Project Description

IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series AND received the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC, if eligible.

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices BEFORE enrolling in a program. These practices are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Ireland:

Please also note that the Irish Heritage Schools Safe Operating Procedures for COVID-19 will be enforced in tandem with other site-specific requirements. Students will be informed about the updated policy at the pre-program orientation.


Throughout human history, people have been interacting with the natural landscape, seeking food, water, shelter, and resources with which to build a better life. Understanding the landscape, how it formed, and how it has been altered by humans is an integral part of the study of archaeology. This unique, teaching-focused program has been designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the natural landscape, from the underlying bedrock to the glacial landforms, from the overlying soils to the flora and fauna they support. With this knowledge, students will be equipped to study the interaction of humans with the landscape through the millennia. The program combines field studies with laboratory work to piece together two different landscapes in two distinct locations: Birr in the midlands and the Burren in County Clare on the West coast. Staying with local families in homestay accommodations, this program also offers deeply enriching cultural immersion, guaranteeing students a truly memorable experience.

This program is a short introduction to Geology and Geoarchaeology. It is designed to present students with the basic fundamentals of field work and a taste for the rigor of field research. Students considering a full field school experience should apply to any of our standard 4-5 week-long programs.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 18- July 1, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Tuition: $3,605

  • Course Type: Environmental science, ecology, geology & geoarchaeology

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: May 8, 2023

  • Instructors: Dr. Stephen Mandal & Prof. John Feehan

  • Orientation: TBD
  • Academic Credit: 3 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 4.5 Quarter Units)


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. Stephen Mandal
Dr. Stephen Mandal
Dr. Mandal is the Director and co-founder of the Irish Heritage School and the Irish Archaeological Field School, and he is a leading Irish archaeologist.
Prof. John Feehan
Prof. John Feehan
Prof. Feehan is one of Ireland’s leading geologist, botanist, environmental communicator, author and broadcaster. After receiving his PhD on the geology of the Slieve Bloom and Devilsbit Mountains in 1980, Prof. Feehan 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.


Having Dr. Feehan and Mandal as professors taught me so much. The program was well-rounded, educational, and very fun. It was great to hike around Ireland and learn so in-depth about it’s cultural and environmental past.

Emily Wexler

Steve was helpful, encouraging, and always engaging. He interacted with the students and asked John questions as well as being a brilliant source of information. John was amazing to learn from, he could answer any question about any aspect of Ireland and did so happily. This program is a great way to learn a variety of things (geology, ecology, archaeology, heritage) in the classroom, but mostly hands-on. [You will get to] see all parts of Ireland, not as a tourist, but as an expert. For educational purposes or for fun, this program was 100% worth it.

Ansley Still

IFR is the perfect opportunity for first time travelers who dream of seeing the world but who would like to not take those first steps alone. I had such a great support system in Ireland. Whether it was Dr. Stephen Mandal, my homestay family, or my fellow peers — they all had my best interest at heart. My two weeks in Ireland were truly a time of self-discovery, especially following the events of 2020 and several months of unprecedented challenges. While learning of the magnificence of the Irish landscape, hiking boglands, and exploring castles, I finally felt I had time to reflect on who I was as an individual in that new and exciting space.

Ashylnn Reed, Albion College

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All Local Transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

Application Fee: There is a $25 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment:

  • Once you have been accepted to a program, you must place a nonrefundable $500 deposit fee to hold your seat in the program until the tuition payment deadline. The tuition payment deadline can be found in the top right of each field school’s web page under “Course Details”.
  • The $500 deposit fee is included as part of your total tuition fee and NOT in addition to it.

Tuition Fee 

  • The tuition balance is the total program tuition fee minus the $500 deposit fee.
  •  The full tuition fee must be paid by the tuition payment deadline in order to secure your seat in the program.
  • If you do not pay the full tuition fee by the deadline, your place in the program is no longer secure, and if you are unable to participate in the program for any reason, our Late Withdrawal policy below will apply.

Late Fee: A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal Policy: If you place a deposit but decide to withdraw, you must notify IFR staff in writing before the tuition payment deadline. In the event of withdrawal, the $500 nonrefundable deposit fee remains nonrefundable and will not be refunded.

Late Withdrawal: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition fee regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Cancellation Policy: In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


With the exception of the extended field trips in the Burren, the students will be housed in homestay accommodation in the town of Birr, Co. Offaly (see schedule). Homestay 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 homestay family and roommates. Students will walk (or be dropped to and collected from) a designated meeting point (normally Birr Square or Birr Community School). Breakfast and dinner will be provided along with a packed lunch. At weekends students are encouraged to avail of their free time and explore Ireland. Food will be provided during extended field trips.

In the Burren accommodation will be in (single sex) shared dormitory style rooms in local hostels, with meals provided in a communal setting.

Homestay accommodation is an integral and critical part of our Covid-19 planning as typically, our students stay with local families.

It is possible but unlikely that the programs will go ahead but that we will use alternate accommodation (e.g. hostels / holiday cottages), but it is hoped that the students will continue to avail of homestay accommodation, as it is an important component of the cultural immersion our programs provide.

Students and staff will be able to isolate within their homestay accommodation, in line with our government health advice. For example, a suspected (or confirmed) case must isolate in their own room and have access to their own bathroom.

All participants in a field school, students and staff, will wear masks while indoors (i.e. during lectures, during labs, in shared residential spaces, etc.).

Regular hand washing will be a part of the project’s daily schedule.

Travel Info

Students will be met in Birr, Co. Offaly. Since students will arrive on different flights at different times of the day, we will meet all students June 18th (first day of arrival) at Dooly’s Hotel ( at 4pm. Directions and travel information will be issued to all students once they are enrolled in the field school.

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email the field school director immediately. A local emergency mobile phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.


Citizens of the US and Canada do not require visas to enter Ireland. You will need your passport to be valid for at least 90 days and will enter on a tourist visa. Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements

No other vaccinations are required for entry to Ireland but anyone working in archaeology in Ireland needs to have an up-to-date tetanus shot.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

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

Call (877-839-4374) or email ( if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.