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

9.59 Rating
based on 81 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 91.36%
  • 7-8 rating 8.64%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 81
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Josiah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in Ireland under IGY

This was by far the best program I could have chosen to participate in. Though beginning in the midst of a pandemic, the experience I had I would trade for no other - between surfing near daily, spending nights having wild fun with people my own age and taking some of the hardest hikes I've ever been on, there's nothing that could compare.
Being stuck in level 5 had little bearing on my enjoyment of my time here, as the leaders successfully created an itinerary that kept us all engaged for the whole time. We had input on the schedule too, and though it was difficult to coordinate making what we wanted to happen under level 5, we were successful enough. Some highlights included near daily walks, hikes, and leadership workshops, and occasional kayaking, swimming, cliff jumping, and biking outings, not to mention all of the memories that were created with the people I met.
However, this is not the place for people looking for a seriously outdoors experience. While having a home base of sorts in Bundrowes was nice, it meant that we were living in Ireland as students with outdoors education experiences as opposed to students on an outdoors based program. It is a comfortable and loosely planned experience with room for feedback, your own activities and relationships to grow.

What was your funniest moment?
Near the end of the program, we were supposed to create a short speech to express out loud to the other students how we had changed, what caused it, and how it would affect us going forward. In my mind, it was a fairly easy task. As a proficient public speaker, I can enjoy it when prepared, but even when I'm not I can improvise effectively. What I didn't expect was that this group of students and leaders would have created such an environment that brought out the honesty that it did. Suddenly I was having real trouble continuing, and if I had been the type to cry I would have. I would also like to answer another from the list of questions provided, about what advice I would give. My advice would be: be self sufficient. While living in a house with peers, even if you're used to cleaning your own mess and taking care of yourself, you will have to take on other people's messes too. From physical mess to emotional mess to timing mess, being able to keep your schedule and mind organized will help tremendously, and even if you can't do it perfectly, just making an effort will help. As someone who struggles with food security, my biggest struggle was timing my meals and making sure I had everything I needed to create my food - I had to do a lot of my own shopping.
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Eliana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Awesome Experience!

My time with Irish Gap Year over the past semester was an amazing experience! Though the pandemic meant we had to quarantine when we arrived and prevented us from being able to do some of the usual program activities like meeting more people in the community, going on more trips and doing liquid therapy, I still had a great time. We were able to go on a couple trips in the beginning where we stayed in pretty nice hostels, went on hikes and had some free time for exploring the town. Later on, however, when Ireland introduced more COVID-19 restrictions, we were not able to go farther than 5k, or go anywhere in town that was not the grocery store, pharmacy or a few takeout places. Obviously though, that was not IGY’s fault and we were still able to do amazing and fun things! We surfed a lot, went cliff jumping, kayaked, went on some bike rides and went on lots of hikes which was all very fun! We also volunteered on a farm, learned about sustainability, had leadership workshops and worked on designing and building a park/community space near the house. The staff were really great— approachable and super fun! The house was great to live in too. I had two roommates and we had a very spacious room and our own bathroom. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to take every opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try new things, even when they seem scary because you will grow so much more from the experience!
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Matthew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish Gap Year Fall 2020

I had a lot of fun in Ireland with Irish Gap Year. Even with COVID restrictions, they were able to fill the weeks with fun activities and adventures. Both the leaders and administration were incredibly easy to talk to and were always willing to hell me out. For example, when I wanted to surf more they were able to find me a board to use for the rest of the trip. I also had fun traveling around Ireland. Although COVID limited the amount of travelling we could do, I was able to visit Galway, County Mayo, Claire, and Sligo. My favorite out of the trips was visiting Galway.

What was your funniest moment?
One day there was a massive swell. We visited a beach and when we got there we saw a massive sea of foam a few feet deep. Some of us went in and ran around.
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Annabel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Time of My Life

Irish Gap Year was one of the most valuable and amazing experiences I have had. In a time where there were so many uncertainties due to COVID-19, IGY was able to work around all the hurdles and issues to create a life-changing time in my life. The views from Bundrowes (the house we lived in) never failed to amaze me, and the sunsets were one of my favorite things. Even though I had never surfed before, I quickly learned how thanks to the amazing leaders, Sarah and Niall. All of our group would surf together and then watch the sunset over the horizon. Another thing that I really enjoyed was our trips. Although we were not able to travel after level 5 began, we did manage to go to Galway. We got to walk all around the city, and then we cooked dinner all together at the hostel. There are so many moments that I will cherish forever, and I highly recommend participating in IGY; you will not regret it.

