Program Overview

Irish studies in Ireland’s capital city

Open to students from all schools and nations, the Emory & Henry College partnership in Dublin, Ireland offers the unique opportunity to explore the power of global citizenship throughout Europe and the wider world. This summer study program in Ireland asks participants to push beyond stereotypes about Ireland and the Irish people to understand a country shaped by centuries of colonialism and resistance. from its years of poverty to the sudden expansion of wealth built on attracting international investments to its equally-sudden financial collapse.

Living in Dublin, studying at Dublin City University, and volunteering for a community-based organization, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the rich and varied heritage of the country during your summer study. This study abroad experience will also allow you to explore the ways Irish culture gives voice to centuries of struggle, conflict, and contradictions.

Summer study in Dublin

Ireland’s capital of Dublin has transformed itself over the last 20 years from a quiet, rather old-fashioned place into a modern, thriving and youthful European city. — Ireland was the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote!

Universities abound create a youthful energy as about 35% of Dublin’s population is under 25. Lively urban areas with historic pubs, live music, and restaurants mingle with churches and libraries, ancient ruins, and lush green spaces. The Liffey river (spanned by numerous beautiful bridges) divides the city into two distinct areas. You’ll find Dubliners to be welcoming people who are excited to share the best of what their city has to offer.

Where you’ll stay in Dublin

During your summer study in Ireland, you’ll live with a local family. Partial board (breakfast and dinner, Monday through Sunday) is included. As an integral part of the study abroad program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make lifelong friends and experience Irish culture from the inside. All host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students. Instead of being a tourist, you’ll get to know what it’s like to be a true part of Irish culture. Families live in the South County Dublin area with convenient access to Dublin’s public transportation system. Students may have either a single or double room.

Program Director: David Kilroy

Summer Study in Ireland Eligibility

The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential. TOEFL equivalent 550.


All summer classes are held at Dublin City University’s IBAT College Temple Bar campus, a brand new, high-tech facility in Dublin’s trendy Temple Bar district, the heart of the city’s center.  Each course augments classroom learning with visits to relevant sites and locations in the city center. Courses are typically taught on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Wednesday is a required excursion day for course field trips. Friday is typically off, except for excursion weekends, and is usually reserved for volunteer service.

Summer Study in Ireland Required Courses

Community Organizing and Social Activism in Ireland

The focus of this course is to explore community organizing and social activism in Ireland. You will learn how to effectively translate these ideas and techniques into concrete knowledge of social activism (including a practical tool set and the development of a personal ethic of advocacy) that can be applied across cultures, countries, and efforts. The course starts with an overview of social change institutions, explores the history and ethics of international service, and moves to the examination of past and current political and social movements and advocacy efforts in Ireland. Students will learn the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning in an Irish context. This course complements community service placements and helps students make sense of their international experience to develop their intercultural competence. Topics are examined through the prism of hands-on community service in Irish NGOs and other non-profits and include intercultural communication, the mechanics of Irish non-profits/NGOs, citizenship in Ireland, local civic engagement/advocacy efforts, and the exploration of civil society.

Contact Hours: 90
Recommended U.S. Credits: 6

Summer Study in Ireland Electives

One additional 3 credit course can be chosen from the list below.

Screening Ireland: Irish Film into the 21st Century

Charting changes in recent Irish history, understanding the emergence of the Irish Film Industry in the 1970s, and analyzing some of Ireland’s most prolific and critically-acclaimed film directors are just some of the key elements of this course. This course introduces students to the cultural, social, and political contexts of Irish cinema. You will examine key themes and issues in films made about and in Ireland and how they have constructed notions of Irish culture. Specifically, the course will address:

  • Historical cinematic representations of Ireland and its people by US and British film makers
  • The emergence of an Irish Film industry in the 1970s
  • Ireland’s most prolific and critically-acclaimed film directors
  • Contemporary Irish cinema

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Transatlantic Currents: Ireland and America in the Modern Era

This course offers an examination of the historical connections between the U.S. and Ireland over the past two hundred years. Through readings, discussions, and lectures, you will explore the impact of Irish emigration to America, for both the United States and Ireland.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Myth, Legend, and Folklore: Exploring Early Irish Literature

Explore Early Irish Literature from the murky twilight of The Mythological Cycle to the fierce warriors of The Ulster Cycle and the Finn Cycle. This course examines how, over time, the mythology and pagan beliefs of early Ireland transformed into modern-day fairy tales, folklore, and superstitions. Ireland holds the position of being one of the first literary nations in Western Europe. Legends recounting the deeds of Ireland’s mythological heroes were shared orally for hundreds of years before being preserved in writing during the medieval period. These mystical tales, originally written in the Irish language and now widely available in translation, tell of a long-lost world of Celtic gods and goddesses, of early Irish heroes and heroines, and the interaction between the land of mortals and the fairy other world.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Volunteer Service

