Ireland's fabled emerald landscape and its five million people are among the most enticing reasons to focus your study abroad search on Ireland. But be forewarned: Ireland is not for individuals planning to stay in their rooms. Just enter a pub in Ireland on a rainy day, settle in for an evening of craic—that's Irish for "enjoyable conversation"—and you'll make a roomful of friends before the night is over. If an evening at a pub famed for folk music and a pint of Guinness sounds like heaven to you, you'll feel right at home in Ireland.
If you want to study in Ireland, you should know more than just the trifecta of beer, folk music, and the green hills. Take literature, for example: culturally speaking, the Irish have had a greater impact on the world of literature than one might expect, given the small size of the country. Ireland counts Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, and James Joyce among its native authors and poets. Today, both Galway to the west and Dublin to the east are major artistic hubs that draw students, musicians, and artists from all over the world. Anyone considering a study abroad program in Ireland should know that education is considered the cornerstone of all economic and cultural activity in Ireland.