Having Survived two Natural Calamities

By Simran Kapur, MA in Journalism, University of Limerick


When I initially packed up my bags for Ireland my mother was extremely worried about the possible weather conditions and kept stuffing my bag with every possible jacket she found lying around.

In the end as you all must have guessed my luggage went leaps and bounds over limit, so I had to sacrifice on a few pairs of jeans but my mum won’t budge about the sweaters, they had to go in regardless. After a few tense moments at the boarding section of the airport, my luggage a few kilos over went in without any difficulty. I’m pretty sure they understood my plight.

However when I landed in the extremely moody weather of Limerick it came as a shock to me at first, cause it was raining in September, quite an odd sight back at home. Of the humid weather and horrible traffic that I hated back home, I at least appreciated our weather being demarcated by seasons throughout the year.

However a few days into my cross-country adventure I realized I should have bought more jackets. Never had I seen the sun out, the winds blowing my head off and sudden drizzles of rain all at once. The weather here had more mood swings than I ever did.

Very soon I’d realize what I had signed up for. With winter almost round the corner we received our first code red weather warning. Now we’ve faced storms as crazy as Aila in Calcutta, but somehow everything becomes extremely scary when the term ‘code red’ is used. So after several concerned texts from my family in London and back home I prepared myself for Ophelia. It started early in the morning, ever so often jolting me awake from sleep. After finally giving on sleep altogether I, like any other student my age, put a few Snapchat updates and glued myself to the telly about the story updates. It turned out to be rather normal, with my flat mates and our frequent movie nights we forgot about the whole thing very soon. The next day updates about the lives lost, really gutted me and made me feel extremely thankful for being sheltered and protected in my student accommodation.

I managed to survive the extended winter spell and was glad for the vacations we had. Stacked up with every possible warm piece of clothing I was rather content with myself.

Very soon, news of storm Emma, ‘The beast from the East’ came knocking on our doors. I had never before seen snow, as you might have read in my previous post so for me it was rather exciting than scary. The university sent out several emails and Facebook reminders and with the store out of bread and milk it was indeed a big deal in Ireland.


For me and my housemates it was an excuse to sneak up behind each other and throw snowballs. To waking each other up with a snowball on the face, we celebrated the festival of colours, Holi in a rather unique fashion. I made my very first snowman, took us two hours but our snowman was a monstrosity at 12 ft high, we were rather proud of that. We broke into snow fights every so often and it was indeed the best four day vacation I had.

The two biggest calamities in Ireland in decades and I was there to witness it, now that is special. My experiences in this country are getting more unique by the day.




University of Limerick A&L Goodbody Law Ball

Law ball shane 6

The student law society’s “A&L Goodbody Law Ball” took place in the Castletroy Park Hotel on the 22nd of February. This year’s theme was candy land and sweets were everywhere to be found, either on the table in front of you or from a candy cart at the side of the stage.

This year was one of the most attended Law Balls with over 200 students. Each guest was greeted with a prosecco reception and later treated to music by the band Traffic and a photo booth. The student law society were delighted to announce the best dressed prized to both Ellen Foley (4th Year) and Adam Storan (2nd Year) and to host some of the faculty from the law school.

Overall, an amazing night was had by everyone especially for all the final year law students who attended their very last law ball.

Smart phone blues

By Simran Kapur

We belong to a generation that avoids social contact in as many ways as possible. The biggest invention for our kind is the smart phone in our pocket. Ordering your own food, with minimum engagement is the best thing that has happened to us (I know you get me).

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Being a Journalism student, I’ve had many an assignment requiring the expertise of my phone. One rather chilly evening I slipped into my finest, I had an event to cover. My first as a freelance journalist, without any support at all. It was slightly nerve wracking but yet thrilled me beyond measure.

