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 [country name]:

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 takes a truly landscape scale approach to archaeological research, assessing the Monastic Midlands region of Ireland. The program will examine the geological and glacial processes that shaped the landscape in which the early saints founded their monasteries before applying a range of survey techniques to interpret the sites they left behind, recording the structures, architectural fragments and grave slabs that continue to survive at these monasteries. The program will also include significant laboratory elements and comprehensive osteoarcheological training.

 The field school is based in the heritage town of Birr, a handsome and charming town but focuses its field research on the monastic site of Seir Kieran. Seir Kieran (Saoighir Kieran or the ‘fountain of Kieran’) is a remarkable site, not only due to its prominence as an Early Christian monastery founded by St. Kieran, but also because of the longevity of activity at the site, possibly starting as early as pre-historic times. Seir Kieran offers a unique opportunity to study in a single location, an early monastic site, a twelfth century monastery, a multi-period burial site, an Anglo-Norman castle and a medieval borough/town. Based on documentary sources, St. Kieran’s monastery was originally founded in the mid fifth century AD/CE, making it one of the earlier monasteries in Ireland. The site was active throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods and remains an active place of worship to this day, which is very much ‘alive’ within the local community.

 The Seir Kieran field school offers a holistic approach to investigating the Monastic Midlands of Ireland to provide insight into early medieval life and society. Students will build on research conducted over the last two years and attain a fully-rounded appreciation of the entirety of the archaeological investigative process, before we progress to keyhole excavations in future seasons.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course dates: July 16 – August 12, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Tuition: $4,995

  • Course Type: Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology, Bioarchaeology

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: June 5, 2023

  • Instructors: Dr. Denis Shine and Dr. Stephen Mandal

  • Orientation: June 10, 2023 at 9 am PT/5 pm IST
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

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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 Shine
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. 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. Check back after our summer field season to learn what our students have to say about it!

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.


Students will stay with local families in County Offaly. Home Stay students live with local families, and experience true home life in provincial Ireland. Typically students will either walk to or be brought to John’s Hall daily, before availing of pre-arranged transport to site as appropriate. Students should understand that some host families may be in rural settings, requiring taxis to reach the town of Birr. While staying with homestay families, all students have access to safe, sanitary accommodation as well as laundry, showering facilities, etc.

Breakfast and dinner will be provided along with a packed lunch. Our homestay network caters for all main dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.); they provide a well-balanced diet of Irish cuisine, but students should anticipate trying new cuisine and not having all the items they might expect at home.

Travel Info

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding 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. Natural disasters, political changes, weather conditions and various other factors may force the cancelation of a field school. You are required 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 Johns Hall, Birr, Co. Offaly. Since students will arrive on different flights at different times of the day, we will meet all students on Wednesday, January 4th, at Johns Hall at a designated time. Full details on reaching Birr will be provided in the online orientation once you are enrolled in the course. A travel sheet, with specific travel instructions, will also be issued. 

If you fail to make the meeting, please call/text or email Dr Denis Shine. You will be sent relevant contact details 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 (877-839-4374) or email ( if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.