My internship in Ireland 2018
Praktikumsbericht von Daniel Dornbusch, AHR 13 F
My internship in Ireland 2018
The first week:
On Saturday the 30th June 2018 I was going to start an unforgettable experience for 4 weeks in Ireland. My flight from Dusseldorf Airport to Dublin Airport was in the evening at 7:30. I was very nervous because it was my first flight ever. Antonia (a girl from my class) and I landed in Dublin at 10 pm and then we were picked up by Gemma Freeman who was very friendly and welcoming. She took us to the house we would stay in for one night. During the ride she told us that she had studied in Germany and sometimes she spoke to us in German. When we arrived at the house, we met Helen Dalton who was our host mother for that night. She was very friendly and the girl from Brazil we met that night was friendly as well.
The next day we went to Ballitorre, our home for the next four weeks. When we arrived we met Liz and Michael Lawler who were my host parents. Dora May was Antonia´s host mother. They lived only about 2 meters away so we always had dinner together. They were very welcoming and kind, I didn´t know then that we would share such a great connection later. Liz immediately offered us food and showed us our rooms so we could unpack our suitcases. Later on Mike took us on a car ride through Ballitorre so we could see a little.
The next day we started to work at Dora-May´s Café. Dora May is the niece of Mike and Liz. The first day Antonia was in the kitchen and I was “on the floor”. In the kitchen it was all about preparing meals and on the floor we had to serve meals, take orders, clean tables etc. To be honest, the first day working was a bit hard but the atmosphere in the café was just amazing. We got breakfast every morning if we hadn’t eaten at home and lunch every afternoon. The staff of Dora May´s café is women from all over Ireland and even other places in the world. On that day I got to know Agnes who came to Ireland 6 years ago from Poland, and Nicola, a young mother living in Newbridge. Talking with them was great since they all were so very friendly (like most Irish are) and very patient when we didn’t know every word which is used in a professional kitchen. Dora May always provided transport from and to Ballitorre.
At home I usually spent my time in my room until Liz called us for dinner. The food Liz made was always very delicious and she made sure we didn’t go hungry. She told me I could take anything in the kitchen if I got hungry in the night. After dinner we always talked to Mike and Liz´ father who always comes to dinner. They both are very into history so we talked a lot about the Second World War because he wanted to know how we Germans see it. We also talked about current politics and other issues. It was always very nice talking to them and learning something new every day. The topics were also in my favor since I am very into politics and history as well.
On the second day I was in the kitchen. It was very warm in there because it has been very warm in Ireland lately and it obviously didn’t get better with two ovens and a big cooker in the kitchen. But the atmosphere was still very great and I felt very welcome. I mostly chopped vegetables for the “slimmer meals” or put the cooked food in the boxes.
The first week was all about learning how to do certain things like knowing which cup to use for which kind of coffee. In that week I learned a lot about the Irish culture and their eating habits. It is somewhat different than in Germany because the Irish drink for example more tea and their breakfast is heartier.
We worked from Monday to Friday so we could use the weekend to travel through Ireland. On Saturday we wanted to go to Dublin. Liz offered us to take us to Athy where the next train station was. From there we went to Dublin´s Heuston Station. Sophia told us where we had to go because she knows Dublin very well since she studies at the DCU. We went to Grafton Street. It´s a very popular street with a lot of expensive shops like Hugo Boss or Chanel. The atmosphere was great because there were lots of singers on the street who were really good and the weather was excellent. In the afternoon we went to “Bunsen Burgers”. Sophia recommended it to us because it is said that it´s the best Burger restaurant in the city. We were lucky to get a seat there. They didn’t have a big meal card so we knew really fast what to order. The food was very delicious like Sophia had said. Later on we went to Heuston Station again and got home.