I made my way to the city on a rather crowded bus, delayed by the never-ending traffic. The event was a success and I learned a great deal. Chatting with the folks of Limerick I completely lost track of time and it was almost half past nine. I had heard several stories about the bus at night, I pushed those thoughts away as I quickly ran towards the bus stop, hoping to be lucky.

It took me a while to fight the wind and rain and I made it in time for the bus. I was waiting for my turn in the impatient line, where I met this beautiful woman from Mexico. She had come to Ireland to research the abundance of water here. We shared our food interests, where we stayed and even a few personal stories for the entirety of the bus journey back, without even knowing each other’s first name.

After a heart warming interaction, I got off at my destination feeling rather happy about the interviews that I took. I reached towards my pocket to retrieve my phone after the hard work that it had done that evening. It came as a wave of disappointment and then immediately turned into a tsunami of fear. My phone wasn’t where it was supposed to be, I investigated the contents of my bag next, it became certain that I had dropped my precious piece of technology in the bus.

I turned around and made an attempt to run in the direction of the bus, the rain getting stronger by the second. Halfway through, I realized my broken knee did nothing to up my speed and I chose the next best option. I waved down a complete stranger and begged him to call my phone, rather sympathetic he handed me his phone to make the call. After several failed attempts and a few moments of regret later I returned his phone and made my way back home.

As soon as I entered my kitchen I asked my friends to call my number, they went complete CIA on me and started a live track on my phone. We had one last chance, the bus was on the move and would make one last round for the night. I put on my jacket accompanied by my flat-mate made my way to the bus stop, in the hope of flagging down the same bus on round two.

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Shivering down to our bones we stood there while the others were tracking my phone back at home. We constantly kept calling in an attempt to get my precious piece of technology noticed by someone. We even used the feature on Google to ring my phone for five minutes, even if it was on silent. I know, classic mistake, leaving your phone on silent.

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Two buses crossed our paths with very little information if we’ll ever see the bus I dropped my phone on, that night. Suddenly I could no longer call my number, neither could my flat-mates track my phone. Someone had switched it off, not a good sign at all. Then just as we lost all hope, the 304A I got off that night pulled in, I couldn’t express my excitement when I recognized the driver. I waved it down like a maniac and half out of breath asked the driver if I could go look for my phone. He took the device off his pocket and said, “Yeah I got it here for you! I couldn’t receive the call so I switched it off”. I took my phone and held it with my shivering hands, I couldn’t believe it. I walked home happy, smiling like a fool and dancing, what a day!

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UL Journalism graduate profiled by the Boston Globe for his work at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018

paulsaundersThis winter, Journalism and New Media graduate, Paul Saunders, has been working as English Editor of Digital Communication at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 in South Korea (Twitter: @pyeongchang2018). 

The Boston Globe profiled the people behind the best twitter accounts at the Winter Olympics this weekend and Paul was among them:

Background: A journalist from Ireland, he was traveling around Asia when he saw the job listing online for an English editor of digital communications and decided to apply to be part of a team of 10 that manages the accounts in multiple languages. He arrived a couple weeks before the games began.

What do you want the account to be known for? “Just broadcasting the games, of the spirit, of the people. I know, cheesy, the Olympic spirit, but you can kind of feel it, it’s really important. It’s showing people what’s happening on a day-to-day basis, the results, and the athletes as well.”

Favorite post? “I liked, and we got help with the Australian Olympic team on this, it was a silly little thing, but we had [PyeongChang mascot] Soohorang and their mascot, which is a boxing kangaroo, just doing little stuff together. It just looked really nice.”

It’s fantastic to see our graduates doing so well!

Undertaking an MA in Ireland: what American students need to know before jumping in


By Jenny Schaeffer, student on the MA Sociology (Youth, Community, and Social Regeneration)

Many people (in Ireland and abroad) have questioned why I chose to study at the University of Limerick. For some, it is hard for them to wrap their heads around what this experience is really like — so I figured I’d attempt to put it into words and answer some of the more common questions that get thrown my way.

