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September 2008 issue

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Dublin’s lively spirit

A prosperous, cosmopolitan city with a really social streak, Dublin is an obvious choice for students keen to discover Ireland and its quality reputation, say schools in the city. Amy Baker finds out more.

Home to Ireland’s highest pub, hippest pub and smallest pub, it is no surprise that Dublin has a reputation for being a city that likes to party. With a social population and over 1,000 pubs to choose from, young adult visitors to Ireland’s capital city will be hard pressed to find an excuse not to go for a drink after classes – and most will try Guinness, a beer that is famous throughout the world as an Irish export. Meanwhile, junior clients benefit from a full schedule of activities that enables them to get to know Ireland’s lively culture and attractions.

Jonathan Quinn, Marketing Manager at CES, observes, “Here at CES we pride ourselves on having one of the most vibrant and busy social and cultural programmes. We have over 25 afternoon visits per week as well as four evening activities where students get to experience Irish pubs with live music as well as dog racing, historical quizzes and treasure hunts!” He adds that the school employs seven staff just to run its student social programme.

Niamh O’Mahony at Dublin City University (DCU) Language Services also emphasises the activities on offer to all Dublin-bound language students. “We have a dedicated full-time sports & social coordinator to help students feel at home during their stay in Dublin,” she says. “Our social programme includes Irish dancing classes, day trips and informal outings to the cinema, local parks and trips to theatres.”

Aside from socially-inclined schools, it is the diversity of student nationalities at English language teaching centres in the city and the social spirit of local residents that are two of Dublin’s selling points, say schools. Will Dowling at Dublin School of English adds that because of the different age profiles of students coming to Ireland, there are varying attractions for them. “We have a great variety of newer activities in Dublin,” he notes, “including the Street Performance World Championships in June, the Temple Bar traditional music festival in January and others.”

Dowling also signals Dublin’s sporting credentials. “With Ireland becoming more and more a destination for kite surfing and other types of water sports, we receive a lot of students seeking more ‘active’ activities.”

Separated into two by the river Liffey, Dublin itself offers an easily navigable city centre and good transport network, including the Luas tram, Dart (commuter train) and national rail system that can take students out of the city to the coast easily. A metro is also being built.

Some of the touristic highlights include the Guinness Storehouse (a museum dedicated to this famous black drink, created by brewer Arthur Guinness), Dublin Castle (1) and Chester Beatty Library (2), which contains a wide selection of early books, manuscripts and sacred texts. Dowling comments, “The Chester Beatty Library is a great educational trip and often boasts visiting exhibitions, including some from Leonardo da Vinci.”

He adds that one touristic highlight for him is Trinity College (3), the most esteemed university in the country, which “fills the centre of the city and boasts the famous book of Kells” (ancient biblical texts in Latin).

Near Trinity College, on the south side of the river, is the famous Temple Bar area (4), where cobbled streets still based on a medieval street system are crammed with restaurants, pubs, clubs and shops. The area probably got its name from the Temple family who lived in the area in the 17th century. O’Mahony says it is popular with students and is a focal point for nightlife.

O’Mahony also says the St Stephens Green area is popular. Below Trinity College, also on the south side of the city, St Stephens Green consists of 22 acres of parkland with lakes, trees and ducks to feed. The bandstand built in 1887 is a venue for free daytime concerts in the summer.

In between St Stephens Green and Trinity College is Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s most popular shopping streets (like Henry Street in the north). In the street is a statue of Molly Malone, immortalised in a song which has been adopted as an unofficial anthem of the city – sung at rugby matches, the song tells of a young girl who sold cockles and mussels but who died young, of a fever.

Quinn also singles out Kilmainham Gaol out of “over 70 major tourist attractions in Dublin” as another popular spot with his students. Built in 1792, it is Ireland’s most famous disused prison and gives a good insight into the history of Ireland’s identity and struggle as a Republic.

Since becoming a part of the European Union, Dublin has become increasingly cosmopolitan and is in fact rated the second richest city in the world when ranked by personal net earnings, according to a report by bank, UBS. Quinn notes, “Over the last 10 years, Dublin and Ireland have become much more cosmopolitan without losing our unique Irish take on things and this can only be a good thing!”

O’Mahony underlines this also means an ease of entry into the employment market for students looking to work. “Dublin offers an exciting social scene for international students along with the opportunity to work in local businesses,” she says. She also points to the high quality of courses in the city, as does Dowling. “The EFL schools in Ireland boast a government recognition scheme through Acels and they uphold a high standard,” he affirms.

Quinn adds a final selling point for Dublin. He says that as well as feeling safe, students appreciate “how genuinely friendly the people are and how willing the Irish are to talk!”

