Project Description


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 13-July 10, 2021

  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED

  • Total Cost: $4,600

  • Course Type: Bioarchaeology, Field Archaeology, Medieval

  • Payment Deadline: TBA

  • Instructors: Dr. Linda Lynch & Dr. Denis Shine

  • Orientation:  TBA
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

Field School Interest Form


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.


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

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Room & Board
  • All local transportation
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is no 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 $200 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Early Decision Enrollment (Nov 1, 2019 through Jan 10, 2020): A reduced, nonrefundable $300 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.

Regular Enrollment (Jan 11, 2020 through payment deadline): 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.

Late Enrollment (payment deadline forward): A nonrefundable $600 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. In addition, a $200 late fee  will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition payment deadline.

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.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 2.5% 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: The IFR does not provide trip cancellation insurance. Read this Wall Street Journal article about travel insurance — it may help in making a decision whether such insurance is for you. If you do wish to purchase such insurance, AON Student Insurance, or are possible resources you may wish to explore.


Students will stay with local families in the County of 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 some host families are in rural settings and may not be in the town of Ferns. 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. 

Travel Info

We suggest you hold purchasing your airline ticket until six (6) weeks prior to departure date. Natural disasters, political changes, weather conditions and a range of other factors may require the cancelation of a field school. The IFR typically takes a close look at local conditions 6-7 weeks prior to program beginning and make Go/No Go decisions by then. Such time frame still allows the purchase deeply discounted airline tickets while protecting students from potential loss if airline ticket costs if we decide to cancel a program. 

Students will be met at Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns, County Wexford. Since students will arrive on different flights at different times of the day, we will meet all students on Sunday, July 12th, 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 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 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.