I know all my friends at home are waiting to hear my Irish alcohol stories; so family and professors, if you don’t feel like reading this, I won’t have hurt feelings ;) The next post will be Guinness free, I promise!
As all the international students (gonna use ISs from now on) arrived to UL, we learned quickly the stereotype of Irish people being drunk all the time (compared to home) is basically true, no question about it. Because a lot of Irish students go home on the weekends, they’ve changed their Friday&Saturday night parties to Tuesday and Thursday! Who does that?! Anyways, during tours of the campus and meetings on Thursday, drinking was brought up quite often. How to drink safely was about 15% of the conversations, while encouraging students to go out (but be safe), meet people, and have fun was the rest. A bit opposite from Springfield and most other colleges, where most, if not all deans treat it as an instantly lethal poison. One night, my friends and I were talking to a 23year old grad student here; he reminisced how the first time he walked into a bar and got served was at the bold age of fourteen! He’s been drinking for nine years, while in the US he’s only been legal for two. Logically, one might think the excitement over alcohol would wear off over that course of time, but the Irish kids downtown last night were absolute madness. We went to five or six different places right in downtown Limerick. Tons of people our age all piled into tiny pubs and bars with all their friends.
To all the people who thought drinks would be cheaper here in Europe than at home, you’re wrong! The usual beers at a pub range from three to six Euro, cocktails are even more expensive, which puts one drink anywhere from $5-$10. Can anyone say budget!? Another thing I was wrong about was the music. Unless there’s a live band playing, Irish college kids listen to popular American radio music (that I don’t even like at home)! I was so surprised to be listening to Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry my first night out, and all the Irish kids love it. They also love American oldies even more than we do; our first day in the city we heard Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, and a bunch of songs that belong on Rock Band or Guitar Hero games.
Our first night here, I had my first Guinness (and cheese fries, classy, I know) in the quiet pub on campus with my friend Jeremy (met him on the way home from the airport) (WOW did I just use the word home for here?!?!). It’s definitely a heavy beer, and though I didn’t mind the taste too much, I felt so full. I’m not a beer person anyways, but I’m in Ireland so I feel obligated to try some. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Carlsberg, really light beer that’s popular, but Smithwick’s was a perfect medium for me. Girls normally have cocktails; mostly the same stuff you could find at home, but it’s all made with extremely fresh fruit right at the bar. Last night, my friends Amanda and Jeremy (they’re conveniently housemates in the apartment next to me), and our friend Cam (Amanda’s friend from college), and other ISs took the bus together from the campus union stop to the city center in Limerick. At any given moment we were within a hundred feet of like five pubs/bars. They use the word bar for louder dancing places, that we would call a club at home, and pubs are quieter places. We stopped in a pub with a live band (which fueled my show addiction all over again). Amanda tried a delicious strawberry daiquiri and I got a drink called Woo Woo, half because I could not say the name with a straight face, and half because I liked what was in it: cranberry juice, limes and rum; it was fantastic! More to come soon :)