Annual Study Center Review

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					Annual Study Center Review
CIEE Study Center in Dublin, Ireland
Irish Studies Program
Summer 2009

CIEE Program Director: Catharine Scruggs, Program Director, Western Europe
CIEE Resident Director: Don Niall
CIEE Academic Consortium Board Program Evaluation: N/A
CIEE Academic Consortium Board Monitor: Joel Gallegos, The University of North Carolina at

Each summer, program directors write a Study Center Review for each CIEE Study Center
program commenting on the previous academic year. The program director writes the review
based on input from the CIEE Academic Consortium Board members, resident directors,
sending institutions, and student evaluations. Each report is made public on the CIEE website at

Program Goals

The goal of the CIEE summer program in Dublin is to introduce students to the breadth and
depth of Irish culture through coursework and cultural excursions.

This program ran for the third summer in 2009. The program met its goals.

New and Noteworthy

Academic Features

CIEE Courses
In the first session the program focused on the course The Shaping of Modern Ireland. In the
second session the program focused on the content of the course Contemporary Irish Culture
and Society. Student response to the courses offered in both sessions was very positive.

Out of Classroom Activities
The majority of out of the classroom activities directly linked to the course content. In the first
session, students visited Kilmainham Gaol which is linked to the Shaping of Ireland and the
Gaol itself is a lesson in object history. The history of the gaol is intertwined with the major
events in modern Irish History such as the Famine, Political struggle for Home Rule, the 1916
Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. Students also visited Dublinia to see the city
as it was in Viking and medieval times. Students in Session One also visited the National
Gallery and the National Museum, Croke Park Museum (home of the Gaelic Athletic
Association), the Dublin Writer’s Museum for a look at Irish writers set in the an historical
context, and the Georgian House Museum.

In the second session, students visited the National Gallery and National Museum;
Croke Park Museum (Home of the Gaelic Athletic Association), Kilmainham Gaol, the Dublin
Writer’s Museum, and the Georgian House Museum.

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Students who attended both sessions were understandably disappointed to repeat most of the
same visits. This will be amended for summer 2010, so that the day trips are distinct in each

Non-Academic Features

For each Session students arrived at the airport and were greeted by CIEE Resident staff. They
were then transferred to campus accommodations and enjoyed a brief tour of campus facilities.
In the afternoon, a general orientation session was held to make arrangements for the weeks

The second day began will begin with a formal orientation on the structure of the course and
academic requirements including details on assessments for course completion. This session
also covered the rules and regulations of the program and the campus. Finally the session
covered some material on travelling in Ireland. In the afternoon, the group then traveled to the
city center for a walking tour to familiarize students with the city.

Cultural Activities/Field Trips
In the first session, connected to the Shaping of Ireland course, the several day field trip was to
the Aran Islands and the West of Ireland. The field trip included stops in Westport, situated in
the heart of County Mayo, which is a stopping point for many fervent Christians who are on their
way to do their annual climb of Croagh Patrick. This is the mountain which history claims St.
Patrick climbed and fasted on for 40 days and nights. Students then visited the National Famine
Memorial. Mayo was the county that suffered worst as a result of the famine. The group stopped
at Kylemore Abbey which was was purchased by the Benedictine Nuns in 1928. Then they
drove through Connemara, heading towards Rossaveal to connect with the ferry service to the
largest of the Aran Islands, Innish Mor.

The Aran Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean south of Galway Bay. The people are Gaelic speaking
and are immensely proud of their ancient Island traditions. On arrival in Innish Mor the group
checked into an inn in the village of Kilronan. They then assembled for a Gaelige, or Irish class,
given by a local school teacher, followed by group dinner in a restaurant and an evening of Irish
music. The next day the group tour of the island included a visit to Dun Aengus (The Fort of
Aengus). The nineteenth century archaeologist George Petrie described Dun Aengus as “the
most magnificent barbaric monument now extant in Europe.” The vast and rugged pre-historic
semicircular fort is set on the edge of a sheer cliff that drops 300ft to the Atlantic Ocean.

After leaving the Aran Islands, the students visit Galway, a medieval city named after Galvia, a
Princess of the Firbolg Tribe. Galway is known as The City of The Tribes, as it was dominated
by fourteen merchant families (the tribes). These merchant families were largely responsible for
the commercial growth of the city, which from the 14th to 17th centuries was a major trading port
with continental Europe. The city’s university was founded in 1345. By the time Christopher
Columbus arrived on a trade mission in 1477, Galway was on the way to becoming the linchpin
of the Irish wine trade.

In the second session, the several day long field trip was to Northern Ireland where students
visited Belfast, now the robust northern metropolis of nearly half a million people - a third of
Northern Ireland's population. Belfast was the engine-room that drove the whirring wheels of the
industrial revolution in Ulster. The development of industries like linen, rope making and

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shipbuilding doubled the size of the town every ten years. The world's largest dry dock is here
and the shipyard's giant cranes tower over the port. Northern Ireland's industrial heritage is
perhaps the most underestimated factor in the shaping of the province's history, politically as
well as socially. Students had a walking tour of the Falls Road and Shankill Road areas led by
an expert on Northern Ireland’s conflict. This tour was designed to introduce students to the
practicalities of day to day life in a city divided along socio-cultural, religious and political issues.

Students then travelled to Derry where they toured the city center, medieval walls, the Loyalist /
Unionist “Fountain” area, the Republican / Nationalist “Bogside” district, and the Bloody Sunday
Centre at The Museum of Free Derry. For the past six years the Bloody Sunday Centre has
been working towards the creation of a museum and archive focusing on one of the most
important periods in the history of this city – the civil rights era of the 1960s and the Free Derry /
early troubles era of the 1970s. The Museum of Free Derry depicts this part of the city’s history
from the point of view of the people who lived through, and were most affected by, these events.

Students visited the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, an open-air museum dedicated to the
story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Students also visited
the Ship and Dockside Gallery, which features a full-size reconstruction of an early 19th century
sailing ship, which carried thousands of emigrants across the Atlantic Ocean. The indoor
exhibition "Emigrants" at the Ship and Dockside Gallery complemented the outdoor site. Lastly
students visited the Giant’s Causeway at Bushmills, which is an area of 40,000 interlocking
basalt columns resulting from a volcanic eruption over 60 million years ago. Giant’s Causeway
was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.

Unlike the semester program housing, the summer offering does not include a home stay
option. All students were accommodated on the Dublin City University campus in student

Community Engagement and Integration

Internships were not offered for either session in the summer. Given the short duration there is
little opportunity for community interaction for those students attending just one session.
However, a number of those students who attended both sessions interacted well with some
local students who they met while exploring the city.

Challenges and Future Directions

Day trips will be revamped for summer 2010, so as not to repeat any of the same visits in the
two sessions. Resident staff will work to incorporate some new, but equally interesting and
relevant sites. The program is looking at ways to structure meetings between Irish students and
CIEE students, which can be challenging during the summer session.

The program will also incorporate more formal discussions on cultural difference during

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