Adventures and Lectures in Ireland

Two weeks after I got home from Australia, I traveled to Ireland for the European Science Education Research Association Conference. It was being held in Dublin at Dublin City University. We were very excited to have three oral presentations and two posters. While we were there, we also had a little fun.

I arrived in Dublin at 5:00 am. It’s a terrible time to arrive anywhere especially since it was midnight at home. However, unless you reserved your room for the night before, you have to wait until the afternoon to check in. Arriving on a Sunday at 5 am, even worse. Nothing was open. So I hung around the university until 7:30 when reception opened so I could drop off my bag. I asked for a recommendation for brunch nearby… they suggested the restaurant on campus. It was not an awesome breakfast but it did the job. However, I did run into some people I met in Australia while I was eating because I ended up with a table to myself. So my table philosophy worked again.

Dublin Gardens

After breakfast, I decided to walk to the Botanical Gardens. I had considered taking a bus into downtown Dublin but I figured nothing was open quite yet. I wasn’t far off. After my 30 minute walk to the garden from campus, there was still 20 minutes before they opened. So I entertained myself by taking photos of the window boxes in the buildings nearby.

The gardens finally opened and I spent several hours exploring their many themed gardens. My favorite was the Native Ireland exhibit. They had planted the area with all the wildflowers, grasses, and trees you would find in the area. It even talked about the geology of the country a bit. I really liked their rag tree. Sadly I didn’t have anything to add.

After wandering around the gardens and meeting a cat, a heron, and a magpie, I headed to downtown Dublin.

Here’s a gallery from the gardens

Dublin, Ireland

As I walked another 30 minutes to downtown Dublin, I started passing a lot of people dressed for Rugby. Apparently, there was a big match happening and everyone was dressed for the occasion. I headed through the tourist center and past the needle:

I was headed to find the Ha’Penny Bridge. It was a lovely little bridge with lots of locks stuck on it for love. It is clearly a tourist destination and very busy.

Once I crossed the bridge I headed out to find the Temple Bar as it came recommended by several people for music. I found it, but since I was alone, I decided to wait for everyone else to arrive so we could enjoy the music together.

Since I wasn’t going to enjoy the music, I decided it was time to find some lunch. It started drizzling so I decided some Guinness Stew sounded awesome. I went to an upstairs bar where they had a $10 lunch special but it was packed. So I went wandering around until I found another bar that was serving Guinness stew. That, along with a cider tasted pretty great. As it had started raining in earnest, I decided it was time to figure out the public transit in Dublin and took the bus back to DCU.


I decided since I was paying for my own trip, I would stay on campus as it was much cheaper and closer to the conference. I had signed up for a shared room and was a little nervous to see what I ended up with. It turned out that shared only meant bathroom and kitchen. I had a tiny little dorm room all to myself.

While it was only midafternoon, I hadn’t slept much on my way to Ireland so I ended up taking a nap. Which meant it was late, dark, and past dinner when I woke up. I decided to go to the pub on campus. Unfortunately, the kitchen was closed so I was out of luck. I didn’t feel like venturing out to find food so I walked to the tiny grocery around the corner. I ended up with a charcuterie and a cider for dinner.

It was a great idea but I had left my keys and my bottle opener at home so I had no way to open the cider. So I tried to use the variety of tools I had at my disposal to open it.

The carabiner won in the end. My hand lost as I sliced it open when I was trying to use a power brick instead of a lighter I didn’t have. In the end, it was a quiet night as I got ready to give my presentation the next day.


The whole purpose of this trip was the present at the European Science Education Research Association Conference. I was scheduled to present the first paper, in the first session, on the first day. Right after the keynote speaker in the grand ballroom. It was quite amazing presenting in a room meant for several hundred people. We had about 20 but I had to present from the main stage. It was quite exciting. Here’s what the room looked like from my vantage point during the keynote speaker:

We had a great week at the conference. We met a lot of people with similar research interests and learned a lot of great new information. There were also some great social events like the Early Career Researchers Reception and the Irish Cèilidh at the end of the week. The cèilidh was very fun because we got to learn how to step dance like River Dance. It was quite amazing to see so many world renowned researchers dancing together.

Archeology Museum

One of our first adventures was to the National Museum of Ireland- Archeology. We were excited to see the bog bodies and learn more about the history of Ireland. I also cashed in some of my good karma. I left my purse in the bathroom when we arrived and didn’t realize until we were leaving more than an hour later. Thankfully, some good samaritan turned it in with everything inside. The security guard thought they had taken my Euros but they were still tucked away in their bank envelope. He had clearly gone through my entire purse because everything was rearranged and in different places. I was just glad to have it back.

Dublin Castle

We also went to visit the Dublin Castle. We did a guided tour which let us go into the underground portions of the castle and see the remnants of a Viking wall and part of a tower that used to hold the ammunition. I enjoyed that part and seeing the old chapel. We also went through some of the State rooms and saw the areas where they still host important events even though no one lives in the castle anymore.

Kilmainham Gaol

We did a tour of the Kilmainham Gaol and learned all about the people who were imprisoned there. We heard about the history of the jail and the rebellions in Dublin. It was an interesting tour which we followed up with lunch at a cute pub around the corner.

I also went on a couple adventures on my own rather than with my group. I’ll tell you all about them in my next post. Have you been to any of these locations? Which was your favorite?

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