Education Abroad Program in Trim, Ireland

Join us for a four-week May session course and experience the history of medieval Ireland

Our education abroad program in Trim, Ireland, is led by Alison Beach, Associate Professor of History at Ohio State. Students will study medieval history with an introduction to bioarchaeology, the study of human remains from archaeological sites. They will participate in archaeological excavations of the Blackfriary, a medieval monastery and cemetery located about 40 minutes from Dublin. Professional archaeologists from the Irish Archaeology Field School will train the students in excavation methods. Group field trips to surrounding areas are included as well as time for students to explore the area independently.

Admitted participants are required to register for 3 hours of History 3798.01 for May Session.

The Student Perspective 

During the education abroad trip, students blog about their experiences. Below are some of the highlights from past blog posts.


"The best part of working post-ex is that you get to see all of the cool and amazing things that are discovered on site. Registering a piece, such as an architectural fragment, is one of the last times a piece will be touched before going into storage and then possibly a museum. It is truly an honor to be one of the last people to handle a piece and to have a vital role in ensuring that the piece will be remembered and understood in the context in which it was found." — Marisa

"One of my favorite experiences so far was when we visited a working Benedictine monastery and had the opportunity to explore the grounds with an actual Benedictine monk as our tour guide.  I really enjoyed attending mass and having the chance to hear the traditional chants of the monks.  The rich culture and beautiful landscape of Ireland is humbling to experience and makes me never want to leave." — Lizzy Hellmann

Ireland"These past few weeks have been an amazing experience for me. I always had an image of what Ireland would be like in my mind, but now that I am here I have found that the country exceeds my imagination. Ireland is a beautiful country, with amazing fields of green lined by stone fences that go on for miles." — Zach 

"Our first week I was overwhelmed with the amount of history we learned and the beautiful monasteries, passage tombs, and historical landmarks we saw; my experiences here in Ireland would not be the same if I had not come with this awesome group! We have done so much in the past few weeks it is difficult to focus on a particular experience, but uncovering the Blackfriary has been very interesting and becomes more and more exciting every day. Many of the field school staff members have been extremely informational and helpful in making the Blackfriary come alive as we continue to dig, and with having no previous archeological experience I have been pleasantly surprised by everything I have learned so far on this trip. It will certainly be hard to leave!" — Shannon Caldwell

Ireland"This week has been especially interesting on site.  I was lucky enough to find and excavate a marble column that would have been part of the cloister walkway.  It was very exciting to know that I was actually making a difference on this site, and it is fascinating to think that these beautiful pieces we are uncovering have been lying in the soil for hundreds of years." — Lizzy Hellmann

"Probably the most exciting thing I've done on-site has been the excavation of a pretty large architectural fragment. The supervisor of the cutting, Ian, believes that it was part of a window arch. How cool? SO COOL. It's wild to think that I found something so incredible in just under 2 weeks at the site. Too rad! I've learned so much about the important stones, and how to appropriately record finds, and how all of the tasks at an excavation fit together." — Kristen Robinson

Jackson Killian kissing the Blarney stone"This morning we sojourned to Blarney, where several of us risked life and limb (not really) leaning back to acquire the gift of eloquence as we kissed the Blarney Stone. Afterward we explored the grounds, soaking in the calming ambience that comes so naturally with 300 year old trees and well kept botanical gardens. I imagined myself totally immersed in the life of a 13th century knight touring the grounds as the hustle and bustle of medieval life went on in all directions. And as was the case during all of the weekend trips this month, it was not hard to find a spot to sit and meditate, breathing in the fresh Irish air, and pondering the winding path I took and all the helping hands that assisted in getting me from my home in New Jersey to where I now sat… face to face with an unimaginable beauty that I never knew existed." — Jackson Killian

The Old Library at Trinity College Dubin"In our short weeks here, most of us have managed to see every corner of Ireland—Dingle, the Cliffs of Moher, Brú na Bóinne, Dublin, Northern Ireland, Kells, and more! I have honestly never been to somewhere as beautiful as the Giant's Causeway and the edge of the Dingle Peninsula. The Old Library at TCD honestly took my breath away." — Shell Sindle

"Today as I troweled through my narrow and deep sondage (a small cutting/trench in the ground within the larger cutting/hole in the ground), I saw the exciting color of bone that almost always ends up to be disappointing fragments for me. I started to carefully dig around it, and I realized it was quite large. After I yelled excitedly for Laura and Fin to come over and pulled it out, we got to get a good look at my find. At first we thought it was an animal femur, but Fin said it was a horn!" — Elisabeth

"I was nervous that I wouldn't be very good at archaeology and it would be stressful, but the supervisors here are incredible. It is difficult to ruin anything on site and mistakes can be and were easily fixed." — Julianne Stamer

"I have definitely not been disappointed! So far, my experience in Ireland has been nothing short of amazing. From the day we arrived and took a (rainy) walk around Trim until now, I have had a blast learning and exploring. Even though I don't come from a history or archaeology background, I feel like I certainly developed one during our first week here. We visited the Hill of Tara, the passage tombs at Loughcrew, several monastic sites, as well as the west coast of Ireland and even attended mass at Glenstal Abbey. In just one week, I experienced more wonderful things than I could have ever imagined before this trip. And that's before we even got started digging!" — Abbie Nypaver

The above quotes are excerpts from the Study Abroad in Ireland Blog.  

Past study abroad participant, Ali Baker talks about her experience in Trim, Ireland in the video below.


Professor Alison Beach and study abroad students describe the Black Friary research project in Trim, Ireland.

Resident Director: Associate Professor Alison Beach

Alison Beach

About Professor Beach

Alison Beach is an historian of medieval history at The Ohio State University, where she is an Associate Professor. She was an undergraduate at Smith College, where she studied with Prof. Lester Little and received a B.A. She did her graduate work at Columbia University, where she received an M.A. (History), an M.Phil. (Religion) and a Ph.D. (Religion). Her Doktorvater was Prof. Robert Somerville and she also worked closely with Prof. Caroline Walker Bynum. Professor Beach has held visiting and permanent positions at the College of William and Mary, Temple University, the University of Cologne, the University of Trier, the University of Bonn, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Union Theological Seminary (New York). In addition, for two years she was a post-doctoral research assistant for Prof. Giles Constable at the Institute for Advanced Study.

This history education abroad program is coordinated by the Office of International Affairs (OIA). For more information and/or to apply to the program, please visit their Ireland information site.