Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict

Educational Excursions

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

"It really helped that we were able to see these sites firsthand because now I am able to visualize where key events took place in Irish history. It’s like opening up a history textbook and instead of listening to a lecture in a classroom, you are able to jump in and take a look for yourself."

Mina Won

A sign in Mayo that expresses the environmental conservation efforts of local community residents.

Field excursions to different areas in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland generate an understanding of the issues characterizing each region and of the social, economic, and ethnic tensions that can trigger social breakdown. The excursions bring to life the complex issues discussed in lectures and seminars and also provide an opportunity to apply concepts and field study methods.

Mayo (West of Ireland)
The program undertakes a one-week rural excursion to a remote northwest corner of County Mayo, where Irish Gaelic is still widely spoken. Students experience rural life and a case study in environmental conflict.

The excursion features meetings with local residents involved in farming, fishing, teaching, environmental conservation, and rural development as well as representatives of a multinational corporation. These engagements provide students with different perspectives on the locating of a gas refinery in a previously undeveloped area.

Students gain an understanding of the social and political complexities of environmental conflict, the politics of resistance, and nonviolent direct action.

Read one student's reflection on the gas line conflict.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

  • County Armagh. Crossing the border into South Armagh, students encounter an area with a reputation for rebellion: from the saga of the mythical warrior hero Cuchulainn to more recent memories of resistance and army surveillance. Students engage with local residents, explore the countryside, and hear traditional music during an overnight stay in a border village. They visit Armagh city, the religious capital for both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, and meet representatives of the Orange Order in the rural cottage that was the birthplace of the organization.

  • Belfast. Belfast is a vibrant city with a young student population and thriving social life. Students explore Belfast's distinct neighborhoods, memorable murals, sectarian divisions, and peace walls and meet with political activists, ex-prisoners, community leaders, and elected representatives in the Stormont Parliament. 

  • Corrymeela Centre for Reconciliation . Located on windswept cliffs on the northeast coast, the center has played a key role in healing relationships from the early days of the Troubles. Students explore creative approaches to conflict in an active program of adventure learning and teambuilding with an international team of young people. The journey from Belfast to Corrymeela, along the breathtaking Antrim coast, allows students to visit beaches and local sites including the Giant's Causeway, a World Heritage site.

Aran Islands

  • Londonderry/Derry. Derry presents unique perspectives on conflict and conflict transformation in the Irish context. Students explore the walled city, visit groups involved in truth recovery, community-based youth projects, and creative peacebuilding initiatives, in a community scarred by the legacy of violence, especially in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

  • Aran Islands. The program ends on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, described by the poet Seamus Heaney as "the window ledge of Europe". Students explore the ancient cliff-top forts and early Christian churches in the company of a local guide.


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Ireland, Dublin

Prerequisites: None. Coursework in peace and conflict studies recommended Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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