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Chelsea Goes to Ireland (Part One)

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d tell you about my Ireland experience and share some photos.

On March 10, 2007 my 22 year old almost college graduate self boarded the red eye from Chicago to Limerick, Ireland. I was going to be living and student teaching in a suburb of Limerick for 10 weeks in fifth class (aka fifth grade). I lived in two different houses while I was there– here’s one of them.

This was my view walking to and from school everyday.

All in all it was an amazing experience. I loved learning about the country and seeing how the Irish lived. The teachers were great and so were the kids. To condense my teaching experience a little I thought I’d share my top three favorite memories with the kids I taught.

1. Snack time with the kids. I’d walk around the room, sampling the kids’ interesting snacks– prawn cocktail crisps (shrimp cocktail flavored potato chips), Hula Hoops (kind of like Funions), Jaffa cakes (sponge cake with orange jelly, dipped in chocolate). They’d be all like “Here Chelsea, try a bite!” in their adorable Irish accents. How could I say no?


2. Teaching the kids how to play four square and painting a couple courts in their courtyard. Yes, I was the unofficial four square ambassador to Ireland. For a few weeks I served as PE teacher and taught the kids how to play. I felt bad because they didn’t have the rubbery balls that you typically play four square with so we had to use basketballs. Ouch.

3. Making my class peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These kids had never, I repeat, NEVER, had PB&J sandwiches. Ridiculousness, I said. So I decided to show these kids what they were missing. (I’m the American girl who brought a giant container of Jif to Ireland with her.)  I have video of them biting into their sandwiches and being all dramatic– saying things like, “It’s rotten!” and running to the trash can to spit it out. Blasphemy. I wish I could show you the video, but they’re minors, and I clearly don’t have their parents’ permission. Most of the kids liked their sandwiches though. Winning.

In Chelsea Goes to Ireland (Part Two), I’ll share photos of my trip around Ireland with my mom and step-dad. Here’s a teaser for you.


Have you ever had prawn cocktail crisps or Jaffa cakes?
Can you believe that they don’t sell much peanut butter in Ireland?
Any random questions?

Please let me know if this series is going to bore you to death. If so, I’ll go back to our regular scheduled program.

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  1. No, no, no, not boring, wonderful. Obviously, I’m Irish and have visited Ireland many times, and loved every second. The people are so warm and a little crazy, especially my relatives. My directions to someplace I was headed, ‘go down this main road (two lanes, barely), and about a 1/2 mile before a big red barn, turn left, but first come in and get a cuppa and warm your insides.’ My ex and I just looked at each other both for the wild directions and for the warmth we received from everyone.

  2. Enjoyed the story! I look at design, art etc blogs all day so it was a nice diversion. My son went to Ireland on a college trip and the first thing he noticed as he took his first “Irish” breath was the smell of “GREEN”. He told me everything is green and lush (being from Texas he was a little deprived!) I told him it must have been the smell of chlorophyll.

  3. No peanut butter? The country looks pretty but no peanut butter? But they may be onto something with those prawn cocktail things.

  4. Gorgeous! WE thought about going to Ireland last year but couldn’t work into our schedule with my school. Hoping to go soon though!

  5. I’m going to love this series! That sounds like a wonderful experience and I’m so jealous!! My hubby and I would LOVE to go to Ireland someday!

  6. I lived in Ireland for a month when I was 25 (I actually had my birthday there and our hosts took us to some old castles…best birthday ever!) so I’m going to love this series!! We also ate the prawn chips almost everyday…they were weird but addicting!
    p.s. just realized we weren’t following you! fixed that today! 🙂

  7. I LOVE this! So excited for part two. I loved Irish butter…like L.O.V.E.D. it. Fortunately for me, the Irish love their butter like Brits love Mayo. It was on everything we ate (almost). Mmm. I had no idea about the PB&J though. It’s always so funny to see how what is so common to us is so different overseas, and vice versa.

  8. Been to Ireland many times, Drogheda Co. Louth, where my friends live. Could give walking tours of Dublin by now, I love it there. I’m a Skips addict. Years ago when visiting London, I found some lemon and prawn flovored “cheetos” like snack (can’t remember the name) that I still dream about! LOL Enjoyed your post and lovely pictures.

  9. Ok I know this is a really old post but I had to comment! I was reading one of your mom bloggers posts and a picture of a typical irish semi detached house caught my eye in the you may also like section. I clicked, I read you were in limerick. That got my interest, being from limerick. I read on and saw you worked in schools. I’m a teacher so I was thinking hmm. Saw a photo of your walk to school and I recognised the bridge. Kept scrolling and saw a photo of the yard I played in as a kid. You were in scoil ide weren’t you! I went to school there in the 80s and 90s. Crazy small world! Hope you enjoyed limerick. I happened upon your blog today. Congratulations on becoming a mom. I love the name Owen by the way.

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