Program Summary - Fall 2021

Adventure Leadership    Fall 2021 Program Dates    

Sun Sept 5th to Sat Nov 27th   

Length 84 Days    
Fee USD $16,500    

Program Summary - Spring 2022

Adventure Leadership            Spring 2022 Program Details    

Tues March, 1st to Fri May, 20th                            

Length 80 Days    
Fee USD $16,550    

What's it all about?

Irish Gap Year’s Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program will take you far off the beaten track, deep into Irish culture and nature where you will learn much about yourself.

You will become immersed in our community and Irish culture, be challenged physically through outdoor adventure and mentally through our leadership course and volunteering in the community.

This program provides you with a platform to explore a different culture and country, discover new soft-skills, grow as an individual and make a valuable impact on the local community of a small rural town in Ireland. 

The rugged natural beauty of Ireland and warm heartedness of the people offer a unique setting for your journey of self-discovery. Our goal is to create an environment that nurtures this process. This program is not a test that is graded, it is a progression of continuous learning and reflection, struggling and failure are as much a part of the process as achievement and success.

Our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program is based on the principles of experiential learning; learning by doing, reflecting on that experience and then applying what you learned from the reflection. The Program focuses on personal development through our 4 cornerstones of cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, leadership skills and community volunteering.

Throughout this program you will develop a deeper level of self-awareness, independence, group dynamics and self-governance. We hope that you will take with you a way of thinking and self-awareness that will last a life time.


  • Get a truly authentic experience of Ireland and her people.
  • Enjoy living with your peers in our student houses on the Atlantic Coast and being part of the local community. 
  • Develop leadership and inter-personal skills.
  • Participate in our experiential leadership skills workshops, full of team challenges, student led projects and be a student leader.
  • Do 80 hours of community volunteering with youth groups, local organic farms and animal shelters. 
  • Immerse yourself in the culture and everyday life of rural Ireland.
  • Learn to surf, kayak along the Wild Atlantic Way, hike Ireland’s beautiful mountains and stand-up paddle along scenic lakes.


Apply Here

Our application process is done entirely through the website, click the 'Apply Here' link above to get started. You'll receive automated emails from Irish Gap Year prompting each step of the process.

  1. First create and register your account with Irish Gap Year. It's an easy process that only takes 5 minutes.
  2. Your Irish Gap Year Student Portal will be activated. Next you'll complete our questionnaire and medical form (through your student portal).
  3. We'll be in touch with you via email to organize a phone call to get to know you better, answer your questions about the program and officially welcome you aboard.
  4. Your orientation materials will be available through your Irish Gap Year Student and Parent Portals.

Upon acceptance, a 10% deposit is required to secure a place on this program. The balance of the program fee is then due 90 days prior to the start of the program.  

Find out more about our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program 

Our Gap Year Program is structured around our 4 Cornerstone themes - Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Education, Leadership Skills and Community Volunteering

Our 4 Cornerstones

Our gap year program focuses on character development (building independence and resilience) and cultivating valuable soft-skills in the students through an interwoven combination of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, leadership skills course-work and community volunteering. 

These are our 4 Cornerstones and they are developed with each young person through group led projects, reflection, self-governance and on the principal of experiential learning.  Find out more about our 4 Cornerstones by clicking on each of the following links or by clicking under the dropdown menu titled "Grow" at the top of every page.

Cultural Immersion

Outdoor Education

Community Volunteering

Leadership Skills

What is Experiential Learning?

Our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program is based on the principle of Experiential Learning. This sounds complex but really it’s not. In fact, you have probably already practiced it in your everyday life, but just didn't realise it.

Experiential learning is learning by doing, reflecting on that experience and then applying what you learned from the reflection.

The Program is designed to focus on 4 major experiential learning directives – Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Adventure, Leadership Skills and Community Volunteering – we call them our 4 Cornerstones.

Throughout the program students will develop a deeper level of self-awareness, group dynamics and self-governance. The Program is not a test that is graded, it is a process of continuous learning and reflection, struggling and failure are as much a part of the process as achievement and success. We hope that students will take with them a way of thinking and practice that they can apply for a life time.


Through group projects, each week the students will be each asked to,

  • Set out their goals.

  • Be actively involved in the learning process.

  • Reflect on the experience.

  • Put newly learned skills into practice.

  • Connect and apply the new skills gained to the wider community.


Set out your goals

Students will meet weekly with their program leaders to set out their individual and group intentions and plan how to best achieve these goals. For example, initially within the outdoor activities program, the intention may be to learn tostand up on a surf board.

As the program progresses, students' goals will evolve and new goals will be set. For example, after learning to surf the student may want to teach their own surfing lesson to a local youth group.

This approach encourages self-motivation and determination which we believe is a valuable life skill for young people to develop as they become independent adults. Much of the programs goal setting is done through student-leaders, group projects and navigating individual and group dynamics.

