For our 2015 St. Patrick’s Day post we caught up with our Ireland Site Director, John Hayes. Whether you study at the University of Limerick or Dublin City University, or intern abroad, John will share his passion for Ireland, international education, and world travel.
What are some CISabroad Ireland program highlights from this year?
I know I’m biased here but our excursion to Belfast and Northern Ireland is always a highlight. It’s less than two hours from Dublin but it’s so different. The accents, some of the food and the sense of humour is closer to Scotland than the south at times. It’s incredible to think that in such a small island you get so much history, such completely different perspectives and a totally different take on what it means to be ‘Irish’.
What will you do on St. Patrick’s Day?
My ritual on the big day never varies much from year to year. I’ll always be up first to cook an Irish breakfast for my family. You have to have pork sausages in there. ‘Rashers’ have to go in the pan too. That’s what we call slices of bacon in Ireland. Black pudding is a must too. It’s like a blood sausage with oatmeal. You can have white pudding too. I might add some potato cakes as well. They’re hugely popular in Belfast, less so down south. It’s something the whole island should adopt. They’re only “gorgeous” as we say here.
After breakfast it’s time to organize all our greenery. I’ll have bought shamrock the day before and attach it to anything that moves. It’s our national plant! I will probably hang out our flag from upstairs in the house too.
Then it’s time to synchronize watches as we try to get to as many St. Patrick’s parades locally as possible. I’ll finish off the day in my ‘local’ which is what we call our favorite pub. There’s always live music on there!
What should students know about Ireland before they arrive?
The big thing is to relax and know that the Irish are a very welcoming and friendly people. We’re very nosey though and will want to know what you’ve eaten for breakfast that day. Only kidding.
Why should students study in Ireland?
Simply put it’s the most beautiful country in the world with some of the most outgoing and interesting people anywhere.
What is your favorite Irish saying? Why?
It has to be ‘you made a haimes of that’. In Tipperary where I was born and grew up everyone uses this expression. It means that you made a mess of something. Trust me in a flat Tipperary accent it’s hilarious. If you don’t believe me google the TV series ‘Killinaskully’. Absolutely TV gold! Plus you’ll become an expert on my county’s accent.
What’s your favorite music?
I love all types of music. I love it that every town and village in Ireland produces incredible musicians. I am a real fan of Hozier and love what he’s doing. A superb talent.
If we were to create a Spotify music list of Irish songs to get students excited about Ireland, what would you recommend?
That’s easy. You have to include the ‘Waterboys’, the ‘Pogues’, Hozier, The Dubliners and Christy Moore. Play those on a loop and you’ll ‘get’ Ireland and its outlook on life. Also google the singer ‘Luke Kelly’ and listen to him sing. He was an incredible talent.
Anything else you’d want to say to our students?
All I can say to finish up is there’s a stool waiting for you beside me here. Come on over to the friendliest and liveliest country in the world.