Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program – Summer 2022
|Dates||May and June
|Length||30 Days SHORT PROGRAM|
Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program: Short Program
The Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program is a structured, short Gap Year Program designed to give students an opportunity to cultivate their creative side, build independence and immerse themselves in Irish life and culture.
The program offers a fun and uplifting balance of community living, daily art-workshops with local artists and cultural expeditions throughout Ireland. This program is all about exploring your creative side and no prior artistic experience is needed, only enthusiasm and an open mind.
The Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program is based in Bundoran, a quaint and inviting town on the world famous Wild Atlantic Way, in County Donegal.
Our experienced team of Program Leaders will accompany you throughout the program, contextualizing activities, adventures and daily life, while also offering support and utilizing their skills as experiential educators.
Many of our past students have enjoyed the benefits of taking part in a community-based program. This means that you will have your own home, neighbours and really get the chance to be part of our town. You will also develop independence alongside your peers in an environment that resembles college life.
You will learn to live and work as a team, to manage a household and to nurture your creative side in a low-stress and supportive environment. You will explore Ireland’s cultural heritage and modern arts scene, immerse yourself in our community and above all else have fun!
If you are looking for a creative and cultural experience that builds your independence and offer real-world skills, this is it.
- Develop your artistic skills through daily workshops with professional Irish Artists.
- Explore Ireland with overnight expeditions to the cities of Dublin, Belfast and Galway.
- Live on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the quaint seaside town of Bundoran, County Donegal. National Geographic’s ‘Coolest Place on Earth, 2017’
- Enjoy daily adventures throughout the Northwest of Ireland exploring castles, coastlines, villages, art galleries, National Parks and more.
- Local Living: A community based experience that brings you deep into Irish culture.
- Surf and kayak on the blue waters of the Atlantic
Find Out More About our Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program
The Irish Arts and Culture Immersion Program will build your independence, artistic skills and creative mind, all while giving students a unique perspective on Ireland. This is accomplished through the cornerstones of Artistic Discovery, Cultivating Independence and a Cultural Exploration of our country.
The Cornerstones of our Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program
Find out more about our 4 Cornerstones by clicking on each of the icons below, or by clicking under the dropdown menu titled “Grow” at the top of every page.
Artistic Discovery: Filling Your Creative Well
Artistic discovery is about filling your creative well, finding inspiration and nurturing your creative side. This is accomplished through a combination of working with local artists and daily creative connection exercises.
You will be working with professional Irish artists who will provide a breadth of new artistic perspectives and skillsets. Over the course of the program, you will participate in a total of 16 half-day workshops in charcoal drawing, mixed-media upcycling, painting and photography. Our team of artists put the emphasis on the creative process rather than the end result, creating a learning environment that is more about the creative journey than the destination.
Daily creative connection exercises give you the tools to temporarily break free of the logical, analytical mind and journey into your artist’s mind, where holistic, sensory experiences are craved to feed your inner inventor. The ‘Artists Pages’ and ‘Artist Date’ are the primary tools for aiding this process and we set aside time each week for these exercises.
You don’t need to be particularly artistically skilled to enjoy these workshops, all we ask is that you are open-minded and excited about participating.
Let your imagination run free and pursue your work purely for the joy of learning and creating something unique to yourself.
Cultivating Independence: Your Key to Freedom
A big part of a gap year experience is cultivating your independence and developing the skills they don’t teach you in school.
Learning to manage your life independently takes time and practice. Our Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program provides an excellent opportunity for this growth to occur in a supportive environment.
From the onset of the program, students will be responsible for managing their household’s cleanliness and general upkeep including, cleaning up after meals, doing dishes (sometimes not even your own!), doing your laundry and taking out the garbage. These tasks are supported by Irish Gap Year program leaders.
A more challenging piece in building responsibility is self-advocating and moving away from the ‘parental communication loop’ towards a more independent mindset. We encourage our students to advocate directly to the Irish Gap Year team if something is on their mind, breaking that digital umbilical cord and learning the invaluable lesson of standing on your own two feet.
Travel throughout Ireland and exploring our cities, towns and villages also helps students build their independence. For some students this will be their first international foray without their parents, while others will have travelled independently previously. Either way, there is much to be gained by learning to navigate a new country in a safe and supportive way.
We believe that one needs to be allowed to learn from both their successes and challenges to grow and become independent.
Cultural Immersion: It’s All About Community
Community is very important to us at Irish Gap Year and we welcome our gap year students into our town with open arms.
Throughout the Irish Arts & Culture Immersion Program you will get to be part of a modern-day community in one of the northwest’s most vibrant towns while experiencing Irish culture and community-pride.
By getting to know the locals, your art tutors and the Irish Gap Year team, you will get a real taste of modern Irish culture along with a wide range of perspectives on current events in our part of the world.
You will also get to explore the best of Ireland on our expeditions around the country and on our day trips throughout the northwest. These expeditions are designed to provide you with an immersive and unique experience of Ireland, so be prepared to take the road less travelled!
Ultimately, becoming deeply involved in another culture opens doors of understanding and challenges students to expand their own world view. Expect to come away from this experience with a greater appreciation and understanding of Ireland.
The Expeditions Hotspot Map
Each expedition on Each expedition on the Irish Arts and Culture Immersion Program is unique with its own area of focus and theme.
The expeditions are 2 to 4 days each and will show you the unique culture of Ireland and bring you face to face with many interesting and colourful characters.
You’ll be travelling with your cohort and Irish Gap Year Program Leaders on our mini-buses and staying in a combination of guesthouses, chic Bed n Breakfasts and high-end hostels.
