Finally back in Sligo after 469 days of studying online, Student Ambassador Yin Qi Koh from Malaysia is delighted to return! In her first blog, Yin tells us about her first day back exploring Strandhill, and how the overall experience has made her a better person…

Hi there, I am Yin Qi Koh. From Malaysia to the Wild Atlantic Way Sligo, Ireland, it feels good to be back to study my Tourism with Event Management course at the Institute of Technology Sligo. During my first year of study in 2019, I was here in Ireland but had to go back to Malaysia due to the pandemic. Like some students, I never expected to stay in Malaysia to do the next year of my course online. Honestly, I had a great time with family and friends back home. Still, I felt regret for not being able to discover more parts of Ireland despite being a tourism student myself. Apart from some field trips and excursions led by my lecturers, I knew nothing about Ireland, especially Sligo. 

Strandhill Beach (photo: Yin Qi Koh)

After 469 days away from Sligo, I am finally back. I am now a third-year student, yet I still have the exact same feeling towards Sligo, just like when I was still a freshman. Thus, after completing self-quarantine post-arrival, the first place I went was the famous Strandhill beach in Sligo. Although it is just a 20 minutes bus ride from the college, I had only been there once before that.  

Food stalls at Strandhill People’s Market (photo: Yin Qi Koh)

Strandhill People’s Market stalls (photo: Yin Qi Koh)







It was a sunny Sunday on the day I went there. My first stop is the lovely Sunday market called the Strandhill People’s Market (SPM), located at the old Sligo airport. It is just a 15 minutes walk from Strandhill beach. At SPM, you can find people selling food, desserts, pastry, drinks, clothes, handicrafts and much more. They also have an outdoor seating area that is child and pet-friendly too.

After that, my friend and I walked back to Strandhill Beach. We bought some ice cream from Mammy Johnston’s before starting our walk along the beach. You can see how pleasant the weather was by just looking at the photos. The sky was so blue, and the Knocknarea Mountain was so green. 

At Strandhill Beach (photo: Yin Qi Koh)

Knocknarea Mountain (photo: Yin Qi Koh)








Before heading back, we had our dinner at The Strand Bar. In light of having this trip as my first proper outing after so many days after my arrival in Sligo, I chose to end my day with a nice portion of Guinness beef stew. (This is my first time trying this dish too haha!)  

Studying and staying in Sligo allows me to be away from the fast pace of urban life. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to study abroad. I believe every up and down that I have gone through in the past makes me a better person today. Ireland, thank you! 

Yin Qi Koh is studying Tourism with Event Management in IT Sligo.