Events

DCU announces new arrangement for its International Pathways and Foundation Programme

DCU announces new arrangement for its International Pathways and Foundation Programme

Dublin City University is very pleased to announce a new arrangement to run its International Pathways and Foundation Programme.

From 2021 entry, the university will be partnering with DCU Language Services to provide a broad range of both English and Foundation studies aimed at preparing international students to build the skills and qualifications needed to enter a bachelor’s or master’s degree programme at DCU.

Speaking about the announcement Cathal Maye, CEO of DCU Language Services, said: ‘‘This is very exciting for us. The programme will be further integrated with DCU offerings and will allow international students from a broader range of backgrounds and qualifications to prepare for their university studies at DCU.’’

 

Paul Smith, Director of DCU International Office, added: ‘‘We’ve built a strong foundation with our previous programmes. At DCU, we have a proven track record in helping international students prepare and progress to university and we expect to continue our strong performance with these new pathway programmes.’’

DCU is now enrolling students on its Foundation Year Programme and Pre Masters Programmes for September 2021 intake.


 

Guide to a Virtual St. Patrick’s Day

The start of the month of March means two things in Dublin: first – daffodils start to colour the parks and gardens of the city with dots of yellow, welcoming warmer, brighter days as we say good riddance to the winter; and second – the celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick’s Day, and its related festivities are but a short while away!

 

This year’s celebrations will take a rather different format to previous years. Dúisigh Éire! or Awaken Ireland! is the theme of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival and as mentioned on the festival’s website, they are inviting everyone to “throw off the long, dark months and rise to embrace the brighter days ahead”.

 

Instead of the usual five-day shindig in the capital with half a million people on the street for Dublin’s parade, this year’s festival has gone national and international. Events can be viewed on the St Patrick’s Festival’s website and from 12th to 17th March, you can also tune into the festival’s own dedicated channel SPF TV, also available through the site. Live streaming will be in real time and will also be available for viewing later on the SPF online player, which will allow everyone around the world to join in and enjoy the events!

 

With 100+ events running from 09:30 to 23:00 daily over the six-day long festival, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Check out our top picks below:

 

1 Breathe and Move 1: Yoga with Michael Ryan

When: Friday 12th March, 09:30 

#social

Kick off your morning with mindfulness yoga from Michael Ryan, instructor to the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins. 

 

2 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour

When: Friday 12th March, 14:30

#historical

This tour takes you through the history of the Irish Revolutionary period which led to the War of Independence and in turn to the partition of Ireland and the Irish Civil War.

This tour is one of the many walking tours that are taking place around Ireland for the St Patrick’s Festival and more can be found here

 

3 A History of Irish Food with Tadgh Byrne

When: Friday 12th March – Tuesday 16th March, 14:00

#cultural

The chef’s five-part mini-series will showcase Ireland’s culinary history from prehistoric times to today, visiting notable Irish locations and chatting with historians, food scientists, foragers, chefs and farmers. 

 

4 Global Landmarks Go Green

When: Friday 12th March – Wednesday 17th March

#cultural

The Office of Public Works, along with Fáilte Ireland and the St Patrick’s Festival Organisation, will be turning a few heritage sites and State buildings green during this year’s St Patrick’s Festival. The sites and buildings include Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin Castle, Government Buildings, Donegal Castle, Kilkenny Castle, Sligo Abbey and the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary. 

Around the rest of the world, a host of international landmarks will join the Global Greening initiative for the first time ever including the most northerly ‘greening’ in the world ever – a postbox at the summit of Øretoppen Mountain in Norway, 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle! 

 

5 Comedy with Foil Arms & Hog

When: Friday 12th March – Wednesday 17th March

#social

Irish sketch comedy group Foil Arms & Hog write, shoot and edit a new sketch every week in their office, releasing it for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram on IGTV. 

The trio have created new sketches for St. Patrick’s Festival to lift your mood and make you laugh, as they observe our national idiosyncrasies, particularly relating to the St. Patrick’s holiday. 

 

6 The Military Archives: History and Virtual Tour

When: Sunday 14th March at 16:35 & Tuesday 16th March at 10:30

#historical

This tour explores the archival records of the defence forces, the Department of Defence, and the Army Pensions Board, including some of the most important documentary evidence from our struggle for independence. 

 

7 Seoda: Celtic Connections

When: Tuesday 16th March, 20:00

#cultural

Seoda: Celtic Connections is a celebration of traditional music and cultural connections through performances from leading artists across three locations; Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you’re a music lover then this is definitely the event for you! 

 

8 RTE Virtual Parade

When: Wednesday 17th March

#social

Just like last year, the public will have the opportunity to take part in the virtual St. Patrick’s Day parade from the comfort of their own homes. People are encouraged to film and post their parade contribution to social media platforms using the hashtag #RTEVirtualParade, for a chance to be featured on television and viewed by millions all over the world. 

