The Irish Heritage School

Community based heritage research, education and training


The Irish Heritage School

Ireland’s leading provider of heritage themed study abroad programs


The Irish Heritage School

Community based heritage research, education and training in Ireland


Ireland is now entering a phased and measured exit from its lockdown, and so we are able to look forward to our 2021 programs (see here) with great excitement, including some of the most exciting research we have ever undertaken! We understand you may still have several questions regarding Ireland, our programs and COVID-19, so please do look at our dedicated information page (see here) and as always, contact us with any queries you might have.

Denis and Stephen – 6th July 2020

Welcome to the Irish Heritage School (IHS)

Our mission is to provide University Faculties and students with an unrivalled outdoor classroom, coupled with an engaging, welcoming and enriching cultural experience.

The Irish Heritage School are Ireland’s leading provider of accredited, field-based, heritage themed study abroad programs. We run some of the foremost research and teaching projects in Ireland in both natural and cultural heritage spheres. Operating out of Birr (County Offaly) and Ferrycarrig (County Wexford) we work with a host of local partners to deliver programs of unrivalled quality and academic rigour. Our core expertise has four main areas:

Natural Heritage Programs

We provide a range of environmental science programs, exploring themes on biodiversity, sustainability and environmental management. Our expertise in environmental science means we are well equipped to plan and deliver any program related to natural heritage, land-use and environmental management.

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Cultural Heritage Programs

Under the aegis of the Irish Archaeology Field School, we provide a suite of cultural heritage programs, including archaeology, anthropology, history, geoarchaeology, experimental archaeology and forensic anthropology. Each program allows students to experience at first hand the excitement of archaeological excavation or research project in a supported teaching environment.

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Community Engagement Programs

IHS operates in a small number of committed host communities, meaning extensive community buy in, significant local support and established community partnerships. Our ethos lends itself well to community engaged programs, especially Service Learning, but in reality, any faculty programs which wants to work with and understand Ireland at a community level.

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Customised Programs

IHS specialises in using both our experience and extensive academic and local partnerships to create unique one of a kind bespoke faculty led programs. While most past programs are ‘heritage related’ we have also created numerous programs outside this sphere, in disciplines such as Health, Arts, Literature, Religion, Tourism etc.

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Even though we are a fairly small college, the coordinators at IHS were eager to help create a program that suited our students’ particular curricular needs. At every turn, IHS has been easy to work with and very accommodating. Their deep commitment to educating students about Irish history and archaeology are evident in every conversation.
Best of all, our students returned from their summer course with great enthusiasm and a keen ability to articulate facets of Irish history and culture that they had encountered. The program is well crafted – the hands on archaeological experience, the curriculum, the field trips, the home stays – all work together to create a unique and powerful experience for our students

Dr Karen ChambersAssociate Professor and Ireland Programs Coordinator, Saint Mary’s College, Indiana

Maynooth University is excited to partner with the dynamic and ground-breaking IHS. The IHS provide expert knowledge about the site and were instrumental in developing new ideas to offer our students the chance to gain real, practical skills in field archaeology. The opportunity to offer a program that invites international students to work alongside our anthropology students has greatly added to our current offerings and our students had a wonderful time learning beyond the classroom and the textbook. All the IHS academics and staff provided a wonderful level of support, both academic and pastoral

Dr Kathryn SegesserInternational Office of Maynooth University, Ireland

We had such a great time working with the Irish Heritage School both virtually and on-site in Birr. Denis and Steve were able to accommodate all of our requests ahead of arrival and both our faculty/staff leaders and students enjoyed having Mairead joining us on our excursions throughout the week. As a performing arts-based program we were impressed to see the extent of the IHS’s network across Ireland. We were able to visit all of our ‘dream’ locations (including a fiddle maker’s workshop) as well as some big tourist destinations like the Cliffs of Moher. I think a big highlight of the program for our students was the homestays. We had first time travellers in our group and I think the homestays and small-town feel of Birr helped them feel more at home. I would recommend the Irish Heritage School to anyone looking for a faculty-led program in Ireland

Emily DoughertyEducation Abroad Advisor, University of North Dakota

‘Working with the Irish Heritage School has been an extremely positive and productive collaboration for Meath County Council. The IHS have a proven track record for delivering projects, are truly experts in their field and their can-do attitude has transformed a site neglected for many centuries into an award winning community-driven project recognised both nationally and internationally. They are excellent communicators and can engage students and the public in a participative and engaging manner. They have built very strong community relationships and have gained local respect and support in recognition of this effort. They are experienced in tailoring bespoke programs, specific to the requirement of individual institutions.’

Dr Loreto GuinanHeritage Officer for Meath County Council, Ireland

The Irish Archaeology Field School is the cultural heritage division of the Irish Heritage School, led by founders and company directors Dr Stephen Mandal and Dr Denis Shine. The IAFS offers various programs to individual students, as well as developing customized programs for faculties. For more detailed information please visit the IAFS website.