Ashley G. studied at one of our partner universities, Maynooth University, during her spring semester of her sophomore year. Maynooth is a university town outside of Dublin, Ireland where Maynooth’s campus is located. This post is dedicated to learning all about Maynooth University and what to expect, so read what Ashley has to say about her home away from home!
One of the first things you may notice about the campus is that people will refer to it in sections. There is the newer portion of classes, known as the North half. This is where you will find things like the student union, the gym, and an ATM along with other class buildings. Then there is the older portion of the campus, the South half. This is across the street and is where you will find things like the library, the walk path, a beautiful cathedral, and the study abroad office along with other class buildings.
In the North portion of campus is where most of your classes most likely will take place. Like I mentioned before, you will also find a great deal of places to hang out with friends on this portion of Maynooth. First, there is John Building, a lecture hall, which contains a mini grocery store, a café, and a book store. While you don’t usually see people hanging out there, you can find a few students sitting in the café section for group meetings. Next, is the Art Building. This is intended for lectures, however, there is a small café and a large lounge area which you can find students relaxing and studying in. Then this portion of campus has the Phoenix. This is the building which you can find one cafeteria and the gym. Lastly, there is the Student Union. Here you will find the student bar. Yes, you read that correctly. Maynooth campus contains a bar. There is also a sub/burrito restaurant called The Chill inside The Union. This is a wonderful place to go if you are like me and addicted to Mexican food, and trust me it is not easy to find good Mexican food in Europe. During the school week it is pretty typical for these lounge areas to be crowded with students who do not live on campus and have large time gaps in their class schedules.
In the South portion of campus is the where you may want to explore the most. You can find the chapel, which contains many things inside including another cafeteria, and a walk path behind it that is absolutely stunning. There you can find farming fields and an old cemetery to really make you feel connected to the historical and rural aspects of the town. Sometimes while walking the paths during the semester we would even see cows out and about in the fields. It is hard to describe this portion of campus, mostly because this section of Maynooth is more about discovering all the beauty outside than it is hanging out inside like you would on the North campus.
However, a place you may find yourself inside a lot on South campus is the library. Maynooth’s library may seem out of place on South Campus because it is so modern compared to the rest of this section. However, many classes require group projects, and most likely you will meet here. Another important building on South Campus is near St. Joseph’s Square. It is where you will go to get your student ID, your appointment for a GNIB card (visa), etc. It is somewhere you want to become familiar with in case you have any issues while abroad.
As for the housing at Maynooth, the main thing I would say is that it is completely different from Indiana State University’s dorms. At Maynooth they are less dorm-styled and more like apartments. While they too have different levels and price ranges, they all will have a kitchen/lounge, bedrooms, and bathroom(s). They differ based on if you share a room, if you share bathrooms, if it is gender mixed, and if you choose to live with Irish students (yes, that was a question they asked on the application). Another thing to expect is the lack of Irish living on campus. While there are some who will stay on campus, you will find that most people who actually live in the apartments are other study abroad students, whether they be from America or not. Even if you do see the occasional Irish student on campus they most likely will leave as soon as their weekly schedules allow them to. Maynooth’s campus becomes a ghost town the closer it gets to the weekends. This is because Ireland is so small and they would rather just travel by train back home to where all their friends and family are than pay to live in university housing.
As for the town, don’t be fooled by its size. The town may be small, but it is where some of my favorite memories took place. Maynooth has almost everything you will need. There are amazing restaurants to eat at and three different grocery stores. My group of friends were even able to find a Euro store which is basically like our dollar stores. This came in handy whenever we would throw birthday parties. One reason why this town is so great is because it basically is a school town. If you aren’t seeing college kids walking around, then it is primary school kids, or even the teachers. It almost makes it feel like the entire town of Maynooth is the college campus.
The best part of Maynooth, that made it a perfect school for me, was the fact that it was such an easy transition. That is exactly what I needed since this was so out of my comfort zone. The reason it felt like a great match was because it was a mixture of home and ISU, but still different enough where I would get the full experience of being abroad. It is a small town less than an hour north-west of Dublin. The campus is small, just like ISU, so I wasn’t worried about getting lost or being overwhelmed. I was able to create a relationship with my professors so I felt comfortable to talk to them about my academic struggles along the way. However, I was close enough to the city (Dublin) to experience a more populated area if desired.
I don’t want to give too much away because exploring the town and the campus is half the fun the first few weeks you are there. However, I hope this essay and the photos help you see just how wonderful this tiny town really is. Maybe it will make you give Maynooth a second look. I loved Maynooth and wouldn’t have wanted to end up anywhere else. Good luck on your time abroad my fellow wanderer.
Ashley was glad that she chose Maynooth as it became her home away from home and helped her become a stronger person. She highly recommends this experience and is hoping to take every opportunity to go back abroad! If you are interested in attending Maynooth for either a summer, semester, or even full year, be sure to check out more about the university on our website and then make an appointment with a study abroad advisor!