Agent viewpoint

“We had one customer who was a fan of Boyzone and this sparked off an interest in all things Irish. UK schools have a far greater number of Far East students and their linguistic difficulties tend to be different from Turkish students. As most of our customers work in multi-nationals and travel a lot for work and pleasure some of them choose Dublin simply because they haven’t been there before. Compared to Istanbul, Dublin is small and very easy to get around.”
Neville Wells, ESP Turkey, Turkey

“We’ve noticed two different types of customers looking for language courses in Dublin. Younger students, aged between 18 and 30 go to Dublin to explore the city and the Irish culture. Dublin is well known for its pub and music scene and our clients like that. We also have a lot of business people who do their language course for professional purposes. They prefer Dublin because of its accessibility by several airlines from Germany and its price-performance ratio in comparison with other top destinations.”
Maren Borkowski, Experience Sprachreisen, Germany

“All the young people who have contacted us heard of the warm welcome of the Irish people. Either they had already had a short stay in Dublin and discovered the festive and friendly side of the city and its inhabitants, or they had positive feedback from other students. Youngsters settle in Dublin really quickly and they often end up staying longer than expected. During their free time, students like to go out with friends and mix with natives. They often rent cars to travel around the country in order to discover the outstanding landscapes.”
Caroline Ripoll, Language & Travel - IDP, France

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The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Britannia Student
Sara's New York

English Australia  
International House
      World Organisation  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
MEI~Relsa Ireland  
Perth Education
Quality English  

Trinity College

Student Guard

Internet Advantage

Business Telecom

Malta Tourism

English Australia  
      House World
MEI~Relsa Ireland  
Quality English  

Bond University  
Geos Oceania 
      New Zealand) 
Griffith University  
Hawthorn English
      Language Centres  
La Trobe University
Language Studies
      (Australia, Canada,
Pacific Gateway
Perth Education
Sun Pacific College
TAFE NSW English
      Language Centres  
University of
University of
      College Australia  

Cultura Wien  

Ceran Lingua
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK)

Bodwell College  
College of New
East Coast School
      of Languages
Edutour Homestay
      Assocs Ltd  
English Bay
English Language
      Training College
Global Village
      (Australia, Canada,
Hansa Language
ITTTI Vancouver  
Language Studies
National School
      of Languages  
Red Leaf Student
      Program and Tours  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Saint Mary's
Stewart College
      of Languages  

Mandarin House  

      Panamericano de
      Idiomas (CPI)  

Language Explorer

Karlov College  

      House - IH Cairo  

      (UK, USA) 
Bell International
      (Malta, UK)  
Bournville College
      of Further
Camp Beaumont  
      Language Home
      (Argentina, Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Greece, Hawaii,
      Ireland, Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand,Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,
      Sweden, USA)  
Hampstead School
      of English  
International House
International House
      World Organisation  
InterNexus Centre
      for Language
IP International
      Projects GmbH
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)    
LAL Language and
      (England, Canada,
      Cyprus, Ireland,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Kaplan Aspect 
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      South Africa, UK,
Malvern House
      College London  
Oxford Intensive
      School of English 
      (Australia, France,
      Germany, Spain,
      UK, USA)
Prime Education  
Scanbrit School of
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)   
Study Group 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group
      (Ireland, UK)  
University of Essex -
Wimbledon School
      of English  

Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France
      (France, Spain, UK)  
Home Language
Silc - Séjours
Université de
      Paris Sorbonne  

Carl Duisberg
      (England, Germany)
Inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
      International /
      Languages Plus 
      (Australia, Canada,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, Spain,

Prime Speech Power
      Language School  

Alpha College of
Centre of English
      (Ireland, UK)     
Dublin City
      Language Services  
Grafton College  
ISI - International
      Study Institute
MEI~Relsa Ireland
Portobello School  
Swan Training

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre 
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
IELS - Institute of
      English Language
Malta Tourism

Unique New
      Zealand Education  

EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      Camps (England,

Cape Studies  
EC Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape
Good Hope
Interlink School
      of Languages  
LAL Cape Town  
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
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Camino Barcelona
      Spanish school  
Esade Executive
Escuela de Espanol
la Brisa S.L.  
Idiomas Sí!  
inlingua Las Palmas
      de Gran Canaria  
International House
      Sevilla - Clic  
Malaca Instituto -
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Wired Spain  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd 
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta,
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      Russia, Scotland,
      Spain, USA)
      (Australia, Canada,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Sain,
      Switzerland, USA) 

ALCC - American
      Language &
ELS Language
Global Immersions
University of
      California Riverside  
University of
      California San
University of
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Virginia Polytechnic
      Institute & State
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)