Archeology of Ireland
This class explores the culture and heritage of Ireland through the lens of the island's rich archelological record. This is a unique inter-disciplinary class at Notre Dame. It might be titled the Archeology of Ireland, but this is a deceptive administrative tool. The bottom line is that students learn about the human face of the Famine by visiting the Portumna workhouse dating to 1850, they learn about the spread of early Christianity in Ireland by visiting Bective Abbey, and they learn about the Celtic Kings of Irish folklore and culture by visiting Tara. It might be organized historically, thinking about deep time and cultural development, but this is nothing more than a framework for them to understand how the parts fit together. Archeology might be the title, but culture, history, and everyday life are the core of this inter-disciplinary class.
The entire educational focus of this adventure is to take 12 students each year to Ireland for an eight / nine day education tour of Irish Heritage during fall break. This tour provides a remarkable personal experience for students, allowing them to learn first hand about the Irish culture, heritage and history. Students engage in independent research, can understand how the heritage resources they see are important to Irish people today, and over fall break live in an intensive learning context. All of the assignments in the class, including the final poster exhibition with 100 or more people attending, focus on this educational tour.
"People are forever changed by the experiences they have while abroad, and I am not different. This educational tour made Ireland's archeology come alive for me. It was transformed from mere book learning into vibrant experiential learning that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."