Delving into Dublin: A Field Trip to the Capital of the Emerald Island

Pictures by Judith Rauscher and Nicole K. Konopka

From September 22–26, 2014, participants of Dr. Konopka's seminar Coming into Clover: Past and Present of Irish America went on a field trip to Dublin. Here are the students' creative reports:

Greetings from Dublin

By Lucie Homann and Anna-Lena Westphal

To all those of you who had to stay at home, warm greetings from Dublin – capital of the Leprechauns.

To perpetuate the stereotype, we directly went into a pub to eat, drink and be merry. Traditional Irish music was omnipresent; not only in the innumerable pubs, but also on the streets. The entire city was filled with an irresistible 'knocking-off time' mood preluded by Guinness and guitar music. In this atmosphere nobody could think about deadlines or reading lists, we just went with the flow.

Each morning began with an Irish Breakfast to brace ourselves for a day full of jaywalking! Dublin's sleazy charm was absolutely fascinating. While the ground floor-façade of many buildings was beautifully encased with wood, the brickwork above was pierced through by branches and ivy – as if nature itself was reclaiming its territory.

Although a whole city is hard to grasp within just a few days, we managed to see a lot of its beauty. Several guided tours extended our knowledge by telling us about Oscar Wilde's enormous capacity for alcohol – not even cowboys stood a chance, and how to distinguish between Catholics and Protestants.

But there was one last thing we had to check before going back home: Does Ireland really resemble the well-know Kerrygold ad? Our snap decision to visit the small fishing village Howth proved the advertisement right! There we found the other side of Ireland with its green hills, and its famous cliffs providing an incredible sea view.

Sadly the days passed by in a flash. But before reality will get a hold of us again, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of the American Studies Department, and especially Dr. Konopka for all her effort and time! Bhi sé go hiontach!Best wishes, A&L.

Sightseeing with Pat Liddy

First Impressions

By Lisa Leisgang

My expectations of Dublin and Ireland were generally affirmed when we arrived on the island: fast-changing weather (although not rainy!) and a lot of pubs. I liked the Irish pubs for their live music performances in the evening and their relaxing atmosphere. Even though I am not such a great fan of Guinness, I nevertheless found the visit of the brewery interesting and insightful: you get the chance to follow the steps of the brewing process in a rather authentic way. A trip to the shore is probably the best thing to do when you stay on the Emerald Island; it certainly gave us an eye-full of Ireland's beautiful landscape.

Touring Dublin Castle


By Florian Gremer

What kind of city is Dublin? A city in which red lights certainly do not mean "Stop!", but "Run faster, a car might be coming!", instead.

Dublin is a beautiful city, in fact it is more like a big village, and if you want to, you can walk from the northern outskirts to the south end of the city in only one day.  Our trip to Dublin brought us to a charming city rich of A-B-C-Ds: alcoholic beverages (of course!), culture, and diversity. And not to forget: during a unique combination of bibliophilia and drinking, our group surprisingly finished second in the famous Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. The price we won was worth the 'fight' and shall be a warm reminder of our trip to the Irish metropolis. Sláinte!

(Almost Winning) The Literary Pubcrawl and visiting "The Church"

The Magic of Dublin

By Louisa Oberhauser

Our trip brought us from rainy Germany to sunny Dublin. Not only did the weather refuse to conform to my admittedly rather low expectations, but also Dublin's design of broad streets managed to oppose all romantic description of winding alleys in mystery crime novels. In fact, Dublin's downtown seemed to me like a northern version of Barcelona, with a dash of Amsterdam cladding. Nevertheless, vapors of malt billowing from the Guinness Store House and the late summer sunset reflecting on the Liffey did their own little magic to enchant us. And the Irish themselves are so proud – and rightly so! – of their capital that they won't stop rhyming and singing about their tumultuous past and present. Magical, indeed.

Visiting the University and then exploring the fishing village Howth

Dear Diary

By Mareike Spychala

Dear Diary, there are a lot of things to say about Dublin. I could tell you about the pubs and the live music, or about the famous Guinness Storehouse. But what made this field trip to Dublin especially memorable to me were spontaneous trips to the city's lesser known attractions. Like the mummified corpses in the dusty crypts underneath St. Michan's church. Or – for some history – the cold and oppressive cells of Kilmainham Gaol, where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were held and executed. These are maybe not the nicest places to go, but they are definitely among the most interesting (if creepy and, in case of Kilmainham, depressing) places to visit in Dublin. I for one am glad that I did not miss them. Yours truly, M.

Exploring Kilmainham Gaol

An Honest Opinion

By Daniela Fischer

To be honest, before I visited Dublin I didn't really know a lot about the city. Dublin for me was just the city of the famous beverage, Guinness, and the capital of a country with an abundance of green countryside. I found out, however, that there is much more to it than that. For example, it became obvious how proud this country is of its beer during our visit to the Guinness brewery, but there is more to Dublin than Guinness. All the pubs with their live music, the informative tours past and through Dublin's cultural sites, and in particular the unusual performance of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" that we watched as part of the Dublin Theater Festival at the Project Arts Center on the last evening of our trip – all these details made our stay special and memorable. It was unfortunate that we were unable to enjoy a longer trip along the nearby coastline, but the Irish capital itself is so vibrant and instructive that it was definitely worth visiting!

Visiting the Guinness Storehouse

Dublin Rap

By Ingo Schmidt-Tychsen

Our trip hadn't even started when it was almost over for Flo,
He had a lighter in his bag and tried to keep it on the low,

The guys at the airport didn't quite like that idea,
But he simply told 'em that an empty lighter would be nothing to fear.

It was a Monday afternoon when we arrived at the Gardiner Street,
I liked all the tiny shops, the mix of people, even the vastness of concrete,

At night we went out and had our first Irish stew,
Dublin by dark can be addictive like glue.

On Tuesday we took a picture with Leprechaun, the strong Irish believer,
Believe it or not – the guy was from Argentina!

Pat was our guide, so smooth and silk; I said I'd like to take him to my house,
He was the opposite of his successor - who spoke as fast as Josef Strauss.

At night we went to The Church and you wouldn't guess what we did,
Each and every one of us put a few pints upon his or her lid,

Sinners we were and as those we went home,
In my head still the sound of the beatbox-guy with his microphone.

Wednesday it was and we committed yet another crime,
We stepped on the lawn but the guiding lady was fine,

At night we met James Joyce, who was played by a funny-looking dwarf,
Before going home, though, I thought I had lost my scarf.

The last day started proper with a pint,
Darauf gibt's in Englisch leider gar nix, was sich reimt,

Later we went to see theater with no plot but with rap,
Of course we had another pint then before we went to bed.

Going home on Friday was too early for me,
The only thing waiting was the work I had to do in Germany,

Last to say is this: Miss K-O-NOPKA, thank you, it was great,
And I am sad that it's all over like the Love Parade.

More impressions from the trip...

(ABOVE) Famine Memorial (left) and Oscar Wilde Monument (right) in Dublin

(BELOW) Art on and off the streets of Dublin