Yep, I'm from Illinois, just outside of Chicago. I've wanted to go to Ireland for as long as I can remember, partly because I am very Irish, and partly because it's such a beautiful place. What about you? By the way, are you going for an early start program?
I'll be in Cork in the fall too - feel free to facebook me, I don't know anyone that's going to Ireland at all, let alone to Cork! I love your idea about putting each other up if we travel around - I really want to explore Ireland while I'm there.