Following his long-lasting love of Irish musicians, Student Ambassador Earn Cheong came to Ireland to pursue the subject himself! Here, he has located a rich and vibrant cultural history, breath-taking landscapes, and a place to call home…
Being born under the hot tropical climate of Malaysia, the cold was the first difference I noticed when I set foot on Irish soil. Although, it was a welcomed change. In September, the frosty breeze gently caresses my skin as I took several deep breaths in and savoured the crisp air. It was something refreshing to me. It was different from the heavy humidity I was used to in Kuala Lumpur. I was ready for all of the adventures that Ireland had to offer.
Music was what first brought me to Ireland. Irish bands, such as U2 and The Script, were an important part of my teenage years back in Malaysia. I wanted to experience the places written in their songs.
I am currently based in Dublin, studying for a Bachelor’s in Audio Production and Music Project Management – a collaborative programme between Dublin Business School and the Sound Training College. Which, in summary, is a practical music course where I get to directly work with independent Irish bands by helping them record and produce their songs in a professional recording studio and I am also taught how to produce my own electronic music.
Dublin is the first European city that I have lived in, and I immediately fell in love with her the moment I explored her streets! I love the history that is immortalised within the stone walls of her buildings, the worn cobblestone streets that span the whole of Temple Bar, pubs that stood the test of time and have welcomed legendary Irish poets, artists, and activists, their words and ideas exchanged over ubiquitous pints of Guinness. Ideas that have surely influenced the world.
As I sat in those fabled spaces, sipping a pint of Guinness, and embracing its bitter roast flavour, I felt in awe of it all. It is in such moments that I feel a strong surge of life pouring into me and instilling a sense of tranquil gratefulness – it is such a remarkable thing.
During my time in Ireland, I have travelled to the main cities in Galway, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford, as well as the various small quaint towns across West Cork and around County Limerick. Beautiful landscapes can be found all across the island and they are absolutely breath-taking. Every single place that I have visited has its own little unique characteristics, but they all still carry that same spirit of Ireland – hospitable people who welcome you with a smile and plenty of good craic (good times).
In December, as the nights become longer, Dublin is brought to life with beautiful lights and decorations. The shopping streets, such as Grafton Street, are illuminated with festive lights. A few bridges along the Liffey, such as the Millennium Bridge and Samuel Beckett Bridge, radiate with playful and festive colours. Beautiful 3D projections are mapped onto buildings, live music can be heard spilling out of pubs, and people come together and cheer boisterously on the winter streets, singing along to songs, dancing their hearts out, and warming their souls. It is a scene I truly adored, a celebration of life.
Music is still what made me stay. I am now learning to produce my own electronic music here. While Ireland’s nightlife is not as robust as many other European countries, I have met and danced with some incredible people who are working hard to breathe new life into the scene.
This is a snippet of my experience of Ireland so far. I have grown a lot during my time here in Ireland and I’ve also met some of the best people. As its namesake suggests, Ireland is truly a gem to behold. The Emerald of Europe.
Earn is studying Audio Production and Music Project Management at Dublin Business School.