My Favourite Place - Juliette Gash & Mary Lou McDonald

Juliette Gash, Senior News Reporter, Today FM reveals how UL won her over.

I chose UL based on its subject choices, academic reputation and career prospects.

What I did not factor in was its location. Being a Dubliner in Limerick, I felt like a fish out of water, I missed friends and family and living with seven strangers was a culture shock. I gave myself three months and said, ‘if by Christmas, you’re not happy, you can reapply to the CAO.’ I think it’s a big shock for many people to live away from home for the first time, but I’d been on a three-month exchange to Germany, so I knew what being away meant, I guess it just took a little while to embrace the whole vibe in UL. I needn’t have worried. Little by little, I took to campus life and social life, and before long, I felt totally at home. I remember looking back and my three-month escape clause and thinking there wasn’t anywhere else I’d rather be. I think it was the making of me at that stage in my life.

Juliette Gash, BA Law and European Studies, 2000

Dublin Central TD and President of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald champions her university city.

My favourite memory of my time spent at UL is the city and the people.

My undergraduate years were spent at Trinity College Dublin, I arrived at University of Limerick to study for an MA in European Integration Studies. I’ve always had a grá for Limerick. My mother is from Tipperary so we were regular visitors to the city growing up. To me, Limerick was an underdog, a great city unfairly given a bad name. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and intimacy of the city. It moved to a different beat than my home city.

Students came from all over Ireland and beyond – testimony to UL’s reputation for academic excellence and innovation. I was the only Dub in my class and I shared a house in Plassey with women from Germany, China, Monaghan and Ennis. We got on great and there were always people coming and going. Great craic, and we studied too!

Mary Lou McDonald, MA in European Integration Studies, 1995