Tag Archives: Ireland

Exploring Ireland

Dia dhuit!

That means “hi” in Irish, a celtic language spoken in Ireland. It’s been two weeks since I arrived in Ireland. At first I stayed in Dublin for few days and I already felt like being at home. The atmosphere in general is very friendly and relaxed, people are so helpful and warmly welcoming you to Ireland. The pubs are great, there’s always live music and of course Guinness. The landscape is as beautiful and green as I thought it would be and almost every building is colourfully painted.

So I’m doing my placement in University Hospital Kerry which is located in the west coast in Ireland in a quite small town called Tralee. I’m there as a midwife student. It’s a bit different comparing to Finland. Maybe the most significat difference is that they don’t use computers and all the patient information and data is on a paper. And there’s lots and lots of paperwork because of that. Of course pregnancy, childbirth and the care in general are the same everywhere. My working hours are 9-12hrs a day which at first was tiring but I think it’s much nicer to work longer hours and then have at least 3 days off. I also have to mention that students in here don’t get to do much in their placements; they mostly observe and assist. So it’s sometimes a bit frustrating not to do “anything” whereas in Finland students work independently.

All in all it’s been lovely so far and I think it’s going to be even lovelier as the time goes. I’ve got so many travel plans for example visiting Connemara and Killarney national parks, Cork, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle peninsula, Galway, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Kylemore Abbey, Blarney castle and Northern Ireland.

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My adventure in Ireland

Hi! I have been two weeks now here in Ireland, Tralee and I love it; people are so friendly, nature is wonderful and so green, and of course, Guinness is cheap and good.

I stayed two days in Dublin. The pubs are wonderful and the live music is lovely. St. Stephens park was worth seeing even though it’s going to be even lovelier in the summer, I think.

My placement is in University hospital Kerry. I’m there as a midwife student. I am not allowed to do so much but by observing you also learn. The difference to Finland  is that they don’t really use computers when they document the patient files. The care is the same though. I work 9-12hours shifts which is also different compared to Finland.

I have 12 weeks left in the hospital. I’m going to be working but also travelling. Today I was at Bannastrand beach and it is the most loveliest place!! I will go and see also Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Cork, Killarney national park, Dingle peninsula, Glendalough lake etc.

Here are some photos:








Tralee, city centre


Emerald Isle calling!


Here I am, in Dublin, Ireland! I’m Katja, a third year radiography student and I’ve spent the last month figuring out how to be as irish as possible and experiencing all that Dublin has to offer. Time has been flying, as anyone on an exchange would say! Good thing there is still plenty of time to see Ireland outside of Dublin aswell. The picture above is from the Sugarloaf Mountain in County Wicklow. We went there before continuing on to Glendalough, and boy was it windy….only a 500 m climb, but it felt like something much, much more because of the not so gentle breeze we got to enjoy;) But we ended up on top!


So far I’ve been doing my study modules at University College Dublin, we had a few weeks of lectures before we started our clinical placement. I’m doing three modules here; cardiac interventional radiography, advanced CT and forensic radiography (which sounds like something out of CSI, which it kind of is but kind of isn’t:D). I’ve enjoyed the lectures a lot, they’ve been a bit different than what I’m used to back in TAMK. Definitely more interactive, probably because of the small group size.

I just finished my first 3 weeks at the hospital where I’m doing MRI, CT, general x-ray, fluoroscopy, interventional radiography, mammography and cardiac catheterisation lab. So, quite a lot of things to see and do, I like it! The hospital I’m in is a very modern one and many of the equipment I’ve already seen in Finland during placements, so on that part there hasn’t been too much of a culture shock to be seen. Hand hygiene is a different thing, I’m still finding it hard to get used to the lack of hand gels at the hospital. They exist, but once emptied, it can take weeks for them to get filled again, because of the lack of use:D Other than that, I’ve found the experience great in so many ways, you can’t really compare placement in Finland to one abroad. There’s the use of a foreign language, handling the sometimes impossibly broad scale of Irish accents that patients come in with and just the every day things you take for granted back at home, like washing your hands quickly. Yes, I’ve had my battles with the double taps, but I think we’re fine now.

I’ve learned a lot about my future job as a radiographer, I’ve gained an even bigger passion for what I do and I’ve also learned that there are things I still have to learn. And that’s pretty much what this entire Erasmus thing is for, right? Oh and Guinness. In Ireland, there is always time for a pint and a good craic with your friends. Especially the awesome new international ones!


Ireland, Sláinte


Ireland has been just great so far! The weather has been a lot more clear than I thought it would be. We did have some snow here that actually stayed in the ground for so long that there were actual snowball fights (I heard that doesn’t happen really often here); and I thought I ran away from snow when I left from Finland!

It really seems just like a typical autumn weather in Finland.

We also had a power outage in school, and the school just ended when the power went out. Too bad it was our last class!

