Adventure and Leadership Program: Semester Length, Fall and Spring Cohorts

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About

Irish Gap Year’s Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program will take you far off the beaten track, deep into Irish culture and nature where you will learn much about yourself.

You will become immersed in our community and Irish culture, be challenged physically through outdoor adventure and mentally through our leadership course and volunteering in the community.

The rugged natural beauty of Ireland and warm heartedness of the people offer a unique setting for your journey of self-discovery. Our goal is create an environment that nurtures this process. This program is not a test that is graded, it is a progression of continuous learning and reflection, struggling and failure are as much a part of the process as achievement and success.

Throughout this program you will develop a deeper level of self-awareness, independence, group dynamics and self-governance. We hope that you will take with you a way of thinking and self-awareness that will last a life time.

Highlights
  • Expeditions around Ireland: Each expedition on the Adventure and Leadership Program is unique with its own area of focus and theme. The expeditions are 3 to 5 days each and will and bring you far off the beaten track and face to face with Ireland’s hidden
  • Community Immersion: Live in your own magnificent Victorian home on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland's rugged Northwest coast. Your home is cozy, quirky and quaint. Here you'll learn invaluable independence building skills with your peers!
  • Volunteer in the Community: Make a meaningful and positive impact on our community as you volunteer on farms, animal shelters, with local youth groups, Clean Coasts Ireland and other local organisations.
  • Develop your Leadership and Communication Skills: Our leadership workshops are fun, interactive and experiential. You'll learn much about yourself and others as you are challenged to work within a team on a wide range of projects.
  • The People: Irish people are amongst the freindliest and funniest people you'll come across anywhere and our gappers always love getting to know the locals. They're quirky sense of humor and unique outlooks on life won't disapoint!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 41 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 41
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Caitlin
10/10

Groups and Games

Irish Gap Year Adventure Leadership program offers a variety of activities to do (such as volunteering, surfing, and hiking), while giving you enough free time to make the program your own. I personally loved the outdoors element. Trying new things like surfing or long hikes are experiences I enjoyed. There's also a lot of traveling around Ireland and Northern Ireland, where there are often a few preplanned activities and some free time during the trip. The headquarters of Irish Gap Year is the Bundrowes House in Bundoran, a small tourist town with some good bars and cafes. The house itself is huge and provides a great shelter as well as excellent food and banter, courtesy of chef Rita.

The biggest positive (and perhaps negative) of the program is its' core structure; the group. For three months you live with -and do almost all of your activities with- the same group of people. This means that any conflicts that arise between you and another housemate need to be resolved, as you cannot escape the conflict. Fortunately, Irish Gap Year staff are incredibly supportive and have a system in place for conflicts between gappers. I personally found the close proximity encouraged my personal growth, because I could not run away from my problems. I would advise future gappers (especially introverts like me) to carve out some time for yourself, within or outside Bundrowes house.

Future gappers should also know that they will be expected to try things to the best of their ability. Opting out of a hike because you don't want to do it is not a good excuse, and same goes for volunteering. There is leniency when you feel physically or emotionally unable. In those situations, make sure to communicate with the staff the day before, as they are willing to make accommodations if given clear communication.

Overall, I loved this program. I entered Irish Gap Year feeling stagnant on my future, and am leaving it confident in my ability to pursue my own path. Irish Gap Year gave me the support and space I needed to grow, and I am incredibly grateful for the experience.

How can this program be improved?
Some of the workshops could be more engaging and one or two could be removed. That being said, most of them were fun and interesting.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ryder
10/10

Life Changing 3 months

For the past three months I have been on the Irish gap year's leadership and adventure course based in Bundoran Ireland. In the past three months I have hiked mountains all over the country, been on adventures in Ireland which most people will never get to experience, and have been pushed out of my comfort zone to do things I never thought I would like cliff jump into the ocean off a fifty foot cliff. This program is all that and more, it not only the adventure and the excitement of traveling all over Ireland but its also the people who are apart of the program. I have never felt so apart of something in my life. The two program owners are great people and really connect with the students in their program. All of the program leaders are also great people and provide fun and push the students to do their best each day of the program. The program is based in a cool small surfing town on the north coast of Ireland. The town is a fun place to go out in on the weekends and have fun with all of the other gappers. The program also takes you all over Ireland, giving the gappers the full experience of Ireland everything from small farm towns to big cities like Galway and Dublin. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to improve their leadership skills while also having an adventure of a lifetime in Ireland.

Yes, I recommend this program
Claire
10/10

Irish Gap Year, The Best Time Ever!

