Aside from a fine Irish brogue, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and fiddles and flutes, Ireland is well-known for their pubs and breweries. To begin our journey through Northern Ireland, we decided to familiarize ourselves with the tastes and sounds of Belfast’s nightlife. The Dirty Onion was one of our first stops, mostly out of pure curiosity for the name. Described as a “traditional public house with a modern twist,” The Dirty Onion exceeded all of our expectations of an authentic Irish pub. With people gathered indoors and on the outdoor patio, live music, a variety of local beers, and welcoming people, we all had a great first evening out together. Our group met several natives and exchanged questions and answers about the U.S. and Ireland. After another night at the same place, we happened to meet other Americans traveling from West Virginia, and an instructor who grew up near Lansing.
The world is starting to feel smaller and smaller after each day here! It becomes easier to pick Americans out of a crowd, and natives aren’t wrong when they describe us as “loud.” We were even asked to move our conversations outside… oops. In our defense, we truly cannot contain our excitement for the experiences ahead. That is the wonderful thing about studying abroad – everyone arrives with the same mindset. After all, we are committing to 5 weeks of cultural experiences outside our comfort zones. After our first couple days of exploring the city, visiting the Titanic museum and eating at some fantastic local restaurants (including our hotel’s continental breakfast ~I wake up early for it, that says a lot) we are all ready to take tonight to relax and prepare for tomorrow’s adventures.