During the holidays Alexis and I decided to stay here, in Ireland, because we wanted to discover the Donegal county which counts a lot of interesting things to see. Thus, we borrowed some friend’s bikes who went back in France to go on a trekking to the Slieve League cliffs, the highest of Europe.

That way, we established a trip from Sligo to Kilcar and a way back in five steps :

From Sligo to Bundoran

On the first day, we did 36km by bike and this allowed us to arrive early enough so we can visit the known seaside town. We walk along the cliffs after a little rest and we ate in town. We rent a private room and the host was very thoughtful and welcoming and this is one of the greatest qualities we have found in all our Irish hosts.


From Bundoran to Mountcharles 

On the day 2, we left the beautiful Bundoran for Mountcharles, 40 km further. During this journey, we rode through the deep Irish countryside and saw a lot of beautiful landscapes. The town Donegal was on our way and we stopped there to have lunch even if we didn’t have time to visit because we planned a little walk into the woods in near Mountcharles. Our accommodation was a very comfortable apartment with a view on the Inver bay.


From Mountcharles to Kilcar 

On the third day, we did 50 km to go to the Slieve League. We had to ride on a national road which was the only one the reach our purpose. It leads us to Killybegs, a beautiful fishing port and where we met lovely people during a break. We also ate on the Fintra beach which was gorgeous despite of the cold wind. Then, at the end of the day we arrived to the Slieve League and went back to Kilcar to find our accommodation for the night, in the middle of the countryside where nobody seems to live during this season !


From Kilcar to Laghy

On the day 4, we did the fourty first kilometers during the morning to do a longer break in Donegal : we ate in a little dinner and visit the town. We visited the abbey and its graveyard, the castle and the church. Then, few kilometers further we arrived in Laghy which was a beautiful little town. We went on a walk to the nearest beach and ate in our accommodation. Every Bed&Breakfast institute where we spent time were gorgeous and the Irish breakfast is the best one to start a day of cycling !

From Laghy to Sligo

Finally, on the last day we had to ride for 63 km until home. We made a detour to see one of the most beautiful Irish beach according to our host in Laghy, the beach of Rossnowlagh. It was the hardest journey we had to do because of the distance and the weather wasn’t very good either. We took the same road as the day 1, rode through the deep countryside and then joined the national road in Drumcliff where we visited the Parish Church and saw the grave of the famous poet W. B. Yeats. Also, the only one city that we had to go through was Ballyshannon and its town center was really lovely.


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Travel in Ireland

Since we arrived in Ireland, Alexis and I visited many different cities : Dublin and Galway are the main because we stayed there longer than the others one.

                                                               Galway                                                            Dublin


The first one was Galway, we were a group of six students to go there. Thus, we went there by bus and the return ticket cost us  thirty euros per person. When we reached our destination, we dropped our bags at the youth hotel, which cost us fifty euros per person for two night (breakfast included),  and then we went for a walk into the city. We went in few pubs and watched a rugby match. This city was a little more lively than Sligo and the atmosphere was great : as we were staying in the city center we were close to the pedestrian streets and so festivities.

On the second day we have rented bikes and went for a ride through the Connemara lakes. We saw amazing landscape despite of the weather that wasn’t very clement.


The second one was Dublin. We went to Dublin by rail to meet Alexis’ parents and visit the city during the week end. The return ticket cost us thirty eight euros but it was more pleasant than the bus, according to me. I didn’t want to go back to Sligo by car so I decided to take the train and I met an Irish woman that used to teach English in a french university. I think that train is a good way to share with other people that you don’t even know, it feels very good to meet and talk with Irish people.

In Dublin the weather wasn’t on our side either because it rained the entire two days with a cold wind. Nonetheless, we visited several places such as Temple Bar and the Trinity College, walking along the Liffey river. We stayed in an hotel in the area named “The Liberties”. For our last lunch we ate at the oldest pub in Dublin, the Brazen Head.

To make a comparison between Ireland and France, we can say that concerning the rail the ticket price is a little bit lower than in France in regards to regular trains. Even if the country size isn’t as big, it still permit you to cross the entire Ireland in three hours for nineteen euros as a student.


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College life

On our first day at the IT Sligo, we received our timetable. We found it very convenient because we had enough free time to practice extra-curricular activities and to visit the surroundings. We then discovered that plenty of activities were organized at the Knockarea Arena without having to register so we decided to go at the badminton training every monday. Moreover, several other ESME students also went there, which allowed us to get to know more about those we did not already know.

Concerning the lectures, all of them were interesting. The Software engineering class taught us how to work as a team and how to behave in a business situation. Then the English business lesson allowed us to consolidate our bases in grammar while discussing current affairs. Moreover, the Embedded System, Microcontroller and Data communication labs has enabled us to improve our code skills.

In each lectures, the workload wasn’t too large which permit us to focus on other things such as discovering Ireland and its culture.

About making new friends, we didn’t really have the opportunity to be part of an Irish group, our class only had a few who were not necessarily very talkative. However, we developed a good cohesion within our group of french students.



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First impressions

From our arrival in Sligo, we were immediately conquered by the choice of our destination.


Calry Church, Sligo

We wanted to discover a new country and we had a lot of positive feedback about Ireland :  it was the perfect occasion.

To reach Sligo we had to take the plane from Paris to Dublin, and from this point we went to the Connolly Station by cab : it was our first meeting with the Irish culture. We instantly realized that the Irish were warm and welcoming people.

The taxi driver was very talkative and after asking us a lot of questions he told us his experience with France : he used to live there. Once we arrived to the train station he even helped us to locate ourselves in relation to the trains.

The night had already fallen when we took the train, so we unfortunately could not admire the Irish landscapes. Finally, we arrived at Sligo and took another cab until our accommodation : we were so tired that it seemed perfect to us (and still does).

The next day, we went for a walk in the surroundings and in the city center. It seemed a bit long on foot but we were delighted to discover Sligo and, moreover, during our first week we only had good weather. We found the town to be very beautiful and to the image of Ireland: green.

Our first day at the IT went was great, we were very well received by all the lecturers who immediately put us at ease and introduced themselves. Also, the IT’s structure was very impressive in its architecture but fortunately we had the right to a full tour.


Doorly Park, Sligo

This picture represents our first impressions of our first pedestrian exit during the sunny days. We walked along the Garavogue river until we arrived at the Lough Gill, the lake that border on Sligo.

Alexis & Aurélie

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