This was, without a doubt, the greatest experience of my life! When I was in high school I found out about this program, and decided to take time off from school and go abroad. This program was about leadership and teamwork. We all learned that we can be leaders in our own great way. What made this group an awesome team was the fact that we bonded on our very first day singing and getting to know each other right away. We stay in a house called Bundrowes, which is a thirty minute walk from Bundoran town, which is a great hangout spot and a great place to surf and kayake, which is very big here in Ireland. We also do lots of traveling, outdoor activities and community service work. This was definitely a life changing event for all of us in the program. One thing I would like to say about being in the program is just come as yourself and try to step out of your comfort zone at least once! One thing I enjoyed was all the friends I made and all the exciting adventures we went on. This is something you should not miss out on, so join and have an awesome time!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rob
10/10

Irish Gap Year

This program had an amazing impact on my life in a number of ways. Irish Gap Year focuses mainly on leardership skills and personal divelopment. I was fortunate enough to be well equipped for leadership aspect of this program but I was still able to learn many things about leadership styles and personalities. I felt comfortable for every part of the program, the trips were safe, and the guidence was true. The leaders would often take us out of our comfort zones but in a controlled way. We were entertained for most days but were given free time which was extra fun. The accomadations were wonderful, we stayed in a big refurbished manor house just five minutes out of town. Rita the house cook makes dinner every night except for Sunday’s and is gem of this program. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to expand their horizons. I cant wait to go back and visit.

How can this program be improved?
Consistency in rules and schedule. The beds were uncomfortable. More free time
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Josh
10/10

Time Flies

Hopping in this new experience, I didn’t know I was capable of adapting my “wake up at 6pm watch TV until 4am lifestyle at home” to hiking mountains, surfing, kayaking, and super event-packed weeks.
Ryan and Killian, the main program leaders, really know what they’re doing. Both of their experience and wisdom helps guide the entire program to meet everyone’s definition of success. I learned that they actually go explore new places on their own and then take us, which I thought really added to the spontaneity of adventure.
The three daily program leaders our group had, Chris, Matt, and Sara, were some of the best people I have come across traveling anywhere. They all were super helpful, personable, enthusiastic, excited, passionate, friendly, funny, and just good people. They really helped make my time here worth it.
Besides all of the super fun activities both in classroom and strenuous, I have to admit my fellow gappers (haha gappers is a weird term) fully contributed to my success here. Everyone was from a different part of my country and so I was learning different American culture as well as Ireland’s. The friends I made here in only three months, are friends for life.
I would recommend this program ten fold to anyone... and I concretely stand by Irish Gap Year, thank you Ryan, Killian, Sara, Chris, Matt, and of course how would the trip be complete without the sensational and traditional cooking of Rita!

How can this program be improved?
I loved having Thanksgiving here but some gapper’s families couldn’t make the journey, so maybe end the program justt before Thanksgiving.
Yes, I recommend this program
James
10/10

Grey Sky Warm Feelings

I opened the shutter on my airplane window to a grey, forebearing sky, “would these three months be the worst of my life?” , I thought as I de-planed and headed wearily towards the customs line. My mind was racing as I worried about whether I would be able to make friends or whether the counselors would be friendly or harsh. I had no clue what to expect because I hadn't researched the program at all. However, as I walked out onto that busy dublin terminal, and saw the friendly, jovial faces of Chris, Sarah and Killian, all my worries washed away. From the moment I walked into the cozy, clean, Bundrowes House, I felt at home. Ryan and Matt the other two program leaders welcomed us with open arms. Since then, i have made connections I will most likely have for the rest of my life and taken on obstacles both mental and physical that have forced me to think differently as I conquered them. I also will never forget how great it felt to finish a long, enriching day of hiking or surfing, and coming home to a warm home cooked meal made by the lovely Rita! Honestly this program has helped me transform into a much more indepedent, thoughtful, and adventurous person and for that I recommend it to everyone!

Yes, I recommend this program
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William
10/10

A Quarter of a Year

This program is one of the best programs to send you’re children on, the amount of support and growth is an amazing trait to find in a program such as this. After having gone through three months of living with this program, I have had many amazing experiences, I have made four life long friends and wouldn’t change this experience if I could, I love this program and am sad to see this end, but I know that deep down this has changed and matured me further than college or any other program could. I loved being here, I loved the staff, I loved the culture, and I am thankful for the ability to fully appreciate what an amazing program this truly was. If you have any question on whether to spend a semester with Irish Gap Year, the answer is yes, for it had been the most amazing experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?
This is an amazing program, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Aidan
10/10

Review of Irish Gap Year

My experience with Irish Gap Year over the past three months has been a blast. Learning to surf, traveling around different towns and cities, and having the opportunity to do volunteer work have all been great learning experiences for me. Living in a house with 10 other people was fun and we managed to create a tight knit community. For me, going on trips to cities (such as Dublin and Galway) every other week was definitely one of the best parts of the program. I was introduced to this program by my brother who had done this program last year, he seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed it, so I decided to do it this year. For future participants, drinking alcohol is not allowed in the house, but there are many great pubs in town. For the trips to other cities, hostels were used as lodging. I highly recommend Irish Gap Year.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bowen
10/10

Irish Gap Year

I came over to Ireland with my only expectation being to have fun in the outdoors. Irish Gap Year is much more than that, the community and bond made with your fellow gappers is life long and lets you experience many new activities and environments previously unknown. Everyday you wake up to new task and plans each one being unique and thoroughly thought out to help you grow as an individual. There is a constant since of adventure always leaving you wanting to experience the activity more. It’s a great way to grow in self confidence and good transition from childhood to adulthood. It was a fantastic three months and I wouldn’t change my experience at all it was truly life changing and I’m so happy I chose to do this program as well as thrilled with the personal results of it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jack
10/10

Best 3 months ever!

