Project Description

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices before beginning the enrollment process. Program logistics are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices. Each field school syllabus includes specific information about COVID-19 as related to travel regulations and recommendations, accommodations, local protocols, face mask policy and managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

Due to widely available vaccines in the United States and, in response to the strong recommendation of national medical experts, IFR has instituted a new policy requiring that all field school participants be vaccinated prior to their field school. Students enrolled in a IFR program are encouraged to schedule their vaccine appointment as soon as possible if they still intend to participate in their field school. Please contact IFR Staff if you have any questions or concerns.

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

Please also click on the following link to review the Irish Heritage Schools Safe Operating Procedures for COVID-19 which will be enforced in tandem with other site-specific requirements to be outlined and updated over the course of the enrollment period in the syllabus. This document will be updated before the beginning of the field school.

IHS Safe Operating Procedure COVID-19


The Ferns Field School is located in a 7th century monastery and a 12th century Augustinian Abbey in the town of Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland. This site is a multi-period complex, originally founded by St Aidan at the turn of the 7th century, which also contains Early Medieval crosses and cross slabs, the twelfth century Augustinian Abbey (Mary’s Abbey), and thirteenth century medieval cathedral (Edan’s Cathedral) within its wider confines. While excavations of this site will only commence in 2020, it is anticipated that human remains from both the Early Medieval monastery and later 12th century abbey will be exposed. Students in this 2-week field school can expect to be trained in bio-archaeological excavation methods through a staged burial, while students enrolled in the 4-week long course will be able to partake in the excavation of skeletal remains or burials from the site. The burial practices at the site are presumed to speak to the customs and histories of their times, from an Early Medieval cemetery, through its High Medieval usage, and latterly the change in the official state religion and into a time of proscription. During this latter period the Abbey was suppressed (from 1538 AD/CE), but was still described as a church and belfry, dormitory, chapterhouse, hall, and other buildings with c. 600 acres and other interests. Long after this time, and up to the present day, the wider site continued as a place of worship and burial focused on St Edan’s Cathedral (which was remodeled in the 19th century as a Church of Ireland structure).

By working on this program students will gain an introduction to archaeological field skills, along with a practical understanding of bioarchaeological field methods. Under the tuition of Ireland’s leading bioarchaeologists, students will learn how the skills of a bioarchaeologist are integrated into the overall management and execution of archaeological excavation.

This program is a short introduction to field archaeology. It is designed to present students with the basic fundamentals of field work and a taste for the rigors of field research. Students interested in the full session field schools should consider applying to the standard 4 week-long Ireland Ferns program.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course dates: July 10 – July 23, 2022

  • Enrollment Status: Open

  • Total Cost: $3,010

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology, Intro to Bioarchaeology, Medieval

  • Payment Deadline: TBA

  • Instructors: Dr Linda Lynch, Dr Denis Shine & Dr. Stephen Mandal

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

Apply Now


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. Linda Lynch
Dr. Linda Lynch
Dr. Lynch is a Human Osteoarchaeologist with over 20 years’ experience in contract archaeology in Ireland. Her main areas of interest include cremations, post-medieval archaeology, juveniles in the archaeological record, and the archaeology of the Workhouse.
Dr. Denis Shine
Dr. Denis Shine
Dr. Shine is a Director of the Irish Heritage School. His research interests lie in the sub-disciplines of ethno-archaeology and community archaeology.
Dr. Stephen Mandal
Dr. Stephen Mandal
Dr. Mandal is the Director and co-founder of the Irish Heritage School and a leading Irish archaeologist.


This is a new IFR field school. No student testimonials are available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

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

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is a $25 fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Deposit: A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: 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 regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information. 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.
Travel Insured International offers coverage Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason (review coverage based on your state).
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


Students will stay with local families in Co. Wexford. Home Stay students live with local families, and experience true home life in provincial Ireland. Students will be brought to the site daily. Students should understand that the host families are in rural settings, requiring taxis to reach the town of Wexford. Breakfast and dinner will be provided along with a packed lunch. Students are encouraged to avail of their free time at weekends and explore Ireland.

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

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

Students will be met at Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns, Co. Wexford. Since students will arrive on different flights at different times of the day, we will meet all students on Sunday, July 10th, at the Cathedral at 4pm. Full details on reaching Ferns will be provided in the online orientation once you are enrolled in the course.

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 us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.