 

9 Tumble Circus presents The MacCarnysons

When: Wednesday 17th March, 10:00

#cultural

Tumble Circus presents a 45 minute circus comedy film shot in and around the capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast. The short film features death defying aerialists, hardcore acrobats, mind bending jugglers and loads of craic. 

 

10 Barróg Lá Fhéile Phádraig (St. Patrick’s Day Hug)

When: Wednesday 17th March, 20:00

#cultural

Bringing the festivities to a wonderful close, Barróg Lá Fhéile Phádraig brings the best of Irish Traditional players and singers together for one last hurrah at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin. With solo performances and plenty of special collaborations this will definitely be a night not to be missed! 

There you have it! If you’ve been lucky enough to spend a St.Patrick’s Day in Dublin, feel free to let us know about your fun and festive memories on Facebook or Instagram

Try out our St.Patrick’s Day quiz and be in with a chance to win One Week Live Online General English Class.

5 Tips For Learning English While Watching Netflix.

Learning a new language involves seizing every chance and opportunity outside of the classroom to educate yourself with new sayings and expressions. So why not enjoy yourself and have fun while doing it? 

 

Everyone’s favorite streaming service could be the perfect complementary activity to practice your English and help you stay motivated and entertained while you learn. Netflix is an affordable option for learners, charging a small monthly fee for subscriptions, and chances are you probably already have a subscription. So if you’re preparing to binge-watch some of Netflix’s top shows, why not turn on the subtitles, pop some popcorn on and get ready to sharpen your linguistic abilities!

 

You can find some helpful tips below on how to make the most of Netflix when trying to improve your language skills. If you have any suggestions of your own then be sure to let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

 

1 Create a separate profile for your language learning

If you already have a Netflix account, then create a separate profile just for English practice. It’s very simple and free to do and there are several advantages to doing this:

  1. You won’t have to worry about constantly changing the language of your audio and subtitles.
  2. You’ll get better suggestions based on English content you’ve already watched. 
  3. Once you create a new profile you’ll have the option to pick the language of your interface and menus. Pick English of course, as this will allow you to practice your reading comprehension as well!

 

2 TV series or movie?

For beginner and pre-intermediate learners we would recommend starting with a short TV show. It takes a lot of effort to concentrate on listening comprehension. By choosing a shorter show, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed by the process. Look for a series that has 20 to 30 minute episodes.

 

Movies are more challenging and are usually best for upper-intermediate to advanced learners, since you’ll have less time to get used to the characters’ accents and understand specialized vocabulary that is key to the plot.

 

3 Recommended shows

Starting with a realistic show or sitcom is usually recommended because these are easier to understand and the characters use common vocabulary and phrases that you might already know and will likely use in your everyday life.

 

Some sitcoms that are good to start with are Friends, After Life, New Girl, Modern Family and The Office. We recommend that you start with TV series which you’ve already seen in your own language. This is because you’ll already know the story, and you can spend more time focusing on the language.

 

Of course, these are only some of our suggestions; if you have your own favorites then please let us know! It’s important to actually enjoy yourself when you are learning – if an activity isn’t fun, you aren’t very likely to stick with it.

 

4 Subbed or dubbed?

There are two ways to watch foreign language shows and movies: subtitled (subbed) or dubbed. Make sure the English show or movie was originally produced in English and not dubbed from another language. Netflix dubbing and subtitles are usually pretty good but it’s always best to choose original content for language learning.

Speaking of subtitles, make sure English subtitles are an option for the series or film you choose. Whether you need to use subtitles or not will likely depend on your language level.

 

For upper-intermediate and advanced learners, you should try watching TV shows and movies with no subtitles at all. It’s okay if you only understand 70-80% of what you hear. This exercise will improve your ability to use context clues to fill in the blanks when you don’t understand something. But if it’s still too difficult, you can turn on the subtitles in English for the first episode, if you’re watching a TV show.

The situation is pretty different if you’re a beginner or pre-intermediate student, since not using any subtitles at all will likely be much too difficult for you. It’s okay to start out with subtitles in your native language and as soon as you can, you should switch those subtitles into English and eventually turn them off completely!

 

By way of an example, let’s assume that you are a Spanish speaker learning English. Depending on your proficiency level, you can choose to:

  1. Watch the show with Spanish dialogue and English subtitles (beginner)
  2. Watch with English dialogue and Spanish subtitles (pre-intermediate)
  3. You can watch with English audio and English subtitles (upper-intermediate)
  4. You can watch with only the English audio and no subtitles (advanced)

 

5 Language Learning with Netflix

If you have tried all of the above tips and tricks and are still finding it difficult to understand what is going on then you need to check out Language Learning with Netflix! This is a Google Chrome extension that lets you watch shows with two subtitles on at the same time so you can visually pair translations with dialogue and learn some new vocabulary in the process. It’s a clever service that is free, easy to use and quick to download.

 

One of the few downsides is that the extension only works on a desktop with Google Chrome, so you can’t use it with your Netflix app on mobiles or tablets. Hopefully, the developers will find new ways to improve the user experience and make it available on other platforms and browsers in the near future.

