Irish Gap Year Adventure and Leadership Program - 12 weeks Fall & Spring

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About

Looking for an exciting Gap Year Program whilst surrounded by stunning scenery in the Emerald Isle? Our 12 week Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program offers you the chance to really get to the heart of Irish culture and society while learning Leadership skills and having amazing adventures.

The program is built around 4 Cornerstones - Leadership Skills, Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Adventure and Community Volunteering. During the program you will see some of Ireland's top cultural sites and learn about Irish history ancient and modern. You will really get into the landscape through learning awesome outdoor adventure sports such as surfing, sea-kayaking, hiking & SUP on Ireland's rugged Wild Atlantic Way.

We offer our 12 week program twice a year; once in Fall and again in Spring, so it's never too late to join us on an adventure of a lifetime. Visit our page to start your Irish adventure.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 30 reviews
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 30
Default avatar
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
Default avatar
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
Default avatar
Fiona
10/10

Growing where the Grass Grows

As someone who had never been outside of the US, I was looking for a gap year program that challenged me, but gave me a strong group to support me when I needed it. Irish Gap Year was a perfect mix of challenging, exciting, and safe. I came away from my three month adventure not only having expanded my comfort zone beyond what I thought was possible, but, but having grown so much as an individual. Irish Gap Year gives you the necessary skills to be a functioning adult, but not only that, they show you have to take charge and accomplish what you never would have thought you could.
The program gave me the confidence to not only climb mountains do activities I would have shied away from before, but to lead the charge to a new adventure I may know nothing about. The program leaders and staff provided a constant wave of support and were always ready to talk or lead a hand if I needed it.

Irish Gap year was the most incredible way to spend three months.

How can this program be improved?
I wish we had worked more with animals
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ross
10/10

Irish gap year

It was truly a spectacular time. The staff are amazing and are willing to do whatever to make you feel better And make sure you have a fun time. The scenery is so unreal here and the house is located right in front of the beach. The locals are so nice. And the hike said we go on our truly breathtaking and make sure you have a fun time. The scenery is so unreal here and the house is located right in front of the beach. The locals are so nice. And the hikes we go on are truly breathtaking. I would totally be willing to do it again. I totally advise doing this program.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
SEAMUS
8/10

Spring 18

I had a great time at Irish gap year I met new and different people and got to experience new things that you cant experience in the US. It was very cool to travel around the country and see different parts of history of Ireland and not just the good parts but also the bad times they have had really help you get a full picture of Irish history. I really enjoyed being outdoors as well and getting to see the different cities. All In all I had a great time in Ireland with Irish gap year and am sad it is over already.

How can this program be improved?
Way to call for food or cabs inside the house.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Conor
10/10

Adventure and Leadership Program

When I arrived in Ireland 3 months ago I really had no idea what to expect and I did not know what I wanted out of this program. the years leading up to this program were not easy for me. Early on in this program I struggled a lot to find my footing here in Ireland. Everyone here was so helpful from the beginning. I got familiar with all the leaders early on in this program ( Chris "burgers", Chris "socks", Matt, Ash, and Sara ) it was important to all of them that they did everything they could to make the transition from America to Ireland a smooth one. Another thing I really enjoyed was getting home cooked meals from Rita and Owen. I am happy I can bring a few recipes back with me. I was only in Ireland for 3 months but it seems like I was here a lot longer. We did so many fun and enriching activities including surfing, kayaking, and hiking just to name a few. My family is also from here so I learned a lot about the history of Ireland especially on the guided hikes and tours of the cities we visited. I met so many genuine people both locals and gap year students. I will miss this place very much and I am happy I was able to be a part of this program. I am confident in saying this trip has made a huge impact on my life and I have grown in many ways because of it. Thank You IGY.