Summer Study in Dublin: Service-Learning

The service-learning program in Ireland’s capital city offers students the opportunity to experience international volunteer service in a large urban metropolis with many pressing environmental and social issues that affect the entire population. Students may support nonprofits, NGOs, and community development agencies working with:

  • At-risk youth
  • Refugees and immigrants
  • The elderly and other marginalized and vulnerable populations
  • The homeless
  • People struggling with addiction
  • People with physical and mental disabilities
  • Children and youth (tutoring, sports and recreation, etc)

Summer Study in Dublin Volunteer Service Examples

Following are examples of agencies where students have served in the past or may be able to serve. Other service placements may be available. Your placement will be determined by community and agency needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.

After-School Clubhouse for At-Risk Youth in Inner-City Dublin

This organization is part of a global network of 105 clubhouses, and is based in a disadvantaged area of inner-city Dublin. The clubhouse provides educational and personal support to a range of young people, and students. Activities include art, music, film and television, theater, and technology.

Public Health NGO in Dublin

Founded in 1996 as a patient support organization, this NGO is dedicated to reducing incidences of a preventable disease by promoting healthy behaviors, and provides support for sufferers and their families.

International Nonprofit for Sustainable Development Projects in Dublin

Working in 26 of the world’s poorest countries, this NGO works with local people to make major and sustainable improvements in their lives. Interns help research and collate information on the organization’s ongoing projects, contribute to the organization’s newsletter, and participate in ongoing work on social and behavioral change.

Dublin Nonprofit Dedicated to Racial Understanding through Sports

This organization is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to participate in social integration projects, both in Ireland and abroad, promoting intercultural dialogue and harmony. Students assist with a variety of tasks including event planning and promotion, fundraising and research.

International Human Rights NGO in Dublin

Based in Dublin, this international organization is dedicated to the protection of fundamental human rights across the globe. Students work in the dynamic fundraising unit, contributing to a variety of projects, events and campaigns.

Community-Based Youth Resource Center in Dublin

Based at a community youth center in Dublin, students work a variety of programs and events in support of professional youth workers. The work includes the day-to-day work of the drop-in center as well as special initiatives targeting certain minority youth groups.

Services for the Unemployed in Dublin

Unemployment is the most pressing social issue in present-day Ireland. Founded in 1994, this nonprofit has come to play an increasingly important role in Dublin. Volunteers work on different programs, but always with the intention of supporting their search and helping them regain their confidence and dignity. “This organization became more to me than just my service site. It became a comfortable environment filled with support and encouragement, as well as a place to receive constructive criticism. I’ve seen how the organization works, and volunteers are essential to helping complete the day-to-day tasks that the staff have push aside. We all work hard, and I hope I contribute to the environment and cause I respect so much.” Gentry H., Psychology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013

Dublin Animal Shelter and Placement Organization

Established by a group of women over 25 years ago, this community-based and entirely self-funded charity houses over 70 animals that have been abandoned or rescued from situations of abuse. Volunteers work closely with the animals, helping to feed, clean, groom, and exercise them. “The chance to combine service, real service, with something that I love is not an opportunity that I am presented with often.  This place is more than an animal shelter, it’s a sanctuary. We can learn much and more from animals, if we bother to pay attention.”  Will P., Biology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013

Students studying abroad in Dublin

Things to Do

Travel is an essential part of all study abroad programs. Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater comprehension and cultural understandings. The Dublin summer study program offers multiple academic excursions designed to enhance your learning:

  • Dublin City Bus Tour (orientation)
  • Weekend excursion to northwest Ireland
  • Two full-day excursions to Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Newgrange monument

Other possible excursions in or near Dublin during your summer study program may include:

  • Dublin Castle
  • Kilmainham Gaol
  • Trinity College
  • GAA museum

Visits to these sites are relevant to the course, providing on-site learning opportunities for students. Students in Dublin may also work with program staff to arrange for independent travel around Ireland, the UK, and Europe. Some ideas for summer study students may include:

  • Bru na Boinne: a historic landscape on the banks of the Boyne, dotted with prehistoric monuments, the largest being Newgrange.
  • The Burren: Wedged between the rough beauty of the Aran Islands and the bustling university city of Galway, the near featureless desolation of this limestone plateau has often been likened to a moonscape. Ancient monuments and bizarre rock formations abound.
  • The Giant’s Causeway: If you want to experience one of nature’s true wonders in Ireland make sure to visit the Giant’s Causeway. Strangely regular basalt columns dominate the landscape and seem to lead across to Scotland.
  • Cliffs of Moher: An undulating landscape suddenly ends in a sheer drop of more than 650 feet, straight down to the Atlantic. One of the most spectacular coastal areas in Europe.

As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries. Farm scene in rural Ireland