Project Description


The Blackfriary Community Archaeology Project is a unique, hands-on opportunity for students to excavate the buried remains of a 13th century Dominican friary in the town of Trim, County Meath, Ireland. This project focuses on the remains of the Black Friary, and has three primary components: excavation of the friary buildings, community archaeology and bioarchaeology. Excavation of the friary buildings aims to determine their scope and layout as well as the associated infrastructure, such as drains, water management features and gardens. By ascertaining who was buried at the Black Friary, where they were buried and when, the bioarchaeological research will inform our understanding of the long-term relationship between the local townspeople and the friary.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates:
    Summer 1: Jun 11-Jul 8, 2017
    Summer 2: Jul 9-Aug 5, 2017
  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED
  • Total Cost: $4,560
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 21, 2017
  • Instructors: Dr. Denis Shine, Dr. Rachel Scott, Ms. Finola O’Carroll, Dr. Stephen Mandal
  • Orientation: April 15, 9:30am Los Angeles Time
Session II: Closed
Session I: Closed
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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Denis Shine
Dr. Denis ShineDirector, Irish Archaeology Field School
Dr. Shine is a director of the Irish Archaeology Field School. His research interests lie in the sub-disciplines of ethno-archaeology and community archaeology.
Dr. Rachel E. Scott
Dr. Rachel E. ScottCo Director & Project Bioarchaeologist
Dr. Scott is a bioarchaeologist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, DePaul University.
Ms. Finola O'Carroll
Ms. Finola O'CarrollDirector/Co-Founder, Irish Archaeology Field School
Ms. O’Carroll is a co-founder and director of the Irish Archaeology Field School, and representative of the IAFS on the Ministerial Consent for the excavations at the Black Friary.
Dr. Stephen Mandal
Dr. Stephen MandalDirector/Co-Founder, Irish Archaeology Field School
Dr. Mandal is the Director and co-founder of the Irish Archaeology Field School.


The vast array of experience gained through the guidance of the Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project and the Irish Archaeology Field School is the most beneficial that I have had in my archaeology career, and these experiences certainly will be vital as a scaffold to my future educational and professional endeavours. Also, it cannot be denied that this program’s instructors are the most skilled in their field. Not to mention, they are enthusiastic and creative in their instruction. For those wishing to participate in a archaeology field school, this program can offer a student much to discover.

Jake Gong, University of California Riverside (2016)
Signing up for a term at the Black Friary began as a spur of the moment decision and turned into one of the best academic moves I’ve made. Taking this four week course in place of winter quarter at school allowed me to learn through full immersion in the time I was there and focus on my personal learning goals in the weeks before beginning another quarter at UCLA. The faculty were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and living with locals in a off-tourist season gave me proper insight into the mindset and pace of life of a unique culture.
Linn Splane, University of California Los Angeles (2016)

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Students will be housed in Home Stay accommodation in the town of Trim, Co. Meath. Home Stay students live with local families, and experience true home life in provincial Ireland. Students are to keep the accommodation clean and tidy at all times and to be respectful towards their Home Stay family and roommates. Students will walk to and from the site daily (depending on the location of the Home Stay, up to a 35-minute walk). Breakfast and dinner will be provided along with a packed lunch from Monday to Friday. Meals are not provided at weekends, and students are encouraged to avail of their free time and explore Ireland.

Please note that it is not possible to accommodate students arriving early, or staying on after the end date of the program; there are, however, other accommodation options available locally. Local transfers are not included.

Bresto, Bulgaria
Ireland: Blackfriary

Travel Info

Students will be met in Trim, Co. Meath. Since students will arrive on different flights at different times of the day, we will meet all students on the Sunday, first day of arrival at the Trim Castle Hotel ( at 6pm. Directions and travel information will be issued to all students once you are enrolled in the field school.

If you fail to make the meeting, please call/text or email Ms. Bairbre Mullee. You will be sent her phone number once you are enrolled in the course.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.