When finding opportunities to practice your English ate as easy as joining a Meetup group or two in Dublin, the case for other languages is less rosy. There is an excellent Dublin French group which delights its members with a wide variety of events but, other than that, the pickings are somewhat slim. Luckily, though, there is one option that can console those looking to improve a language other than English or French.
Language Exchange Ireland is a Meetup group aimed at bringing together the various language enthusiasts in Dublin who are struggling with getting conversation practice. The events organised by this group are frequent and well-attended by language lovers – it is not uncommon to see around a hundred people at the meetups.
Although this might seem a bit overwhelming and far from the cosy and relaxed atmosphere many language exchangers have come to expect, there are also upsides a crowd this big. Namely, you can safely expect to be paired with a native speaker from your target language, especially if it is one of the major continental European ones – Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, or German. But Japanese and Chinese learners can also find someone to practice with.
Unlike most of the other Meetup groups whose events are free for participants, this group charges a flat 5€ fee for entry. However, this ticket price contains snacks and students can expect a 20% discount. For such large events, that really isn’t that much.
The Language Exchange Ireland group has two regular events that take place every week.
The Monday’s event takes place at Dtwo – a bar and nightclub near Iveagh Gardens. The place is slightly out of central Dublin but you can easily find it and it’s accessible by public transport. The exact address of Dtwo is 60 Harcourt Street.
On Thursdays, you can make your way down to the Turk’s Head – located in the Paramount Hotel. If Dtwo might be located a bit out of the centre, the Turk’s Head is very much in the middle of central Dublin, making it easy to reach. The exact address of the bar is 27 Parliament Street.
As we mentioned above, the group organises two regular events a week – one on Monday and the other on Thursday. Both of these have similar formats, it’s just the locations that differ. Both events also start at the same time – 6:30pm. So, at 6:30pm on any Monday, head down to Dtwo, or choose the Turk’s Head on Thursdays at 6:30pm.
While you can go through the trouble of joining the group, choosing the event you want to join and RSVP-ing, it doesn’t seem that the event organisers mind too much if you simply drop by.
Just don’t forget to check the group’s upcoming events calendar to keep up-to-date with their next events.
Although the events aren’t free, unlike most of the language exchanges organised on Meetup, you still won’t find a better chance to practice your target language in Dublin. With the sheer number of people attending their meetups, chances are you will find a native speaker to get conversation practice with.
Photo credit: Language Exchange Ireland photo album.