Heather Haas

My Experience of Ireland
  4th March 1999

  Upon my arrival in Tullamore, I was immediately whisked off to a 10th Century Cathedral in Clonfert for a meeting to discuss the restoration and preservation of the church. At the close of the meeting, I was taken to Charleville Castle for a reception and introduction to some of the faculty of Quest, project personnel for the restoration of Charleville, and friends and family of those involved in the project. The next few days included an extensive tour of Charleville Castle, a tour of Birr Castle, an all day hike through the Slieve Bloom Environmental Park, introductions to citizens of Tullamore, and one or two visits to the local pubs where conversations covered every topic from the history of Ireland to current events in both countries. A multitude of learning has taken place long before I ever sat in a classroom. This is much of what Quest is about.
  The Study Abroad Program in Ireland at Quest Campus is not simply learning Irish culture, history, and politics from a textbook. The enthusiastic lecturers not only bring Irish history into the classroom, but also more importantly, bring students into the history. Many trips to the sites of castles, tower houses, monasteries, and cathedrals, bring the past into the present and give us a wonderful sense of heritage and ancestry. The lecturers of Quest Campus are of the finest Universities in Ireland including University College Dublin and Athlone Institute of Technology. The program is designed to give students a broad sense of culture through frequent trips to historical sites, participation in local projects, work experience, and residing with host families. This broadens the educational experience and gives students a real taste of Irish culture in context.
  As a student of the pilot program at Quest Campus, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity and would encourage any student, regardless of career choices and goals, to take advantage of a program that not only introduces new culture, but also gives greater insight into how that culture is reflected in history, literature, politics, and in current event situations.