The Irish Experience is a summer study abroad program for North American high school students who want to experience Ireland by hiking its countryside, exploring its cities, and studying its rich history and celebrated literature while earning high school credits.
This summer study abroad high school program takes place over a four-week period in July. For two weeks the students will be based in the beautiful university town of Cork in the South of Ireland. They will attend classes on the picturesque campus of University College Cork, where they will study in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. (see itinerary).
The third week will be spent in Galway in the West of Ireland during the International Arts Festival when the city centre is abuzz with performers and musicians.
On the way to Galway we will visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of County Clare. At 214 metres in height and about 8 kms in length the cliffs are a designated UNESCO Geo Park and are a must see for all visitors to Ireland.
While in Galway we will enjoy our own private seisuin (Gaelic for music session) at Munroe's a pub renowned for Irish traditional music.
The last week will be spent on the campus of University College Dublin, a short bus ride from the centre of vibrant Dublin,. Dublin, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, has one of the youngest populations; almost 50% of the city's people are under 25 years old. Many historic figures and giants of the literary world have made their home and we will retrace their footsteps in our daily classes and tours.
Staying near the cenre of Dublin City we will have easy access to all the exciting attractions of Dublin City
The students will enjoy a true Celtic cultural experience and a sense of Irish history and culture through guided tours to sites of historical, cultural, literary and aesthetic interest from street performers to Norman Castles, from prehistoric burial sites to Viking Adventures. Several evenings will be spent enjoying the music, dance and general 'craic' which is such a prominent part of Irish life. Some of the highlights of our 2016 program were visits to two of the three World Heritage sites in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare with its spectacular vista and the Neolithic passage tomb in Newgrange, County Meath which predates the pyramids at Giza (See Itinerary)
Staying at well appointed ensuite single-bedroomed student apartments on the University campuses, students will have the opportunity to meet young people of many different nationalities.
The students attend classes on the campuses of University Colleges Cork, Galway and Dublin. The students will have the use of the university facilities including widespread internet access (See Courses Offered).
Although it is the second city of the Irish Republic, Cork has a much smaller population of 250,000 people and a more compact city centre. At the same time it offers all the facilities and amenities of a bustling modern city. An old city, originating as a monastic settlement, there are many beautiful buildings and quays. With her remarkable charm, bumpy bridges, hilly streets and distinctive continental air the City of Cork will not fail, like the rest of the region to captivate and welcome all of their visitors, young and old.
A university city, it has a very lively social scene and night life with many quaint pubs and cafés.
Traditional Irish music is alive and well in Cork city and can be heard most nights in some of the pubs in the city centre. There are several theatres in the city with the Cork Opera House and the Everyman Palace Theatre the more prominent. A visit to one of these will be part of our itinerary as will visits to some of the scenes described in the works of some of the city’s famous writers such as, William Trevor, Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faolain.
Cork is also the gateway to the beautiful south-west part of Ireland and we will be taking in all the sights of West Cork and Kerry including Kinsale, Bantry, Glengarriffe, the Healy Pass, the Lakes of Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. (See Itinerary)
The students will spend the last week in Dublin.
One of the oldest cities in Europe (it celebrated its millennium in 1988), Dublin is full of history. Students will see evidence of its Viking founders in the Wood Quay area; our visit to Christchurch Cathedral will give us a taste of Medieval Dublin, and we will see the remnants of the period of British rule by visiting its administrative centre at Dublin Castle.
We will also be visiting the General Post Office on O’Connell Street where the Easter Rebellion broke out in 1916. A visit to Kilmainham Gaol, the set of the movie In the Name of the Father will bring us to the execution site of the 1916 rebels.
Dublin has produced many writers and many others made the city their home.
James Joyce is probably the greatest of these and we will be visiting the Joyce Tower. Joyce spent a short time living in this Martello tower and his most famous book Ulysses opens there. We will also be visiting the Joyce Centre in Trinity College.
No visit to Trinity College, nor indeed to Dublin, would be complete without viewing the famous Book of Kells so painstakingly written by Irish monks during the middle ages. (See Itinerary)
The movement for Irish independence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the founding of the Irish National Theatre which has since produced the finest works of Irish dramatists. Our programme usually includes a visit depending on the play being performed. This year our programme includes a performance of the famous Irish Dance show Riverdance.
With the youngest population of any European capital , Dublin is also one of the most exciting and this can be seen in the fashion, the music and the attitudes of the people. The shops and boutiques in the city centre are unmatched anywhere. Everywhere in Dublin there is magic.
Sports that are unique to Ireland are Hurling (click for video) and Gaelic Football (click for video). We hope to attend an inter-county hurling or football game. The 2014 and 2015 groups attended saw spectacular displays of football in games between old rivals, counties Dublin and Meath.
The program includes the following places of literary, historic and cultural interest
- Trinity College Dublin library which houses the famous Book of Kells
- The General Post Office, Dublin (site of the 1916 Rebellion)
- Cobh Harbour, last port of call of the Titanic, site of the sinking of the Lusitania
- Play at Ireland's National Theatre, the Abbey
- The Irish Writers Museum in Dublin
- Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin
- Cork City Gaol
- Dublin Castle
- The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren in County Clare
- Bantry Bay and Glengarriffe in West Cork
- The Kinsale Arts Festival
- The Killarney Lakes in County Kerry
- The Blarney Stone
- Mitchelstown Caves, Co. Cork
- Inter-county hurling or football game (subject to schedule and ticket availability)
- St. Patricks and Christchurch Cathedrals in Dublin
- Open Air Cheilidh (Irish Set Dancing)
- Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
- Irish Music Sessions in Cork and/or Galway