How can this program be improved?
I think this program is nearly flawless.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Conall
10/10

Adventure, cultural immersion, and personal growth go hand-in-hand

I had always planned on taking a gap year before college, but figuring out how to spend it was a difficult process. In the end, I spent the first half working a job near home to get some money and work experience. For the second half, I wanted to travel overseas somewhere with a gap year program, one that, more specifically, provided opportunities for both adventure and community service. After a hefty amount of searching, I finally decided on Irish Gap Year. From what I had read about it, it seemed like the perfect program based on what I wanted to do. However, when I finally made it to Ireland and had settled in to the situation of living with 12 complete strangers in a mansion-like house near a small town known best for its surfing, I discovered that the gap year program I had chosen was far beyond what I initially thought. The myriad of activities, ranging from surfing, hiking, and first aid training, are extremely fun, offering up something new with everything we do. I mean, I wasn't expecting to drive an off-road jeep blindfolded, or ascend towering mountains in the biting cold. And even the less rigorous activities, such as designing a St. Patrick's Day parade float with a local youth group or touring the Guinness storehouse in Dublin, are very much enjoyable and bring a great balance of fun and cultural immersion. When I wasn't riding waves in the frigid Irish oceans or exploring the ruins of ancient castles, there was plenty of time to get to know my fellow "gappers", the people I was spending pretty much every day with for 3 months, and more than enough free time each week to do your own things, may it be hitting up the nearby pub for a pint or just lounging around the house after a long week of intense hikes and long bus rides. The program's leaders are mostly helpful and informative, all while giving gappers enough independence to learn how to take care of themselves and make crucial decisions. The format of the program, activities nearby one week, travel to somewhere else in the country the next, makes sure the experience is never boring and always has new and unique things to do. Lastly, adhering the program's motto of "Explore, discover, grow", there are seemingly endless chances to do just that. Explore a country you've never been to until now, discover ways that you can be a leader to your peers, grow and mature as a person who might have flown into Ireland nervous at first and left feeling like an entirely new person. With Irish Gap Year, not only was my criteria of adventure/service greatly met, but the overall experience was truly one-of-a-kind, and three extremely fun months that I will never forget. I had a blast, and I'm sure you will as well.

How can this program be improved?
1. Stronger WiFi in the house.
2. More heads-up for sudden schedule changes and logistical questions.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gametime
8/10

What Conor Jones Thinks About Irish Gap Year

This was such a fantastic gap year for me because of Irish Gap Year. I loved all the activities so much and this was a great adventure for me. I discovered so much of myself and gained a lot of skills that you need to get somewhere in life. I learned a lot about myself and who I am and what kind of person I need to be. Through mountain hikes, surfing, laughing with friends and so much more, I've lived the adventure and made good friends. Thank you IGY.

How can this program be improved?
The house needs a landline. Desperately.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Abigail
9/10

Irish Gap Year Leadership and Adventure Program

I spent 12 weeks fully immersed in Irish culture through the Irish Gap Year Adventure and Leadership Program. Though I personally had some struggles from coming from being and only child to living with 12 other people, the program itself is life changing. I know that I will carry all of my memories I have made here with me for the rest of my life. I have learned about the new culture, the new people, and even learned some things about myself. I would recommend this gap year program to those who are considering it.

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved by perhaps involving the gappers in some of the weekly schedules. That's more of a suggestion than improvment, though.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Zoe
10/10

IGY Review

I’ve previously experienced two international programs somewhat similar to the fall 2017 Irish Gap Year semester, and IGY far exceeded those programs and blew my expectations away.

IGY offered the best of of both worlds: both immersing yourself in another country while also learning different skills and exploring the country. The system of exploring different sites and cities in various ways, whether it was hiking, surfing or just checking out a cool historical site, while also having a cosy and welcoming home base in Bundoran worked very well. The program was a good balance of challenging myself to go out of my comfort zone while also not getting travel fatigue. It’s almost ridiculous how gorgeous all of the places we went to for hiking, camping and surfing were. Each of the leaders was very helpful and really helped to make this experience the best there could be.