On the next day Liz and Mike took us to a lake in County Carlow to go canoeing. Liz told us that they did this with all of the students who were there before and it was a great day because the weather was perfect. Robin and Elliot, the brothers of Sophia and Evan, as well as Dora May and her fiancé came down too. Robin lives in Dublin because he studies there. He also brought with him some friends from Dublin. Canoeing was a bit difficult at first but it was great fun after a while. Liz made a huge picnic for all of us. The lake was very beautiful and a perfect place for swimming and canoeing. When Liz and Mike told me before what we would do I wasn’t too excited but the day turned out to be great fun and it felt good to know that they really wanted to spend time with us and to get to know us better and not that they just let us stay there because they kind of had to.
My second week:
In the second week I met Olivia who works at Dora May´s Café as well. I liked her from the beginning because she is a very gentle and kind women. She was really interested in how we like it in Ireland, what we do in our free time when we are in Germany and so on. In that week, I met Fran too. You could describe her as a funny person with a temper. She used to live in Dublin but moved away to a small town close to Newbridge. A witty trait of her is that she isn’t shy at all about using impolite words which describe some situations pretty well (e.g. when something falls down). Peter, who is working as a kitchen porter there, didn’t talk much. Sophia said he is from Poland but hasn’t learned English very well. Meanwhile I became used to all the things I had to remember (for example which cup to use for which kind of coffee). Working became easier and Olivia even showed me how to use the till and how to take orders. Taking orders was quite easy, depending on what the customer wanted and how understandably he talked. But it became easier with time since I got used to hearing English every day.
On Wednesday after work, Mike took Antonia and me to his sister who is living in an old castle. The car ride took about 40 minutes but we could see a lot of the Irish landscape. Mike owns a Shaker´s Store and is a designer and an architect as well. His sister was having an art exhibition one month later so she asked Mike to weld a sculpture for her and he wanted us to come with him so we could see the historic castle with the big garden. When we were there, Lillebeth, the sister of Mike, was painting a picture. She was very friendly and said we are always welcome if we ever want to come to Ireland one day again. Mike showed us the castle from the inside at first. It is an old castle with original items which are about 300 years old. After that we went outside to see the big garden. While walking through the garden, we met Mike´s brother who used to live in Australia for 30 years but is taking a break from the country now. We also met a young man from Canada who wants to see Europe and so he came to Ireland to earn a bit of money with gardening to go to Spain next. Later Mike showed us that he wants to make a robot out of old rusty metal. On that day he just started with a bit of welding but he didn’t have any safety clothes on so he stopped shortly after. Later on we went home again.
The next day after work, Dora May and Sophia planned to go to the cinema with us. We went to the cinema in Carlow and watched Ocean´s 8. It was great fun spending time with them.
At the weekend Antonia and I went to Dublin again because there was a tour planned with all the German students from the organization who were in Ireland at that time. It was a walking tour with a leader who showed us a lot of Dublin and explained important things very well. After the tour we walked through the Arcades with two other German students who lived in Cork. Later on Antonia and I left to get some food. After we finished eating we walked to Heuston Station again and went home by train.
On Sunday Antonia and I planned to go to Kilkenny but Liz told us it would be too late for that, so she took us to Kildare Village. It is a ´village´ which is made up of shops and outlets only. It was very tiny but you could go shopping there very well. The stores were mostly very cheap but there were some expensive shops as well. We spent about 2 hours there until we drove home with Liz again. After that we watched the rest of the world championship final. Mike guessed Croatia to win but I “knew” France would. I won, obviously, but it was great fun watching it with Mike.
My third week:
I became very used to working since it had become a routine for me. I met Edel for the first time because she was on holiday the weeks before. She was very friendly and young but also very quiet, unlike the rest. On one day Mike, Antonia and I walked through Ballitorre with Mike, Liz and their dogs. It was a pretty evening and Mike told us a lot about Ballitorre. Some days later Antonia moved to Dora Mays new house. It´s a very modern house with a great view. I stayed at Liz and Mike´s house.