Lookout spot on the Wild Atlantic Way in Dingle


What are the benefits of studying in Ireland?

The biggest draw for me was low tuition costs. A similar degree would have set me back double (or in some cases triple) the price in America. You can also use US federal and state student loans and grants to fund your education. I also received a scholarship from UL, which helped cut down costs. Plus, Americans conveniently do not need to apply for a student visa (though there is a €300 yearly immigration fee). I find Ireland to be affordable and the cost of living is relatively low and comparable to my hometown back in the States, too.

I was also drawn to UL because they offered an accelerated, single-year masters program that directly aligned with my professional and academic interests. Importantly, I also have the opportunity to receive a quality education by studying under distinguished scholars on a modern campus — similar to my experience back in the states.

Cliffs of Moher

How do you find Ireland? Do you like it?

I really enjoy Ireland! The landscapes are beautiful, the people are friendly, and there are plenty of activities to involve yourself in. While the weather isn’t always something to write home about, it is relatively mild year-round — so unless it is particularly nasty outside, it never really seems to prevent anyone from doing outdoor activities.

While the public transportation services aren’t spectacular and taxis can be expensive, it isn’t terribly hard to get around the city. Limerick City and Castletroy are walkable and bikeable, too.

Walking trail at the University of Limerick along the Shannon River

Traveling to different cities and villages is also relatively easy. I have already covered a lot of ground and I’ve seen a good bit of the country by bus (€3 to €30), train (€10 to €30), and car (€35 per day, plus insurance and petrol). Shannon Airport, which is just outside of Limerick, offers many inexpensive international flights, as does Dublin Airport — so weekend getaway trips are always a possibility.

Taken on a trip with the International Society to the Ring of Kerry

What are some of the challenges you face?

Finding accommodation can be complicated as there is a housing crisis in Ireland. Rising rents, housing shortages, and homelessness are crucial social issues that Ireland is struggling to appropriately address. While I live on campus in student housing, many of my friends and peers struggled to secure rooms off campus. My only suggestion is to start looking for accommodation early.

Another issue is employment. In Ireland, American students can work for up to 20 hours a week. Despite my competitive resume, I have struggled to find part-time employment in my field. Luckily, I’ve been able to scrape by (on savings and student loans) but I know that this may be a serious point of contention for others.

The Irish grading system is also very different from the American system. While I am still getting great remarks, it took me awhile to wrap my head around it and I had to adjust my initial expectations.

Day trip to Cork

What is Irish culture like? Have you made friends?

 Irish people are good craic! For those of you not familiar with Irish lingo, ‘good craic’ means fun and enjoyable. I’ve met a lot of friendly and lovely people here, including other internationals. Compared to my experiences in America, it does take a bit more persistence and effort to join established Irish friend groups, especially as everyone has seemingly known each other all their lives.

There is a culture of drinking, so most socializing happens in the pub and out on the town. Limerick luckily has a great nightlife scene. There are plenty of pubs, clubs, and restaurants to satisfy all tastes and the Irish are seemingly always down with any excuse to party!

Sports are also central to Irish life. Everyone seems to play or watch Hurling, Gaelic Football, or Rugby. I haven’t managed to make it to a match yet, but I cannot wait to see a live game and be in a crowd of rowdy and passionate fans.

As a single lady, the dating scene has been a challenge to navigate. In America, it is not unusual for men to approach women and start a casual conversation….but here, that rarely happens! Everyone seems to be on tinder or bumble, which is seen as an accepted way to meet new people. I’m also not opposed to asking men out, but I’ve experienced some mixed reactions with my bold techniques. For now (at least) Irish men remain perplexing and bewildering creatures.

At Bunratty Castle

Lately I’ve also been volunteering as a way of building my connection to the community. UL has a great portal to connect students to opportunities on campus and around town. Also, there are plenty of student organizations to join, like the International society or the Kayak club. These groups host fun events, trips, and get-togethers and serve as a great way to meet new people. In addition, I’ve made friends with my peers in each of my classes. They’ve been a great support and are a welcome addition to my network.


