Irish History, Political Conflict, Conflict Resolution, and Social Movements


History 495:  Advanced Topics in History, 3 credits (CRN 42322)
History 498:  Historical Field Studies Abroad, 3 credits (CRN 41244)
Sociology 494:  Sociological Field Studies Abroad, 3 credits (CRN 40037)


For Hist 495: Admission to the M.A. in History or the M.A. in Public History


A limited number of $300 scholarships will be available on a competitive basis to matriculated CCSU students with a GPA of at least 2.50 who are registered for at least one of the academic courses associated with this program.

This course abroad program starts and ends in Dublin, but is set primarily in the north of Ireland, both in the county of Donegal, Republic of Ireland, and in the province of Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.  Ireland is not merely a country of immense physical beauty.  It also is an area of intense political and social conflict that began with the first English involvement in the twelfth century, was complicated by religious, social, economic, and cultural divisions afterwards, and became especially problematic in the late twentieth century in the north.  The legacy of conflict continues to the present day.  
The goal of all the courses is to give participants an in depth understanding of the history and context of past and present problems in Ireland, and to introduce them to recent attempts at resolution, some of which have been cited positively as models for other conflict ridden areas around the world today.  The emphasis of HIST 498 is on the historical background to, and representation of, Irish troubles from the ancient period to the present day, and on current efforts at historical reconciliation.  HIST 495 is cross-listed with HIST 498 but is open only to graduate students who will explore in greater depth the nature of public history in Ireland and its role in promoting peace. SOC 494 provides a detailed assessment of political conflicts and social movements in Northern Ireland since the 1960s, and examines attempts at resolving those conflicts.  In pre-trip classes at CCSU students will do readings and participate in discussions that provide essential background to maximize their understanding of what they will come across in Ireland.  On the trip itself, students in both courses will learn about the history, politics, and economics of Ireland from a wide variety of academics and participants in key events, while at the same time gaining first-hand experience of the unique culture and natural beauty of this fascinating country.

The trip begins, immediately after arrival in Dublin, with a bus tour of the countryside of Ireland on the way to the final destination of Inch Island, County Donegal in the north.  Participants see historical and cultural sites along the way, such as an early medieval high Cross, the remains of an Irish saint, and the site of the devastating 1998 Real IRA bombing at Omagh.  At Inch Island, Donegal students stay at The Irish Studies Centre.  At the Centre and at various venues throughout Northern Ireland students hear lectures by, and have a chance to talk with, experts and participants in historical events.  This includes academics, such as Mr. Tony Johnston (MA, Trinity College), who directs the Centre and talks about Irish History, as does Prof. Eamonn O’Ciarda of University of Ulster.  Other academics, such as Dr. Stuart Ross focus on politics.  Various politicians such Mr. John Hume (Nobel Peace Laureate) and local Sinn Féin councilors and members of the Legislative Assembly, and activists like Tom McKearney, Mary Nelis, and Nigel Gardiner discuss the history of the conflict, peace-building and current political events.

Students also take a number of tours during their time in Ireland.  They see areas of great physical beauty, such as the Inishowen Peninsula and Giant’s Causeway.  These sites were important in instilling Irish nationalist pride and were the source of enduring legends.  They also contain important historical remains, such as a 4,000 year old ring fort, the early modern castle of Dunluce, a mass rock and holy well, the remains of an Irish famine village, and the grave of one of the founder of Irish nursing.  A number of tours are also given in the city of Derry.  Community worker and peace activist, Jon McCourt, discusses his current work and provides a walking tour of the traditionally Protestant community in the city center, the Catholic Bogside area below it with its famous political Murals, and the Bloody Sunday site where he was a first-hand witness to the massacre.  John Guthrie, former member of the Londonderry Apprentice Boys, gives a tour of murals in the still Protestant areas of Derry.  If security issues permit, participants may visit the Derry Police Service of Northern Ireland headquarters and learn about the conflict from officials on the front line.  Students also tour the Guildhall, seat of the government of Derry, and meet the current Mayor of the city.  They also visit the Pat Finucane Centre and learn of their efforts at reconciliation.  Finally, a trip is taken to Belfast to see political murals, in both the Catholic and Protestant communities, and to visit the new power-sharing National Assembly at Stormont, and perhaps to meet Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams or Martin McGuiness if they are available.

Students also experience historic Gaelic culture one evening with an Irish banquet including a harpist, piper, Irish dancer, singers, and other traditional performers, and hear Irish music other evenings at local venues in the nearby town of Buncrana and city of Derry.  More historical and cultural sites, such as a 4000-year-old ring fort, Donegal Castle, and poet W. B. Yeats’s grave, are visited on return to Dublin, where lectures on history and politics are heard at Trinity College, a walking tour provided of the sites of the 1916 Easter Rising, and visits arranged to Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol.

Registration Information and Program Costs

The cost of the travel program includes round-trip airport transfers in the U.S. and abroad, economy-class international airfare, multiple-occupancy accommodations, and ground transportation and entrance fees to all required site visits. All personal expenses (i.e., meals, medical, souvenirs, laundry, telephone, etc.) are not included.  

Course tuition is not included in the Course Abroad program fee.  Tuition for Spring Course Abroad programs may be included in a full-time student's tuition, if the student is carrying no more than 18 credits.  Excess credit fees apply to all students carrying an overload.  Part-time students must pay course tuition and registration fees.  See the CCSU Bursar's website for complete information about tuition and fees.

Note to students from Eastern, Southern, and Western Connecticut State Universities regarding the Connecticut Reciprocity Program:

Under the terms of the State College/University Reciprocity Program, full-time students (graduate and undergraduate) may, in certain circumstances, take courses at another state college or university without paying additional tuition.  This policy is applicable to ECSU, SCSU, and WCSU students registering for Spring Course Abroad programs offered by CCSU.

To request consideration under the Reciprocity Program, visit the Registrar’s Office (or the Registrar’s website) on your home campus and obtain a copy of the appropriate Request for Reciprocity form.  Complete the form and submit it to your home campus’s Registrar for review and approval.  After the form has been approved by the home campus Registrar, you can submit it to the CCSU Registrar’s Office at the time of registration for the coursework connected to the Course Abroad Program.  The Registrar will process your course registration and forward your approved Reciprocity Agreement to the CCSU Bursar, who will waive the course tuition and registration fees for the program.  The CIE Travel Program fee is not waivable under the Reciprocity Program and will be charged.

Fulfillment of the University's International Requirement: 

All credits earned overseas on a CCSU-sponsored study abroad program, including courses offered in conjunction with Course Abroad programs, automatically receive "I Designation" and count toward fulfillment of the University's General Education International Requirement.

Registration Form

Registration Deadline:

December 1, 2013


$2,795 per person

Travel Dates

March 14 - 23, 2014

Faculty Directors

Prof. John O'Connor
Sociology Department
(860) 832-2975

Prof. Louise Williams
History Department
(860) 832-2806

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