Honestly, I could not have asked for a better experience than this program! It blew every expectation out of the water. The housing is phenomenal! It is right on the water and is a short walk from the town. The staff are totally cool as well. While they are there to watch over you, they are also our friends. They come with us on all of our student trips and daily activities, but do so in a way that still allows independence. The food really beat my expectations. The cook, Rita, is amazing! Fresh meals every night and I don’t think I was disappointed with a single one! Totally awesome program and 10/10 would recommend. Ireland has so much to offer and we got to travel a ton and really explore the entire country! We traveled everywhere from Galway and Dingle to Dublin and Belfast! Everything was very organized and well put together.

Yes, I recommend this program
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David
8/10

my gap year experience

The gap year for me was the best choice I could take in this moment of transition between school and the future. I made friends, gained independence and got to know myself better. Imdont give myself credit but I did feel from the start to the end I did change a little bit but the rest of the people did notice a big change. Now I do feel like I stand up for myself and atleast dont feel that every single times things are impossible. I discoverred a country I hadnt been to and had the curiosity to go to and saw the culture way of life and the kind people at the bars that seemed quiet but wanted to know your story. In this program I pushed my confort zone and would do it again but without heights. I would come to ireland any day to re visit my stay here i plan to stay in contact with most of the people here as I laughed and becames friends i want to have for the rest of my life

How can this program be improved?
some specific activities I thought were childish such as feroyga i didnt mind being around younger people just the activity done
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caroline
9/10

Unforgettable Experience

I have always wanted to come to Ireland ever since I can remember and when I found this program, I knew this is how I wanted to spend part of my gap year. I loved all the activities we participated in having to do with learning about leadership and life skills as well as the adventures and volunteering we did in the outdoors surrounded by nature. It was so nice to go on trips around to different parts of Ireland while also have a home base back in the beautiful town of Bundoran. We all learned how to work together as a group and live with people with different personalities and backgrounds while also making lasting friendships. The leaders were all exceptionally helpful in every aspect and made sure to have a good balance of supporting each and every one of us while also making sure to give us our own freedom and independence. This program helped me grow as a person and I discovered so much about myself and the people around me. I gained so many skills that I will take home with me and use throughout my life. Irish Gap Year gave me an incredible experience of a lifetime and I highly recommend this program to anyone that is interested.

Yes, I recommend this program
Gideon
8/10

Irish Gap Review

I enjoyed the Program as a whole. The activities were fun and varied, each providing a unique experience that I would not have participated in had I not been in the program. I quite enjoyed the surfing and kayaking experiences as well as all of the other outdoor activities. The staff is quite nice and they make a point of pushing you to be better and to be more independent. The housing quality is wonderful. The overall experience left me wanting to stay in Ireland and explore its beautiful country more.

How can this program be improved?
Clearer communication between leaders and students would be wonderful. It would help to lower the stress of being in a foreign country with a new group of people.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Hannah
9/10

Irish Gap Year

This was an amazing experience, I'm glad I was able to come on this gap year program and be apart of it with everyone else who was on the program. The activities we did where great and the workshops where also very helpful. All of the other students who where on the program where nice and caring for each other, there was a very good bond between us all and also the leaders of the program. I would recondmend this to others who love hiking and being out doors.

How can this program be improved?
N/A
Yes, I recommend this program
Erin
9/10

Self Growth and Outdoor Learning

I can confidently say that this program helped each student, myself included, individually gain the skills they need to live on their own. We had time to establish lasting bonds with each other and all of the leaders, who were extremely helpful every step of the way. They granted us the freedom to make our own decisions, while investing their time in ensuring that we each grow as human beings during our time here. Living in our house together gave us a sense of ownership and responsibility to ourselves and each other, whether it was housekeeping, grocery shopping, or laundry schedules. We learned to live and grow with people from all different backgrounds. The leadership seminars were extremely helpful and informative, and the adventuring felt like the opportunity of a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
longer duration!
Yes, I recommend this program

About Irish Gap Year

Welcome to Irish Gap Year!
Explore. Discover. Grow.

Based in County Donegal (National Geographic's 'Coolest Place on Earth 2017), we have wild, untouched nature, unique culture and a rich artistic heritage on our doorstep.

Our semester-length, gap...