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Venture to Ireland with Study Abroad
Photo: Irish Study Abroad This summer, 12 students will venture across the Atlantic Ocean to study contemporary Ireland and the peace process in Northern Ireland with Lori Gallagher, J.D., director of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies.

The students share an interest in Ireland and Northern Ireland, yet they come from different countries and backgrounds, including Turkey, Pakistan, Mexico and the United States. They are undergraduate and graduate students from the Cameron School of Business, Flynn Center for Irish Studies,  Center for Faith and Culture and School of Arts & Sciences. 

The students are pursuing graduate concentrations, majors or minors in biology, communications, history, international studies, social justice and, of course, Irish Studies.

This year, the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies awarded $48,000 in scholarships for study abroad, with each student receiving a $4,000 scholarship from funds raised through the 2013 Annual Irish Gala, the key fundraiser for the Center. 

The students will spend three weeks meeting with political, religious and cross-community leaders of all faiths and cultures and taking in Irish history and culture. They will visit many historic and archaeological sites, enjoy traditional Irish music, dance, folklore and stories as well as see various parts of the island from Dublin to Belfast and the Rock of Cashel to Shannon. 

Stops will include the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin, the National Museum of Ireland and Leinster House, the seat of the Irish Government in Dublin, as well as Newgrange, the Hill of Tara and the High Crosses of Monasterboice.  The students also will be special guests at the Parliament in Belfast and at Corrymeela, a peace and reconciliation center on the north Antrim Coast.  At the end of the trip, they will explore ancient ruins, monasteries and castles in Counties Offaly, Tipperary and Limerick.

Gallagher said this study abroad is the third trip to study the Northern Ireland peace process and historic and contemporary Ireland, and past students have benefited from traveling abroad.

“Students who have experienced the Irish and Northern Irish study abroad program have returned with a new perspective on life, familial and inter-community relationships, conflict and peace,” Gallagher said.

“They comment that the trip is ‘life-changing.’ They are so grateful for the once-in-a-life opportunity to meet key leaders and people from across the community with various identities, attitudes, faiths and cultures as well as to witness the beauty of Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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