Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Maynooth and the Royal Canal


Royal Canal Maynooth


When I was considering studying abroad for a year, Ireland was one of the few options I had. It was not fancy Dublin or Belfast. Not even Cork or Limerick. It was in Maynooth, a small university town only 25 Km away from Dublin. As much as I would have liked to live in Ireland back then and how easy it would have been to be an exchange student in an English-speaking country, I ended up in Belgium and not even in the French-speaking part of Belgium - you can read the whole story here. I had heard that Ireland was boring and expensive, two things you definitely don't want during a study exchange, and coming from an island I wasn't so keen on moving to another island.


Maynooth University


I had always been curious about how different things would have been if i had chosen to go Maynooth instead of Antwerp and while I was living in Dublin I had the chance to go there and take a look by myself. Maynooth, or Maigh Nuad as it is known in Irish, is a tiny town in County Kildare, almost bordering suburban Dublin. In fact, you only need to ride one of those yellow Dublin Bus buses and after some 50 minutes ride of suburbs, highway and passing by a couple tiny villages you'll be in tranquil Maynooth.

Small and calm, Maynooth is definitely one of those towns where there is only one main street and little else to see or do. Ok, there's a big university, some castle ruins and Carton House, a estate house dating from the 18th century where you either go for some spa relaxation or to practice your swing at any of the two golf courses within its gardens. Or maybe just to enjoy some high tea. 


Maynooth Castle

Maynooth

Maynooth


With not much to see, my day in Maynooth was a rather quiet one. The highlight of the trip was a stroll along the Royal Canal. It was a crisp autumn morning and after sitting for an hour in the bus, walking along the crystalline waters of the canal feeling the cool breeze on my face was really invigorating. I walked as much as I wanted back and forth and entertained myself spotting all different kind of ducks gliding along the canal.


Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth


On my way back to Dublin I though that choosing Antwerp over Maynooth for my study exchange was definitely a good decision. Maynooth was way too quiet for a year of partying studying and exploring. However, I'm sure it makes for a lovely base to explore the eastern part of Ireland and Carton House definitely tops my list of posh stays in Ireland if I ever go back for a decadent leisure trip.


Have you ever been to Maynooth or somewhere else in Co. Kildare? Any recommendations?

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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