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.

Southern Sweden in a Snowglobe

Hejsan! This weekend, Lund got its first snow of the year. Me and other international students (and even a couple Swedes who are in their first year) have been commenting that we don’t know if the Swedish students have been lying to us, as they kept telling us that “Lund doesn’t get snow.” However, it seems that even the Swedes were pleasantly surprised by the few cm of snow that stayed on the ground all weekend. I acted like I had never experienced winter before in how excited I was by the little bit of snow, but it hadn’t felt like winter until this weekend. While I enjoyed getting to go on a pretty walk Monday morning (I went south of the city and into some farmland), the only downside of the snow was having to bike in it. I realized that I haven’t biked in the snow within at least the past 10 years (if I ever have), so I was very unprepared for it. Thankfully, I took the perspective that biking in the snow is like driving in the snow but with less protection. My small secondhand bike has very thin tires, so I had to make sure to go slower and be conscious of the ice, slush, and water along the cobblestone paths. One of my friends who is really good at biking mentioned that he fell this weekend, and my law professor told us a ‘funny story’ about how business professors make bets over how many exchange students break their legs biking along a certain icy road by the business school every year. Because of this, I have made sure to start wearing my helmet consistently again (despite the teasing from certain friends). I can live with a broken leg, but a broken skull sounds less than ideal. All of my biking worries seem to be for naught now, as all of the snow has already melted off. It was quite fun for the weekend, and I have now accepted that it is winter in Sweden. I am excited to see if Lund gets more snow as winter progresses, as well as learn to navigate the cold, wind, rain, darkness, and ice that I know is coming. I’ve already mastered the Swedes’ way to handle winter (lots of fika), so I think it’ll be a fun season overall. Varma lyckönskningar!