As I was being toured around the University of Limerick (UL), it struck me that I’m only a few years away from doing college visits with my daughter. She’s 13 right now, and thinks she wants to go to college close to home. God love her for that. I know that may change. As I walked around the Limerick campus, I thought, what about UL as a university choice? I started to think of it as my first college visit and looked at it through a prospective parent’s eyes. I liked what I saw.
A Limerick Location – I liked that.
Limerick, Ireland has been chosen as the 2014 City of Culture. As I toured around the city, I met so many warm, funny people who greeted me with that famous Irish hospitality I wrote about. They were eager to show me their city, and I liked what I saw. As I wandered around the university campus, I felt quite at home. There were bustling college students quickly walking from one class to the next. They had more of hike than at some other colleges as UL straddles two counties: Limerick and County Clare, where the newer expanse has been built. In order to travel from one part of the campus to the other, it’s necessary to cross the River Shannon on the longest pedestrian bridge in Ireland, while enjoying the serenity of the natural landscape.
Music Hall – I liked that, too.
Music Hall was the highlight for me. As a flutist, I am always drawn to buildings where I can hear other musicians practicing scales and concertos. Even when I attended college myself, I often found a cozy place near my university’s Conservatory of Music to sit and hear musical notes waft through the windows.
At UL, there was no need to tuck myself away to listen to people practicing. A group of musicians were jamming right out in the open corridor, playing traditional Irish folk tunes. Music to my ears! One member of our group even asked one of the fiddlers if she could borrow his instrument and she joined right in. My daughter has done this with her Jazz Band at school. It made me see what fun I missed as a classical musician. We’re not the impromptu players that these talented musicians are. If I attended UL, Music Hall is where you’d find me. If my daughter continues to play trumpet, I’m sure she’d spend some time there, too.
State-of-the-Art Sports – She’d like that.
My daughter is more of an athlete than a musician, so the state-of-the-art athletic fields are where I’d probably find her. The multi-purpose all- weather synthetic grass park contains two full size soccer pitches (and a rugby pitch). It is the largest artificial grass development in Ireland, and it was absolutely stunning. As was the Arena, Ireland’s largest indoor sports complex. If the Olympics were to come to Ireland, this is where many events would likely take place.
In addition to the outstanding fields and equipment available, world-renowned sports therapist, Gerard Hartmann, operates the Hartmann International Sports Injury Clinic at the University of Limerick. Professional athletes from around the world have travelled to Limerick for his treatments. As a parent of an athlete, it would bring me great comfort to know that my daughter would have the best medical care.
Studies – more important than I’m emphasizing here.
UL currently offers 78 different undergraduate programs. My daughter doesn’t know yet what she wants to study. She wavers between Teaching, Graphic Design, and being completely Undecided. When we do choose a college, the program of study will be our main area of concern. If that fits in with the programs offered at UL, terrific. We stepped into a classroom lecture for a moment and got a taste of what learning is like at this university: Fierce. Demanding. Serious. In fact, the professor lecturing was so intimidating that we all joked about it later. More than a few of us thought we’d better get out our notebooks and take class notes or suffer the consequences! I’m sure this would turn my daughter off, but I want her to get a good education.
Housing – I liked it.
The apartments at UL were different than the dormitory-style housing I’m used to here in the States. At most American universities, freshmen share small, cramped rooms in a large, multi-storied building that lends itself well to partying. The apartments at UL were much more private; music to the ears of a mother would worry.
The apartments have 6 single bedrooms off a short hallway that leads to a small common area and kitchen. I liked that each person has his/her own space with a door and some privacy, and that an apartment of six people is separated from the next apartment, and so on. As an introvert, I would have craved this for myself. I think my daughter would like it, too. You can still socialize, but when you want to, you can also retreat.
Cost – very good — if we were Irish!
Apparently, Irish citizens do not have to pay for higher education, though the schools do tuck some fees into their registration fees. We heard one quote as we walked: something like 2,000 Euro/semester. Since our financial advisor just told us to plan on $50,000/year for my daughter, this sounded like a dream come true!
Especially if my cab driver into town was correct. He told me that since my grandmother is still alive and is a descendant of an Irish citizen, she (my 94-year-old grandmother with dementia) could apply to the Irish Embassy to be granted citizenship, and that would then trickle down to my mom, me and my daughter (after we filled out about a thousand documents). The cabbie was very insistent we do this. I was a little overwhelmed by all that he was telling me and didn’t have the heart to tell him that I wasn’t 100% sure it was my great-grandmother and not my great-great that immigrated here. But after hearing the cost of college
tuition registration fees, maybe it would be worth the effort to find out!
I know there will be many more college visits in the years to come. I’ll wander through campuses analyzing their housing, academic resources, athletics, atmosphere and cost. Touring UL gave me a glimpse of the future and what credentials I’ll look for as we compare campuses and my daughter makes her final selection. I have no idea where she’ll end up, but if she chooses the University of Limerick, I’ll be happy with her choice. You’ll find me in Music Hall every time I visit.
Where did you go to school? And what made that place your choice?