- Boyne Valley
Dublin: An Artistic & Cultural Pick n’ Mix
Our expedition to Dublin City is designed to give you an introduction to Dublin’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.
We will tour the city’s most notorious literary pubs, where gangsters, revolutionaries, novelists and poets shared many pints of Guinness while plotting the 1916 uprising. Actors will perform works by acclaimed Dublin writers such as James Joyce, Roddy Doyle and Sean O’Casey to give you an interactive insight into where and how modern Ireland was shaped.
You will take on the challenge of the ‘Dublin City Photo Scavenger Hunt’, on which you’ll have to scout out some of Dublin’s most iconic places that have played a major role in shaping modern Irish society. You’ll receive clues from our program leaders as you progress through the hunt with your team.
We will tour The National Museum of Ireland learning about the artwork, culture and legacy of the ancient peoples of Ireland, the Celts, Saxons, Normans and Vikings. After that there will be a free afternoon for you to explore the City Centre before heading for some evening entertainment as a group.
Of course, no trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Brewery and Storehouse. Here you will learn about the long and fascinating Irish obsession with ‘the black stuff’, sample the finest pint of Guinness in the land and take in the best views of Dublin City from the 13th floor of the brewery before making our way back to Donegal for a relaxing evening meal at home.
Belfast: Perspectives Old and New Through Street Art
When people think of Belfast the first thing that usually comes to mind is political turmoil of the 1960’s – 1990’s known as ‘The Troubles’. Indeed, this period played an important role in the cities cultural identity, but there is so much more to modern Belfast.
We will meet a new generation of artists helped restore the city into one of Northern Ireland’s most vibrant communities. Our focus will be a comparative survey of the old Belfast versus the new Belfast through the lens of street art. We will tour Belfast’s most notorious neighbourhoods that witnessed civil unrest for over 30 years and speak to the people directly involved in the conflict and hear their stories.
You will tour the inner cities unique and politically charged street art murals followed by a street art sketch classes in the evening with local artists. We will discuss the different perspectives on Belfast’s tumultuous past and enjoy all that modern Belfast has to offer.
Of course, we will be visiting some of the ‘must see’ locations too, such as the Titanic Museum, The Botanic Gardens and the Grand Opera House.
Galway: Ireland’s Culture Capital
Galway is just about everyone’s favourite Irish city, and it’s no wonder why.
It’s cobbled streets meander through a medieval town centre, the music of buskers floats in the air mixing with delightful smells wafting from cafés and restaurants and the sea air permeates the entire city.
While in the ‘City of Tribes’ we’ll take in the amazing ambiance of Galway, enjoying museum visits, day-tripping to the Aran Islands to explore ancient Celtic fortress’ and amazing nature, have wonderful group dinners in the evening and allow for ample free time. Galway’s museums are amazing, the pubs world-renowned and the people among the friendliest in Europe.
Boyne Valley: Pagan Ireland, Sacred Sites and Folklore
Even before the pyramids of Egypt were built New Grange was already the spiritual and political centre of Celtic Ireland. At over 6,500 years old the tombs and sacred sites in the Boyne Valley are what most would consider the starting point of Irish culture and history.
At these UNESCO World Heritage Sites you will journey underground into ancient tombs, have discussions with archaeologists, historians, folklorists and gain private access to some of the lesser known sites in the area. we will also create our own artwork interpreting the heritage of the area into sketches and poems.
we will visit the Hill of Tara, where Gaelic Irish Kings were coroneted and pagan rituals took place millennia ago. we will enter the passage graves of New Grange, Knowth and Dowth, where the remains of the royals were entombed and where the veil to the underworld is said to be its thinnest. you will explore Uisneach, the alleged burial place of Eriu the Goddess from whom Ireland got its name while hearing Ireland’s oldest and most colourful folklore from a practicing witch.
You will also come face to face with some of the oldest artwork known in Europe, traditional Celtic stone carvings within the tombs – guaranteed to give you goose bumps.
This expedition is all about bringing ancient Ireland to life and bringing you face to face with the earliest forms of Irish culture and art.
Dingle Peninsula: Where Traditional meets Alternative at the Edge of Europe
On the wild southwest coast of Ireland in County Kerry you will find the Dingle Peninsula, full of quaint villages with colourful locals and small yet vibrant arts scenes. This is truly the edge of Europe and the whole place has a wild, windswept and timeless feel to it.
Here you will take on the ‘Humans of Dingle program, getting to know the people of Dingle through conversation, photo, prose and sketch as we venture through it’s postcard perfect villages. Your task will be to interview a local person, documenting their story in your own words and artwork and presenting it to the group after your trip. These interviews are not pre-arranged and involve meeting new people!
We will also tour the peninsula taking in the world famous scenery, meeting the locals and getting involved with artists through day-workshops.
The Dingle Peninsula expedition is one of our most eclectic adventures and sure to be the source of many laughs, dramatic photos and food for thought.
A Day in the Life on our Irish Arts & Culture Program
Every day on our Irish Arts & Culture Program is unique and we strive to get the right balance of creative output and inspirational input. Many days will follow a format that includes an art workshop in the morning and a cultural outing in the afternoon, followed by a homecooked, group dinner in your house. Here is one example of a normal day on our Irish Arts & Culture Program:
9am: Program Leaders arrive to you house
9.45am: Head out to your morning art workshop.
10am – 1pm: Charcoal Sketching workshop with Michael Wann
1pm-2pm: Lunch at home
2pm – 5.o0 pm: Road trip to Mullaghmore, County Sligo for a walk and sketch and local history lesson.
5.30 – 6.30pm: Free time at home
6.30pm: Group Dinner
7pm on: Free time