Would you do it again? Should I consider studying there?

All in all, I am extremely happy with my decision to study in Ireland. In fact, I can’t seem to get enough, as I am planning to apply for a PhD position at the University of Limerick! If you are considering undertaking a postgraduate course, do not hesitate to consider studying here, as the Emerald Isle will surely serve as an excellent setting for all of your postgraduate dreams.

Overlooking Lahinch, taken on a weekend trip with the Kayak Club

Useful links:

Seminar for Journalism students at UL by Conall O’Fatharta (Irish Examiner)

By Aoife O’Rourke, BA in Journalism and New Media, University of Limerick

The Current Issues in Irish Journalism Seminar series allows all Journalism students at UL to hear talks from a variety of speakers in the industry. This semester saw the Irish Examiner’s Investigative Journalist Conall O’Fatharta speak about his experience in his career and the challenges he faced along the way.

He spoke about a wide range of topics that he has investigated which mostly included illegal adoptions, foreign adoption waiting list and mothers and babies deaths at Tuam. Conall said that he wanted to do the story on the illegal adoptions when he saw the simple words, ‘illegal’ and ‘adoptions’. He said he saw a story behind that that he thought would be of interest which turned out to spark quite an interest in the nation.

Conall gave some great advice throughout this seminar, advice that he has learnt through experience in his career. Conall said:

You need the courage to go on your gut. If you see something that doesn’t stick right with you, make a few phone calls, meet people and ask questions”.

Conall spoke about how he has been threatened with legal action in the past which comes with the type of work he does but nevertheless he still works on his passion. He came across as very passionate about his job and spoke in a very uplifting manner.

Conall gave some great advice to the training journalists about FOI’s (Freedom of Information Act Requests). He told all students to know their rights and not to be afraid to act on it.

Conall ended the seminar with something for all students to remember when writing a story:

“…changing the narrative, that’s what good journalism is”. 

Watch Conall’s full seminar below:

My first snowfall

By Simran Kapur


They say experiences build a man’s (in my case a woman’s) personality. When it comes to my adventures in Ireland, I’ve had plenty to keep my family entertained back at home. Although, there was one experience in particular that left me mesmerized.

I come from a very humid and particularly warm part of India. Temperatures from where I come from have barely ever gone down to a single digit. So you can imagine the soaring winds and the ever surprising weather in Ireland made my teeth chatter on more than one occasion.

Walking down the street I’ve seen several women out and about looking extremely pretty in a dress or the occasional skirt. I would however never find the courage to do the same. I feel vulnerable stepping out in just a single layer of clothing, it needs me two pants and three tops to just walk up till Aldi.

One such extremely nail biting teeth chattering morning I heard a persistent knock on my door. I thought if I stayed quiet for long enough, whoever it was would go away. Student life urges you to value the little sleep that you get and I wasn’t going to step out of bed this early on a Saturday morning.

Like I’d hoped, the knocking stopped and whoever that was, left. My inner demon danced to this victory and I turned to check my phone. I was about to check how many likes my new Instagram post had, when a Whatsapp message popped up on my screen: “Wake up you idiot, it’s snowing”.

At that very moment, I instantaneously forgot how cold it was out there. Wearing only the cotton shirt and tracks that I wear to bed, I put on my slippers and nearly fell over twice while running down the stairs. I opened the main door and stepped out to the beautiful snow clad front door. Just to clarify, it wasn’t all white and thick but it was snow nonetheless. Snow that I had never before that very moment seen in my life.


In the most stereotypical way, I put my hand forward to touch the snowflakes. They melted as soon as they touched my warm palm. I cannot describe my happiness at that very moment. To have felt and seen such a sight before my eyes was truly an experience that both mesmerized me and changed my outlook towards life. At the cost of sounding clichéd it is these little moments that one has, that builds their personality. It made me appreciate the life I had and taught me never to take it for granted.


