The Irish Arts and Culture Program

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About

The Irish Arts & Culture Program is designed to give you an opportunity to explore and cultivate your creative side, build independence and develop an appreciation of Irish arts and culture.

You'll get to try your hand at many artistic disciplines as you work with local artists, photographers, writers, performers and musicians in personalized, small-group workshops. You’ll explore the rich tapestry of Ireland’s cultural and artistic heritage while traveling to some of the country’s most unique and celebrated locations. This program is all about exploring and developing your creative side and no prior artistic experience is needed – Only enthusiasm!

You’ll learn to live and work with your peers, to manage a house and to cultivate your creative side in a supportive environment. You’ll delve into Ireland’s cultural heritage and modern art scene, immerse yourself in our community, explore the arts, develop a self-designed portfolio and have the time of your life.

Highlights
  • Local Living - It's All About Community: Experience life as locals do from your Victorian home in the heart of Bundoran, Co. Donegal. Your 8 bedroom, traditional Victorian home is cosy, funky and has incredible views of the Atlantic.
  • Artistic Exploration and Workshop: Self-Designed, Unique and Tangible. Explore your areas of artistic interest from photography to found art/upcycling to music and performance to creative writing in our workshops.
  • Expeditions Around Ireland: You’ll get to explore the best of Ireland on our seven big expeditions (3-5 days each), each with a different cultural and artistic focus.

Join us live on November 24th for an art expo & community event!

Le Cheile means 'together' in Irish and our exhibition aims to bring local artists from a range of media (visual, music, performance) into one space for one night to exhibit and perform their work alongside our gap year students. We'll be on Instagram live at 10:30 EST to connect with the world.

Our instagram handle is @Irishgapyear - follow us for updates and a notification when we go live!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.67 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
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  • Housing 9.7
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 9
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James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Even During a Pandemic!

Ryan, Killian, and the other leaders provided a great experience for my peers and I, despite the downsides of the pandemic, because they encouraged us to adopt a positive attitude. Through this mindset, I believe we all learned a very valuable life lesson that we will carry with us forever. Our day to day lives were filled with lots of art workshops, free time to work on our final exhibition, and fun outdoor activities like cliff diving, surfing, and hiking. I will miss those times I spent in Bundoran! Thank you Irish Gap year!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Going cliff jumping for the first time! The cliffs were just a 30 minute walk from the house.
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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Experience

Taking any type of gap year is a massive leap of faith. But trust me when I say your fears will dissipate when you meet the good-natured and dedicated people who run this program. After three months of exploring the Emerald Isle, I must admit, Bundoran, Ireland is a second home. Our time spent across the Atlantic was filled with wonderful workshops led by local artists, trips to cities, and unreal walks and hikes through the country-side. Accommodations were extremely comfortable and making friends is easier than you can imagine. My advice is to talk to people, the locals, the bartenders hearing their stories can alone make your experience richer. I wouldn't trade my time here for anything in the world and I truly recommend it for any student.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You get as much out of this program as you put in
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Claire
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely amazing three months with IGY!

This program was absolutely amazing. Every single workshop is well worth it! Students experience all different mediums and learn from incredible artists. The staff are incredibly supportive and help you every step of the way if you need it! The housing situation is fantastic and I learned so many life skills that I’ll use in college and beyond. The two or three day trips to cities like Dublin and Galway and smaller towns such as Dingle inspire students and encourage them to learn about the history of Ireland, as well as what is going on currently in this wonderful country. My experience here has been better than I could ever have imagined. The program co-owners Ryan and Killian are always there if needed (not as many founders are involved in their students’ passions and growths as they are). Overall, this experience has been one that I would recommend for any student that’s looking to explore their artistic side, as well as make new friends.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have fun with it! Don’t be afraid to express yourself and ask any of the leaders or tutors (art teachers) for advice or help. This program is a place to grow and learn!
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Livia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing program in an amazing country

Irish Gap year was an incredible experience and I will never forget it. I made so many amazing memories here and life long friends. I got to explore many amazing places and see many amazing sights in Ireland and was constantly given opportunities to try new things. The workshops were all amazing and it was so fun getting to try so many different kinds of art during my time here. Throughout the program there was a great balance of adventures, art, and time spent locally. There was also a balance of support and structure with independence and free time. All of the staff and program leaders were absolutely incredible. They were so kind and helpful and supportive too. I am going to miss them and all the people of Bundoran so much. I could not recommend this program more highly. You will have an amazing time and make memories you will never forget.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be as open as possible to trying new things. Make the most of all the opportunities you are given and you won’t regret it.
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Andrew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun Time!

The Irish Gap Year was definitely worth it. You’ll meet many people during your adventures, many of whom will become close friends. Many of the things you’ll experience will be completely new, some of it will be a little nerve wracking and some of it will come a little easier. I had a fantastic time exploring the Irish countryside and the many cities and towns. The locals are very friendly and will always give you the time for a cool conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask too experience something that isn’t on repertoire . I was able to travel a couple of hours to take a tour around an airport with a fellow gapper. Take things in stride and it’ll be a very rewarding experience. You’ll come out a new person. Take a chance on yourself and come join the Irish Gap Year.

What would you improve about this program?
More time spent in certain towns/cities (Dingle and Galway).
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Cole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

This trip was absolutely spectacular. Although this year was the first one for the arts and culture program, you wouldn’t know it. The workshops were really well put together, ranging from drama to photography to found art. The instructors were amazing, and I felt like I really improved in both technique and content while here. Learning about the history and culture of Ireland was also fascinating, from the oppression of the workhouses to the literary developments in contemporary history.
Although the program is based in the small town of Bundoran, frequent trips to other cities and towns keeps things fresh and allows for new experiences, while still having a solid place to come back to. The program leaders are supportive and fun, and aren’t afraid to show their personalities. Also, there’s a dog.
Overall, this was an amazing experience that I don’t think I could have had elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fun, low-stress, but still productive and energetic environment, then this is the program for you.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Learning about the Troubles was both shocking and sad, but I’m glad I did.
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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program!

My time in Ireland was incredible! The workshops were all engaging and the artists we worked with were all talented and kind. The Local Hands Workshops were my personal favorites because we got to work with local artists and experience more traditional arts such as painting, wood turning, weaving, wood carving, and calligraphy! Outside of the workshops, we would take a trip somewhere new every other week! We went to some beautiful and amazing places all throughout Ireland!! My favorite trip was to Dingle and Dublin.
On Irish Gap Year, all of the counselors are super supportive! The housing was good, the food was good, what more can you need! I felt that I grew a lot through this program and I wouldn’t change my experience for anything in the world!

What was your funniest moment?
Laughing with friends in a pub and dancing with old people! :)
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish Gap Year

This experience is one that I will never forget. I came to Ireland not knowing what to expect. I swear as soon as I got off the plane I could feel that the air was different. Ireland is definitely top on my list for the most beautiful places on earth. For the upcoming gappers, have your mind open. Try new things and try to meet people in Bundoran. The people in Bundoran are so interesting and with a combination of all the fun workshops, that's what made my trip. Also, the staff put together amazing trips for us. On some of the trips, I may have abused Mcdonalds too much, but that's just because I am a normal American. On the trips, I loved exploring the artifacts and sights that make Ireland so badass. We got to visit castles, breathtaking sights, meet some awesome tour guides, and learn from outstanding artists.

What would you improve about this program?
On the trips, I wish we could involve more art with hands-on workshops