Be actively involved in the learning process

Active involvement in the learning experience is the foundation of our program. During each activity, whether it is outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, leadership skills or volunteering, students will be challenged to meet their goals by participating in hands-on activities throughout the country.

Reflect on your experience

Reflection and leader led discussion is a crucial part of the experiential learning process. It gives students a forum to discuss what they have learned and experienced and to voice any challenges or perceived failings they are facing.
Students will keep a daily journal of activities and experiences and meet for weekly reflective group discussions with their leaders and peers. Students will also be given the opportunity for introspection and personal time on our weekly solo-reflective hikes.

The reflection process allows students to analyse what they have learned and move forward into future learning experiences.

Putting newly learned skills into practice

As the weeks progress through the Program students are asked to build on their experiences and learning. Students can put into practice the new skills they have learned and augment them as they go through the reflective process each week.

Connecting and applying the new skills gained to the larger world.

Much of the group led experiential learning will be conducted locally and on the student’s work within the local community. During the final week of the Program, students will work with their program leader to develop a plan to apply the skills developed to the next chapter of their lives. Each student will then present their plans with the group.

Group Projects – Your Vehicle for Learning

At Irish Gap Year, we use the structure of group projects to help students get the most out of their experiences and learning. Group-led learning is used in all of the program’s 4 Cornerstones – Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Adventure, Leadership Skills and Community Volunteering.

Throughout the gap year program students engage in weekly group meetings to plan and deliver a range of group projects. These span our entire program and include small weekly projects and two major student-led projects.
Weekly projects are designed to put structure on the student’s learning experience, help bring the group together to work as a team and increase personal responsibility.

At the outset tasks set in the group projects are small in scale and achievability. By weeks 3, 4, 5 and onwards students will be challenged to set broader goals for themselves and the group.

For example, an initial group project may be to do a “show & tell” with one of the youth groups students will be volunteering with in the town. In later weeks group projects include organising cultural over-night trips to various locations around Ireland or leading the organisation of one of their outdoor activities for customers of a local surf school.

Ultimately students aim towards creating and implementing a major 3 night cultural trip, which should encompass much of what they have learned during the Program. Students are given a set budget and free-rein to choose a site of cultural significance and then develop a trip around this.

All project work is student led with guidance from their IGY leader. Students are encouraged to be creative, thoughtful and inventive in their project work. There are no right or wrong answers and all ideas are teased out and reflected upon.

Self-governance and Owning Your Experience

Self-governance, where students take ownership of their gap year experience is a major theme at Irish Gap Year. Our goal is to gradually increase the level of responsibility taken on by the students, from the small things such as, who will tidy up after meals to the bigger matters of completing group projects.

Responsibility will increase while maintaining a fun and structured environment. We want students to grow personally and increase their level of respect for their fellow students along with work as a team. Students are asked to take on personal responsibilities and also be responsible collectively.

As our program progresses students are encouraged to take a more active role in planning and executing daily activities. While students will be supervised by team leaders, increasing individual and group responsibilities given to the students help build strong group dynamics and facilitate a sense of ownership through their own planning, efforts and success.


Who is the Program for?

This program is for students interested in being active outdoors and exploring Ireland off the beaten track. This program will take you deep into Irish nature, culture and community. If you are looking to further develop your leadership and communication skills you will benefit from this program.

The Adventure and Leadership program provides a supportive environment where students can recharge, come out of their shell and become more independent. You don’t need to
be outdoorsy to enjoy and benefit from the Adventure and Leadership Program, it's all about a willingness to participate, pushing your boundaries and self-discovery. 

What’s included?

  • Accommodation - students will share our amazing student housing that includes a fully stocked kitchen, large bathrooms, living room and 6-8 bedrooms with spectacular sea and mountain views. All linen and towels are provided.
  • Breakfast – At the start of each week students are provided with a store-cupboard of breakfast items.
  • Lunch - A wide range of lunch foods are provided and students have free range over our fully stocked kitchens to create their own lunches. 
  • Dinner (Monday to Saturday) – Students are provided with a home-cooked dinner every day except for Sunday their rest day where they can decide to cook or eat out as they please.
  • Irish Gap Year's support 24/7. Parents and guardians are given a dedicated telephone number to call if they need to speak to their children urgently. Students are also provided with this number.Staff are located close-by.
  • All equipment and transport necessary for all the Outdoor Adventure activities.
  • All staff conducting activities are fully qualified and trained to undertake the activity.
  • Fully insured and certified activity providers.
  • Fully insured and certified transport providers.
  • All transport to and from cultural sites and other activity locations.
  • All entry fees and taxes in relation to the cultural sites students will visit.
  • All accommodation in relation to the over-night cultural trips.
  • All course-work and paperwork in relation to their group projects and the leadership course.
  • Staff all have occupational first aid if not a higher level.

What's Not Included?

  • International flights.
  • Travel insurance.
  • General spending money (We recommend 50 Euro per week).

Apply Here