Irish Gap Year

Irish Gap Year

About

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 year programs are highly immersive and designed to help your explore yourself Ireland and Europe in a fun, safe and supportive environment.

So, what makes Irish Gap Year unique?

*Our Gap Year programs: Adventure & Leadership or Irish Arts & Culture - whether you're an outdoorsy type or more artistically inclined, we have a semester length, group program for you.
*We are community based: This means you'll have your own cozy home in our quaint town to manage with your fellow students.
*Support and Freedom: Our students enjoy the perfect balance of support from our team and freedom to live independently.
*We are Irish: Explore all things Irish, as we welcome you with open arms into our community and culture.

Slan go Foill!

Founded
2015

Reviews

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

Irish gap year

Irish gal year brought so much adventure and peace in my life all at once. A huge majority of my time was spent outside, in the ocean, hiking, and anything out doors. I spent most of my time in such a peaceful environment but learning exploring and pressing my limits. I gained life long connections not only with my new friends but also with the amazing leaders. Irish gap year was just what I needed to move forward in my next adventures. This was the best experience I could imagine and I would recommend this company to anyone needing space to grow before there next adventure.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The best advice I have is to come with and open mind and be present. Be ready to grow, press your limits, and make life long connections and friends. You have to be open to new experiences and new connections.
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Henry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure and Leadership Fall Program

The IGY was the adventure and leadership fall program was amazing. What’s awesome about it is not just a structured itinerary that has activities like cliff jumping, hiking, traveling to cities, shopping, exploring monuments and ruins, and going to the pubs with your friends, but also the freedom you have to make your own choices. The counselors are there to help you and lead you on trips but also treat you like adults. The student led trip at the end where we got a budget and were able to create our own trip was amazing. We went to cork and stayed at a hostel where I met people of many different cultures and had a spontaneous arm wrestling tournament at 1 in the morning with all the foreigners in a common room.

What was your funniest moment?
I bought an airhorn in Galway and when everyone fell asleep on the bus I blasted it and scared the dookie out of everyone.
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Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure and Leadership: Fall Program

Irish Gap Year provided me some of the most best opportunities of my life. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this program outside of the provided itinerary list, and I think that’s part of why it’s so great. You’ll be doing amazing hiking, traveling, and workshops, but the rest of your time here is left up to you and your peers to decide what you will do. Irish Gap Year offers students the chance to not only immerse in Irish culture and adventure through nature, but also the freedom to make your own choices. Some things you can expect to do on this program would be cliff jumping, surfing, touring some of Ireland’s most famous cities, lots of hiking, and leadership workshops. For 3 months you will be living with other students from various different places and backgrounds which offers students the chance to grow and learn about each other on a deep level. If you are a young adult looking for a program that offers you activity filled weeks, the chance to experience lots of personal growth, and to make meaningful connections with peers, this is the program for you.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Remember that you only have so much time on this program with the rest of your peers. This program is amazing, but it’s important to remember that how much effort you put in to every day decides how much you will get out of the program in the end.
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sinclair
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure and Leadership Fall ‘21

My exsperiance with Irish Gap Year is one that I will never forget. We are not just a cohort, we are a family. I have made life long friends that i would do anything for and I know they would do anything for me. Irish Gap Year pushs you mentally and physically while giving you the preparation and support you need. The volunteering opportunities are meaningful and rewarding. Working with Liquid Therapy was a highlight of my time here. Teaching children with additional needs to surf while creating a relationship with them and their families was refreshing. Overall, Irish Gap Year has far exceeded my expectations. Choosing Irish Gap Year was the best decision I have ever made.