Undergrad: University of Cincinnati. It was cheap and close to home. Grad: UCLA. It was expensive and SoCal was nothing like home. 🙂
Hey Bearcat! Small world. That’s where I went, too, but I’d pick some place else if I ever go to graduate school.
I was the first to go to university in my family and I chose the one closest by–though I still lived in residence as it was 30 miles away. I loved it, but oh my gosh, Limerick looks wonderful–what an opportunity–I have a little Irish in my background so I might just be tempted to dig someone up for citizenship. Great post and tour
Thanks. As I wrote it, I realized that I was really considering UL for me more than my daughter. 🙂
I was thinking I would like to go there too–I am sure I have forgotten everything from my first degree
I remember doing exactly zero university visits. Studying away was out of the budget, and only one university nearby offered the course I was interested in. Getting your great-gran to apply for citizenship (and the rest) so your daughter can go all the way to Limerick sounds way more complicated!
But it does look like a nice uni/place. Best of luck in the coming years with your choices!
Thanks. I did a lot of college visits when I was in high school, and was glad that we did. Some places just felt right, while others didn’t at all. I can’t wait to see where she ends up. If it’s close to home, all the better for me. 🙂
You make *me* want to go to the University of Limerick. Ireland is a dream destination of mine, and the college sounds wonderful.
I know! That’s what I just realized: I want to go there! I didn’t even share pictures of their cool outdoor student areas and cafes. It was a really nice campus.
That walk in between the campuses alone is practically enough to tip UL in my favor if I got to choose! But then again, I’m not so sure I’d want to go so far from home the first time around. I went to UCLA for my undergrad which ended up being a good distance for me as it was about an hour away from home. Now that I’m in London for my grad though, it’s definitely a very rewarding experience as well. I do shudder to think what US tuition prices will be by the time your daughter is applying…
I think kids vary between wanting to go as far away from home as possible, or staying close. Invariably, they probably all get homesick before they adjust to being out on their own as adults. But maybe I’m wrong.
I do know one thing: we are not prepared to pay college tuition! I hope my daughter can earn some scholarships!
I’d encourage our daughter to go there, when and if she decided to turn in her pointe shoes for college. That day will come, but she may be more practical and attend a local college and learn to build websites.
Pointe shoes! Oh, how fun it must be to watch her. I love ballet. And cleats! 🙂 It’s just fun to watch our daughters develop into the people they want to be, isn’t it?
It looks like a great university. I was so happy that our son was able to stay at home when he went to university in Johannesburg. I think he would have missed his home comforts if he’d had to go away to study. 🙂
Home comforts definitely count for a lot. I don’t know of any university student who leaves for college and doesn’t get homesick. If my daughter decided to stay home, I’d love to have her. But at the same time, I want her to go off and learn to live on her own. It’s a delicate balance, isn’t it?
Wow! Looks like an amazing school. Free higher education in other countries…le sigh. If only!
Got my BA in International Studies from North Texas. I traipsed around to a few different schools until I found the program I wanted that also didn’t cost my firstborn child. The other winner for me was the campus – there were trees everywhere. They had me at trees. : )
It’s funny how one little detail can seal the deal. I went a few colleges before settling into the University of Cincinnati to finish my degree. I already had my son by then, and used to love to take him on campus so we could follow the painted path of UC Bearcat paw prints down the sidewalks. He loved that. And I loved that I was following in the tradition of my father and grandfather by going to school there. And — there are lots of trees. At UC and UL. 🙂
I went there because it had an awesome educational school. (And a mountain climbing club) My parents weren’t happy. They thought I wouldn’t get a BS, just an MRS! 🙂
Master’s from the College of Mount St. Joe
I’d let my daughter go to UL. If I could follow! I need a place to get my next degree!
If you were lucky, you got your BS and your MRS. 😉
University education used to be free in the UK, until politicians betrayed the electorate, now kids leave uni with a mountain of debt unless their parents pay up front like we did. My wife’s cousin went to Limerick, he loved it
Wow. Sounds like lots of hidden fees. How horrible.
But nice to hear that a Limerick alumni liked the school. I’m keeping it in mind as an option.
I love this angle – I had also been thinking about it from the pretty selfish perspective of what it would be like to go there myself! I loved how envious all the Americans were of the dorms.
That’s so interesting about your grandmother, too – possibly worth looking into just for the story!
Thanks, Kerry! We Americans were envious of the dorms AND the cost! Can’t wait to read what you write about it.
I loved your piece on the university of limerick and total agree that UL is a beautiful campus especially at this time of the year with the trees changing colour as fall progresses. I am currently a 4th year mature student in UL and can recommend it both for its academic ability and the general campus life. You have time between lectures to grab a coffee or take a walk to clear your head. I live off campus so I can’t comment on the accommodation but I know many of my class mates love the living arrangements. After lectures you can catch a concert, go for a swim or relax with a pint in one of the bars.
Would recommend to anyone !!
It’s nice to hear a first-hand recommendation. I’m not surprised that you love it there. Maybe someday my daughter will, too. 😉
Pingback: Q: Would I Send My Daughter to Flagler College? | Browsing The Atlas·