All our programs are undertaken within an established research framework led by a team of highly qualified and experienced archaeologists. Our staff include full time academic, management and administration, and our seasonal support staff including student interns.
Dr Stephen Mandal MIAI PGeo EurGeol
Stephen (Steve) holds BA (mod) and PhD degrees in Geology (1991) and Geoarchaeology (1995) from Trinity College Dublin. Steve is co-founder and CEO of the Irish Archaeology Field School, Cultural Tourism Ireland, Dig it Kids, and CRDS Archaeological and Historical Consultancy.
Steve undertook postgraduate research in archaeology at University College Dublin and is the Irish Stone Axe Project petrologist and Principal Investigator (along with Prof Gabriel Cooney), and co-authored with Prof Cooney the Project Monograph in 1998. He is External Examiner for Sligo Institute of Technology (2012-present) and has served as vice chairperson of the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Archaeology (2009-2014) and as a cultural heritage tourism expert on a panel for the European Commission DG Enterprise Project (2012-2013). He is currently a guest lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America for the international lecture programme (2015/2016).
Steve is an instructor for the Ireland: Birr field school, run in partnership with the Institute for Field Research.
Steve is a Heritage in Schools Expert and teaches in-school archaeology education programmes. He also runs hands-on educational camps, workshops and events for children and educators. He has lectured and published widely on geoarchaeology, archaeology, cultural heritage and heritage business development. Steve is co-founder of the Irish Heritage School, and has presented academic and public talks on the project in Ireland and across the USA, including to the Smithsonian (Washington DC) and the Archaeological Institute of America (Boston). Steve is an expert guide and travel planner with Cultural Tourism Ireland and has led several special interest tours of Ireland’s archaeological heritage.
He is a professional member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, the Institute of Geologists of Ireland, the European Federation of Professional Geologists, and the Council for British Archaeology Implement Petrology Committee.
Dr Denis Shine MIAI
Denis is a native of Wexford but long term resident of Birr, County Offaly. He holds a BA (2001) in Archaeology and History and an MA (2002) in Landscape Archaeology from University College Dublin – the latter focused on an archaeological review of the Slaney Estuary. In 2014 he was awarded a PhD (2014) from Monash University (Melbourne) for his doctoral research, ‘Changing Places: An Archaeological Study of Manilikarr Country in Western Arnhem Land’, a study which adopted a collaborative archaeological survey with the host community. Since then Denis’ focus has been on building long-standing sustainable archaeological/heritage projects with local communities.
Denis joined the Irish Archaeology Field School as partner in 2014, and is one of the co-founders and Director of the Irish Heritage School DAC.
Between his post-graduate studies Denis worked as a professional archaeologist for nearly 10 years, covering a wide array of research topics. He was granted full Irish archaeological licence eligibility in 2006 and since that date has acted as senior archaeologist on a range of projects – with a focus on the High Medieval period. Denis’ current research interests lie in the sub-disciplines of public/community archaeology, landscape archaeology, Indigenous Australian archaeology/archaeology of rock art and, latterly, Medieval Irish archaeology. He has published locally, nationally and internationally on these topics. Denis is also an adjunct with Australia National University (ANU Researcher), one of the foremost archaeological departments in the world and largest university in Australia.
Denis is an instructor for the Ireland: Ferrycarrig field school, run in partnership with the Institute for Field Research. He teaches an experiential anthropology module for Maynooth University and serves on the steering committee of the Oral History Network of Ireland and the Community Archaeology Group of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland.
Mairead joined our company in 2014 and is the program administrator for all non-faculty led programs
IHS Environmental/Geology Team
Dr John Feehan
John Feehan is a native of Birr, Ireland and is one of Ireland’s leading geologists, botanists, environmental communicators, authors and broadcasters. After receiving his PhD on the geology of the Slieve Bloom and Devilsbit Mountains in 1980, John went on to become a Senior Lecturer in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin, where he taught for twenty years up to his retirement in 2012.
John is an award-winning environmental communicator whose work is driven by a deep commitment to the maintenance of rural biodiversity and cultural heritage, and the sustaining of rural community. He has written extensively on the natural and cultural heritage of the Irish landscape and on many broader aspects of environmental science. John is particularly well known as an ‘interpreter of the Irish landscape ‘- a role he received broadcasting awards for. He actively engages with agriculture and industry to build appreciation and understanding of biodiversity, and to develop conservation and restoration strategies. He is a strong advocate for community supported agriculture and integrated mixed farming as a means of maximising natural capital of land and sustaining rural community. Between 1992 and 2008 John collaborated with Bord na Móna on Ireland’s peatland heritage. He has developed principles for the restoration of the country’s post-extraction peatlands, emphasising their potential for biodiversity and as a rich amenity resource for local communities.
Currently, Feehan is building on his older postgraduate research, interpreting new findings on the geology of the Irish midlands and relating this to broader cultural heritage. Aiming to inform and inspire the non-expert, his current work with Offaly County Council and the Heritage Council provides new insights, showing how geology is expressed in the landscapes and local life of counties Laois and Offaly.
Feehan teaches on a range of summer schools, field courses and postgraduate programmes and we are delighted he has agreed to contribute to our IHS natural heritage courses. His other interests are diverse and include biology botany and palaeontology. His publication list is extensive and varied, mirroring his far-reaching career and cannot be give full justice in this brief bio. A more extensive biography and partial publication list is available here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Feehan)