I'm sure you've heard this about Ireland's people before, but I'm going to tell you anyway: they are the sweetest, most nurturing, humble people. I had a great experience traveling with CIS. We had an on-site coordinator, John, who made sure we were acclimating well and gave us the inside scoop about places we visited. John also brought me groceries when I became too sick to leave my apartment. That leads me into my next point...I paid an overnight visit to the Limerick Hospital, where I was, again, treated so very kindly. All of the other patients in the ER kept referring to me as "pet" (a sweet term of endearment for someone younger) and had doctors that truly wanted to make me more comfortable.
I didn't end up in the hospital until later in the semester so I had a good three months of fun. I was placed in an apartment with one other American student and three Irish students--a perfect mix. We all had our own rooms and I lucked out with a giant handicapped accessible room complete with a bathroom bigger than my room at home! It made being away from home much easier because I was so comfortable. This made me ready to explore the city I was ready to call my home for four months.
From touring Limerick's milk market, river trails, and King John's castle, there was always something to do on the weekends or after class. In the evenings, Icon night club and Smyth's bar were good options for an exciting night out. For a more relaxing atmosphere, I always chose Curragower's, where the beer and cider choices were unique and the food fantastic.
When I wasn't trying new beer or exploring, I enjoyed my journalism, gothic literature, and Irish folklore classes. Professors are very intrigued with their subject matter and never give a dull lecture. The set up of lectures and tutorials allowed students to have more one-on-one time with professors and get to know fellow students better.
If you're looking for a smaller city with tons to do and an amazing university, go to Limerick. It's a hidden gem in Ireland, among all of the more touristy, well-known spots like Dublin. However, places like Dublin, Galway, and Kilkenny are only a short bus drive away on Paddywagon tours. PLEASE choose a semester in Limerick! You won't regret it.