My experience studying Law at the University of Limerick

The School of Law at UL recently received recognition of its Law degrees – Law Plus and Law and Accounting – from the Bar Council of India. Here one of our recent Law graduates, Pavan Ramaswamy, tells us of his experience and why he chose the School of Law, University of Limerick (UL) to study Law:


I distinctly remember my first day on the campus at the University of Limerick… Attending one of the rites of passage, ‘open day’, I was here trying to make up my mind about where I wanted to study law, post my graduation in economics. The campus is awe-inspiring and of course, the Law School’s reputation precedes it. But what pulled me here was the ‘eight-months cooperative education’ opportunity in the third year that the University of Limerick has to offer, alongside the employment opportunities for law graduates. In addition to this, UL also offers Erasmus and exchange programmes, with more than 40 destinations to choose from, and options as varied as Belgium and Australia.

The daunting ‘next step’ of choosing a university suddenly seemed like a world of opportunity. If I hadn’t needed persuasion beforehand, I certainly didn’t need it afterwards: UL’s opportunities were unparalleled and it was where I was going to go!

Undertaking my Law Plus programme, at the University of Limerick, I was convinced that I had made the right choice of career path and acquiring professional legal skills. I was impressed with the overall academic content and the diverse variety of modules, the Law Plus programme has to offer. The modules not only deepened my knowledge in law but have assisted me in furthering my professional career as a lawyer in the commercial world and in my entrepreneurial ventures.

Completing the Law Plus programme has assisted me in developing my academic and research credentials alongside my practice of law. It was a great platform to build on my existing economic knowledge from my graduate degree: for instance, I gained a better comprehension of the common law system, which will be invaluable in my future career.


The Law Plus programme allowed me to choose elective subjects like economics, politics, history and others, which permitted me to tailor the programme to my own interests. The course also offered various lawyering oriented skill modules, which helped me to acquire written and practical legal skills. The Advanced Lawyering module in the final year, enabled me to understand the alternative mechanisms for solving disputes outside the legal system (ADR), which is an increasingly important area in the modern legal profession.

I appreciate how the Law Plus programme focused both on domestic and international law, specifically, the International Legal Systems module, which introduced me to legal systems from all over the world. The class structure was refreshing and the academics never made learning seem like a chore. My classes facilitated regular interaction between professors and students, which often led to lively debates on relevant legal issues.


In order to motivate the law students, the university offers various scholarships and awards. The law school has a wide range of connections with reputed law firms like A & L Goodbody Solicitors and Arthur Cox Law Chambers, who offer various awards and prizes to law students for their excellence. In support of the international students, the School of Law offers a number of free lectures, introducing students to fundamental areas of the law in Ireland. Further, UL law degrees are internationally recognised. Graduates of Bachelor of Laws (Law Plus) and Bachelor of Arts in Law and Accounting are qualified for admittance to a number of international bar associations including Indian Bar and New York Bar.

The ‘First Seven Weeks’ programme initiated by the University of Limerick provides strong, enhanced and targeted support to students from the beginning of their university experience. This, combined with the ‘Welcome and Induction’ week, helped international students to get introduced to the services on the campus. The University of Limerick Student Union (ULSU) is a student organisation which also represents and helps students with any problems or issues they might have during their time in college.


The Glucksman Law Library was one of my favourite places to work during my studies at UL – the online databases are incredible and it’s a comfortable place to study.  The UL academic staff and the lecturers are absolute professionals and are very supportive of the students.

The university prides itself on its ability to create employment for graduates. The Cooperative Educational & Careers Division with a network of 1,6000 employers, helps more than 2,000 students to secure employment. There is an exceptionally high employment rate for students graduating from the School of Law. For instance: Students of Law & Accounting have an almost perfect 100% employment rate over a 5-year period. The International Education Division also assists students with their visa application and financial planning.

