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“WHY the hell would you want to come to Limerick from Australia?” I have met countless Irish people since arriving here, and the amounts who have not asked me this would probably fit in my shower.

Well, to clear it up for you, I am actually here under orders from your government as a deterrent. Apparently they realised that an inordinate number of Irish people are heading for Australian shores, and while we adore having you come to our country so we can laugh at English backpackers together, your political fat cats decided they want Irish people to stay in Ireland. So, they sent me as a shining beacon of why you absolutely shouldn’t come to Australia.

Poor, self-deprecating jokes aside, I don’t know that I can answer your question. Why did I come to Limerick? I probably should have thought about that more before I came to Limerick. Truthfully, I wanted to study in Dublin; I went there for about a week last year while backpacking and couldn’t get the town off my mind. But my university do not send students on exchange to Dublin-my only Irish option was the University of Limerick. And by God I’m glad it was.

Do you realise what you have here, Limerickians? (Limerickites? Limeriquai? I don’t know.) This place is amazing. Not only is it bigger than my university in Melbourne, it is bigger than the suburb in which I live. Which I suppose has its downsides, and when, during my first week, I got lost in the main building for three days lacking food, water and a sense of direction I probably would have cursed this institution and all it stood for.

But now that I once again have access to basic resources and the outside world, it is incredibly hard not to love this place. You have pubs, a bunch of restaurants, a billion rugby fields, and a boat house necessitated by the fact you have a massive river going right through the middle of you and your desire to put boats on it. My university has not a single one of those things, and certainly not a river, despite my constant suggestions to the administration.

Do you know what else you have that I do not have in Melbourne? Thousands of Irish people. And there is nothing wrong with any place in which there are thousands of Irish people. I like you guys. I enjoy that you like to drink as much as I do. I love what you do with your language-every time something is grand, or someone had great craic, or someone seemingly randomly adds the word “sure” or “like” to the end of a sentence, I just get all giddy.

A somewhat significant problem I have encountered thus far in my residency here is the complete and utter bemusement I feel when I remember that I am technically here to study. Technically. I am proud to say I have missed but four (or maybe seven) lectures, only a couple of tutorials, and I am even on the Sulis site for most of my classes. Given the circumstances I think that is actually quite impressive.

My deepest apologies for this part, but I feel I should quickly voice some grievances I feel toward your university, your town and your country. For starters, are there any beef sausages to be found in this country? Or beef sausage rolls? Do they exist? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. There is so much pork. I mean, I’m not mad-I just want to know what’s going on. Also, supermarkets do not give you bags, so I have to bring my own. I actually think this is great, to be honest, except that I keep forgetting to bring them. So
actually scratch that one, I’m just an idiot.

But let us get back to your original question. Why would I want to leave Australia in the summertime, with our sun and warmth? Well, when I got on the plane in Melbourne to fly to Dublin, it was 43 degrees. When I landed in Dublin, it was 3 degrees. But you can always put on more jackets, and I was prepared for the blistering cold and perpetual damp-there are only so many layers one can remove when the mercury goes up.

So, let me say: I came to this town on a hunch and a good memory of Dublin, with no list of better reasons to be here. But now that I am here, my list of reasons to stay gets longer every day.

By Jake Watson

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