What was your funniest moment?
There are so many funny moments, but I think the funniest thing was when all of us decided to jump in the river behind Bundrowes. It was freezing cold, and we were all making so much noise!
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Nash
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IGY 2020

I did the adventure program and it was everything I could have asked for. All the staff are really great, the program leaders feel more like friends rather than people who are in charge of you. We only got to go on a few trips before Ireland went to level five, but the trips that we did go on were really fun and the hostels were nice. Even with the covid restrictions we still did a lot of fun activities. If you enjoy hiking or surfing come on this trip. The house is also really nice and there’s plenty of space for everyone

What was your funniest moment?
So basically, the girls kicked the guys out of the tv room to watch a movie, so we duck taped zip tied febrezze bottles to one of the guys and threw him in the room and held the door shut
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Cam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish Gap Year 2020 Fall Adventure and Leadership

Irish Gap Year was a fun way for me to mature and grow as a person. Through Irish Gap Year, especially in year like 2020, I learned that it’s important to shed a positive light on everything to the best of your ability. We started out with 2 weeks of quarantine which then turned into 4 which was unfortunate, but in a positive way it gave me more time to share with my original 3 from Portbeg. Once the whole group linked it was a blast and I never looked back. Highly recommend the trip, the first two weeks can be tough because you’re dying to get to be with the whole group, but you still do lots of fun activities such as surfing and hiking, and once you’re all together it becomes a blast.

What was your funniest moment?
We were on a bike trip for one of our activities with our leader Sarah and her pedal had fallen off her bike. When she thought she had secured it she hopped on to test it and flipped over her handlebars. Thankfully she was ok and got up laughing it off.
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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!!

I am so happy to have participated in the Adventure & Leadership Program in the fall of 2020. Although COVID restrictions were put in place during our stay in Ireland, we still had an unforgettable experience. The staff's ability to adapt to these restrictions was incredible and allowed us to continue to do awesome activities. My favorite activities included hiking, surfing (lots of it!), kayaking, cliff jumping, rock climbing, farming, camping, and exploring the beautiful town of Bundoran. When I first got to Ireland, I wasn't a huge hiker or a confident surfer. Now, I absolutely love to hike and feel very motivated to do so at home. I feel much more confident on my surfboard and cannot wait for my next opportunity to surf. Volunteering was also an important component of the program. We began to build a community garden, a project that will be worked on for years to come. We also spent some time at a local farm, learning about sustainability and the environment. Not only did we get to participate in these incredible activities, but we also took part in a few leadership workshops which were great learning experiences for all of us. Another incredible component of the program was traveling! Being able to explore different cities and towns throughout the country was something I'll never forget! I also wanted to mention how thankful I am to have met the other kids on the program. I am so glad to be leaving Ireland with so many new friendships. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to have an awesome experience abroad and learn more about themselves along the way!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Remember how lucky you are to be in Ireland. Take advantage of every opportunity and push yourself to try new things!!
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Walker
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience - I highly recommend!

I truly could not recommend this gap year program more. I have had an amazing time over the last three months and I am so grateful for my time in Bundoran. Despite the restrictions present due to Covid-19, I cannot thank the Irish Gap Year staff enough for continuing to provide us with an active, fun, and lively environment on a daily basis. I have had so many incredible experiences that I will cherish for years to come. I was continually blown away by the amazing views both right outside my back door as well as through our travels around the country. I found myself so excited every morning to participate in all of the activities planned for the day including surfing, hiking, cliff jumping, rock climbing, kayaking, camping, volunteering, as well as more. Additionally, I am so glad to have had the opportunity to participate in numerous leadership workshops in order to gain important skills that will benefit me in college and beyond as well as learn more about myself as a person and leader. I had a great time living with peers in a beautiful house right on the coast and I am so thankful for all of the meaningful friendships I have formed. Thank you Irish Gap Year for providing a comfortable environment to try new activities, step outside of my comfort zone, and help me learn more about myself and my passions over these past three months - I have had the time of my life!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Live in the moment and embrace every experience you have. I guarantee your time in Ireland will fly by, so I highly recommend making the most of every opportunity given. Step outside of your comfort zone in as many ways as possible - I promise you will not regret it.