 

Netflix is a great complementary option for practising a new language while outside the classroom – it’s educational while providing memorable scenes to help you remember new words! Hopefully these tips will help you get started with your language learning. All you have to do now is pick a show and start learning!

If you’ve learned all you can through streaming platforms like Netflix and are interested in improving your English with us at DCU then you can get in touch here! We offer online courses so you can continue to learn from home.

Social Media Competition Terms and Conditions 2021

 

The promoter is DCULS company no 186835 whose registered office is at Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Whitehall, Dublin.

The competition is open to students of DCULS aged 17 years or over except employees of DCULS and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.

There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

The route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter can be found via

www.facebook.com/EnglishDCU/

www.instagram.com/englishatdcu/ 

Only one entry will be accepted per person per platform.

Closing date for entry will be 17th March 2021. After this date, no further entries to the competition will be permitted.

No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

The rules of the competition and how to enter are as follows:

The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

The prize is as follows: One Week Live Online General English Class. 

The course will be a One week General English Course.

This course needs to be taken before the end of July and no alternative will be offered. 

The student must be available to attend the course in Irish Time.   UTC +0 | GMT | Greenwich Mean Time

The studnet must agree to the current school’s terms and conditions seen here

The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

The winner will be announced on the afternoon of Monday, 17th March 2021.

The winner will be chosen from the quiz results and if two or more candidates have the same results a random winner will be chosen by software, from all entries received and verified by Promoter and or its agents.

The winner will be notified by email and/or DM on Instagram/Facebook within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected/is delivered.

The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by Irish law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Ireland.

The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current Irish data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the following address: Marketing.english@dcu.ie

Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram or any other entity. You are providing your information to DCULS and not to any other party. The information provided will be used in conjunction with the following Privacy Policy found at www.english.dcu.ie/privacy-policy/.com

Living In Lockdown – Tips For Self-care And Relaxation

There’s no doubt about it, these are trying times. As we’re all having to adapt to a new lifestyle, you may be finding it difficult to stay on top of your well being. Whether you’re feeling positive about this lockdown or are dreading going through it again, these suggestions from mental health experts will help to relax your mind and maximise your physical and mental wellbeing during this difficult period.

 

Read, learn and discover

You don’t have to go online to get some culture! Why not go offline and disconnect from the real world? If you’re unsure of where to begin, start with the book your favourite movie is based on or ask friends for recommendations. Maybe you’ve always said that one day you’ll read some of the great classics? Now there’s no excuse not to! Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charlotte Brontë, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll… And the list goes on! Reading doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be extremely relaxing and a very effective form of escapism.

 

Try meditation or mindfulness

The idea of living in the moment is called mindfulness. And meditation, very basically, is the exercise needed to practice mindfulness. If learning to live in the moment sounds appealing to you, take a deep breath: You don’t need to be an expert in yoga, deep breathing, or spirituality to meditate.

Meditation is something you can fully customize to your schedule, environment, and preferences and you can always get started in a way that fits into your life. The benefits of meditation are endless and it has been proven to help reduce stress, increase focus, improve sleep and clear the mind. So why not give it a try?

Apps like Headspace and Calm are a good starting point for beginners who want to tap into the technique and they both offer free ‘Basics’ courses that’ll teach you all the essentials of mindfulness and meditation.

 

Go outside, even if it’s just to your garden

A breath of fresh air can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Simply going for a walk in the park, a jog or a bike ride around your block is a good way to get moving and clear your head. You know the saying, “healthy body, healthy mind”? There’s a lot of truth to it! Even on days where you’re really not feeling it, it’s worth forcing yourself out for a brief 10-minute walk before you start studying or working.

Lockdown is also a great time to look at your relationship with exercise and to try out new things. You can use this time to explore what works for you and new ways of motivating yourself. Habits you create now will eventually benefit when we return to our normal routines.

If you’re unsure of where to start, check out some recommendations below:

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/healthy-ireland/

https://www.getirelandwalking.ie/app/

 

Cook something you’ve never cooked before!

Since you don’t have the same time constraints anymore, why not get creative in the kitchen? Use this time to explore new flavours and perfect your cooking skills! Do you have a secret family recipe book? If so, why not flick through it and see if you can find anything that takes your fancy? And if you don’t have a collection of family recipes to hand, head straight for the internet, where you’ll find countless free recipes online! Plus, there are plenty of videos and tutorials to help you learn more about the ins and outs of cooking. You’re spoilt for choice!

 

Stay connected to your social circle / Keep in touch with friends and family

Now more than ever, it is really important to stay connected and keep in touch with friends and family. However, with travel restrictions and social distancing rules in place all across the country you may find this difficult to do. Why not try virtual meetups with your friends and family, host an online movie marathon or just give them a call on the phone. There are plenty of apps and games you can play online with your friends to stay connected. Check out some useful free video applications below that will help you keep in contact with the outside world.

