Luke McGivern – LLM (Environmental and Natural Resource Law)

My first few weeks in UCC have been nothing short of hectic. Having spent the last 2 years travelling and enjoying in bare minimum of responsibility, my return to full-time study has been a welcome source of purpose, and an occasional source of stress. It began with the move down to Cork City. As a “Dub”, and having no idea what really to expect from the “real capital”, the prospect of moving to an apartment in the centre of the city was pretty exciting. I’ve always lived outside the city in the suburbs of Dublin, so I figured this would be my best opportunity to indulge in the bike-cycling, walking-to-coffee-shop lifestyle I was always jealous of in the people I knew who lived in the city centre. Cork certainly hasn’t disappointed in that department. My bicycle hasn’t seen this much use in years, and I’ve upped my usual intake of coffee twofold solely to try every place I can that’s within cycling distance of my house—not that they’re ever very far.

The course itself is excellent. I’m really enjoying the new challenges of exploring different areas of law, and it is refreshing to spend as much time as I am reading about topics that really interest me. The lecturers too have been genuinely excellent, in particular Owen McIntyre who has made every effort to ensure that we’re all well looked after throughout our studies. I certainly haven’t had many lecturers that would have been as receptive to the constant stream of emails and questions that I had to send to him during the first week. The UCC campus is beautiful, and certainly shares the same the old-meets-new vision that Maynooth University has developed in their campus. The Mardyke Arena, however, certainly provides a welcome contrast to the tiny sports facility that Maynooth offered while I was studying there—so I’m trying my best to make use of its varied range of sporting opportunities while I’m spending the year here.

It hasn’t been without challenge, however. Balancing readings, assignments and my return to work (in the Cork International Hotel) brings back the memories of the late night, and early morning essay writing sessions that I managed to erase from my nostalgic rose-tinted thoughts of undergraduate life! Overall, however, I have thoroughly enjoyed the first few weeks I’ve spent here and am really looking forward to the upcoming Jazz festival, and the run up to Christmas in a new city.

Picture: Cork Harbour

Check out the prospectus page for the LLM (Environmental and Natural Resources Law)  

Luke McGivern - LLM (Environmental & Natural Resource Law) 

Blog Post 2

With the second semester looming, and the return to normality imminent, it was a good time for me to reflect on my first semester at UCC, and what lies ahead for my second semester.  Semester 1, while challenging and fast-paced, was extremely rewarding. The initial rush that enveloped the first couple of months of my UCC experience ensured that I was focused when the dust settled and my routine began to emerge. Now that I have had time to settle into the course and the city, I’m really looking forward to the challenges posed by the new modules in semester 2, and to the lead up to summer that should bring longer days and even more opportunity to explore Cork and the surrounding areas.

The lead up to the final assignment submission dates, and the Christmas exam (thankfully only one), while a stressful time, spelled the end of semester 1, and meant that I had, for the first time since moving down to Cork, a large chunk of free time with which to enjoy the city to its full potential. This time was spent primarily discovering the many different food and coffee options available in Cork City—of which there are many (Pompeii Pizza in the Fran Well, Soma, Ali’s Kitchen and Lunch in Café Gusto to name a few). I also managed to get out of the city on a number of occasions to explore Kinsale, and Gougane Barra, which proved to be excellent examples of the outdoor activity opportunities that the coming summer should offer!

In terms of what to expect from semester 2, I am hoping that the initial rush of semester 1 will have prepared me for the return to lectures and assignments. With a practical legal policy module available to me for this semester, plus the long-form research of the dissertation ahead, it should at least offer a fresh experience and new challenges while maintaining that continuous routine of college life. I will certainly be busy in the coming months, but if my first 3 months are anything to go by then I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead, and my positive experience of UCC, and Cork in general should only increase.


Picture: Kinsale 

Check out the prospectus page for the LLM (Environmental and Natural Resources Law) 

Luke McGivern - LLM (Environmental and Natural Resource Law)

Blog Post 3

The end is in sight—final assignment deadlines and exams loom large. That said, with the prospect of a summer in Cork ahead, and the reality that a large portion of my dissertation remains untouched, it feels less like the end of my time in UCC, and more like the start of a new, more relaxed third semester. I had initially intended to go back to Dublin for the summer, in a misguided attempt to lock myself into serious dissertation research, but as I realised that a balance could be struck between research, and indulging in the freedom of a new city, I grew more attached to the idea of prolonging my Cork chapter as long as possible. Returning to Dublin for the doom-and-gloom of FE1 exam study, and exciting prospect of my solicitor traineeship is an inevitability, but the summer looks poised to be one for the books.

The last semester has been busy – not quite as hectic as the first semester – but it certainly had its fair share of late nights and early mornings. Most recently I was offered (with another classmate) the opportunity to present at UCC’s Environmental Law Postgrad Research Symposium on our experience of being part of UCC’s first Environmental Law Clinic. Following this we were invited to the annual dinner the precedes the Law and Environment Conference, which was an amazing experience and meant that I got to chat to some of the leaders in the field of environmental law research. Besides the past week of chaos that surrounded the presentation preparation and conference assistance, the semester had its fair share of long and challenging essays, as well as some really nice class social events – most notably to the incredible experience that is Café Paradiso! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better vegetarian dining experience anywhere in Ireland, and believe me, I’ve been looking!

I’ve maintained my commitment to finding the best coffee in Cork, and the search has yielded some excellent contenders! Pink Moon on Washington Street definitely deserves a shout-out—it just opened after Christmas and has become a firm favourite of mine, both for on-the-run takeaway coffee, and more relaxed sit-down affairs (their outside seating by the window is ideal for enjoying the rare days of sunshine). Speaking of warming weather, this semester has introduced me to some of Cork’s neighbouring coastlines, and the admittedly cold water of Garretstown and Sandy Cove Beach. I’ve heard rumours about travelling sauna Bosca Beatha visiting Garretstown during the summer months, which seems like it’s an event not to be missed!

Coast line

Check out the prospectus page for the LLM (Environmental and Natural Resources Law)

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