Date Yourself: Your Guide to a Fresh Perspective

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With students from every corner of the country and the globe descending upon this beautiful city, and not to mention the mountains of coursework looming ahead, it’s easy to get bogged down before you even begin. To combat the January blues, why not take advantage of the culture and events Dublin has to offer, and take yourself out on a date? This is a list list of things to do to broaden your horizons, take care of your mental health, and most of all start the semester off with a fresh new perspective.

The Dublin Flea Market

This bizarre bazaar takes place on the last Sunday of every month, and will be in full swing for the first market of 2017 on Sunday the 19th of January. Held in the Co-Op in Newmarket square, it hosts over 60 stalls indoors and outdoors each month. It’s a great day out for hagglers and bargain hunters, where you can collect some odds and ends to decorate your student home, as well as fashion lovers who can pick up vintage and second-hand clothes for a fraction of the high street price. The market runs from 11am-5pm, and more information can be found on dublinflea.ie

The National Museum of Ireland

If you’d like to ease yourself back into the learning process, why not take a trip to the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street, more affectionately known as the ‘Dead Zoo’. Feast your eyes upon the towering figures of ancient elk that greet you on the ground floor, which hosts Irish fauna from carnivores and crustaceans to cockroaches and crows. The first floor is home to the ‘Mammals of the World’ collection, where you can find a 20 metre long whale skeleton suspended from the rafters. Entry to the museum is free of charge and more information on opening hours and exhibitions can be found here.

Photograph: Alan Betson for The Irish Times

If you like to get a little more hands-on with history, the Museum of Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks has offered drop in handling sessions artifacts from the museum’s collections in the past. Get in touch here, to find out the next session. No booking is necessary and the activity is always free of charge.

Poolbeg Lighthouse

For those of you who like to recharge with a breath of fresh air, the South Wall Walk leading to the Poolbeg Lighthouse is the place to go. It’s a perfect spot if you feel like the city is closing in on you, because it’s easy to forget that Dublin is on the coast. Start off your walk by the iconic Poolbeg Chimneys, the tallest structures in Ireland at 207m high, and feel the blast of sea air across your face as you venture out into the middle of Dublin Bay. During the 4km walk you can watch cruise ships and trawlers pulling into the bay and when you reach the lighthouse you’ll have an amazing view in all directions. The sense of achievement from reaching a simple goal like this can be the perfect way to kick-start your productivity and boost your mood.

Photograph: Oliver Dixon for geograph.ie

The Little Museum of Dublin

This award-winning museum tells the story of our capital through public donations. A tour guide will lead you through the museum, where you can discover more about the culture and people of Dublin. Images, articles and advertisements bring about a sense of nostalgia, and can help cultivate inspiration for new creations drawing from our rich and stimulating history. The museum can be found on the corner of Dawson Street and St Stephen’s Green. Entry for students is €6, or €5 if you book online, and all visitors enjoy a 10% discount in Hatch & Sons, the acclaimed Irish restaurant in the basement of the museum. More information is available at littlemuseum.ie

Photograph: littlemuseum.ie

Words Ireland Writers’ Series: Illustrator’s Special

For those of you who are aspiring illustrators, or are curious about illustration in the publishing business, this event brings together three Irish illustrators; Olivia Golden, Chris Judge, and Olwyn Whelan, who are stars both at home and abroad. During this talk, they will discuss their experiences in embarking on a career in illustration for publishing. Each of the three panelists bring a different viewpoint on the business. Clarke is the mastermind behind the Lonely Beast Series, while Olivia Golden has illustrated over 30 children’s books, and Olwyn Whelan has been nominated three times for the Children’s Book Ireland award. This event takes place at the National Library, Kildare Street on Wednesday the 25th of January from 5:30 – 7:30pm and admission is free.

Photograph: dublintown.ie

Dating yourself allows you to gain independence and confidence, as well as a chance to explore your city and boost your mental health. Obviously you can bring along a friend if you’d like, but I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn to love yourself and your own company, and gather inspiration for your college work along the way.

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