Zoom – Normally used for business meetings, Zoom is reliable for having a large group of people in one chat so you’ll often see it used in webinars and classes. It has a feature which switches the main video to whoever is talking which is handy for pub quizzes and having group discussions.

Skype – This is best for one-to-one conversations where you can video or voice call between computers, tablets, mobile devices and compatible smartwatches. You can instant message within it too.

Facetime – This only works if you have an Apple device, but it is a popular choice for video calls and comes already installed on your device. If you don’t own an Apple device then another free alternative that you may already have installed to connect via video is Whatsapp.

 

The pandemic has also given us more time – something that we usually don’t have enough of. So make the most of it for yourself and your family. Get moving, meditate, have some fun. And, above all, enjoy precious moments with the people you care about most.

 

The Best Outdoor Areas to Explore in Dublin

Dublin’s best parks are a treasure trove for lovers of the outdoors – there’s so much to discover and each one offers something exciting and new. Dublin features a host of beautiful and inviting gardens strewn throughout the city and its suburbs, all of which are free and open to the public. Below we take a look at some of the most charming parks, sure to give you a taste of the Irish countryside right in the middle of the city.

 

Phoenix Park

At 1,750 acres, Dublin’s Phoenix Park is one of Europe’s largest enclosed urban parks. Originally created in 1662 as a royal hunting ground, it is now the official residence of the President of Ireland and also contains Dublin Zoo and an extensive visitor centre where you can learn about the history of the park.

Due to its size, it is practically impossible to see all of it by foot. The best way to explore the park is by hiring a bike and there are cycling rentals in various areas of the park.

 

Irish National War Memorial Gardens

Located just a short walk from Phoenix Park, these gardens are one of the most famous memorial gardens in Europe. They are dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the First World War.

The interesting architectural attributes, beautiful rose gardens and extensive tree planting make for a pleasant photo-worthy visit at any time of the year. The peaceful atmosphere of this charming garden makes it a perfect place to relax and reflect.

 

St Anne’s Park

St. Anne’s Park lies between the areas of Raheny and Clontarf in north Dublin and is one of the county’s most popular recreational facilities.

The park contains numerous playing fields, walled gardens, extensive woodlands and an award-winning rose garden. It is also home to the Red Stables which house an arts and crafts centre with work spaces for artists and a gallery and runs a farmers’ market every Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

 

National Botanic Gardens

Located in Glasnevin, the National Botanic Gardens are known for their fine plant collections holding more than 15,000 plant species from a variety of habitats around the world and home to more than 300 endangered plant species from around the world including six species that are already extinct in the wild.

These gardens are loved by both tourists and regular visitors alike and are free to visit all throughout the year.

 

St. Stephen’s Green

St Stephen’s Green is a historical park and gardens, located in the centre of Dublin which provides an oasis of green calm in the middle of a bustling city. The park features a waterfall, playground and an ornamental lake which provides a home for ducks, geese and swans. 

You can always find it filled with families feeding the ducks, office workers on a quick break and tourists admiring the great many sculptural monuments to Irish history. 

You can find it at the top Grafton Street and is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day of shopping!

 

Iveagh Gardens

Tucked away behind the National Concert Hall, the Iveagh Gardens are among the finest, but least known, of Dublin’s parks and gardens. The gardens display a diverse collection of landscape features which include rustic grottos, wilderness, woodlands, archery grounds and rockeries. 

The Iveagh Gardens are popularly known as Dublin’s ‘Secret Garden’ offering an oasis of tranquillity and beauty just a stone’s throw from the city centre!

 

The People’s Park

Dún Laoghaire’s magnificent People’s Park is a beautifully landscaped haven of calm. Located a short stroll from the harbour, the park is popular with people of all ages, locals and visitors alike. Well maintained gardens, a restaurant and café, enchanting fountains and a fun children’s playground make it a pleasant place to visit all year round.

The park is open to visitors every day but particularly comes to life every Sunday as market vendors bring their colourful collection of arts, crafts and local produce to the park.

 

Merrion Square

Merrion Square Park sits at the centre of one of Dublin city’s most beautiful Georgian squares. The square and its surrounding area is home to a series of national cultural institutions, including the National Art Gallery of Ireland and the Archaeological and Natural History sections of the National Museum of Ireland. 

The small park is open during daylight hours and has wide open lawns and tidy flower beds. The most famous attraction is the colorful statue of Oscar Wilde reclining on a rock in the northwestern corner. On Sundays, artists hang their works for sale on the railings surrounding the park.

If you’ve had a chance to visit any of these spectacular spots, be sure to let us know. We would love to hear about your own experiences – get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Top 10 Virtual Tours to Discover Dublin from Home

Explore from the comfort of your couch!

Over the last few months, galleries, exhibits, attractions and museums across Ireland and the rest of the globe have had to close their doors to visitors due to worldwide restrictions.

