Frequently Asked Questions
If you cannot find the answer to your question here please call us or email. See out Contact Us page for details.
Q. Who can travel with Irish Gap Year?
Q. Will the program have 24-hour emergency crisis support from full-time resident staff?
Q. Do you provide airport transfers?
Q. Do I need a passport or visa?
Q. What about meals and accommodation?
Q. Do the programs offer laundry facilities?
Q. Will there be a Wi-Fi connection?
Q. Do I need any special skills?
Q. I’m worried about travelling alone. Will I meet people?
Q. Can I choose when I start the Teen Adventure Travel of Gap Year Program?
Q. What’s not included on the Teen Adventure Travel and Gap Year Program?
Q. What if I have problems during my trip?
Q. What if I don’t like the program and want to leave?
Q. Is there any free time in the Teen Adventure Travel and Gap Year Programs?
Q. Can my family and friends come visit while I’m with Irish Gap Year?
Q. Is Ireland safe?
Q. Will my phone work in Ireland?
Q. What are typical group sizes and participant/leader ratios?
Q. What are our group leaders like?
Q. How do I book?
Outdoor Adventure Activities
Q. Do I need to have prior experience in outdoor activities?
Q. What if I cannot swim?
Q. Are the activity providers properly qualified?
Q. Does it really rain in Ireland all the time?
Q. Will I be cold doing the water based activities?
Q. Do I need to bring any equipment for activities?
Our programs are tailored to specific age groups. The Transition Adventure program is for 14-17 year old students, generally middle to high school age. Our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program is targeted to students entering college and university and/or students who have completed a semester or two of their university carreer.
Irish Gap Year Internships are for students who are self-starters and independent. Many of our gap year students go on to take an internship the semester following our Adventure and Leadership Gap Year Program.
In most cases, we can cater for those with special dietary requirements and (depending on location and gap year program type) arrange programs for those with disabilities (please discuss this with us prior to booking).
Whilst being immersed in nature is therapeutic in itself our programs are non-therapeutic and do not offer facilities for those who require such support.
Yes. All of our programs have a designated staff member available 24/7 for participants to use in order to contact family, parents or guardians. Equally, family or friends in the US will be given a contact number for emergencies.
Yes. Irish Gap Year program leaders provide airport transfers on the day of arrival and departure for all of our students. We also provide private transport during the time of your program should students need to return home for unforeseen reasons. Our comfortable 16 seater mini-bus has plenty of space both for students and luggage.
Yes, you do need a passport to travel to Ireland. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site.
Irish Gap Year will also provide you with a letter to state your intent whilst in Ireland and that you do not intend on staying in the country past your 90-day visa. This should ensure a smooth transition upon arrival.
Bundrowes House is a 19th Century Estate House on the water's edge of Donegal Bay and serves as our student house. The house is equipped with a modern kitchen which students have access to. We keep the kitchen fully stocked with everything that students need to make their own healthy breakfasts and lunches.
Our house cook is Rita Magan and she prepares dinners for our gap year four to five nights each week. She is an accomplished cook, community member and mother. Rita provides a healthy and varied selection of home-cooked dinners that are tailored to each groups tastes. Student leaders prepare dinners (student led meals) two to three nights each week with instruction as needed from both Irish Gap Year Program Leaders and their peers.
Bundrowes House is equipped with a modern washer and tumble drier. There is also a laundromat in Bundoran town for heavier washes.
Bundrowes House is equipped with 4G Wireless internet throughout the house. We encourage students to put down the mobiles, bust out the books, cards and board games or have a conversation and strictly no mobiles during meal times.
We encourage students to bring their laptops or tablets for use in the evenings or on free-days.
Q. Do I need any special skills?
All you need is enthusiasm, a sense of curiosity and a willingness to work in a team and learn.
Many of our students on the Transition Adventure Program and Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program are travelling alone.
Orientation week is designed for Gappers to get to know each other, and we'll be throwing you in the deep end with extended group hikes, adventure camping trips and team building games.
There are designated dates for the Transition Adventure Program and Adventure & Leadership Gap Year. However, if you have a group looking to travel to Ireland please contact us and we can send you in the right direction.
