Faces of Ireland


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Rosie Giglia ’17 | Dublin, Ireland | Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin 

When Rosie Giglia ’17 decided to study Irish language and literature while a student at Notre Dame, she opened a world of possibilities that ultimately led her to pursue her advanced degree in neurology and clinical medicine on the Emerald Isle. 

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Giglia pictured on left at the 100th Liffey Post-Swim Gala with the late Bert O'Brien (1942-2021).

How would you describe the connection between Notre Dame and Ireland? How are the two places of the same spirit and values?

Both Notre Dame and Ireland “punch above their weight” in terms of their academic and cultural contributions for their size. I think part of that outsize impact comes from the way that both communities spread out across the globe: in nearly every airport around the world you are almost guaranteed to run into at least one Irish person or someone in ND apparel. Possibly as a result of this, the sizes of the communities associated with each also far exceed the number of people with direct ties, like that idea of “subway alumni.” Both communities have some indefinable allure that invites people to engage with and celebrate the “Notre Dame” or “Irish” identity even if they aren't alumni or citizens themselves.

How has your life changed since moving to Ireland? What drew you to build your life in Ireland? Do you have any other treasured moments or stories from your time there?

Ireland has been really good to me, and I am incredibly grateful for the help of Notre Dame and the Naughton Fellowship in establishing a life and career here. It was the first place I lived after Notre Dame, so I quickly became attached to a great group of friends, the excellent work-life balance, and the lack of snakes. (I am only partly joking. They terrify me.) Ireland isn't very big, so it is easy to feel like you are connected to the community and history once you crack that initial barrier. My best experience of this was racing in the 100th annual Liffey Swim, a historic race down the river that runs through the heart of Dublin (Jack B. Yeats’ 1923 painting of the swim won Ireland its first Olympic medal [in painting, an Olympic category from 1912-1948] — check it out in the free National Gallery while you’re here!). That year’s event was particularly special because it was my first Liffey and I got to celebrate it with my fantastic coach, the late Bert O’Brien, who was a two-time winner of the race in 1988 and 1995.

Check out other alumni featured in our Faces of Ireland series:
Conal Fagan '21
Mary McGraw '17