Maynooth: the Good, the Bad, and the Public Transportation

While my time at Maynooth University is close to being over, my opinions here are not. Before I list my favorite and least favorite things, I want people to keep in mind everyone has different opinions. I really do have so much appreciation and love for this country, and I would not change a thing about my abroad experience. However, abroad is not all sunshine and rainbows as it’s made out to be.

The Good:

  • The proximity to Dublin
  • The nature and greenery the town has to offer
  • Walking trails on campus (including the farm along one of them)
  • The Innercity rail
  • Ely’s coffee
  • Dunne’s stores- a micro scale target alternative
  • The friendliness of the inhabitants
  • South Campus (pictured below)
  • It’s very safe, even at night
  • Having an actual college campus and library
  • The sheer amount of dogs
  • Fitzgerald’s roost bar and tavern
  • Brady’s bar and tavern
  • All the cute little coffee and brunch spots
  • Most of the time it is peaceful and quiet, no city noise

The Bad:

  • The lack of vitamin D
  • lack of engagement and participants in classes
  • It feels like a ghost town Thursday-Sunday
  • the wi-fi
  • The one street of stores and shops being the entire city
  • The Innercity rail
  • the spiders
  • the weather
  • The food (unless it’s fish and chips)

A Special Section for Public Transportation:

  • My biggest frustration with Maynooth stems from the lack of a reliable public transportation system. The best form is hands down the train (Innercity rail) because it actually comes on time. However, it does not go into the section of Dublin where most things are located. The train can get you close to the city, but not where the hotspots and attractions of Dublin are. The 115 bus would be the quickest and cheapest way to get to Dublin, however, it only comes when it feels like it. There is no way of knowing if it is actually coming on time, or if at all. I find it astonishing because so many people in Dublin rely on public transportation to get home or to work, what happens when it just simply doesn’t come? The alternative is the C4 bus, but it takes triple the amount of time. It’s faster to wait 40 minutes for the 115. Maynooth is lovely but there is not much to see or experience here besides campus. Dublin seems so close, yet getting there is a nightmare. On top of that, Dublin is where you have to travel in order to get to anywhere else inside the country or get to the airport. Taxis are crazy expensive to Maynooth so unless you split it with friends you’re spending $75-$80 each way. Maynooth is great, but it sometimes feels like you’re stuck because of how difficult getting around Ireland is.

A Postcard Alternative

Postcards are so 2000 and late, earrings are so 2028. Get ahead of the curve.

Recently I have been very into earrings. This started winter of 2021 when I realized I loved wearing ridiculously large and out there earrings from previously never wearing any sort of jewelry. Now I feel naked without them, and sad because it makes my day to look in a mirror and see the beautiful jewels and shapes hanging from my ears. Each of them have memories/stories to share or a meaning behind the jewel that bring a sense of comfort and luck when I wear them. On top of that, most countries I have visited have a special character or stone that is said to bring fortune and luck to its inhabitants. Then, they make these gems into cute earrings that you can find at a local market. And to drive the point even further, these earrings are anywhere between $3-$15 if you are buying from a street market jeweler, and therefore supporting local:) Two birds, one stone.

The first picture shows my first four pairs of earrings I picked up. The turtles were overpriced but they were my first pair and I had no way of knowing that. I picked them up in the French Riviera and the market lady told me that the stone on the back of the turtle was said to bring good luck to those who wear it. I figured going into an adventure like abroad I would need it, I was right. The other pairs were picked up on side trips throughout Ireland. Between the green stone and anchors, they really remind me of what amazing things the country has to offer. However, I wear the elephants the most out of any earrings on this list, just look at them.

The next picture shows the amazing glass jewelry South Europe has to offer. The blue earrings we picked up in Budapest when visiting the famous Central Market Hall. The market was so special and in a way made me feel more connected to the people and the culture there. The other items were picked up in Murano (a small island just outside of Venice) and remind me of the best day excursion I have ever taken. Murano was such a special place home to the best glass blowers in the world. Which, judging based off of the amazing figurines and jewelry at their markets, came as no surprise.

The final picture shows a pair of Eiffel Tower earrings that *shockingly* I picked up in Paris. I truly love these simple earrings, even though they are not the earrings from the Montmartre region I initially wanted. They still commemorate an amazing experience (for only $3). Finally, the last three earrings were acquired in Austria from the many, many Christmas markets I attended. If you ever get the chance to visit Austria, GO. Hands down the most friendly and cute people I have ever met, paired with the most beautiful scenery. Especially during Christmas time when the whole country becomes a winter wonderland.

So there you have it, earrings that tell a story and complete an outfit. What more could you want?