As a whole, I can say that the University of Limerick has a student-friendly environment, where students are provided opportunities and encouragement to explore, learn and grow in their fields of interest. I recommend the Law Plus program at the UL School of Law to anyone interested in a legal career and deepening their legal knowledge.”


For more information on the School of Law, University of Limerick, please visit https://ulsites.ul.ie/law/.

Dealing with Drama in University

By Roisin O’Donoghue

Drama. It can happen anytime, anywhere. Some people hate it while others thrive on it. Needless to say, when you’re in university you’ve got bigger priorities than getting caught up in a silly feud or argument especially if it does not involve you. It can be stressful enough either way and the older you get the less time you have for it. It’s a part of life because if you interact and have relationships with other people so chances are you will at some point experience drama.

You may already have a sure-fire way on dealing with it and if it works for you then great! If not, then I can share some of my own methods on dealing with drama.

  • The first thing is to remain calm and not lose your temper. Don’t scream or call the other person names either. You might say something you can’t take back and doing this will only make the situation worse.
  • If you are directly involved in the conflict try and understand what part you played in creating it. Did you say something insulting? Did you do something that caused stress to the other person? If so you must explain your reasons for doing so and apologise.
  • When apologising, don’t be passive aggressive, like “I’m sorry you feel hurt”. That’s not an apology because you’re still deflecting the blame. The right thing to say would be “I’m sorry for hurting you”. No one likes to admit they’re wrong but if you are at fault for something then you must swallow that bitter pill called pride and say sorry.
  • If the drama is between two other people and you’re not directly involved try to remain so. You can be there to advise the others if necessary but getting too involved may complicate the situation especially if you take sides.
  • Don’t immediately assume that the other person is being dramatic. Sometimes genuine problems arise that need to be addressed and it’s important that you do so. Avoiding these situations because you don’t want the hassle could lead to bigger problems later on.
  • If all else fails, walk away. You can only do so much to right a wrong and if the other person isn’t responding positively to it then it might be time to call it quits. If this is the case then don’t feel too bad or obsess over it. Thinking things like “if only I’d apologised more then maybe we could still be friends” will only make you feel helpless. If you share the same classes or live in the same place as the person you’ve fallen out with then try and be civil to them until the end of semester.

Remember some people are drama queens and attention seekers. If the person you’re having the trouble with is like this then you should move on for your own sake. You’re not obligated to help someone who won’t help themselves.

My work placement in Spain

By Aine O’Neill

As part of my BA in English and History at the University of Limerick, it is mandatory to do a cooperative placement. Although you have the option to do this placement in Ireland, I luckily was picked to go to Spain! There are many companies which collaborate with UL for placement, for all aspects of any Arts degree. Through the University, I was set up with a company called Meddeas. This company specialises in sending students to Spanish schools to be a language assistant.


So I’m now in the province of Cadiz, the sunniest part of Spain. Among my many duties at the school I am there to improve the children’s English skills. I work with children aged 1 -5 years old, they are enthusiastic about the language and are always trying to communicate with me. I have conversations with them in English and do activities with them.

I live with a host family which has made me feel right at home, although of course nothing beats the comfort of your own home (or dog). It is nice to have the support and dynamic of a family even when it feels like you’re a million miles away from yours!


The culture shock is perhaps the most interesting parts of my cooperative placement, no more potatoes or Cadburys and I am now a far cry from the coffee at the Eden café. The Spanish culture is one you have to immerse yourself in, the people; their way of life and their food are all things I hope to take back to Limerick with me. The most glorious aspect of placement is the Spanish weather, it seems like yesterday I was walking through the UL campus with a heavy coat from the rain but now the only worry I have is what pair of sunglasses to wear!

My Arts degree at UL has not only has given me the opportunity to make friends, travel and work with a language – which I love – but it has also giving me grounding for the real world of work. I am thankful for this opportunity which UL has made possible for me, it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Until my next blog, Adios!