Prices do not include international flights, visas and vaccinations, travel insurance or personal expenses. Lunches on the Gap Year programs are not included; however students are welcome to raid the fridge and enjoy tasty left-overs.
The first person to speak to is the Program Leader, who will try to help you with your problem and refer the matter to our management team if necessary. You can also contact our management team directly at our office contact numbers.
We expect students to show a basic level of commitment to your programs. We understand being away from home can be daunting but remember it will always take a few days to settle in so try not to make a snap decision. Our on-site team will help you resolve any problems and if you really do wish to leave early we will help you return home safely.
Students on the Transition Adventure program are supervised 24/7 but there is down-time factored into the schedule where teens can catch up on social media, watch TV or relax.
Students on the Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program will have a free day most Sundays over the 12 week program. The schedule also purposely includes reflection time and relaxation time. There will also be free time in the evenings and sporadically throughout the 12 weeks.
Yes! Family and friends are welcome. However, we require visits to be scheduled with Irish Gap Year staff to ensure that our program maintains its momentum and students don’t miss important dates. We request that family and friends wishing to visit during gap year programs get in contact with us early on in the planning process.
Q. Is Ireland safe?
Yes! Ireland is widely regarded as one of the top 20 safest countries in the world to live in. Students will be living in a small sea-side community with a very low crime rate. However, basic care and vigilance is always recommended but nothing over and above the norm. Ireland’s government departments including our healthcare is of the standard found in Western Europe.
There is a medical centre in Bundoran town where students on our signature programs – Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program and Transition Adventure program – will be based for a number of days/weeks. There are major hospitals and medical centres throughout the country. Travelling in Ireland is generally very safe, we have a reliable national public transportation network of buses and trains, and a community-oriented police force.
Some international phones will work in Ireland; however rates can be quite expensive. We suggest that students on programs purchase calling cards to use on their home-mobile phones, or download a free-call Application such as Viber/Skype/WhatsApp to contact home while away.
During their first week in Ireland, Leadership & Adventure Gap year program students will have the option of purchasing an Irish mobile phone. We will also provide our own mobile and landline for any emergency calls.
All of our programs are operated on the basis of a 1:7 leader to group ratio. All outdoor adventure activities are operated at a 1:8 instructor to group ratio regardless of what program or tour is taking part.
Recruiting and training leaders is a key priority at Irish Gap Year. A good leader can make a good trip amazing. All our group leaders are experienced, responsible and friendly people with a variety of skills and lots of experience in outdoor education.
Please see the apply tab on our homepage to get started on your application process.
Outdoor Adventure Activities
You do not need to have ever put on a wetsuit or a pair of hiking boots. That is why you are here on one of our programs! All we need is your enthusiasm and willingness to try something new. Our outdoor adventure instructors are very experienced in teaching absolute beginners how to surf, kayak, SUP or bringing them on a hike.
All you need is a basic level of fitness and a sense of adventure. The most important ingredient is the desire to learn and a good attitude.
You do not need to have even an average ability to swim as you will be supervised at all times in the water by trained lifeguards. However, you should not have a strong fear of the water. A little trepidation is okay though – it adds to the sense of adventure.
Participants in all our activities are given proper safety gear – wetsuits & life-jackets – and are brought through a safety talk at the start of their activity. All water-sports are conducted in what are deemed to be safe conditions for beginners and are supervised by suitably qualified staff.
The activity providers we use are all fully certified and insured activity providers. We do not use any activity provider that cannot produce a copy of their insurance and up to date certification with the relevant governing body i.e. the Irish Surfing Association.
Irish weather isn’t as bad as most people seem to think. Although it can be unpredictable. The advice is to bring clothes for rain and for sunshine. The main ingredient to enjoying time outdoors in Ireland is a positive attitude and the right outdoor clothing! Find out a bit more in our Travel Advice section.
No, most definitely not! All participants are supplied with 5mm, thermos-lined winter wetsuits, boots, gloves and hoods – depending on the conditions. These suits are suitable for the coldest winter days, so you can rest assured we’ve got you covered!
All equipment necessary for the water activities is provided. All you need is a swimsuit and towel. You will need a good pair of walking/hiking boots and a good raincoat for our hiking and walking activities.