On Saturday Antonia and I planned to go to Galway since it was our last weekend in Ireland. Everyone said that Galway is a very beautiful city and perfect for teenagers. When we looked up the train times we were a bit upset to see that it was way too expensive and the train would take too long so we would have only had about 3 hours in Galway. So we decided to go to Kilkenny instead. It´s a nice town with a big castle and nice small streets. We went into the historic castle and walked through the town after that. The atmosphere in the town was unhurried with its old buildings and modern shops. Later on we went on a little train that drove slowly through the town. The train was a good idea because you could see much of the town and the information tables really taught us a lot.
On Sunday we spontaneously went to Dublin for a third time because we wanted to see more the city. From Heuston Station we walked to O´Connel Street and took a ´hop-on-hop-off´ bus tour. These tours are perfect for getting an overview over the city and for learning a bit about everything. We got off at the Guinness Brewery because we were told that the tour and the ending in the ´Gravity Bar´ would be worth the (not very cheap) price. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in since we were too young. But then we went on the ´hop-on-hop-off´ bus again and got out at O´Connel Street again. Later we made a long walk along the river Liffey and enjoyed the rest of the sunny day. We made a short stop at the Temple Bar and drank an original Guinness beer (we couldn’t leave Ireland without trying it at least once).
My last week:
The last week I spent most of my time at work and at home how quick the past weeks went by. The rest of time I spent thinking about how to close my suitcase. Antonia and I only worked on Monday and Tuesday because we would leave on Thursday and on Wednesday Dora May wanted to go to Tramore with us to say thank you. It was a pitty that I couldn’t say goodbye to Olivia, Nicole and Fran because we didn’t know before that we would only work two days. Working on Tuesday was weird because you knew that you would do the things you used to do the last 4 weeks for the last time. I said goodbye to Agnes and Edel who worked on Tuesday and thanked them for showing me everything so well and being so patient with everything. At home I started to pack my suitcase, hoping to get everything in. On Wednesday Dora May and Antonia picked me up to go to Tramore. The ride took about 1 hour but we could see the green landscape again. We drove through Waterford which is a bigger city near Tramore in the South. Waterford was I think the most beautiful city I have seen in Ireland so far. When we arrived at Tramore, we went to the fun fair. Antonia and I went on many attractions without Dora May since she is afraid of heights. Later on we went to the beach and looked at the great view we had. You could see the cliffs and the blue sea. The weather was great as well. For lunch Dora May wanted us to try fish and chips with vinegar, because I always asked Dora May and the others how Irish people could eat chips with vinegar. Luckily Agnes couldn’t understand it either. The fish and chips were tasty but nothing special. I have tried a chip with vinegar but I am still no fan. After lunch we drove home again. On Thursday I packed the rest of my clothes in my suitcase (which could be closed). Antonia and I would leave in the evening so Liz told me to have a good rest on that day because our flight was very early in the morning on Friday. In the evening when Gemma wanted to pick us up to take us to the place we would stay at for a night we unfortunately couldn’t say goodbye to everyone besides Mike because Dora May and Sophia had a car accident. Luckily nothing happened to them besides some scratches. When we arrived at the other house we went to bed directly because we had to get up at 3 am. At 4 am Gemma took us to the airport. Since we had some time left before the flight would take off, we sat down and drank a cup of coffee. Gemma asked us a lot about our internship and if we were looking forward to going back to Germany again. A bit later we had to say goodbye to Gemma and went on the plane back to Germany with a lot of great memories.
To conclude everything about my internship in Ireland, I can say that these 4 weeks were a journey I will never forget. I saw so many things and I met so great and different people which made this stay exciting. In the café it was never boring due to all the jokes that were made. My host family was the best one I could imagine. They were all so kind and welcoming I felt like a part of the family immediately. If I had known before how amazing this trip would be, I wouldn’t have had doubts about taking part in this.
Additionally, I want to thank the Förderverein BWV Ahaus for making this whole trip possible.
I am very grateful for this opportunity and I can look back with a lot of great memories. Until next time in Ireland!