We also made a trip to Killarney with a exchange student group. We had a stop in Limerick on the way for the day, where we visited a castle and a museum. And this market, that had a great atmosphere and a nice selection of different things, as seen in the pictures 🙂IMG_20150124_135234 IMG_20150124_140449 IMG_20150124_135034

The school in the Athlone Institute of Technology in general is a bit different than the TAMK. The school is a bit more like high school, so as the teachers teach, expect you to take notes and they give more homework and individual work to do than they do in Finland. I feel rather happy on my own studies so far, as the native Irish students seem to be a little bit lazy and thus they make me feel that I’m actually very clever!

A little bit about the beers, Guinness is just lovely here in Ireland, definitely a lot better than it is in FinlanIMG_20150306_230437d. Don’t try Guinness in Finland, go to Ireland instead! You can’t really imagine how much it differs before you try it.

The picture on the left-hand side is one of my favorite craft beers I tried in Ireland, Rustbucket from the Kinnegar brewing. It’s a rye ale and the rye gives it a little bit sweetness but the taste is still quite strong and full of flavor.

I wish everyone has a nice stay 🙂

Surf’s Up in Ireland!

Dia duit! Or hello, if you are more familiar with this kind of greeting.

So far Ireland has for sure been an interesting experience. It is far different from Finland than what I ever expected. It has its positives and negatives. As my exchange started I already felt like I was swamped with school work. Studying here is very different from what it is like in TAMK. Homework is given out each day, and corrected in the next class. It is much more like “high school” thank Finnish universities of applied sciences are.

I feel like I have done a good job in my courses so far though, even though the beginning was really difficult. I feel like many students here do not take the school seriously. It saddens me. There are few other exchange students in my class, and I feel like all of them are handling the classes better than many of the natives students.

Athlone, my exchange city, is located right in the middle of Ireland does not have beautiful coastal scenery that Ireland is very famous for. It does have some cool features nevertheless. The oldest pub in Europe is located in Athlone. An old castle, cleverly named Athlone Castle is also located right in the centre of the town. Athlone Castle. Tower of the Athlone Cathedral. Irish Coffee from the Oldest Irish Pub

Apart from studies I have been lucky enough to be able to travel a little around the country. I have visited the capital city Dublin a few times. I have visited different historical sites, museums, famous architecture, and even a few pubs. Dublin is the most popular area for tourism in Ireland, and it also has many things to offer. Dublin has something to offer for everyone. Dublin Writer's Museum. The Temple Bar Pub in Temple Bar Ha'penny Bridge. Molly Malone, my mother, and I.

One of the highlights of my exchange so far been the trip to Donegal in South-West of Ireland. There I attended a day of surfing in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean with about 20 other exchange students. If you ever visit Ireland, County Donegal is a must! I hope to visit the place in the summer time in the future! Surf’s up and enjoy Ireland!

Surf's Up!

The Emerald Isle

The time of my five month practical training in Limerick, Ireland has been like a roller coaster – full of interesting turns, butterflies in the stomach and feelings of: “Is it possible that I have had enough?” but finally ending at: “I want to repeat this!”. I have gotten the chance to learn about laboratory work and a great deal about biomass analysis.

Extractives of an unknown sample from Sweden
Extractives of an unknown sample from Sweden.

As well as working a 9 to 5 I have joined an outdoor pursuit club at the University of Limerick. This club organizes hiking and climbing trips. (Plus the main reason why I joined in the first place; they have a small bouldering wall where you can climb for free AND meet awesome people)

Beenoskee, Dingle peninsula
Beenoskee, Dingle peninsula
Irish climbing sceneries, to be missed!
Irish climbing sceneries, to be missed!

What I now know about Ireland: everything grows greener every day, when you go running in the forest you have to be careful that a goat won’t eat your shirt, by hanging around with Irish people you always have a good craic and that no one ever gets tired of talking about the weather.

Adventure to be continued.
Adventure to be continued.


Oh, the craic was mighty !

When thinking about Ireland, most people think about St Patrick’s Day, Guinness, sheep, leprechauns, red hair and funny accent. And actually, that’s what Ireland is all about.

You could see sheep everywhere

Studying differed quite a lot from what I had used to in TAMK. First of all, the lectures lasted only one hour at a time. We had no breaks in between lectures, so we had to hurry from one to another. Mobile phones or ipads/laptops weren’t allowed (10e fine!) and students had to print a lot of notes and teachers handed many sheets of paper.

Institution of Technology Tralee

Four and a half months went so fast. Tralee is really small but cute town, where everything is near. I didn’t want to spent all of my time staying there, so in my free time I travelled all around Ireland – North, West, South.. The people I met were amazing. I was living with three girls in a student accommodation and even though I was really afraid of that at first, I loved every second of it. Life in Ireland is pretty much the same as in Finland, except the price of the electricity is really high and that’s why apartments are cold. And when I say cold, I mean 3 sweater + 2 sweatpants + woolen stockings cold. They also have separate tabs for hot and cold water which makes sense..


When you got used to rain, you could realise that Ireland is pretty awesome. And to be honest, it didn’t even rain all the time. I never knew I could hike or surf in Ireland. I did hike but saved surfing for the next time since it was freezing.

