To start off this post I will give a quick rundown of the events of the last few weeks.

Picking up where I left off a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to compete in a golf tournament with the UCC team at St. Anne’s Golf Club in Dublin. It was a great week and my first real taste of Irish links golf. I’m not exactly sure how I was able to play, considering I was the only non-Irish kid in the field, but I’m sure glad they let it fly. I did not play extremely well, but I could not have cared less. It was an awesome opportunity to compete and represent the university and meet a few new friends along the way.

Sligo Golf Course - Ireland
Sligo Golf Course - Sligo, Ireland
Following the golf tournament, we headed back to Cork for a full week of Jazz festival. For five days every year, at the end of October, artists come from far and wide to play live music all over the city. Almost all study abroad kids stay in town for the long weekend because it is a big deal. Each night we went out, we were able to sample music from some of the area’s finest musicians. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype.

Fast forward a couple days, and we were off to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was a bit bummed I had to sleep in the Dublin airport on Halloween, but it was well worth it to say the least. The first day a buddy and I made the journey up to St. Andrew’s Scotland where I was able to tour the most famous golf course on earth, The Old Course. We spent the day walking around, taking pictures, and admiring the history. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Shortly after we mosied back down to the city. Edinburgh quickly became one of my favorite places I have been so far. The city offers abundant history, incredible architecture, some great hiking, and unrivaled views of the North Sea. During the 3 days we spent in Scotland, we toured the city, ate local cuisine, took a trip to a beautiful national park, and had an overall great time.

This past weekend, along with a friend, I took a jaunt up to the northern part of Ireland for a golf trip. County Sligo did not disappoint. The course was right on the Atlantic and had a beautiful backdrop of mountains, rock outcroppings, and amazing plateaus. Aside from the golf, we were able to tour Sligo a little bit the night before. As far north as we were, the area was very rich with tradition. The pubs, people, and food were a fantastic example of true Irish culture. It was a quick trip up north and a lot of travel for two days, but I would recommend it to anyone who steps foot in Ireland.

Swilcan Bridge - Matthew Twaddle
Swilcan Bridge - Matthew Twaddle
Looking forward to the coming weeks, I am very excited for what lies ahead. This week, in fact, my family will be making the trip across the pond to visit for about 10 days, and I could not be more excited. This also coincides with thanksgiving and our last week of class, which seems crazy in itself. I remember thinking as I was leaving that it would be about 80 days until my family came over, which seemed like such a long time. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My time here has flown by, and it is crazy to think that after I get done traveling around with my family, there will be just a couple weeks of finals left and a plane ride home. As I have done over the entirety of my time here, I will try to make the most of it and really soak up the last few experiences.

That should be easy this week, as we plan to cover as much of this beautiful country as possible. After a few days in Cork, we will head west and shoot up north following the Wild Atlantic Way. I am so excited to not only show them a few of the places that makes Ireland so great, but also to see many of these places for the first time myself.

Since this week is the prelude to a very special holiday and time of year in general, I thought it necessary to mention a few things along those lines as well. It is pretty tough not to have many feelings of gratitude during an incredible experience such as this one. Not many people get the opportunity to go and do something like this, and I am extremely grateful to be able. Not only am I thankful for what this trip has brought, but the people and places that wait for me back at home. Sometimes when we are in the middle of those people or places, it is easy to gloss over how lucky we are to have them. It is kind of funny how magnified things like that become, and how special we realize they are when we are 4000 miles away. Obviously, I am enamored with what I have been able to experience over here, but because of those reasons I will be more than ready to head home in a few weeks. Along with a big smile I will bring those thoughts of appreciation back with me, or what most people would call… thanksgiving.
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Matthew Twaddle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in civil engineering. He is attending the University College Cork in Ireland through the UMKC Direct Exchange Program during the fall semester. Matthew is from Maryville, MO and is excited to continue his education in Cork, Ireland where some of his family still resides.