In an attempt to bring you a little bit closer to Ireland, we’ve created a guide that’s full of the best virtual tours that Dublin has to offer!

1.EPIC

The Irish Emigration Museum is open for virtual visits! Recently voted as Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction for the second year in a row, this museum has made some changes to its website to now boast a vast variety of online workshops, webinars, virtual 3D tours and history pack downloads. The richness and diversity of the stories available online are both entertaining and educational which makes it a favourite among us here at DCU Language Services.

 

2. Dublinia

Travel back to Viking and Medieval times at Dublinia. Despite not offering virtual tours of its building and exhibitions, it still has a great interactive website that you can spend hours navigating through. This brilliant new site includes nine audiovisual animations with interactive activities on nine historical sites across Dublin.

 

3. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

The perpetual resting place of many Irish historical figures, Glasnevin Cemetery is located just a short bus journey away from Dublin City University. Start your visit here and take a virtual tour of the cemetery’s museum as well as O’Connell Tower, home to one of Ireland’s greatest political figures, Daniel O’Connell. 

 

4. The Guinness Storehouse

Dublin’s number one visitor attraction is an unmissable attraction and a regular sellout activity with DCU Language Services students.

The home of Guinness can’t currently be visited through a virtual tour, however, it is accessible via 360° photos of some of the main rooms throughout the Storehouse, such as the famous Gravity Bar.

The Gravity Bar is a spectacle that needs to be experienced in person so if you are planning a trip to Ireland soon, make sure that a visit to the home of the black stuff is at the top of your itinerary!

 

5. Áras an Uachtaráin 

Located in the heart of Phoenix Park, Áras an Uachtaráin has been the official residence of the President of Ireland since the 1930s and contains a total of 95 rooms. 

While you can’t explore all of these rooms virtually, there are still a great selection of 360° photos that can be viewed here. Follow the green arrows across State rooms and into the picturesque gardens alongside Bród, the President’s dog!

 

6. Chester Beatty Library

Found on the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty is the leading Irish museum promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures with holdings of manuscripts, rare books and other riches from every corner of the globe. While the library is closed, you can take a look at these treasures through a 3D virtual tour on their website.

 

7. National Gallery of Ireland

For the art lovers! The National Gallery of Ireland boasts some 2,500 paintings and approximately 10,000 other works in different media including water-colours, drawings, prints and sculpture. 

Explore the wonders of the gallery’s different collections and take a leisurely stroll around their impressive exhibits from the comfort of your own home.

Make sure to visit the Grand Gallery where you can enjoy a rich collection of paintings and sculptures online from famous artists such as Picasso, Monet or Caravaggio. Virtual tours are available here.

 

8. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History

This beloved museum hosts over 10,000 exhibits of Irish and worldwide animals. Free admission to every visitor, only the ground and first floors are usually open to the public. 

In this online interactive visit you can access all four floors of the “Dead Zoo” and discover more about Earth’s wildlife. This 3D Space is one of our favourites and is super easy to navigate. You can also download an audioguide to listen to while you explore the museum virtually! Make sure to look out for the giant Irish deer and whale skeletons which are some of the most famous and distinctive animals on display in this museum.

 

9. National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

This museum is home to a remarkable range of symbolic treasures, including the Ardagh Chalice, the ‘Tara’ Brooch and the famous Derrynaflan Hoard.

From Prehistoric Ireland to Ancient Egypt, visitors can discover important artefacts dating from 7000 BC up to the 20th century. 

The museum has made interactive presentations for some of their permanent displays which include “The Treasury” and “Viking Ireland” exhibitions. Make sure to download “The Treasury” audioguide and click through the interactive videos to explore all that the museum has to offer.

 

10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The spectacular St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded back in 1191 and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint and today it serves as a place of worship, a visitor attraction and a host for many different events throughout the year. Boasting a 43-metre spire, the cathedral is the tallest and largest church in Ireland.

The inside of this magnificent cathedral is ready to be explored through 360° photos and you can also watch live streams of services here!

 

Improve your English with us here at DCU!

A Very Irish Christmas with DCU

The festive season is right around the corner and although the holidays may be slightly different this year, we’re here to remind you of some traditional and modern Christmas customs across Ireland.

 

Below you can find a list of our well known Irish Christmas traditions. We would love to hear about some traditions from your country – get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram!

 

1. Decorating the House

A classic Christmas tradition which dates back to the early 1800s!

After the 8th December, you will start to notice beautifully decorated trees shining brightly out of the windows of homes across Ireland.

Most, if not all, Irish households will decorate their homes with colourful tinsel, sparkling fairy lights and all things Santa Claus related along with a Christmas tree usually being erected in the sitting room.

You’ll usually find the office and halls of DCU Language Services decked out in glowing garlands and Santa hats!

 

2. Pubs of Christmas

A highly popular and relatively new celebration in Ireland to signify the end of the year. This event involves 12 pubs, a group of friends, vibrant Christmas jumpers, a few pints and a set of crazy rules. 

