The Irish Studies Program is made up of three primary elements: 2 classroom phases and the field program.
During the spring semester, students engage in a comprehensive examination of Irish history and culture designed to prepare them for the field study component to be conducted during May Term. While the course focuses on the broad expanse of Irish history, students also study Irish music, poetry, and drama. The primary historical foci of the course are “An Gorta Mor” (The Great Irish Famine), Irish migration, and modern Irish politics. Students must take this course to continue on to the travel element of the program.
During the first portion of May Term, students will complete academic work and be introduced to the basic elements of technology that will be used in the program (graphics, web-page construction, digital photography, word processing, editing, distance learning, etc.).
Students traveling to Ireland will visit several museums, archives, heritage centers and schools to work with leading professors and scholars in the fields of The Great Famine, emigration studies, and modern politics. Over the year these have included:
- Famine Museum, Strokestown
- Ulster-American Folk Park & Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
- Ulster History Park
- Martin McCrossan & Derry City
- Cobh Heritage Center, Cobh, Co. Cork
- University College Cork, Cork City
- Irish Center for Migration Studies (UCC), Cork City
- Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Project. Blennerville, Co. Kerry
- Skibbereen Famine Cemetery & Memorial
- Blasket Heritage Center, Dunquin, Co. Kerry
While on the field program, students have been asked to work on and complete a journal and a portfolio/internet project which will serve as vehicle to draw their studies together. Programs with scholars and museum visits are supplemented with selected readings.