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

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Irish Gap Year has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

The Greasy Spoon
The Greasy Spoon
Fleetwood Matt
Fleetwood Matt
Van Halen
Van Halen
Conor Almighty
Conor Almighty
Group Shot
Group Shot
Jumping
Jumping
Road trip
Taking in the view of the vast ocean

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

9.57 Rating
based on 67 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 67
Default avatar
Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure and Leadership Review

The Adventure and Leadership Program with Irish Gap Year was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. From surfing on the beautiful beaches to climbing scenic mountains, this program has everything that any thrill-seeking person would love to experience. Aside from the adventure part of the program, you get to learn a lot about leadership skills during the workshops that are held once a week. Personally, the program helped me become a more responsible individual. Over the course of the program, gappers volunteer with numerous different programs such as Liquid Therapy, and Clean Coasts. Liquid Therapy is a program where children with additional needs are taught how to surf and Clean Coasts is a program where people help clean up beaches by picking up any litter they can find. Both of these volunteering programs were great opportunities that I gained a lot from. Last but not least, there are 7 great overnight trips across the country to places including Dublin, Belfast, and Galway, as well as one trip that the group gets to plan themselves! I would highly recommend this program to anyone that is interested in developing themselves as a person and having an exciting experience abroad with lots of outdoor activities.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace the outdoors part of the program. Some of the hikes are a bit difficult but the views at the top are always worth it!
Default avatar
Sean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maturity and Adventure in Ireland

The adventure and leadership program was an incredible way to spend my Fall 2019 semester away from home. I had decided to go on a gap year roughly midway through my Senior year of high school; I was slowly losing motivation, and desperately needed a break from academics so as to rest and recuperate before starting university. As well, I wanted to gain some life experience and mature as a person before I started college. The adventure and leadership program helped me achieve both of those goals. Over the course of three months, I and thirteen others explored the Irish countryside, hiking to some of Ireland's most famed natural attractions, such as the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League, and Mt. Errigal. We got to live in several of Ireland's major cities, including Dublin, Galway, Derry, and Belfast. Finally, We worked with several Irish volunteer organizations, helping to clean up local beaches, mentor local kids in the water, and act as a farmhand at nearby farms. All the while, the gap year staff took care of us, made sure we were safe, and helped keep our spirits up. The Adventure and Leadership Program provides a perfect balance of independence and security, safety and adventure; and all in a safe, friendly, English-speaking nation. If you're looking for a program that pushes your boundaries, gives you hands-on experience in a variety of subjects, and gives you the opportunity to live with ten or more other teenagers just like you, you can't get any better than Irish Gap Year.

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I'd improve about the program is the laundry situation. In the Bundrowes House, where gappers stay, there's only one washer and one dryer, and both are quite small. With fourteen gappers, this often leads to periods of two weeks or more in between washings. There is a laundromat nearby, but it's quite expensive. Unless IGY gets new washer-dryers, bring at least two weeks' worth of clothes to last you.
Default avatar
Dylan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ireland

Irish gap year was a great experience full of amazing leaders who all were all fun and very supportive. The whole three months were well planned out and it never felt repetitive. Our two main leaders Sarah and Joe made the program fun and a safe environment. Every staff member were fun to be around and tried to give everyone the best experience possible. I loved all the outdoor activities we did especially the hiking and surfing. Before coming to Ireland I never did a lot of hiking and it was difficult but the views made up for it. learning to surf was an great time and I was well supported by all the staff. Traveling around Ireland was amazing. All of the different cities across Ireland had so much to do. The Guinness factory and kilmain jail were my two favorite places in Dublin. Over all the program was a great experience and will definitely help me out in the future.

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

Fall 2019

If you are looking for a program that is outdoors adventure, than this is your place to go. throughout this program I have meet so many people that are going to be life long friends, I have made some amazing memories that I will cherish forever . it is the perfect amount of traveling around Ireland and staying put in the small town. and the leaders/ staff are very personable and easy to talk to. Most of the time it feel like I'm talking to a friend instead of someone "in charge" or "Higher up". the outdoor activity's are equally challenging and breath taking. Irish gap year has help me become more confident with myself because of the leadership workshops we do I've also become a stronger. peer leader I 100% recommend doing Irish gap year!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
surfing!! I don't know about you but when I think of Ireland I don't normally think of surfing, but it was such an amazing experience. I fell in love with it and definitely want to try and continuing surfing in the future.
Default avatar
Eli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program 10/10

For those who love hiking and getting a bit out of your comfort zone this program is meant for you. I personally have never been the most outdoorsy person but this program pushed me and I learned to appreciate the experience and ended up having a lot of fun. The program is based in bundoran which is a great little town right on the water and the community is very tight knit and is easy to get involved with. There is plenty to do around the town on the off days you are given to go explore (every Sunday) in addition the Bundrowes house is in a beautiful location about a 20 minute walk from the town. The staff/leaders of the program are very easy going and supportive and the house cook Rita always makes amazing home cooked meals. I would recommend this program

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Hiking huge mountains and going down steep hills ^
Default avatar
Eliza
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing three months!

This fall I had the amazing opportunity to spend a semester in Ireland, with Irish gap year. I was a little nervous to leave home and live in a different country for three months, but Ireland soon became my new home and everyone in the program became my second family. All of the leaders are so passionate and enthusiastic about every activity, and make all of the activities so much fun. They are definitely some of the kindest people I have met.
The program has a variety of activities ranging from hiking to surfing and volunteering with local community groups. My favorite activity was definitely surfing, the feeling when you ride your first wave is so incredible. I am so incredible blessed to have spent this semester in Ireland, and I can’t wait to come back and visit some day!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment was when I had to zip line off of a cliff. It was really scary but so much fun!
Default avatar
Betsy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fall 19

I can truly say that Irish Gap Year’s adventure and leadership program pushed me to be a better person. I got to experience the natural beauty of Ireland through activities such as surfing, hiking, kayaking, cliff jumping and more. I was surrounded by people that constantly inspire me and leaders that pushed me out of my comfort zone in order to experience new things. If you go on the adventure and leadership program, you will be rich with experiences that are unique to this program and make lifelong friendships. The most rewarding part of the program for me was volunteering with an organization called Liquid Therapy. Basically, we were paired with kids with additional needs and took them surfing. It was so rewarding interacting with these kids and seeing how happy they would get from surfing and playing outside. Overall, I cannot recommend this program enough!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not take your time here for granted and take all opportunity to experience something new!
Default avatar
Christian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The sacred text

I took part in the adventure and leadership program during the fall of 2019. Initially I came on this program with the idea that I wanted to do something outside of education and just explore something new, and this program was perfect for that. What followed were three months filled with lots of surfing, hiking, traveling, and getting to know the Irish culture, not to mention the rainy weather. You’re kept on a structured weekly schedule but you’re given plenty of free time and independence to explore for yourself and interact with the locals which provides a well rounded experience. For anyone that is on the edge about what program to take if you’re embarking on a gap year, I would highly recommend this program for anyone who likes the outdoors and is interested in Ireland.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You’re going to be thrown outside of your comfort zone so keep an open mind