There are many versions of this tradition which differ between groups of friends. The focus of the night is to have fun and stay safe. Sláinte!

 

3. Carol Singers

You might think that this only happens in Christmas movies, but in reality, it is an actual practice which individuals of all ages partake in! Schools, local church choirs and charity organisations alike come together to spread Christmas cheer in the form of singing, with popular song choices ranging from the classical “O Holy Night” to the more upbeat “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. 

The DCU Campus Choir arranges a wonderful performance annually in the form of “Christmas Carols by Candlelight” in the All Hallows campus chapel which is a truly magical experience for all DCU students and staff.

 

4. Christmas Markets

Another relatively new arrival in Ireland, Christmas markets are quickly becoming a favourite destination for families and friends to visit for festive foods, mulled wine, Christmas crafts and, of course, Santa Claus. 

Celebrated markets across Ireland include the Galway Christmas market, the Dublin Castle Christmas market, the Belfast Christmas market, Waterford Winterval and Glow Cork. 

Every year DCU Language Services organises a trip to at least one of these Christmas markets for our students – sometimes we make a full weekend of it! 

 

5. Midnight Mass

Attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a tradition practised by many families across Ireland. It is a huge social gathering where friends and neighbours join together to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. 

As the name suggests, it was originally held at midnight, however, nowadays it is quite common to see Midnight Mass taking place earlier at 8 pm, 9 pm or 10 pm.

 

6. Christmas Morning Swim

Morning swims take place all across Ireland on Christmas Day, with hundreds of courageous souls jumping into the freezing cold sea wearing only their bathing suit and sometimes a Santa hat! The atmosphere is sensational.

A crowd of less brave people wrapped up in snug coats, hats and scarves stand on the sidelines in support of the swimmers.

Famous spots include the Forty Foot in Sandycove, Co. Dublin, Galway Bay in Galway and Bundoran Beach, Co. Donegal. None of our students have been brave enough to join us for this activity yet – would you?!

 

7. Christmas Dinner

The main event on Christmas Day, the much-anticipated feast of Christmas is celebrated across most households in Ireland. Food served varies depending on family preference, usually with roast turkey or goose, potatoes (of course!), brussels sprouts and various other vegetables making an appearance.

Make sure that you leave some room for dessert too! Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, sherry trifle and mince pies are all essential sweet treats found in Irish houses for the duration of the Christmas season.

 

8. St Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day (also known as Boxing Day) falls on the 26th December, the day after Christmas. Traditionally, St. Stephen’s Day was known for its ancient Irish custom of hunting the wren. The Wren, although a fading tradition, still takes place in many parts of the country annually. 

In recent times, the 26th December has become one of the main shopping days of the year, with retailers kicking off some of their biggest sales. Flocks of eager shoppers will queue outside stores for hours at a time in an attempt to bag some great bargains and discounted goods. We recommend Arnotts on Henry Street in Dublin for some great deals! 

 

9. New Year’s Eve

No one rings in the New Year quite like the Irish! New Year’s Eve in Ireland is all about chasing any bad luck out of the house and inviting good spirits in before the start of the new year. It’s also about honouring the dead and remembering those lost the year before.

You will also find tonnes of events and festivals taking place across the country with guaranteed performers, fireworks and music at each creating the perfect atmosphere to celebrate the New Year!

 

10. Little Christmas

With the New Year in full swing, January 6th is traditionally when the tree comes down and all of the festive gear gets packed back up into the attic. However, on this day, another Irish Christmas tradition takes place – Little Christmas, also known as Women’s Christmas.

This custom was born during a time when the running of a home was left to the women of the house. January 6th was a day when all of the work done over the merry period was celebrated. The chores were passed to the men of the house and the women would put their feet up and enjoy a well-deserved break!

 

 

 

If you have stayed with a DCU Host Family over the Christmas period then there are probably some other traditions not listed here that you’ve had the chance to experience in the past.

Or perhaps you plan on travelling to Dublin soon, where you can meet new people, learn about other great Irish traditions and come and improve your English with us here at DCU!

Interview with Renata Rocha

We invited current student Renata Rocha, from Brazil, to share about her experience studying English at Dublin City University and learned more about how Covid-19 has impacted her situation.

 

When did you arrive in Ireland? 

I arrived in Ireland in November 2019.

 

 

Why did you choose DCU?

I organised my language exchange with an agency in Brazil. This agency works with a lot of schools around Ireland. I had already decided I would go to Dublin when I started looking for a school. I chose Dublin because I knew it was the perfect “size” for me. Dublin is not too big like São Paulo where I come from, so I do not spend a long time on the bus. However, Dublin is not too small a city like other cities in Ireland!

 

I checked every school in Dublin which my agency works with. When I saw DCU I just fell in love with everything. The campus was magnificent, they have everything that I would need. Inside the campus, they have a pharmacy, a supermarket, a good gym (and the price is cheaper for DCU students!), a pub, a big library and many other things. I was extremely excited that I could join the university’s clubs. DCU has more than 100 clubs that you can join for a cheap fee. It is about 4 euros per semester. 

