The primary aim of the Irish Experience Programme is to provide our American learners with the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland while continuing with their normal progression towards the completion of their undergraduate degree programme. The core module that is mandatory for every American learner to take is the Irish Experience module which blends together Ireland's rich historical and musical traditions. As part of this course our American learners also take six guided field trips which complement, and enhance, the course objectives for this module. In addition to the Irish Experience module, our American learners can take other courses which are suitable for learners studying in a four-year liberal arts programme. 

Irish Experience Course

This course provides an introduction to Irish life and culture for international learners at Carlow College. Classroom discussions are integrated with guided and independent field trips to provide learners with both the tools to appreciate Irish culture and the opportunity to gain access to that culture during their semester in Ireland.

Aims & Objectives

  1. To introduce students to aspects of Irish history, politics, religion, heritage and culture.
  2. To improve students’ understanding of Irish life and culture in the context of a changing Europe.
  3. To assist students in addressing questions related to Irish identity both in historical and contemporary terms.
  4. To familiarise students with the rich heritage of Irish music and songs.  

Key Themes

  • Celts and the Iron Age
  • St. Patrick and the coming of Christianity
  • Celtic spirituality
  • Viking Ireland
  • Normans to Ireland
  • British settlement and aftermath
  • 1798 rebellion to Daniel O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation
  • The Irish Famine
  • Home Rule
  • Fight for Irish freedom and Independence
  • The ‘Troubles’ in Ulster

Irish Dance

Our American learners have the option to take a dance module at The Dargan School of Irish Dance. Founded in 2000 by Adeline Dargan, a registered teacher with Comhdháil na Múinteoirí le Rincí Gaelacha Teoranta, the school is Carlow’s largest school for Irish Dance. Since its foundation, The Dargan School for Irish Dance has had experience introducing Irish Dance to non-Irish nationals, in particular the school has taught courses to American, Austrian, Dutch, Italian and Spanish learners. In addition to its local and regional profile, the school has also had success at international competitions: two medals in the World Championships (2012), three medals in the World Championships (2013) and eight medals in the World Championships (2014).

Aims of the module:

Irish Dancing is one of the most unique forms of dance, appreciated worldwide. The aim of this module is to introduce basic traditional Irish Dances to every learner registered in the programme. Along with being a sport, Irish Dancing is an excellent form of fitness. As such, the classes are structured in a manner that learners not only learn to dance, but to have a fun physical workout as well. The curriculum of the programme is designed to teach the following objectives:

  • Feet positions and standing techniques
  • Basic introductory steps
  • Walls of Limerick
  • Siege of Ennis
  • Light Jig
  • Reel
  • Fairy Reel
  • Two Hand Reel

Learners registered for this module should contact their home institution to determine if the course has been articulated. Generally this course is articulated as either a one or two credit module as it meets for one-hour each week. If the course has not been articulated by your home institution, you can still register for this module as a non-credit course.