Ireland Study Abroad Country Profile

Ireland Overview

Despite being an island nation, Ireland is jam-packed with things that make it a popular destination for students studying abroad. The Irish place a strong value on education, which is reflected in the country’s outstanding colleges and universities and its reputation for academic excellence. Ireland has produced four Nobel Laureates in Literature, and its remarkable history is evident and celebrated throughout the country. Dublin, the country’s capital, is lively and vibrant and is at the center of the Irish economy. Ireland is of course famous for its pubs, which are popular with students, but there are many other hidden treasures to surprise and delight you.

Cultural Highlights

Ireland was built on an agricultural foundation, and evidence of farming practices dates back to the first human settlers on the island. Additionally, much of Ireland’s cultural traditions reflect the pagan traditions of times gone by, and even widely celebrated holidays like Christmas are given their own unique flair around the island.

Ireland is also home to a variety of cultural events that take place through the year – Dublin’s Saint Patrick’s Day Festival and the National Ploughing Championships are among the most famous, with attendance often reaching at least half a million people. Ireland is also home to a large number of museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues, which provide additional opportunities for cultural immersion. Literature and the arts have flourished in Ireland. Notable authors include George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. Though folk music and other forms of traditional music are regaining popularity, Ireland has also produced some big names in popular music, like U2 and Snow Patrol.

Popular Fields of Study

Given its strong literary tradition, Ireland is a great destination for literature students. The strength of Ireland's higher education is a big draw for many international students, and a variety of interests are catered to. Ireland study abroad students will find programs in technology and communications, history, environmental science, and peace and conflict studies. Irish colleges and universities place a large degree of responsibility for learning on students, which can provide some challenging and unique opportunities. Ireland is a great choice for students that are self-motivated, goal oriented, and want to make the most out of their time abroad. Critical thinking and innovation are both highly encouraged!

Why Study Abroad in Ireland?

Ireland has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Ireland.

1. Strong Universities

Many of Ireland’s institutions of higher education are internationally ranked, and with many strong programs in a variety of areas, there is something for almost every student.

2. No Language Barrier

Some students have no interest in learning a foreign language but still want the study abroad experience. Ireland is a great location for English speakers that want to focus on their academic interests.

3. Portal to Europe

The advantage of studying in Europe is that it’s relatively easy to get from one country to the next. Take advantage of this by taking a long weekend elsewhere in the UK, or traveling the rest of Europe after your time in Ireland study abroad adventure concludes.

4. Literature

For students interested in studying literature (or even just those that appreciate a good book), Ireland is a great destination. Famous authors like Yeats and Shaw called Ireland home.

5. Dublin

Like many of Europe’s cities, Ireland’s capital is youthful with a strong blend of history and culture. Great restaurants and music venues are just some of the things to keep you entertained.

6. Galway Arts Festival

Located in another of Ireland’s vibrant cities, the Galway Arts Festival is a great choice for art lovers and is one of the country’s foremost annual events.

7. The Giant's Causeway

This unique geological formation is the result of a long-ago volcanic eruption. Technically located in Northern Ireland, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an instantly recognizable location.

8. Guinness Tour

What trip to Ireland would be complete without a tour of the Guinness factory? This is a popular activity among student travelers.

9. The Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle

Another world-famous icon of Ireland! Give the Blarney Stone a kiss when visiting Blarney Castle and be graced with the gift of gab.

10. The National Museum of Ireland

This highly revered museum is home to a variety of historical and archaeological relics from prehistory through the middle ages. The exhibit on bog bodies is especially unique.

Ireland Study Abroad Statistics

Ireland Country Ranking: 9

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 2.6%
  • Total US Students 2005/06: 5,499
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 5,785
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: +5.2%
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