 

Another thing that was also important to me, was that the school did not have a high number of Brazilian students. And DCU does has a good mix of nationality in my opinion. So, when I saw all the benefits of DCU, I had no doubt it was my school.

 

 

What would you say are the best parts of the DCU experience? 

It is very difficult to choose the best part because I like every single thing here in DCU. I am still in love with the campus. I do not see the staff as staff but as friends. They are so kind and always ready to help the students. The teachers are great and my English has improved a lot. I am managing to reach my goal which was to be immersed as much as possible.

 

 

What accommodation type did you choose and how has your experience been in your accommodation? 

Since arriving here, I have been living with a host family. It is the best way to keep improving your English because you must push yourself, as you need to speak with the family. 

 

I do not know what I can say about my host family. They are the best host family I could ever imagine. They have given me all their support since the pandemic started. Always so kind. I feel like part of the family. They are not my host family anymore; they are my Irish family, truly!!!

 

How was your experience of Ireland and DCU since you arrived until March 2020?

Until March 2020 everything was great. I used to go to the gym after my classes, go to the pub to socialise. I used to hang out with my friends and enjoy the city and also the activities organised by DCU. I travelled at Christmas and New Year. I was planning to travel more during 2020 during my holidays after taking the IELTS exam, but everything was postponed.

 

 

How has your experience been since March 2020 when Covid-19 arrived in Ireland?

When COVID arrived in Ireland the situation changed a lot. It was when I felt very close to the DCU staff and mainly my host family. They were the key for me to overcome this situation far from home. I tried to go back to Brazil in March, but I had a problem with my flight. I was stuck in Paris and I had to come back to Dublin. I was 14 days isolated in DCU accommodation and my host father brought my dinner every single day – I will never forget that, and he always had a little conversation with me before he left.

 

When we entered lockdown, DCU gave us some options for our course so we could decide what we wanted to do. We could take lessons online or get a full refund if we returned to our home country. It was really important because I heard some bad experiences from Brazilian students in other schools. DCU has been dealing with the situation very well indeed!!

 

 

What are your plans for the future?

Nowadays it is difficult to plan the future as COVID has been changing our lives almost every day. I am in my second semester and after that, I would like to do my Masters here in Ireland. 

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Thank you Renata for sharing your experience and for being an exceptional student.

Do you want to learn English and achieve your goals like Renata is? Check out our English courses here.

 

If you have any questions, we are here to help you out, please get in touch.

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Top 10 Virtual Tours to Discover Dublin from Home

Explore from the comfort of your couch!

Over the last few months, galleries, exhibits, attractions and museums across Ireland and the rest of the globe have had to close their doors to visitors due to worldwide restrictions.

In an attempt to bring you a little bit closer to Ireland, we’ve created a guide that’s full of the best virtual tours that Dublin has to offer!

1.EPIC

The Irish Emigration Museum is open for virtual visits! Recently voted as Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction for the second year in a row, this museum has made some changes to its website to now boast a vast variety of online workshops, webinars, virtual 3D tours and history pack downloads. The richness and diversity of the stories available online are both entertaining and educational which makes it a favourite among us here at DCU Language Services.

 

2. Dublinia

Travel back to Viking and Medieval times at Dublinia. Despite not offering virtual tours of its building and exhibitions, it still has a great interactive website that you can spend hours navigating through. This brilliant new site includes nine audiovisual animations with interactive activities on nine historical sites across Dublin.

 

3. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

The perpetual resting place of many Irish historical figures, Glasnevin Cemetery is located just a short bus journey away from Dublin City University. Start your visit here and take a virtual tour of the cemetery’s museum as well as O’Connell Tower, home to one of Ireland’s greatest political figures, Daniel O’Connell. 

 

4. The Guinness Storehouse

Dublin’s number one visitor attraction is an unmissable attraction and a regular sellout activity with DCU Language Services students.

The home of Guinness can’t currently be visited through a virtual tour, however, it is accessible via 360° photos of some of the main rooms throughout the Storehouse, such as the famous Gravity Bar.

The Gravity Bar is a spectacle that needs to be experienced in person so if you are planning a trip to Ireland soon, make sure that a visit to the home of the black stuff is at the top of your itinerary!

 

5. Áras an Uachtaráin 

Located in the heart of Phoenix Park, Áras an Uachtaráin has been the official residence of the President of Ireland since the 1930s and contains a total of 95 rooms. 

While you can’t explore all of these rooms virtually, there are still a great selection of 360° photos that can be viewed here. Follow the green arrows across State rooms and into the picturesque gardens alongside Bród, the President’s dog!

 

6. Chester Beatty Library

Found on the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty is the leading Irish museum promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures with holdings of manuscripts, rare books and other riches from every corner of the globe. While the library is closed, you can take a look at these treasures through a 3D virtual tour on their website.

