Do you want to explore a stone fort first built in 1100 B.C. with a view of the Atlantic Ocean from the edge of a 300-foot cliff? Or have lunch in a pub founded in 900 A.D.? Do you want to walk in the footsteps of James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, or Oscar Wilde? If you do, then join the 2018 Ireland Study Abroad tour. In the first session of Summer 2018, the departments of English and History will again offer their interdisciplinary study abroad course to Ireland. From 14 May to 7 June students explore the history, literature, and culture of Ireland in a series of interdisciplinary seminars. These seminars are co-taught by Lisabeth Buchelt of the English Department and Molly Loesche of the History Department, and are truly an immersive and interdisciplinary learning experience.
The theme of summer 2018’s class are several selected moments and events in Irish history from the medieval period to the present that were not only significant at the time of their occurrence, but continue to resonate across time and to influence Irish culture. “As an example,” explains Dr. Buchelt, “we explore the coming of the Normans in 1169 and the construction of that event in the visual and dramatic arts of the 19th and early 20th century, and the role such constructions played in defining Irishness for the cultural nationalist movement that was so instrumental in achieving Ireland’s independence from Great Britain.” Other moments of historical and cultural confluence that the teaching team will cover include the Great Famine of the 1840s, the Easter Rising of 1916, and the Troubles of the mid-20th century. “In addition to many primary historical documents, we look at the novels, dramas, poetry, painting, sculpture, and short stories produced in both English and Irish that respond to these events,” adds Ms. Loesche. Dr. Buchelt and Ms. Loesche feel this study abroad experience is particularly unique and rewarding in the way their respective scholarly disciplines inform each other organically, giving the students an authentic interdisciplinary experience that allows them to develop a genuinely holistic understanding of Ireland and Irish culture. One student who participated in a previous Ireland study abroad course said, “After receiving the syllabus for the class, I’ll admit I was super overwhelmed and that feeling only intensified as the days progressed. Every second, minute, and hour that I poured into that class and homework was completely worth it…Without the historical background and emotional stories, I wouldn’t have been able to experience Ireland like I did.”
Once the students have the historical and cultural contexts from the seminars more or less in hand, they then travel to the Emerald Isle and spend time discovering three of the most beautiful cities in Ireland, making many wonderful stops along the way. They start their tour of Ireland on the spectacular west coast to visit Galway, the “City of the Tribes.” This is where Nora Barnacle, James Joyce’s wife, lived before she moved to Dublin, and this vibrant university town will be the base as students tour through the ruggedly beautiful Connemara region; as Ms. Loesche and Dr. Buchelt both say, “this is the Ireland you probably see with your mind’s eye!” Students take a ferry across the Atlantic to the island of Inis Mór, where John M. Synge went to learn the Irish language at the suggestion of William Butler Yeats. In the evenings, students will enjoy the many traditional Irish music sessions that take place in the pubs of Galway and attract musicians from around the world. After stops at the unique natural phenomena of the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren, they leave County Galway and head to County Kerry to stay in the village of Killarney. From here students explore the Ring of Dingle, visit the ancient chapel of the Gallarus Oratory, and see a play performed in the Irish language. Finally, students travel to Dublin, one of the great metropolitan capitals of Europe since 841. Here they see the Book of Kells, a play at the world famous Abbey Theatre, and visit the many museums, parks, and yes, pubs, that make Dublin one of the most exciting cities in the world. As Hugh Reilly, the Director of UNO’s Department of Communication, Ireland study abroad tour coordinator, and fabulous writer and storyteller in his own right remarks, “There is no better way to see Ireland than on one of UNO’s Ireland Study Abroad tours. After studying the history and literature of Ireland for five weeks, you get to travel to the places you’ve read about and see for yourself the land that inspired so many wonderful writers and storytellers.”
The course is cross-listed as ENGL 4960/8966 and HIST 2990. For more information about the Summer 2018 Ireland study abroad, please contact Dr. Lisabeth Buchelt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the English Department in ASH 192.
“There is no better way to see Ireland than on one of UNO’s Ireland Study Abroad tours. After studying the history and literature of Ireland for five weeks, you get to travel to the places you’ve read about and see for yourself the land that inspired so many wonderful writers and storytellers.”
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