The Student Room Group

My Journey from NI to Liverpool Hope

Hello, I’m Caragh, an Irish student studying Early Childhood and Special Educational Needs at Liverpool Hope. I wanted to write about my journey from Northern Ireland to Liverpool.

I grew up in a village called Maghera in County Down, just outside Newcastle. I came from a very small school in the countryside with only 100 pupils in the whole school. Since primary school, I have always wanted to be a teacher, but I wanted to go that extra mile and do something completely different, which is why I decided to study Special Educational Needs.

My family have always been massive Liverpool fans, so Liverpool was often mentioned in my house, but I never got to visit the city until I moved for university. I decided to study at Hope because Hope Park isn’t directly in the city centre like other universities and because I grew up in the countryside, it feels more like home. I also love that Hope’s a campus university, so you’re not walking around the city looking for different buildings- it’s all in one place for you.

When I first moved into halls I went through the same emotions that thousands of other students go through every September: I’m so homesick’, I won’t get to see my family for ages’, I’m worried I won’t make any friends’... The list is endless!

But at Hope, there’s a massive Irish community. Staff and students at Hope regularly host ‘Irish nights’ in the student bar, and it’s a great way to celebrate your culture and make new friends from all over Ireland and beyond. Everyone loves an Irish accent! Going to events like this really benefited me, as now I have such a wide range of friends, and you always seem to meet someone from your hometown that you never knew before you went to university. Hope also has very successful men's and women’s Gaelic football teams: the men won the All Ireland Corn na McLéinn both in 2018 and 2019, while the women won the British Championship in 2018. Hundreds of Irish students from all of the city’s universities gather at both Greenbank and Wavertree Parks every Saturday and Sunday morning to play Gaelic sports.

Liverpool is full of Irish bars, such as Lanigans, Irish House, Fitzgearlds, Dirty O’Sheas and plenty more. All these bars are within a 5-10 minutes walk from each other with live music playing every night. Believe me, these nights are the best- you forget you’re in Liverpool and it feels like you’re at home but 100 times better. We also can’t forget about St. Patrick's Day; there’s no better place to celebrate it than in Liverpool. The town is buzzing, the atmosphere is absolutely incredible, and the music is flowing all day long. It’s a great way to celebrate your culture, especially with the English and Irish community joining together.

Did you know that Liverpool had an Irish centre? Well, now you do! Somehow I only found out about this at the end of my first year. It’s only a 15-20 min drive from Hope Park Campus. There are so many different social events, and for all you Irish musicians, this centre is right up your street. Every fourth Sunday in the month there is a trad festival that’s open for everyone to bring their instruments and play along. However, if this isn’t your kind of thing they have an Irish shop that sells Tayto, Club Orange, Irish sausages and bacon. No one will understand how different these hit when you are away from home!

We always forget Ireland is a 30-minute flight away, and I am not joking when I say this, from being a homebird all of my life to moving away, coming to Hope has been the best decision I have ever made in my life- I barely want to come home during our reading weeks! Now don’t get me wrong, you’ll still get those days when you want to go home, but you’ll go through this no matter where in the world you live. The Irish community will always be there to help and support you, and help you remember that home is always with you.

-Caragh Quinn, 2nd year Early Childhood and Special Educational Needs student
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