Tag Archive: travel


Student's hat

The recent tuition fee rises in England (rising from just over £3,000 each year to just over £9,000 each year) has left many people feeling the pinch and wondering how they are going to fund their way through University. For some, it will mean taking extra gap years in order to save up some money; for others, it’ll mean a bigger debt to pay off a the end; still others are wondering if they can afford to go to University at all.

Education specialists are warning that the sharp fee rise will create a market economy in the education sphere, whereby students opt for studying only the subjects that are directly employable such as business, management and sciences, and refrain from studying more analytical subjects such as English, History and Philosophy. They worry that this will lead to an overall decrease in critical reasoning and analytical skills in British society, and fear that the overall effect will be one that is negative in a culture where, as postmodernism reminds us, we are always in more and more need of those skilled in philosophy and the humanities.

However, worried Brits will be reassured to know that there is another way. Like many other countries, the government in Ireland pays fees not only for Irish students but also for any other students in EU countries. Providing you are a EU citizen and you’re pursuing your first undergraduate degree, you are eligible for free fees in nearly all Irish Universities, giving you access to a wide range of course subjects – and the good news is that you can apply straight from A Levels. There are also a variety of maintenance grants up for grabs which will offset the cost of living.

This means that the only fees that have to be paid are the annual student registration fees. Whilst arguably these are tuition fees by another name (indeed, some University heads have admitted as such), at 1,500 – 2000 euro per annum (approximately £1,200 – £1,800), they are vast saving on the price of fees in England and Wales. You’d be getting a top class education by these standards, too – a recent survey rated Ireland as 8th in the world when it comes to the quality of education.

The Irish degree system is generally broader, too – Irish students applying to do a degree in French and Philosophy, for example, would spend their first two years studying various other arts subjects alongside their main subject. This means that graduates leave with a wide skill base and ability for interdisciplinary thinking that is highly prized by employers.

Therefore, if you are worrying about studying in the UK and fretting about how you will be able to afford it, why not consider giving Ireland a shot? After all, even if you just research it, what have you got to lose!

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Say it with murals in Belfast

bobby sands mural in Belfast

Sadly the extreme actions of a few small groups in Belfast has plunged the city back into the negative glare of the international media. Around the world, commentators have been queuing up to wring their hands about the state of the situation, resulting in what is a minority expression of discontent getting a disproportionate voice through the use of violence and hatred.

It seems a shame that for many people across the world, violence is sometimes seen as the only way to be heard. It is through violence that people feel they can influence things. It is through violence that people try to make those in power sit up and take listen. And yet there is another overlooked aspect of Belfast that speaks of another means of expression: a creative, vibrant, daring rebellion against the status quo that screams out to be heard and yet, often, refuses to countenance the idea of violence. Welcome to the city of murals.

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A portrait of James Joyce

Writing a blog post about James Joyce is quite a lot about writing a blog post about Marmite. Some people are going to love it, whereas others are going to hate it.

Incidentally, this also refers to the reception of Joyce’s writing itself.

There is a huge crowd of readers and scholars who queue up at every possible opportunity to say how much they love Joyce’s writing and how he was a hero who redefined the very meaning of literature. At the same time, there is an equally huge crowd who can’t wait to tell you that Joyce’s work is complete drivel that, in his efforts partly to deconstruct the idea of literature as having meaning, robbed the English-speaking language of a great aspect of literature. Indeed, some scholars think that he alternated between pure genius and pure madness (and anyone who appreciates the works of people like Picasso recognises that frequently a piece of art contains elements of both).

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Dublin: city of 1,000 welcomes

Dublin, city of a thousand welcomes

We all know that Ireland’s reputation is for warm, friendly, welcoming people and for its open hospitality. This, quite rightly, has been a major tourist selling point for the nation for many years, now. However, one man in Dublin was worried that this was in danger of becoming a cliché, and so started a scheme which encouraged local residents to take their reputation seriously and meet up with tourists in order to offer that extra friendly touch and make the general personal.

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8 things to do in Dublin

Originally founded by the Vikings and later captured by the Danes, Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and has much to offerto the curious traveller. Here is a suggestion of just 10 of those things.

Dublin's Guinness Factory

1) Go to Dublin’s Guinness factory

The Guinness factory is the historic homeplace of Ireland’s most famous drink. Guinness was invented by a Quaker in the 17th Century as a way of coming up with a drink that would help to solve some of Dublin’s alcoholism whilst at the same time remaining enjoyable. It definitely is true that Guinness doesn’t travel very well, and at Dublin’s Guinness factory you can enjoy the drink at its best.

Abbey Theatre Dublin

2) Go to Dublin’s Abbey Theatre

Brining you the best of both classical and modern plays both from Irish Playwrights and from further afield, the Abbey Theatre is Ireland’s National Theatre and is a great place to go to experience the best in modern Irish stage art.

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