Institutes of Technology Ireland

March 10, 2011 –

We didn’t get to see much of Cork, but from what we saw from the car it looks like it would be a nice city to visit.  We had meetings at Cork IT in the morning.  Again, the presentation there was excellent.  The school has diverse offerings, but we were particularly intrigued by the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design and the National Maritime College of Ireland.  We enjoyed a three-course lunch served and prepared by students at CIT’s training restaurant at the school of tourism and hospitality studies building.  Both of us passed on the smoked eel appetizer, but it looked good.

A picture from the car window of Cork IT

We drove the M8 motorway back to Dublin which took nearly three hours.  Along the way it rained several times, and we saw several rainbows.  I tried to catch a photo of one, but with no “luck.”  Miriam gave us a quick tour of the IOTI offices, which are quite nice and large.  We had dinner with Miriam, IOTI Chief Executive Gerry Murray and Dr. Richard Thorn, Director of Flexible Learning and Research at the Cliff Townhouse, which was truly exceptional. 

Dinner with IOTI Chief Executive Gerry Murray and Dr. Richard Thorn, Director of Flexible Learning and Research

After walking back to our hotel (Brooks Hotel again), we said goodbye to Miriam.  Over the last five days we’ve gotten to know each other well.  It has been invaluable visiting six of the IOTI’s campuses, and now we feel we will return to the states with a firmer idea of the variety and offerings that exist across its 13 member schools.  It’s been a terrific kickoff to our work together.

Still no email at the office, so we decided to head to a pub in the Temple Bar area for a final drink (an email from Sarah Madey motivated us!).  Pat enjoyed a beer, while I (Tara) enjoyed a Bulmers hard cider.  The band was good, playing traditional Irish and folk music.  It seemed the perfect way to end our four days here.

The Irish countryside 


Day 4 – March 9, 2011

We can’t believe how lucky we are…. another sunny morning in Ireland.  Miriam met us at the hotel at 9 a.m., and we headed to Carlow which is located 80 km from Dublin in southeastern Ireland.  Carlow was home to the Irish Sugar Company at one time, and now to Carlow Institute of Technology, which is one of the major employers in town.  Two of the more interesting and unique courses of study offered by the Institute are a Bachelor of Science in Computer Games Development (which was developed in conjunction with Microsoft) and a Bachelor of Engineering in Aircraft Systems.

Pat, Tara, and Donal McAlister, International Coordinator at
Carlow Institute of Technology

Pat at the Carlow Institute of Technology

We drove from Carlow to Waterford, which took us about an hour and a half.  As we entered Waterford we drove over the new N25 Bypass Bridge which we understand is the largest cable stay bridge in the Republic of Ireland and looks a lot like the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston.  The facilities at Waterford IT are impressive and include student housing and extensive-looking sports facilities.

Pat, Miriam and Sinead Day, Head of International Affairs at Waterford IT

Our final drive of the day is from Waterford to Cork and takes about an hour.  This is a much slower road.  While higher speed motorways have improved access across Ireland, we much prefer driving these older, slower roads which offer more interesting scenery and sights.  The Clarion Hotel in Cork is right on the River Less and very nice.  The wireless is very fast, but we soon found that the Internet is down back in the office so we are unable to check email which is frustrating.   Dinner at a restaurant located right at the hotel called Augustine’s Restaurant was a notch or two above your typical hotel food offering.  Funny, we’ve realized that we haven’t eaten a meal at a traditional pub yet, and it looks like we may not.


Day 3 – March 8, 2011

After a quick breakfast, we headed to IT Blanchardstown located in a growing suburb of Dublin for a 10 AM meeting.  Given that today is International Women’s Day, it seemed appropriate that our first meeting of today was with two impressive femal leaders at ITB, President Mary Meaney and International Officer Mairead Murphy.

On our third day in Ireland, we visited IT Blanchardstown

In the afternoon, we took the M4 highway to Athlone, which is located close to the geographical centre of Ireland. The River Shannon runs through Athlone, and Athlone’s major employers include Elan (pharmaceuticals) and Ericsson(telecommunications).  Athlone is also home to AIT (Athlone Institute of Technology), where we had an afternoon meeting. 

An outside shot of the Athlone Institute of Technology

On the car ride back to Dublin we listened to their equivalent of NPR in Ireland and much of the news was about the new government as the parliment is convening tomorrow for the first time since the recent election.  We ended our day with dinner at The Church.  Formerly St. Mary’s Church, it is now a restaurant and bar. We ate up in the gallery next to the organ and enjoyed the live Irish music and suprisingly good food.

A look inside The Church Restaurant and Bar


Day 2 – March 7, 2011

Gorgeous morning – blue sky and warm.  Breakfast at our hotel was terrific.  Our day started with a meeting in the lobby with Miriam Ryan from Institute of Technology Ireland and Terry McParland from Enterprise Ireland.  This was followed by a two hour train ride from Dublin to Limerick located in southwestern Ireland.  The trip was scenic as we passed through endless green fields dotted with sheep, cows and a horse or two.  Our destination was the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) where we were given a brief tour of campus and met with several senior administrators. Back in Dublin, we enjoyed dinner at Salamanca (voted the best tapas bar and restaurant in Dublin) on St. Andrew’s Street.

Miriam and Pat at the Limerick Institute of Technology

Day 1 – March 6, 2011

Pat Casey and I (Tara Scholder) arrived in Dublin, Ireland at 5:20 a.m. on Sunday, March 6th, and checked into the Brooks Hotel, a boutique hotel in Dublin’s city centre, which is a short stroll from Grafton Street and Trinity College. After taking a short nap, we headed to the Shelborne Hotel for lunch and then walked around Grafton Street, the Temple Bar area, and thru the Trinity College campus soaking in Dublin and doing a little shopping. The weather was springlike – sunny and warm. The evening started with drinks at The Hairy Lemon Irish Pub (unforgettable name) and then dinner with old friends at Pichet on Trinity Street, where the ambiance and risotto were fabulous. Our first day in Ireland ended with fantastic Irish music at an atmospheric pub.

Stay tuned, we’ll be updating you on our travels and work here in Ireland throughout the week!

Pat Casey and friends enjoying drinks at The Hairy Lemon Pub

We closed the day with some Irish music at an atmospheric pub

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