What was your funniest moment?
We went to visit an old castle in Northern Ireland and we went on a walk to a lake. Some of the boys jumped into the freezing cold lake.
Default avatar
Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Irish gap year arts and culture 2021

This program has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have met some of the greatest people, had incredible new experiences, and learned so much about myself. The workshops were so beneficial and it is so fun to create bonds with the tutors while learning more about things you are interested in. Going to new places and exploring Ireland with so much freedom also makes the trip so much fun. There is so much support from the staff and all your peers that really enrich your experience. You will not regret choosing Irish gap year for your next adventure.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go in with an open mind and really take advantage of all the program has to offer. I flies by so fast to make sure you enjoy it.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Robert Trent Schwab

Trent is a 19-year-old from New England. He has grown up in the suburbs and had not had much travel experience prior to his time in Ireland.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew I wanted to spend part of my gap year abroad, preferably in an English speaking country. After doing some research, I found Irish Gap Year. Irish Gap Year was very well organized and helpful throughout the entire process, answering every question I had and providing me with all the information necessary regarding my living situation and internship.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Irish Gap Year arranged me with an excellent host family and a great internship position. In addition, they were extremely helpful throughout my entire stay. All of my train tickets and hostel arrangements for trips on the weekends were handled by Irish Gap Year, which made my traveling experiences stress-free.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Pack a rain jacket or umbrella every day, no matter what the forecast predicts. The weather in Ireland is extremely unpredictable, and while it does not usually pour, there are usually light rain showers for at least 15 minutes a day. In addition, it's also worth packing a few extra layers, as it can get windy/chilly.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

My workday began at 10AM and ended around 3:30PM. Usually, I would take a train into the city center after work (approx. 15 minutes away) and either grab some food, run errands, or check out a museum if I had time. During my free weekends in Dublin, I was able to explore all over the city, visiting all of the essential tourist destinations and finding some of my personal favorite pubs, restaurants, and locations.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was initially worried about how well I would be able to adapt to life in a city, as I live in the suburbs in the US and have not had a huge amount of experience in an urban setting. However, after I arrived, I realized that, while Dublin is a big city with a lot to offer, it is also very manageable to navigate and live in. Everything is for the most part within a walking distance, and I had no trouble finding my way around after the first week.

What is one small difference about Ireland that caught you by surprise?

Many of the apps and services I use on my phone in the U.S. weren’t as popular in Ireland. Rather than using iMessage, WhatsApp is much more popular in Europe. In addition, Uber is not nearly as popular in Dublin. While these are by no means big dilemmas, it can take a little while to get used to using the alternatives.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Sarah Berkery

Job Title
Adventure & Leadership Program Leader
Sarah is an outdoor enthusiast whose high energy portrays a passion & love for all aspects of the adventure.
Sarah Berkery

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is the time my friends and I traveled around the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand in our camper van. We were just after arriving on the North Island and purchasing our camper van so we were very excited and eager for our adventure.

Our mission was to explore the beautiful landscape looking for surf breaks and to have fun on the way.

The weather was simply amazing, the waves were pumping and we met some very interesting and friendly people on our journey :)

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

As my experience grows from program to program, my understanding and personal development towards the needs of each gapper to grow as individuals broaden immensely.
Since I started working with Irish Gap Year, I have been able to explore everything that this beautiful country has to offer; it has allowed me to experience Ireland in a new light.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I love to catch up with past gappers and hear how they have been doing since finishing our programs. My favorite story would have to be from a past gapper who re-visited us in Ireland last summer. He told me all about the great adventures and experiences he had gained with another previous gapper he met while on one of our programs - they had become lifelong friends. They had explored many more countries together and had an endless amount of fantastic stories and experiences to share.

Our door is always open for our gappers to come to visit :)

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the adventure and leadership program because I have first-hand experience of seeing how each gapper develops a huge love for the outdoors and how daily nature immersion lifts their spirits to a whole new level. The amazing hikes and trips to beautiful scenic locations would never get old.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Irish Gap Year is a small company, but together we provide such a wide and varied experience for each gapper.

Everyone on our team is personally involved in ensuring that all the needs of the gappers are met. From the directors to the chefs, everyone has an equal and valued role. Together with humour and fun, our team never has a bad day at work.

I was especially proud of my team when they finished the first arts and culture program successfully; a huge effort was put in and they did an amazing job.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that forward-thinking is a big factor in a successful company.

Having a team that is passionate about their work with a thirst to thrive is very important. If everyone on the team is passionate about what the company does then moving forward and trying to create and establish new ideas will almost naturally create success for the company.
As the saying goes:

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life".

Professional Associations