, more on that next. 

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Opportunities…

Employment

You will also have the ability to work while you study! Those on graduate programs are permitted to work 20hrs (part-time) per week during university terms and up to 40hrs (full-time) during the holidays. Graduates can also avail of an extension of up to 24 months after their program finishes. Currently, graduates with skills in STEM, Accountancy, and Law are in high demand. 

Resumè boost

Your resumè will get a big ol’ boost too. Graduate school alone looks good on your resume, but graduate school abroad looks even better. This shows employers you’ve super skills in areas such as maturity, working/learning in a diverse setting, and much more.

Language barriers

Embarking on a graduate program in Spain or Italy sounds A-MAZ-ING, until you realize that language can be a huge barrier. Let’s not beat around the bush here, settling into a new city and school can be stressful enough. As English is the spoken language in Ireland, you won’t have to worry about a language barrier…just make sure you know all about having the “craic” and a cuppa “tae”.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Experience…

Away from the classroom, the experience will be awesome! Live in a new city, immerse yourself into local culture, connect with people from all walks of life and take the opportunity to travel across Europe too. Weekend hop to places like London, Edinburgh, Barcelona, and Paris with cheap flights from Dublin airport.

 

Bet you still have a million thoughts and questions!

If you’re worried about financing your studies, check out this helpful how to get scholarships to study abroad blog.

There are programs that can help with the application, arriving and settling in process. The Stint Ireland Graduate Program which is in partnership with UCD, one of Europe’s top universities, offers a program packed will all the support you will need to help you get set up and settled into life in Dublin.

Why Dublin, Ireland?

Stint Ireland Director Melanie McDowell recently took some time to discuss the working holiday (gap year) visa to Ireland. Currently, there is a real opportunity for graduates to obtain employment in Ireland, especially those with qualifications within the financial and legal industries. Melanie explains all things gap year and how the application process can be easy with the right support.

What is the working holiday visa?

The Working Holiday Visa allows recent American graduates to come to Ireland to live and work for a full year, and for young Canadians (up to 30 yrs) to come for two years.

 

Currently, there is a huge opportunity for those with university qualifications in areas such as finance and law

 

What are the benefits of taking a gap year in Ireland?

Ireland is a great place to take a Working Holiday given the thriving job market in Dublin. There are diverse work opportunities in professional sectors like legal and finance, as well as more creative areas like marketing, and graphic design.  Being English speaking, jobs are really available in any area. Currently, there is a huge opportunity for those with university qualifications in areas such as finance and law. Employers are willing to pay approximately €15-€18 per hour. We connect graduates with our employment partner before they arrive in Ireland, this provides the opportunity to network and connect with the right opportunities. Outside of work, Dublin makes a great base for exploring Ireland and Europe. 

 

(Some of our gap year Stinters enjoying Dublin)
 Why would you recommend for recent grads/grads to apply?
I remember feeling a bit lost after graduation and under a lot of pressure to find a successful career fit without really knowing what I wanted to do.  The decision to travel to Cape Town and find work there was one of the best decisions of my life.  Far from delaying my career path, it really set me on my way.  I think the opportunity to travel and work abroad is fantastic and can hugely help set you on your way, whatever way that may be!
How can someone apply to Stint?

Applying to Stint is easy.  Just submit an enquiry on our website and one of our team will be in touch to set up a call to answer all your questions. We are a small program and really like to get to know all of our Stinters individually.

Through Their Eyes: An Experience in Ireland

Most of our Intern Abroad Stinters (program participants) come to Ireland for up to 90 days. While that may seem like a short period of time (like…Christmas was almost 6 months ago!), 2-3 months is a lifetime when it comes to an abroad experience.

 

It’s unbelievable all the things our Stinters do in that short period of time: taking part in a full-time internship, traveling Ireland and Europe, exploring Dublin, and hanging out with their fellow Stinters.

Read More

7 Quirky Things To Do In Dublin This Summer

Dublin is a city with a host of traditional tourist attractions. But when you want something different, where do you start? Has Dublin got a funky bone? Knowing the feeling all too well, we got our thinking caps on. And did we think of things!! So when the mood strikes you why not try one of our quirky finds in Dublin’s bizarre but wonderful city. Trust us, it’s going to be super fun.

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TUGS 2015 in Ireland (Part 1): Floral Garlands, Straw Hats, and Wellies… It’s Music Festival Season!

When the weather gets warmer, the people flock to the beaches, seaside villages, and, most importantly, festivals.

 

Festivals are a big thing in Ireland. In fact, you can go to a festival a week in the summer (see: The 28 Irish Festivals…). With so much choice, where do you start? Luckily, we’ve been to a few. And we love them! There’s just something magical about festivals; they’re a weekend escape to another world, a wonderland where everyone is looking to have fun, relax, and enjoy themselves.

 

Without further ado, here are our recommendations… 

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The Ultimate Guide to Summer 2015 in Ireland (TUGS 2015 in Ireland)

May 1, the date of the traditional Bealtaine festival, marked the official first day of the summer in Ireland.

 

For all the grumblings you’ll hear about the Irish weather, summer in Ireland is perhaps some of the most picture perfect days you can spend on Earth. It’s nary too hot and never too muggy; you won’t find yourself sweating profusely the moment you exit your apartment, that’s for sure. However, don’t underestimate the Irish sun. Ready your shades and sunscreen before a chill-out session in the Iveagh Gardens or a cliff walk around Howth.

 

So you’ve done the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, and all the other “touristy” things in your first week in Dublin. With this “ultimate” guide (as all guides claim to be on the internet), we’ll be showing you other sides of Dublin and Ireland. Enjoy!

 

Part 1: Floral Garlands, Straw Hats, and Wellies… It’s Music Festival Season!

Part 2: Coming soon…

 

 

Stay tuned! There’s much more to come!

 

Made In Ireland: Happenings And Building Community With Socially-responsible Cultural Events

Made in Ireland is a series by Stint Ireland highlighting the best Ireland has to offer, whether it’s an exciting new Irish business you should know about, an individual with ambitions of changing the world, or an organization that hopes to transform the way people interact by running socially-responsible cultural events in public spaces at a low cost to the event-goers and the environment. In this episode, we interview Peter O’Brien, founder of an organization called Happenings that does just that.

 


This episode of Made in Ireland was released in conjunction with week two of our “I Dream of Ireland” campaign, celebrating the amazing country of Ireland!