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

Video and Photos

Van Halen
Van Halen
Conor Almighty
Conor Almighty
The Greasy Spoon
The Greasy Spoon
Fleetwood Matt
Fleetwood Matt
Group Shot
Group Shot
Jumping
Jumping
Climbing up a castle
Road trip

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 52 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 52
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Annika
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish Gap Year

This spring I spent a wonderful semester with Irish Gap Year. There is such a variety of activities ranging from hiking and surfing to volunteering with different local community groups that you will definitely get to try something new. Based in Bundoran, right on the water, the views from the house are beautiful, and you also get the chance to travel all over the country. Living in a house with your fellow gappers allows you to make close friends really quickly while still developing a sense of independence. The leaders are passionate and energetic about every activity and make each day fun. At the same time they’re there to support the students during the trip and are some of the kindest people I have ever met. I had an amazing three months and I’m sure that anyone else who chooses this program will feel the same!

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

Irish Gap Year Spring 2019

My time with Irish Gap Year has been quite the adventure. Traveling across across the globe to spend three month with people I'd never met before is quite a leap, but was the best decision I've ever made. Almost everything about the program and Ireland itself exceeded my expectations. The house we lived in was beautiful and it's location was right by the water where we experienced the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. I liked having a smaller group because we all got along very well and actually bonded very quickly which made all the activities we did together much more enjoyable. The leaders, while strict when they needed to be, treated us like adults and acted more as a friend than a superior. Everywhere we traveled to was beyond beautiful, and I saw sights I would never have gotten at home. While there were some ups and downs, overall I definitely had the time of my life and am grateful for this experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I believe that communication between the staff and the students is very important and could be improved.
Default avatar
Elizabeth
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish Gap Year Spring 2019

I had an amazing experience with Irish Gap Year. We were able to spend a lot of time in Bundoran as well as all over the country. Being able to travel all over the country and live independently for three months has definitely helped us all develop some of the skills needed for college. The trip as a whole was so much fun and definitely brought us outside our comfort zones. We got to go camping, rock climbing, zip lining, hiking, surfing, and so much more. We were also able to learn all about the culture and history of the country. If you are someone who wants a chill program that’s not very rigorous, this isn’t for you. But if you love the outdoors, traveling, experiencing new things, learning, and challenging yourself, you should definitely at least consider Irish Gap year.

What would you improve about this program?
I think communication between staff and students could be improved.
Default avatar
Tyheem
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good program

I had a very good time. I got to explore the Irish country side learn a bit of ancient and modern history both with archeologists giving tours and in museums. Also got much better at hiking and surfing, the views on the mountain were really pretty and the beaches and forests, p.s. big Is really fun to walk on (super squishy). The surfing was awesome and now Im leaving and I can actually stand up on a board! I got a very good tour of Ireland and have a new understanding of the country, much more in depth. I also met a ton of the local people from communities we volunteered at like with clean coasts on Aran Mor island, and the locals in Bundoran. On top of meeting so many people I also got to make really good friends with the other people on the program and the program leaders. I’m

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The views, never realized how scenic Ireland was. The sunsets especially were my favorite, and there’s so much nature to explore around the town of Bundoran and the rest of the country
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Rai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish gap year

It was a lot of fun the staff members where all so cool and the people in the house where all so cool they tools on some of the coolest hikes ever and we got to do some amazing things like go camping on a beach or rock climbing a giant sea stack the over all trip was amazing and if you get the chance to go I would do it the people here where amazing and I have made a lot of new friends and memories and the house we stayed in was super nice everyone had there on space and there was never a problem with the house and if you need something like if you where sick or you needed something for the house some one on the staf would get it for you one of the best experience of my life I can’t thank everyone enough this trip is truly life changing I would just like to thanks again for a great experience

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking thing we did was when we went zip libeling but it was so much fun and I would do it again in a second
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Duncan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Could Not Have Picked A Better Program!

Irish Gap year was absolutely incredible; from the places we visited to the people we met, all of it was a once in a lifetime experience. If I could do this program a second time I would no doubt sign up for it as soon as I could. We travelled all over the country visiting the different major places and some that weren’t, both were equally as entertaining. If you’re looking for a laid back program in a major city then this isn’t for you. We hiked, we surfed, we visited historical sites and even got the chance to make our own dairy milk! The trip is what you make of it and there is no other way I could imagine spending a gap year than using irish gap year. I had one of the best times of my life and met some of the coolest people I know while visiting Ireland and I hope you can do the same!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I could imagine needs improvement is that the house NEEDS to put in the party patio. But genuinely the program was incredible in of itself and there’s not too much room for improvement seeing as it’s already incredible. Nothing in this world is perfect and the few things i’d say need improving are more personal preference than anything, so other than the party patio there’s not much that needs improving!
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Calvin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My IGY Experience

I had such an amazing experience with Irish Gap Year. I think it really equipped me with the necessary skills to thrive in college and beyond. Additionally, living in another country for three months really allowed me to immerse myself in its culture and learn more about its rich history. The program leadership did a tremendous job of helping students acclimate to a wholly new country, and within a short period of time, myself and my peers miraculously felt at home and not as overwhelmed with the long journey ahead of us. The activities we partook in as a group always had variety and were by no means redundant, allowing us to experience a new aspect of Irish culture every day. The program leaders also did an amazing job of recognizing our adult status and thus allowing us a great deal of autonomy and not at all overbearing or encroaching on our free time.