For future gappers, don’t be afraid of asking questions or raising concerns. All of the leaders want the best for the gappers and if there is something you want to do or have a problem with, they are more than happy to help. Also don’t be afraid to talk to the locals, as some of the best moments on this trip for me were getting to know the people I was fortunate to be able to meet. Irish people are some of the friendliest (and funniest) people whom you will ever meet.

Overall, Irish Gap Year is such a fantastic experience, both growthful and fun, and one which I will treasure forever. The three months flew by so very quickly, as the program is very thoughtfully and flexibly planned out. Thank you so much to each and every one of the wonderful IGY staff!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ella
10/10

My Irish Gap Year

As we drove from the airport to Bundoran on my first day, I was wrapped up in thoughts of what Ireland would bring to me and what I could bring to Ireland . I had pictured Ireland many times before as a child and every image that I had pictured beforehand was almost identical to what I could see from the window. The green rolling hills, the smell of cow manure in the air, and of course the strange fact that they drive on the other (wrong) side of the road. Though my fascination of the landscape continued, my mind began to wander elsewhere. I wondered if I had really made the right decision in flying across the world and spending the next three months in a different country with complete strangers. I was leaving my friends, my parents, my boyfriend, and my puppies. Of course I was scared, but I knew that there was no way I could give up on an opportunity like this. One of a lifetime. I will never forget my initial thoughts and fears during that three hour car ride. However, naturally, those fears have disappeared and I am now faced with new ones; am I making the right decision of going home?
Irish Gap Year has given me the greatest three months. I tried my best to go in with an open mind and no set expectations and by doing so I find that I have created the most positive outlook on this program and the amazing country that has hosted us all. I have seen some of the most incredible views on the planet. I have pushed myself to mental and physical extremes, and have come out happier than ever by doing so. I have been given the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and I have met some of the most amazing people in the world.
For you future gappers, it really doesn't rain as much as National Geographic may say. Don't be afraid to leave your loved ones behind, they will be so excited for you and proud that you have taken the opportunity to see the world. It may be hard at first, but you are surrounded by other students who care very much for you and you will have the support from many other resources. Irish Gap Year does a wonderful job of bringing leadership and adventure into their programs.
Push yourself to experience the amazing world around you.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alexander
10/10

Amazing program

Words can not even begin to describe my experience. For the last nine weeks I have done things I never thought I would do, I have climbed mountains, surfed in the freezing waters of Ireland ocean, traveled far and wide across this beautiful land, formed bonds with the people here, this program has smashed through my expectations for it in the best way possible. I came here a somewhat overweight guy, expecting a lot of manual labor, long boring hikes and bland food, in short for this to be an Irish version of fat camp. In under a day of being here I had left those thoughts behind. I was enthralled by Ireland's beauty, the kids living in the awesome house were amazing, and the food is incredible, and they don't skip on the portions. The hikes we do take are always amazing, showing us Ireland's beauty. Though to my surprise I did in fact lose weight, hell, none of my pants fit me anymore!

I would have to say my favorite memory of this place would have to be liquid therapy, a program where we help young children with Aspergers learn to surf, a program I really wish had been around in the states when I was growing up. It was fun to teach a kid how to surf, and I've learned to love surfing here, there is nothing even close to the experience when you stand up on a board for the first time.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone, it's a once of a lifetime experience that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I don't know how, everything was perfect in my opinion.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Carter
10/10

Irish Gap Year

I'm glad I decided to spend my gap year in Ireland and with Irish Gap Year. Hiking, traveling, surfing, volunteering, and being surrounded by some of the friendliest leaders you'll ever meet made for a fulfilling 3 months. With lots of freedom as well as being a very flexible program, it's easy to bend the program a bit to fit the student. The program is a great opportunity to grow, meet new people and have lots of fun. I highly recommend it.

Yes, I recommend this program

About Irish Gap Year

Welcome to Irish Gap Year!

Irish Gap Year provides thoughtfully-designed, adventure travel, sustainable living, eco-tourism and cultural travel programs for teenagers, university students, educators and people interested in finding out more about...