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.


This field school is located at St. Aidan’s monastery in Ferns, County Wexford, one of the foremost heritage sites in the southeast of Ireland.  The field school provides an excellent opportunity to assess, in a single location, an early monastic site, a twelfth century ‘Irish’ monastery, a multi-period burial site and a later thirteenth century Anglo-Norman foundation.

From the documentary sources, it is known that St Aidan’s monastery was originally founded at the turn of the seventh century AD/CE, possibly over a pre-exiting prehistoric site. Geophysical investigations in 2015, followed by recent commercial archaeological work in 2019, have shed some light on the original monastic enclosure, but virtually nothing is known of the internal space or phasing of the monastery. The range of archaeology indicated through surveys infers intense and prolonged use of the monastery.

In 2019 the first ever research excavation at the site will take place.  These excavations will aim to deliver a greater understanding of St Aidan’s Monastery through time, from prehistory to the modern era, initially concentrating on: the excavation of buried elements of the upstanding 12 century AD/CE Mary’s Abbey; investigation of a possible double-aisled ‘structure’ built over the outer monastic ditch; assessment of the c. 7 century AD/CE monastic enclosure itself.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course dates: June 11 – July 8, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $5,205

  • Course Type: Bioarchaeology, Field Archaeology, Medieval

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: May 1, 2023

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

  • Orientation: TBD
  • Academic Credit: 6 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 9 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. Annamaria Diana
Dr. Annamaria Diana
Dr. Annamaria Diana is a bioarchaeologist, physical anthropologist and field archaeologist currently involved in projects and collaborations in Romania and Ireland.
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.


Attending the Ireland Ferns program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I made so many amazing lifelong friends, had great hands-on experience in and out of the field, lived with a wonderful local family, and made everlasting relationships with our professors on-site. I‘m proud to walk out of the program and know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Tati Gross, Kenyon College

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Room & Board
  • All local transportation
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • 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.


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


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 June 11th, at the Cathedral at 4pm. Full details on reaching Ferns will be provided in the online orientation once you are enrolled in the course.


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.