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4 posts from February 2011


Working and Walking in Dublin!

By Roxanne Kalenborn

So I went to my first day of my internship, and I think it's safe to say it will be an interesting semester.  The building I'll be working in half my time is in a neighborhood called Begger’s Bush where the Natural History Museum holds their 2.5 million artifacts that aren't currently on exhibition.  Yes, that figure is correct.  I know, right?  They house the collection in an old army barracks built in the 1830s. 


My supervisor, Nigel the "Keeper," or Curator, of Collections, is a lovely grandfatherly sort of guy and we spent the majority of my first day just "rummaging around" in the collection as he put it, which was really cool because he gave me a tour of all the rooms in the morning and then I tagged along when he gave a group of Trinity students a tour in the afternoon.  I was so surprised when he let the 20 students who were all about my age literally rummage through the collections, encouraging them to open cabinets and open drawers and pick up collection pieces.  Because my previous collections experiences have been to treat artifacts and objects like they're made out of glass that will shatter if you even look at them in the wrong way; I couldn't bring myself to touch anything, but I'm sure I'll soon get used to picking up taxidermy birds and dodobones like it's just any old thing and I've been doing it every day of my life.


Another aspect of my work environment I really enjoy are tea breaks.  Tea breaks are a wonderful invention where everyone (the eight people on staff) stop whatever they're doing at 11 am and 4 pm and take a half hour break together in the little staff room and drink wonderful black tea with milk and sugar, or gross instant coffee, whatever floats your boat, but I bet you can't guess which one I drink.  They all eat lunch together as well, and they talk and gossip and comment on the day's news or the weather or both, and I like it.  I saw so many things in the collections, all of them interesting/freakish in it's own special way.  Here's a short list of some of the artifacts I saw and will soon be working with: Dodo skeleton (last of 20 in the world), bag of woolly mammoth hair, monkey skull with braces on it, more kinds of pickled fish and mammals than you can shake a stick at, random dinosaur bones, a room full of 17,000 birds in pull out drawers, the zebra whose stripes have faded to brown, tanks of preserving chemicals big enough to fit a small shark in (and surprise! that's exactly what's in there!), and a room full of animal skulls from various livestock.  So. You know, just the sort of normal everyday things I usually run across during the course of a day.


Anyway, last weekend I went with a couple of people from my program to the small coastal village of Howth (pronounced Hoe-th) which is about 45 minutes away from Dublin by train and is only about 2 euro for fare, which is nice.  It's easy to forget that Dublin is so close to the sea and even has it's own bay, but to really see the water it's nice to go out of the city.  Near the train station there were market stalls set up with food, used books, and the typical farmers market fare you'll find at most small adorable markets anywhere.  We walked up to see the views from a golf resort and tried not to look like riff-raff while we stood on their manicured green and took pictures.  Then we hiked back down and walked along the sea wall and I tried to hide my absolute terror from the others of falling off the ledge we stood on.  I think I did an ok job of it, as evidenced in the last picture below.


Welcome To Georgian Dublin

One of the great things about Dublin is that you will always find interesting things to do. They can be educational things or cultural things or just fun things, but opportunities for either fun or education are always there. Last Friday, I invited our students to join me for a Walking Tour of Georgian Dublin. It was a really good Spring day with the sun high in the sky and a great atmosphere in the city due to the upcoming rugby game with Scotland!!


Georgian Dublin is a term used to describe a historic period in the development of the city of from 1714 (the beginning of the reign of King George I of Great Britain and of Ireland) to the death, in 1830, of King George IV.  This term covers a particular and unified architectural style, derived from Palladian Architecture, which was used in erecting public and private buildings during the 18th century. Our group took the opportunity to get some interesting photos. We hope you enjoy them.

The Georgian Doors of Dublin
Dublin was, for much of its existence a medieval city, marked by the existence of a particular style of buildings, built on narrow winding medieval streets.  Major changes to this pattern occurred during the reign of King Charles II when his representative in Ireland, the Earl of Ormonde, issued an instruction to clean up the city.

The city had grown up around the River Liffey.  Its buildings, as in many other medieval centres, backed onto the river allowing for the dumping of household waste directly into the river. The river became a collective sewer.


Ormonde insisted that the frontages of the houses should face the river, with a street to run along each river bank.  These streets, known as “Quays“, became a central feature of the city and were lined by large three and four storey private houses and public buildings.

The Mansion House - The Lord Mayors Residence in Dublin at Christmas.  A very typical Georgian House.
A new body called the Wide Streets Commission was created to remodel the old medieval city. It created a network of main thoroughfares by wholesale demolition or widening of old streets or the creation of entirely new ones.

Grafton St Busking  - all day everyday !!
While the rebuilding by the Wide Streets Commission changed the streetscape in Dublin, a property boom led to additional building outside the central core. Unlike twentieth century building booms in Dublin the eighteenth century developments were carefully controlled.

The Thin Lizzy – Phil Lynnott Statue

The developing areas were divided into precincts, each of which was given to a different developer. The scope of their developments were restricted, however, with strict controls imposed on style of residential building, design of buildings and location, so producing a cohesive unity that came to be called Georgian Dublin.

In a few weeks time we will all be taking part in the St Patrick’s Day Festival!!


Talk Soon!!!

-Don Niall


Welcome to Dublin

Hello all and welcome to the CIEE Dublin Center blog. It’s good to be able to tell you about what’s going on in Dublin.

