Archaeology: Our August Adventure

Holy Cross Students at the Cliffs of Dún Aonghasa on the Aran Islands
The Cliffs of Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór, Aran Islands

In this issue, let’s discuss the UCC Early Start Program!

You must take the Early Start Program at UCC when attending the Cork program. The Early Start Program is a visiting student-only program consisting of your first three weeks in Cork. You’ll have class every day with only other visiting students before the semester classes begin. These programs are packed with field trips, as there are about five within the three weeks of the program. These classes generally consist of other American study abroad students as the other global students do not partake in the Early Start Program under the Erasmus exchange program. At UCC, there are three topic options to choose from: Archaeology, English, and History. I took the archaeology program; you’ll learn a little about my experience!

Ballinacarriga Castle
Ballinacarriga Castle, County Cork

In the class, we learned about the history of Ireland through the lens of Archaeology. We learned about the Celts, the Pagans, Medival Ireland, the growth of cities, architecture, and so much more. We discovered an insane amount in three weeks; however, my favorite part was the field trips.

View of the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher

Our first field trip was to West County Cork, where we visited the Ballinacarriega Castle, a Ringfort, and the Drombeg Stone Circle, sights from early Medieval and pagan times in Ireland. We visited County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula on the second field trip. We visited sights such as the Gallarus Oratory, Kilmalkedar Church, and Dingle. We got to take a harbor tour of Dingle and see the beautiful sights of the surrounding areas. We visited the Labbacalle Wedge Tomb on the third field trip, the Mitchelstown Caves, and the Rock of Cashel. On our fourth trip, we visited Dublin, where we visited the National Museum of Ireland and Christ Church Cathedral. On our fifth and final trip (my favorite one!), we had an overnight trip to County Clare, where we visited the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and many other sites. We stayed the night in Galway and explored the city before heading to the Aran Islands the next day. We had a private tour of Inis Mór (the largest of the three islands) and visited Dún Aonghasa. Overall, the program afforded a fantastic opportunity to explore inaccessible parts of Ireland and fully immerse ourselves in the culture from the get-go!

Gallarus Oratory
The Gallarus Oratory, County Kerry

August brought lots of transition into studying abroad, but the archaeology program was a highlight. In addition to the program, I took trips with my friends to Kinsale, Blarney Castle, and Dublin while also exploring Cork! We explored the city while trying new restaurants and pubs all over the city!

August was a month to remember!

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