SHU to Launch Adult Education Program in Ireland

News Story: September 13, 2012

Sacred Heart University’s Adult Education Program in Ireland, scheduled for July and September 2012, will afford participants the chance to experience a simpler way of life in a bucolic setting that is rich with history and culture.

SHU’s Center for Irish Cultural Studies, in partnership with the Díseart Institute of Education and Celtic Culture, is offering the two adult study trips to Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, where it has run successful undergraduate programs since 2002. That success led to a demand for adult education programs, according to John Roney, Ph.D., chairman of the History Department and a professor of European History, who will host the July trip. Seán Pól Ó Conchúir, director of the SHU Dingle campus and a prime contributor to the “Rosetta Stone” Learning Irish program, will co-host both excursions.

“We wanted to get away from a traditional tour of Ireland. This is a unique program,” said Roney. “Instead of traveling to big cities, participants will experience the intimate feeling and vibe of a small town. Dingle is sort of a retreat into a simpler life. There’s something deep inside of all of us, whether we’re Irish or not, that can appreciate the countryside, the rock walls, the music that is almost coming out of the land itself and the chance to hear the stories that have been handed down.”

The “Irish Culture, History and Language” program will take place from July 6-14. “Traditional Irish Music,” co-hosted by John Whelan, seven-time all-Ireland button accordion champion, and Aoife Ghrainbhéil, a Dingle musician, recording artist and teacher, is scheduled for September 21-29.  The programs are aimed at individuals who have an interest in Ireland’s culture and music and have a desire to learn more about the country in a small escorted group of 25.

The July program will include five days of morning classes at the Dingle Campus, which is housed in the Sisters of the Presentation Convent, and related field trips in the afternoon. While on the Dingle Peninsula, the group will visit archaeological areas, some of which are believed to be 6,000 years old; read inscriptions carved in stone 1,500 years ago; explore the myths, stories and folklore of Ireland; learn about the influences and main proponents of the country’s music culture; and become familiar with the native language, Gaeltacht. “In some ways, even historians remark, if you don’t have enough of your own history, it’s hard to appreciate someone else’s history,” Roney said.

He said he target audience includes SHU alumni, parents of students who have been to Dingle and the Irish-American population of New England, which is a great constituency that consistently helps SHU. He is optimistic that “the first 25 people who go will become our best ambassadors for the next 25 and the next 25. The best way to sell something is by word of mouth and personal experience,” he concluded.

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