Dublin 1 

An essential part of our program here involves a series of site visits to places of interest to the tourist and local alike. Last week was the first of our weekend visits.

We walked the ‘old’ city of Dublin at the weekend taking in the lesser known but important sites of Viking and Norman Dublin. With the remnants of the olds wall and visits to churches, Castles and their surround grounds we got a good flavour of the medieval parts of the city.

Dublin was a small settlement taken built by Viking and subsequently overtaken by the Normans – who didn’t necessarily invaded but were rather invited! We are the land of a hundred thousand welcomes after all.

Dublin 2 

The city was alive with music and visitors, Ireland was due to play France in rugby the next day so there was a colourful atmosphere – the anti-climax being the French victory L

Dublin 3 

We toured up along the old city past City Hall through the grounds of Dublin Castle. We stand in the gardens of the black pool where once water flowed, this is where Dublin gets its name - Dubh Linn.

We skirted along the walls of Dublin Castle and around St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral. Evidence of Norman settlement and the later English colonisation was plain to see. We stood at the site of Viking settlements covered by new developments, a tragedy of poor planning laws. We circled around by the old gates of the city and back towards St. Audeon’s Church, a fine example of Norman activity, and buried beneath the ground of the streets of Viking Dublin!

Dublin 4 

In the distance we can see St Michan’s Church with its ancient crypt with a mummified Norman knight; a hidden gem undiscovered by locals! We end up in Christchurch Cathedral, a wealth of history, and ‘The Tudors’ was filmed here – maybe it will be history some day??

Dublin 5 

All of this in just one afternoon!!  As our group scatters: for food, groceries and for refreshments of the liquid variety no doubt, my thoughts drift the same way after our walk – its great for me to revisit my own city with all its sights and history – I hope that everyone feels the same on their first visit.




Our Spring Semester Students Arrived in Dublin

Our Spring semester students arrived in Dublin last week and are in the process of settling in what is going to be their home until the end of May and beyond. Last Spring we introduced our Service-Learning Track in to our main Core Program. Several students opted for this track in Fall 10 and all of them found the experience beneficial in all respects especially with regard to community integration and engagement.

Dublin 2 

We encourage students to engage in a variety of activities in the hope of enhancing their access to the host culture. Here in Dublin this can be achieved both academically and socially depending on the type of engagement the student wants and the opportunities that are provided. In the past, we’ve noticed that the most fruitful experiences have come when the student engages with the community. In this respect, charities, voluntary and non- governmental organisations have been excellent places for encouraging the student to experience a diversity of challenges and variety of cultural experiences. We are excited about the way our Service Learning Track is developing and we would take this opportunity to thank our local partners in this project. We have a wide variety of opportunities for students from all disciplines to develop their skills and talents beyond a classroom setting. Service-Learning allows the student an opportunity to engage and learn from the environment and the community. More time is spent in the community and academic work is tailored to the service-learning track, the student experiences an interesting and challenging mode of studying abroad. We have a variety of placements available to the students, encompassing the philosophy of community engagement.

To mention just a few: Localise Peace Corps was founded in 1972 in Dublin by Fr. John Wall and a group of young people. The group had originally come together as a group of volunteers to build a youth centre and on its completion they decided to continue in existence as an active group in the community. Over the nexttwo years the group undertook an increasing variety of activities to meet local needs and grew considerably in membership. By this time a basic organizational structure had emerged, the central aims and ideals of the movement had been clarified and its name – Peace Corps had been chosen. In 1978 the second neighborhood Peace Corps was formed in the Meath Street district and subsequently, corps were set up in several other communities in Dublin and in a number of provincial centers. In 1978, a “Confederation of Peace Corps” was also established to promote the ideas of the organization and to develop and maintain bonds of friendship between individual corps. In recent times, there has been a focus on the area of Active Citizenship and with our 38 years of experience and knowledge in this area, Localize as a Service Learning module, has successfully entered into second and third level education settings, taking us into 2010 with the potential for engaging schools and third level institutions nationwide.

Dublin 1 

NorDubCo is a community initiative based in the North Side of Dublin city to promote economic and social development in this part of the city. It adopts a multi-agency approach to working for development in the region. NorDubCo, is the North Dublin Development Coalition, was established in 1996 by a variety of community groups and activists to promote the economic and social development of the North Dublin region. Each of the founding members is represented on the Management Committee of NorDubCo. The motive force behind our establishment was the belief that local government, local development agencies, the local university and local communities working together could make a difference to the region.

Dublin 3 

Young Social Innovators' mission is to raise social awareness among 15-18 year olds in Ireland by providing social awareness education through action and platforms for young people and those guiding them, which will result in an enhancement of the personal sense of justice, responsibility and capacity innate to all. The idea of young social innovators came about some time ago when the two co-founders, Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy and Rachel Collier, worked together establishing and developing Focus Point (now Focus Ireland) in the early 1980's. Rachel's idea of young people becoming social innovators was greatly influenced by the experience of developing the Leaving Home program within Focus Point in 1987 and from realizing the importance of designing social services around the needs of young people's lives rather than replicating traditional responses to homelessness.

Dublin 4 

Service-Learning is something that many of our students tells us they would have considered had they been aware of its availability prior to their arrival so we are asking you all to “spread the word” about Service–Learning in Dublin.