In my opinion, photos tell more than words so here you are:

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St Patrick’s Day in Dublin
Sunset at the Cliffs of Moher
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Guinness storehouse, Dublin – Learned to pour perfect pint of Guinness!
Wild Atlantic Way – popular driving route
Connemara National Park
Titanic Museum, Belfast

I never thought that there were so many beautiful landscapes in Ireland. And there was something in the cities that makes me want to go back. I am so happy I took part of Erasmus 2015 and spent a semester in Tralee.


Greetings from Tralee! You probably have no idea where it is, so peek county Kerry in South West of Ireland. The nature is pure and beautiful and there is a chance to do versatile selection of outdoor sports, such as cycling, hillwalking and kayaking. I didn’t know that there are so many shades of green before seeing this island. I have travelled a lot in different parts of the country, and I have to agree with many travel guides and say that Kerry is the most colourful and beautiful of Ireland’s counties – maybe I’m a little bit partial, but at least it tells that I really enjoy my time here.

The weather can be really unpredictable, and Irish people are right when saying “there was all four seasons in one day”: I have seen warm sunny weather, pouring rain, hail storm and crazy wind during one hour. Although the weather can be really annoying sometimes with its surprises, it enables the varied nature and vegetation. The horses, sheep and cows have a chance to graze around the year and eat whatever they can find on the pasture.

I try to study during school weeks so that I can travel and just relax during weekends. It has been working for me, but sometimes I still have to sacrifice the days off for assignments. But no worries – I have explored already much, and I still have nine weeks left to see and do the rest of the places/things in my “must do-list”.

Ireland has something to offer for everyone, this is the island for outdoor persons, friends of culture & history, and fans of relaxed atmosphere. You can decide to stay in biggest cities or escape the rush to the countryside, and enjoy the hospitality and kindness of Irish people. Despite the place make sure you explore the Irish pub culture with its racket and live music, and don’t forget the Irish boast: a pint of Guinness – Cheers mates!  DSC_1210217

Éirinn go Brách

My exchange location is in the middle of Ireland, in a city of around twenty thousand inhabitants called Athlone. Being in Midlands, as they are called, it is a rather rural location and as such does not offer exuberant facilities, which is just as well. It is an interesting change of scenery. The Athlone Institute of Technology hosts around six thousand students of which a sizeable number are exchange students from all over the globe. The education itself was quite different from what I was expecting – in my mind’s eye, being in the sphere of influence of the United Kingdom, Ireland was rigid and focused on rote learning, which turned out to only be true to a certain extent. The studies in Hotel & Leisure management are very focused on practical issues and applications, which has been a great addition to my repertoire.

Speaking of scenery, nature is definitely Ireland’s main draw. This semester was a very peculiar one, or so I am told, as we basically had a full on 15+ degree celcius summer here almost until November. It rarely rained as well, so in that regard, the image of a rain-soaked and green-grey Ireland was well and truly shattered. The highlights of my time here have been the trips we have taken with the International Society at the Institute of Technology as well as those I’ve undertaken on my own and the dinners we’ve had at the student-operated teaching restaurant facilities on the campus. I’ll cap this little snapshot off with a couple of images from my journeys on the Emerald Isle!

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Lively and Lovely Galway

Howdy from Galway!

It has been pretty awesome exchange period so far in Galway, Ireland. Time has, indeed, flown so fast, because it’s only three weeks left!

I’m studying business in “GMIT”, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. It’s kind of crazy, because at my home institute in Tampere I’m studying Forestry, so there are not that many similarities with those modules. 🙂 School itself has been pretty easy, so I’m happy that there’s enough spare time to do some other things, too!

Crazy Irish Traffic (GMIT in the Backround)
Crazy Irish Traffic (GMIT in the Backround)

The place I live is a student village “Gleann na Ri”. There lives three guys at the same apartment with me: Gerrit, Sven and Niko. So yeah, there’s another Finnish dude, so it’s not possible to forget how to speak Finnish. Gerrit is from USA and Sven from Germany, so it gives me a possibility to practise both English and German. And of course there are also many other exchange students studying in Galway, so it has been really nice to get some new international friends and contacts during the exchange.

Our Backyard
Our Backyard

As the heading tells, Galway is quite nice place to spend an exchange semester. People here are usually easygoing and relaxed. The Irish love to use some sarcastic humor, and I have to admit that they aren’t afraid to use some “stronger words” as well. It was surprisingly easy for me to adapt to live in Ireland, and I believe that a big reason for it is the similarity of the people here. Well, maybe the Finnish are shier, but the sense of humor is pretty similar. It’s easy to find some other similarites too, such as the Irish food and occidental culture itself. Of course there are also many different things that I miss about Finland (rye bread, proper sauna, etc.), but I have managed to live without those things, at least couple of months.

Piece of the Irish Humor
Piece of the Irish Humor

Travelling and just seeing some great places has of course been one of the main things to do here, when having some spare time. Here are some pictures of these nice trips to different places:

Sitting at the Cliffs of Moher
Titanic Museum
Titanic Museum
Titanic's Last Place on Dry Land
Titanic’s Last Place on Dry Land
Sight From The Aran Islands
Sight From the Aran Islands
Self Made Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse
Self Made Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse