Sample Itinerary - 12 Days
Day 1: Depart US
Our adventure starts as we leave home and fly to the vibrant city of Dublin.
Day 2: Dublin
Upon arrival in Dublin, we’ll travel together to our hotel in the city. After taking time for a shower and maybe a quick nap, we’ll go to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks.
Day 3: Dublin
Today we will visit St. Michan’s church and its mummies. The church represents almost 1,000 years of history and stands on a Hiberno-Norse site, close to the north Liffey quays, the Four Courts, city markets, and the great open space known as Smithfield, the whole area being a center of law and commerce. The church was originally built beside an oak forest with uninterrupted views across the river of the city of Dublin. Today it is surrounded by the city and overlooked on all sides by industrial premises and apartment buildings. The original church was constructed in 1095, but nothing remains of this original structure. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, major reconstruction took place. The upper part of the nave walls were probably rebuilt and it is assumed that the tower, dating from the 14th or early 15th century, was altered during this same period. The tower door case with pilasters, now missing their capitals, supports the entablature, which bears the date 1686. Additional restoration took place between October 1723 and February 1725. In January 1724, the vestry decreed that “a pair of stocks be provided” to put “idle boys and others who presume to play in the church yard, break the windows, or make any noise or disturbance in [the] church or church yard during divine service.” The stocks have not survived but may have been similar to those in the crypt the Christ Church cathedral. The church saw additional renovation projects over the next 300 years and a careful examination of the woodwork in the church shows extensive reuse of old material. The 19th and early 20th Centuries were a time of decline for St. Michan’s. In 1922, the church was damaged during the bombing of the Four Courts. The roof required substantial repair and the east stained glass window, brought from the church of St John the Evangelist on Fishamble Street in 1878, was shattered and replaced by clear glass. Underneath the church are five long burial vaults containing the mummified remains of many of Dublin’s most influential 17th, 18th and 19th century families, including the legendary Shears brothers and the highly decorated coffins of the Earls of Leitrim. The exact date of construction of the crypt is unknown though in their present form they may well date from the rebuilding of the church in 1685. The constant dry atmosphere has caused the mummification of the bodies and the preservation of the coffins in the crypt. Since Victorian times visitors have descended the vault steps to see the mummies and Bram Stoker, creator of the "Dracula" stories, is believed to have visited the vaults in the company of his family. Listen to our guide and try not to get too scared as he tells us stories of “the crusader, the nun, and the thief” - all of whom are residents of the crypt. After our tour, the remainder of the day is your to explore on your own or to catch up on some sleep.
Day 4: Dublin
Today we will visit a number of Irish pubs of historic imprtance and enjoy a full Irish breakfast (or alternate for vegetarians) at one of them. On the plate you’ll find eggs, bacon, award-winning sausages, mushrooms, toast, beans, black pudding, tomatoes, and fries. Everything is cooked to order, so if you want your bacon extra crispy, just ask. After our orintation tour, we will return to our lodgings before meeting to go to dinner at the Brazen Head. During our dinner, we will experience a unique, authentic, and entertaining evening of Irish storytelling. We’ll hear stories of Irish life long ago and will also gain fascinating insights into the history of Ireland. The Irish are famous for storytelling and we’ll hear some of the magical tales their ancestors told one another when they gathered around the fire at night. The venue for our dinner is ideal - Dublin’s oldest pub. The Brazen Head is officially Ireland's oldest pub, dating back to 1198. It provides a warm and cosy setting as we enjoy a candlelit traditional Irish dinner and Irish music. At the end of the evening, we will have a deeper understanding of both Irish culture and the Irish landscape.
Day 5: Cliffs of Moher
After meeting our local guide, we will begin the day with a drive to the Burren, a magical place with Limestone Fields and Stunning Scenery. While there we will visit the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 BC and 2900 BC. From there, we will travel to the Burren Perfumery where everything Is made on site (although a bit expensive as a consequence). It’s then on to the Ailwee Caves, where we will take a tour with an experienced guide. Our final stop for the day will The Cliffs of Moher, with amazing views across the cliffs and Atlantic Ocean. If the weather cooperates, the scenery will be breathtaking. We will then return to Dublin. The evening is then yours to sample Dublin's nightlife.
Day 6: Dublin
We will begin the day with a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery for a guided tour. There will be time to look around the cemetery and visit to John Kavanagh’s Pub (“The Gravediggers) before our tour. Since this Dublin pub opened in 1833, no singing or dancing has been allowed, and there’s never been a telephone or a TV in order to keep the bar as close to its original appeal as possible. There are many quirks about Gravediggers, as it’s locally known, that make it unique. It has its own myths and ghost stories, as well as tales of friendships and family strife. The pub got its nickname because it’s built into the wall of Glasnevin Cemetery and gravediggers frequented the spot after a long nightshift. In 1831, the property was purchased by hotelier John O'Neill who later sectioned off the house, sold the main frontage to the cemetery, and made the ground floor a public house and the first floor a family home. In 1833, when John Kavanagh married O’Neill’s daughter, Suzanne, O’Neill gave the pub to them as a wedding gift and the tavern thrived. Coffins and hearses sat outside while bereaved family and friends drank away their sorrows, sometimes forgetting to get to the actual graveyard. In fact, according to Glasnevin’s resident historian Conor Dodd, Dublin’s cemeteries committee brought in their own bylaw that restricted burials to occur only before noon (now moved to 3 pm), which was intended to eliminate the number of people who were showing up drunk to funerals – if they showed up at all. Eventually, Joseph Kavanagh – John’s son – threatened to take the City Council to court because of lost earnings, but it was not to be because Glasnevin closed the east gate into the cemetery in 1878 (since reopened). But fortunately, the pub still survives and has passed down through eight generations of the Kavanagh family. The pub has also attracted more than its fair share of celebrities: Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern, U2, the Chieftains, and The Dubliners to name a few. We will then meet our guide for a tour of Glasnevin Cemeytary, famous for being Ireland’s first cemetery where people of all faiths could be lain to rest and Ireland's largest cemetery. We will learn of its sculptures, symbolism, architecture, art, sporting heroes, natural life, and much more. Our guide will tell us lesser known stories of extraordinary lives and extraordinary events while discussing the cemetery’s secret history. We will also climb the O’Connell Tower – Ireland’s tallest round tower - which is now open for the first time in over 45 years. As you pass through the ornate crypt of Daniel O’Connell, you begin the journey to the top of the monument built in his honor. After our tour, we will return to our lodgings toto prepare for our New Year’s Eve celebration at a famous Dublin Pub.
Day 7: Dublin
This is a free day to allow you time to visit some of other sites that interest you.
Day 8: Newgrange, Monasterboice, Hill of Slane, Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, Bective Abbey, etc.
After meeting our local guide, we will start the day at Newgrange (Sí an Bhrú), a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. There is no agreement about what the Newgrange site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice. After its initial use, Newgrange was sealed for several millennia, though it remained storied in Irish mythology and folklore. Antiquarians first began studying it in the 17th century and archaeological excavations took place at the site in the years that followed. We will then travel on to Monasterboice which is noted for its two elaborate high crosses and 10th century round tower. From Monasterboice, we will drive to the Hill of Slane which is where St. Patrick lit the first Paschal Fire in 433 AD to introduce Christianity to Ireland. The hill also has the ruins of Slane Abbey (c. 1512) and magnificent views of the countryside. We will then go to see the Hill of Tara, an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, Leinster, Ireland. Tara is one of the largest complexes of Celtic monuments in all of Europe and has been a place of importance ever since the first settlers came here 6,000 years ago. It contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, it was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Recent scholarship claims that despite the rich narratives derived from mythologies, Tara was not so much a true seat of kingship, but a sacred site associated with kingship rituals. In prehistory and historic times, 142 Kings are said to have reigned in the name of Tara. The coronation stone called The Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny rested here through the ages. And it was here that the most powerful of Irish Kings held their great inaugural feasts and were approved by Earth Mother Goddess Maeve. In ancient Irish religion and mythology, Tara was also revered as a dwelling of the gods and an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old. In the legends of St Patrick’s mission to Ireland, he is said to have first come to Tara to confront the ancient religion. We will then travel on to Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. In Medieval times, Trim Castle stood like an imposing stone sentinel and powerful symbol of Norman strength at the edge of the “Pale,” the small area of Anglo-Norman influence on Ireland’s eastern coast. To go “beyond the Pale” was to enter the hostile world of the Gaelic Irish. The castle was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare (Strongbow). Construction of the massive three storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun c. 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, a curtain wall, and a moat.
