About Irish Gap Year


Tá fáilte romhat! Welcome to Irish Gap Year!


We are a small Irish company based in Bundoran, Co Donegal, Ireland with supporting offices in Philadelphia, PA in the United States. 

At Irish Gap Year, we provide thoughtfully designed Gap Year and Internship Programs for young people interested in exploring the world, building their independence and learning more about themsevles . The values of community service and personal development run strong in all of our programs.

We believe that meaningful travel and personal reflection nurture growth opportunities for young people that help to develop their world perspective and foster a greater understanding of themselves as individuals. In Ireland, we are fortunate to have a landscape and culture that lend themselves to reflection and exploration. 

Irish Gap Year was founded by Killian O’Kelly and Ryan Allen, two outdoor enthusiasts and educators who have many years of outoor education experience. Mary Lavelle provides technical and administrative support and is active with the Gap Year student groups. Dr Margie O'Reilly heads our education consultancy team, manages our US office and teaches the college preparation and soft skills modules for the Transition Adventure program. Find out more about each of us in our Meet the Team Section.

The team of Ryan, Killian, and Mary at Irish Gap Year along with Margie bring together a wide range of experiences and skills. We have over two decades of experience providing structured travel programs, educational training and adventure activities in Ireland.

As passionate educators, travellers and adventurers our experiences have also taught us the importance of being well organised, friendly and student centered. We know what it's like to be a long way from home and we go out of our way to make sure that students and parents are comfortable and supported during their time with us.

Irish Gap Year was founded in 2014 based on a wealth of experience in adventure, education and volunteering . From the outset, Irish Gap year has strived to create a professional organisation that is both inclusive and progressive. Having thoroughly researched gap year models, in an Irish context, it was decided to create our programs based on the best practice of the Gap Year Association (formally the AGA).

Irish Gap Year has two approaches when improving programming. Firstly, to review all programs with participating students 6 and 12 weeks into their program. This is done both one to one and anonymously. The feedback received during this process is vital for the future planning of programs.

The second way in which Irish Gap Year constantly improves programming is to attend Gap Year Association conferences in the USA to work on best practices. A close working relationship with gap year consultants and education consultants is vital in this process.

Irish Gap Year is committed to providing financial aid to students that otherwise would be unable to attend a structured gap year program. This is often done in partnership with education consultants and gap year organizations. The importance of inclusivity and student perspective to Irish Gap Year is paramount. Although Irish Gap Year is not a therapeutic program, we are keenly aware of the emotional supports our students require on their gap year journey.

Find out why we think you should choose Irish Gap Year in our Why Choose Us? section