Students participating in the Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program and the Irish Arts and Culture Gap Year Program are going to have the opportunity to really delve into Irish culture. Not only will they be living and volunteering within the community of an everyday small Irish town, they will also visit some of Ireland’s world famous cultural and heritage sites.
Cultural immersion is an essential part of these Programs.
Students will have an opportunity to interact with and be part of a modern-day community in rural Ireland while reflecting on Irish history current and ancient. Becoming deeply involved in another culture challenges students to expand their world view, while developing empathy for other cultures and people.
Modern day Ireland is the result of many thousands of years of civilisation on a relatively small island. Irish culture is complex, long and varied with much of our modern history intertwined with that of the USA.
Some of the locations visited during the Adventure & Leadership Program:
- Croagh Patrick, the pilgrims’ mountain, the Famine Memorial and Westport town
- Slieve League Cliffs (highest in Ireland) and Glencolmcille Gaeltacht (Irish speaking rural town)
- Mount Errigal Mountain and north Donegal, famous for its small Irish speaking villages (Gaeltachts) and rugged landscape.
- Clonmacnoise Monastery, wonderfully preserved ruins of an early Christian monastic settlement
- Neolithic tombs of Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth in the Boyne Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Derry City a focal point for building peace in Northern Ireland and one of Europe’s best examples of a walled city.
- The Giants Causeway, an ancient volcanic landscape in Northern Ireland (UNESCO World Heritage site)
- Belfast City and the Titanic Experience
- Iconic Dublin City the urban heart of Irish culture, where modern meets ancient in one “town”.
- The Book of Kells early Christian manuscripts held at Trinity College Dublin.
View some of these locations on our Highlights page.
Group-led work will be used to help students explore various aspects of Irish culture. Each week the students will visit historical and cultural locations around Ireland.
The students are asked each week to develop a plan for their trip to these locations including, investigating the site’s significance in Irish history/culture, finding out information about the location and guiding their fellow students and team leaders on the day of the trip.
This type of project led work culminates on week 11 with the big student led trip. This trip is decided solely by the students and they have to plan and budget the trip, gather the relevant information, decide why it is culturally significant and be the guides for the entire time away.
The aim of the cultural immersion is to have the students develop a deep understanding of the local community’s belief systems, way of life and challenges.
This understanding is expanded through reflection on Irish history, the language, music, literature and political upheavals.