Day 9: Dublin
Today we will visit St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse. Saint Patrick's Cathedral, founded in 1191, is the larger of Dublin's two cathedrals and the largest church in Ireland, with a 43-meter (140 feet) spire. The site of St. Patrick's Cathedral is said to be the earliest Christian site in Ireland, where St. Patrick baptized converts. A wooden St. Patrick's Church stood on the site from the 5th century to about 1191, when the church was raised to the status of cathedral. The present building was built between 1191 and 1270. However, because of a major rebuilding in the 1870s, prompted by the belief that the cathedral was in imminent danger of collapse, much of the current building and decoration dates from the Victorian era. Though the rebuild ensured the survival of the cathedral, a failure to preserve records of the rebuild means that little is known as to how much of the current building is genuinely medieval and how much is Victorian. During his stay in Dublin, Oliver Cromwell stabled his horses in the nave of the cathedral. Throughout its long history the cathedral had contributed much to Irish life. The writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was Dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745. His grave and epitaph can be seen within the cathedral. The Choir School was founded in 1432 and many of its members took part in the very first performance of Handel's Messiah in 1742, which is on display in a glass case within the cathedral. From 1783 until 1871 the cathedral served as the Chapel of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, for the members of the Knights of St. Patrick. With the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871, the installation ceremony moved to St. Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle, but the heraldic banners of the knights at the time of the move still hang over the choir stalls. Today the cathedral is the location for a number of public national ceremonies. Ireland's Remembrance Day ceremonies, hosted by the Royal British Legion and attended by the President of Ireland, take place here every November. After our visit, we will walk to the Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse consists of seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint glass of Guinness. The ground floor will introduce us to the beer's four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), as well as the brewery's founder, Arthur Guinness. Other floors will allow us to learn about the history of Guinness advertising. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar with panoramic views of Dublin and where you will have the opportunity to drink a pint of Guinness or a soft drink. After you finish at the Storehouse, you can return to Barnacles at your leisure and the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.
Day 10: Dublin
Today we will visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and Christ Church Cathedral. The Book of Kells is a manuscript celebrated for its lavish decoration. It contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule”. The place of origin of the Book of Kells is generally attributed to the scriptorium of the monastery founded around AD 561 on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. In AD 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It is generally agreed upon that the Book of Kells was written around AD 800, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location. The manuscript has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals. We will then go to Dublin's famous Christ Church Cathedral. The earliest manuscript available dates Christ Church Cathedral to its present location at around 1030. Dúnán, the first bishop of Dublin, and Sitriuc, the Norse king of Dublin, founded the original Viking church. By 1152, it was incorporated into the Irish church and within a decade the famous archbishop Laurence O’Toole had been appointed. This future patron saint of Dublin began a reform of the cathedral’s constitution along European lines. Laurence O’Toole also acted directly in diplomatic efforts between the Dubliners and the Anglo-Normans following the capture of the city in 1170. It was due largely to John Cumin, the first Anglo-Norman archbishop, that the Hiberno-Norse cathedral was replaced with the Romanesque and later Gothic cathedral, parts of which still survive today. In 1395, King Richard II sat in state in the cathedral to receive homage from the kings of the four Irish provinces: O’Neill of Ulster, McMurrough of Leinster, O’Brien of Munster, and O’Connor of Connacht. In the sixteenth century, reform again came from England when Henry VIII broke from Rome. He dissolved the Augustinian priory of the Holy Trinity and established a reformed foundation of secular canons. On 22 December 1541, Robert Castle (alias Paynswick), the last prior, became the first dean of Christ Church. In 1562, the nave roof vaulting collapsed and Strongbow’s tomb was smashed, the current tomb being a contemporary replacement from Drogheda. The cathedral was in ruins and emergency rebuilding took place immediately. This temporary solution lasted until the 1870s. Ever since the collapse of the roof, the north nave wall has leaned out by 46cm / 18 inches. In 1689, King James attended Mass here. One year later, after returning from the Battle of the Boyne on 6 July 1690, King William III gave thanks for his victory over King James II and presented a set of gold communion plate to the cathedral. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Christ Church’s crypt was used as a market, a meeting place for business, and, at one stage, even a pub as a letter of 1633 shows: “the vaults from one end of the minster to the other are made into tippling houses for beer, wine and tobacco.” In 1742 the cathedral choir, together with the choir of St Patrick’s cathedral, sang at the world premiere of Handel’s Messiah in nearby Fishamble Street. The Church Temporalities Act of 1833 brought partial disendowment and impoverished what had been one of the wealthiest ecclesiastical corporations in Ireland. When Charles Lindsay, bishop of Kildare and dean of Christ Church (a position which had been held together since the 17th century) died in 1846, the dean of St Patrick’s cathedral also became the dean of Christ Church until 1884. The cathedral, as it exists today, is heavily Victorianized due to the extensive restorations and renovations carried out by the architect George Edmund Street between 1871 and 1878. These renovations were paid for by a Dublin whiskey distiller, Henry Roe, who gave £230,000 (£23m in today’s money) in order to save the cathedral. A two-year restoration of the cathedral roof and stonework was undertaken in 1982. Kenneth Jones of Bray installed a new organ in 1984. Further work since 1997 has included the renewal of the heating and lighting systems and the restoration of the massive 12th century crypt. This last undertaking was to provide the cathedral with a much-needed facility for hospitality and to mark the millennium year 2000. It now houses the important Treasures of Christ Church exhibition, together with a video of the cathedral’s history. The exhibition features manuscripts and artifacts that give visitors some impression of nearly one thousand years of worship in the cathedral and nearby churches. Outstanding among the rare church silver is the stunning royal plate given by King William III in 1697 as a thanksgiving for his victory at the battle of the Boyne. Also on display are the conserved tabernacle and the candlesticks used in 1689 under James II when the Latin rites were restored for a three-month period.