What would you improve about this program?
I would include more hiking excursions. I would also include more guidance as to how students should utilize their free time more effectively.
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Kathryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything I could have hoped for

The three months I spent with Irish Gap Year were absolutely wonderful and were everything I could have hoped for from a gap year program. It is a program that makes the daunting task of traveling to, living in and learning about a completely new country not only manageable but rewarding and fun! Each week our group would do a number of activities ranging from surfing, hiking or biking to attending leadership workshops or volunteering with local organizations. Bundrowes house is gorgeous and quickly became a home away from home for us gappers. The staff members are caring, supportive and clearly, love their jobs and coworkers which made every activity all the more enjoyable. I believe that this program is truly for anyone and everyone. Whether you consider yourself more introverted, extroverted, cautious, spontaneous, or somewhere in between you will be able to gain from this program. The friends and memories I made in Ireland have taught me about myself and others and I know these experiences will help me as I move into the future!

What would you improve about this program?
Something that I believe could be improved upon is communication between staff members and between staff members and students. As well as consistency in enforcing rules.
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Ally
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Three Months of my Life Because...

It has been an amazing twelve weeks in Ireland. We have been based in Bundoran while traveling around for hikes and to visit different cities. It's been a great balance of being outside and active while learning about the culture and history of Ireland. We also did a charity work ranging from working with local kids to a whole week dedicated to beach cleans. We even got to walk in the local St. Paddy's parade in town. There is also a fair amount of free time at the house, and while traveling. We get ample opportunity to explore the cities on our own, and also do some shopping. It's a really great program where you learn a lot about yourself, others and Ireland. There are a lot of once in a lifetime type of experiences, and I'm really glad to have been apart of it.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve communication between staff and gappers. Also the consistency with rules/enforcing rules.
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Ella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank you Irish Gap Year!

We spent our days exploring as much of Ireland as we possibly could while immersing ourselves in nature and Irish culture while learning about the history, volunteering and having free time in varies Cities. My time in Ireland has truly been a life changing experience for me. I have made so many life long friends and memories that will stick with me forever. Living in the Gap house with everyone was such a great experience and i a so thankful for the connections and friendships I have made. I have learned so much not only about Ireland and its history, but about myself too and how to be more independent especially in another country. The staff and people here have made it a supportive and fun environment and I love being apart of it. I highly recommend this program!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would improve about this program is the communication between leaders and then the communication between leaders and students. Maybe new mattresses as well.
Default avatar
Julia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sheep Galore!!

I did not know what to expect traveling across the globe to meet and then live with 10 strangers, but it has proven to be a great decision. The past few months in Ireland have been both eye opening and memorable. This gap program is unique since the group is based in one location, Bundoran, while also taking students all over the island to explore new cities and towns, whether it be for volunteering or hiking. In the short time we were here, I was able to learn about and see first hand the different cultures and people within Ireland, along with the beautiful scenery that Ireland has to offer. This program did a good job balancing both what we were comfortable with and pushing us outside our comfort zones. Since the students live in the house (about 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk to town), I was able to gain independent living skills and tricks that I will take with me as I go on to college and beyond. I liked having such a small group of students, opposed to some gap programs with huge groups. Having such a small group living together, we all got super close super quick, and I have made friends that I hope to keep beyond our time shared in Ireland. We were given ample amounts of free time both in Bundoran and other cities we visited to explore on our own in addition to doing guided tours. The staff on this program are super cool. Ryan and Killian, who own the company, make sure to see us at least few times a week to check in. The program leaders were easy to get along with, as long as you do a majority of the planned activities without complaining too much. You really get out what you put in on this program.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I did this program all over again, one thing I would change is how many different places within towns I saw. We mainly stuck to the few places that the program leaders had pointed out to us, instead of discovering new places on our own.
Default avatar
Caitlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Ryder
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Rob
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Consistency in rules and schedule. The beds were uncomfortable. More free time

Location

Location:
Ireland
Currency:
Euro
Weather:
Jan-Mar
52 F / 36 F
Apr-Jun
64 F / 41 F
Jul-Sep
68 F / 50 F
Oct-Dec
57 F / 37 F
Airports:
Dublin DUB
( DUB )
Cork
( ORK )
Shannon
( SNN )

Ireland is infamous for the historic castles and the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way. If you are looking to experience lush greenery and countryside beauty, Ireland can keep you occupied for a lifetime.

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...