The English Department will offer its biennial spring break trip to Ireland in March of 2016, with a special focus on learning about and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the 1916 political rebellion which led to the eventual founding of the Irish free state. Our trip will include stops in cosmopolitan Dublin and the scenic coastal town of Galway, as well as one or two cities in the middle and southern parts of Ireland (such as Kilkenny or Waterford). Throughout the trip we will learn about the historic events and conditions that led to the creation of Ireland as an independent nation, including the devastating potato famine of the 1840s and the political turmoil of the early 20th century. We will see ancient scars from the potato famine in the rolling hills of the Irish countryside, as well as new monuments to the million people who died from it; we will stand in the courtyard of Kilmainham Gaol, where leaders of the Easter Rising were executed and became martyrs to the Irish cause; we will take a walking tour of the key sites of the rebellion, including the bullet-scarred General Post Office; and we will learn about the music and sport and culture that helped maintain the Irish identity through many decades of British rule. We will have fun, too, with most late afternoons and evenings free for your independent sightseeing and entertainment.
This year’s trip will include, for the first time, a series of pre-trip educational events designed to help you learn about Irish history and culture prior to our arrival in the Emerald Isle. In the fall of 2015 the English department will host three film screenings related to Ireland’s political and cultural history. Early in the spring semester of 2016 we will take a field trip to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, opened last year in Connecticut, with lunch included. And just prior to departure, in February, we will hear a lecture from Holy Cross historian Edward T. O’Donnell on the Easter Rising and its role in the founding of the modern Irish state. You will be well-prepared by these experiences to engage meaningfully with Ireland’s history and culture when we arrive in March.
The trip will take place from March 5-12, 2016, and will be led by Profs. James Lang and Rachel Ramsey of the English Department. The trip is open to all members of the extended Assumption community, including alumni and family members of our students, employees, and alumni.