 

7. National Gallery of Ireland

For the art lovers! The National Gallery of Ireland boasts some 2,500 paintings and approximately 10,000 other works in different media including water-colours, drawings, prints and sculpture. 

Explore the wonders of the gallery’s different collections and take a leisurely stroll around their impressive exhibits from the comfort of your own home.

Make sure to visit the Grand Gallery where you can enjoy a rich collection of paintings and sculptures online from famous artists such as Picasso, Monet or Caravaggio. Virtual tours are available here.

 

8. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History

This beloved museum hosts over 10,000 exhibits of Irish and worldwide animals. Free admission to every visitor, only the ground and first floors are usually open to the public. 

In this online interactive visit you can access all four floors of the “Dead Zoo” and discover more about Earth’s wildlife. This 3D Space is one of our favourites and is super easy to navigate. You can also download an audioguide to listen to while you explore the museum virtually! Make sure to look out for the giant Irish deer and whale skeletons which are some of the most famous and distinctive animals on display in this museum.

 

9. National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

This museum is home to a remarkable range of symbolic treasures, including the Ardagh Chalice, the ‘Tara’ Brooch and the famous Derrynaflan Hoard.

From Prehistoric Ireland to Ancient Egypt, visitors can discover important artefacts dating from 7000 BC up to the 20th century. 

The museum has made interactive presentations for some of their permanent displays which include “The Treasury” and “Viking Ireland” exhibitions. Make sure to download “The Treasury” audioguide and click through the interactive videos to explore all that the museum has to offer.

 

10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The spectacular St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded back in 1191 and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint and today it serves as a place of worship, a visitor attraction and a host for many different events throughout the year. Boasting a 43-metre spire, the cathedral is the tallest and largest church in Ireland.

The inside of this magnificent cathedral is ready to be explored through 360° photos and you can also watch live streams of services here!

 

Improve your English with us here at DCU!

Dublin City University has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year for 2021.

Dublin City University has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year for 2021.

It is the third time that DCU have been awarded this accolade, since the Sunday Times Good University Guide was first published in 2002, having previously won in 2004 and 2010.

The Sunday Times notes that DCU is famed for its diverse intake, a cornerstone of its ethos since it was founded 40 years ago in 1980 and it is now a university of 17,500 students, drawn from 55 countries across the world.

DCU scores especially well for low levels of graduate unemployment – just 3% of students are out of work nine months after leaving according to the latest figures, a rate bettered by just two other institutions.

DCU is the top ranked university for providing a supportive environment for students in the most recent results published in the annual studentsurvey.ie, which measures the student experience across nine distinct areas.

Covid-19 has presented challenges to DCU, as it has to all third level institutions, but DCU was quick to develop a package of educational, emotional and practical help for its students. Recognising the financial impacts of the pandemic, the university moved to a flexible accommodation system for its students, allowing them to book in by the night if necessary and reducing the need to make large-scale commitments.

On a practical level to help the national fight against the pandemic, the university has created a research and innovation hub to link its experts to areas of national need. It has also trained frontline workers in a virus tracing centre in its nursing school, as well as making face coverings and goggles for healthcare workers using 3D printers.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said,

“DCU’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic for its students shows the emotional literacy you would expect from an institution that has championed social mobility throughout its entire 40-year history. Thoughtful and responsive, the university has tried to make the best of a difficult, evolving and immeasurably complex situation for its student population.

All of the metrics in our ranking also pointed firmly towards DCU being our University of the Year,” said McCall. “Students leave well qualified to take their place in the working world – where they are heavily in demand – and they are equipped to make a telling contribution when they get there. Dropout rates are low and student support is extensive. It is hard to think of a university that has done more to open up third level to the widest possible student audience and then ensure that their experience is focussed and fulfilling.”
 

The Sunday Times Good University guide contains Ireland’s only league table that measures the performance of all 19 multi-faculty third-level institutions.

DCU Language Services Reopening Date

We are delighted to announce that DCU Language Services will reopen and resume activities from 14th of September 2020 for face to face classes.

Our team has carried out a comprehensive risk assessment based on Irish government guidance and regulations to ensure classes take place in a safe and secure environment.

 

The safety and welfare of our students is our utmost priority at all times

Find out more about the guidelines we will have in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Access our ‘Return to Campus Guidelines for Students’ document here. 

We are looking forward to safely welcoming students from around the world back to our university.

 

DCULS Virtual Study Abroad Programmes are still available!

DCU Language Services is running a full range of online courses with live teachers for General English, Business English, One to One lessons, as well as IELTS Exam Preparation classes.

We would love the chance to discuss how our online programmes, as well as face to face courses, could support your learning goals. If you would like to find out more about our programmes, please complete our online enquiry form.

Update – 21st October 2020

The Irish government has announced that from Thursday October 22nd Ireland will be moving to Level 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19. In line with the Government’s announcement, DCU Language Services will return to online teaching from this date for a period of 6 weeks.  Find out more.