UNM Assistant Professors Sarah L. Townsend (English) and Caleb Richardson (History) led an inaugural two-week study abroad program in Ireland from May 17-30. The program, titled “Imagining Ireland,” included 19 undergraduate students and 3 graduate students from across the university.

Galway’s colorful harbor, viewed from the former site of the Claddagh fishing village. Students presented research projects on the layered histories of this important port city.

After a four-week introductory course at UNM, students participated in site-specific learning in multiple locations across Ireland and Northern Ireland. The program was organized around two courses, on Irish literature and Irish history, and focused on a series of interdisciplinary topics like nationalism, cultural revival, the 1916 Easter Rising and subsequent revolution, state-building after independence, the Northern Irish Troubles, contemporary migration, and the Celtic Tiger economic boom and bust.

The program was based in three Irish cities — Dublin, Galway, and Letterkenny — and also incorporated visits to the city of Derry, W.B. Yeats’s grave in Sligo, J.M. Synge’s cottage on the Aran Islands, Trim castle, the medieval monuments of Kilkenny, the monastic ruins at Glendalough, Glasnevin cemetary in Dublin, historical walking tours, a production of Sean O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars, a literary tribute to Seamus Heaney, and more.

A walking tour of Derry city and its many political murals introduced students to the history of the Northern Irish Troubles.

A walking tour of Derry city and its many political murals introduced students to the history of the Northern Irish Troubles.

Students conducted independent research projects on sites of literary and historical significance in Ireland, and they will complete multimedia projects based upon their learning during the upcoming semester. Professors Townsend and Richardson hope to offer this program on an annual basis.