In the afternoon, we’ll learn about Teeling Whiskey through the history, the atmosphere, and above all the taste of Teeling Whiskey. We will discover the time honored secret of how three simple ingredients, water, barley, and yeast, are transformed into the smooth golden spirit. Everyone will get to sample three different whiskeys. We willl then return to our lodgings to get ready for our pub crawl in the mountains surrounding Dublin.
Day 11: Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough
Today we will leave the city in order to experience the Wicklow Mountains and stunning Glendalough. Our local guide will entertain us with the tall tales and legends of Glencree Valley
and the famous Sally Gap. We’ll get to see the breathtaking scenery and rolling green countryside at locations made famous by movies such as “Braveheart” and “P.S. I Love You.”
The stunning scenery of our route includes Glencree Valley, a photo stop at the Guinness Lakes, and the bog lands and heather fields of the Sally Gap. During our travels in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, we’ll also visit the 10th century monastic round tower settlement in Glendalough. After our visit to Glendalough, we’ll return to the city.
Day 12: Dublin - United States
After checking out of our accommodation, we’ll travel to the airport for our flight home.
Ireland is much more than leprechauns, Guinness, and Irish whiskey. It's a land that possesses a complex history, deep religious roots, and staunch nationalism knitted together to form the fabric of modern Irish society. It is a place of great beauty, with barren islands, castles ringed by ancient stone walls, weathered cottages, rolling green hills, rugged coastlines, and rocky mountainsides that will leave you breathless.
Ireland never fails to charm its way into the hearts of students. Maybe it’s the friendly nature of the Irish, who seem to engage you in a chat at any chance. Or perhaps it's the fact that once you spend some time here, two thoughts will consume you: why you didn't come sooner and whether you really have to go home...
And, perhaps most important, Guinness really does taste better in Ireland.
- Celebrate New Year's Eve at an authentic Irish pub in Temple Bar
- Experience Dublin's incredible nightlife
- Be mesmerized by Irish folktales during a very special dinner
- Grab an Irish coffee and stroll through Dublin's historic city centre
- Go face-to-face with a 400-year-old mummy
- Learn how to pour a Guinness properly at the Guinness Storehouse - and then drink your creation!
- Sample some Teeling Irish Whiskey and discover why it is becoming so popular worldwide
- Ponder the age of Newgrange, a prehistoric tomb
- Scramble up the Hill of Tara, the place of ancient Irish kings
- Go for a walk in the Irish countryside
- Visit the medieval monastery of Glendalough
- Some meals (Note: Budget US$40/day total for your other meals)
- All lodging
- All ground transportation including all airport transfers
- All listed activities
- All required visas (there may be an additional fees for non-US citizens)
- All local guides
- ICEE fleece jacket
December 2019/January 2020
|Program Start Date:||29 December 2019|
|Program End Date:||09 January 2020|
|Application Deadline:||15 November 2019|
Student applications to these programs will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Save 20% if You Apply Before 15 November 2019!*
Save an Additional 5% if You Pay via Personal Check, Bank Transfer, Money Order, or Cash.**
Discounted Tuition: From $2,625 Plus Airfare
Regular Tuition: $3,500 Plus Airfare
*Tuition discounts are for study tour only and exclude airfare. Discount is conditional on applicant making payments as agreed.
**US$100 Application Fee can be made via PayPal, Credit Card, Personal Check, Bank Transfer, Money Order, or Cash.