Summer Program

Jeffrey P. MinearConsortium for Innovative Legal Education

2012 Summer Program on International
and Comparative Human Rights Law

New England Law | Boston is honored to announce that Jeffrey P. Minear, Counselor to the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, will teach in this summer's program. 

Galway Cost (pdf)
>visit the website

June 10-July 20, 2012

A summer program offered by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland and the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education, Inc.

Six Weeks in Ireland

New England Law | Boston—along with California Western School of Law, South Texas College of Law / Houston, and William Mitchell College of Law— offers an exciting opportunity to study law during the summer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway. Taught by experts in the field from Ireland and the United States, the six-week program focuses on courses related to international and comparative human rights law and accountability for human rights violations.

The program has attracted many distinguished visiting faculty members, including Jeffrey P. Minear, counselor to the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who will teach in this year’s program; Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who taught in 2011; Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Ruth V. McGregor (retired), in 2010; Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2009; and Justice Antonin Scalia, in 2008.

Approved by the American Bar Association, the program is open to students in good standing at ABA-accredited U.S. law schools and at Canadian and European university law programs. Participants may take courses for credit (which requires successful performance on final examinations) or as auditors (final examinations are not required). All courses are graded on an A–F scale. Course instruction is in English.

National University of IrelandEnrollment

Each student must enroll for the full six-week session and may take three of the six courses offered during the program. A student may earn a total of six credits, transferable to most law schools. Students should check with the registrar’s office at their school to determine the transferability of grades and credits earned in this program. It is unlikely that participation in a summer program will accelerate graduation for a full-time student.

The program is limited to about 50 students, which permits relatively intimate seminars in which students get a better opportunity to work and interact with each other and the faculty. Limiting the enrollment also allows the program to guarantee reasonably priced housing for all students. Last year, 34 attendees came from 14 American or Canadian law schools; about two-thirds
of the students were from the four sponsoring American law schools.

Location

Galway is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland on the western coast, a short ride from the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, the Aran Islands, and Connemara National Park. The National University of Ireland’s campus is located on the banks of the River Corrib within a few minutes’ walk of the heart of Galway, the vibrant cultural center of the west of Ireland.

Detailed Information

Galway Facilities

Corrib VillageEstablished in 1846, the National University of Ireland, Galway, offers degrees in arts, law, medicine, engineering, and other subjects, and has a student body of about 15,000 students from more than 40 countries. The summer program holds classes on weekday mornings and early afternoons in a state-of-the-art classroom building located in the heart of the university, adjacent to the campus dining facilities, computer labs, library, fitness center, and pub.  Classes and activitiesare wheelchair accessible. In accordance with the laws of Ireland and the rules of the National University of Ireland, provisions are made to accommodate students with physical disabilities. Public services in Ireland must be accessible, but private businesses, such as pubs, often are not.

Participants in the program are housed in university student apartments, overlooking the River Corrib on the edge of the university campus. Apartments include ensuite bedrooms, desks, telephones, and common rooms with color TVs and kitchenettes. Visits to local Irish courts, social events, and sightseeing field trips are also offered as part of the program. This includes a trip to the Aran Islands and a dinner cruise up the River Corrib.

Corrib Village, the student accommodation at National University of Ireland, Galway, is beautifully situated along the banks of the River Corrib.

Students in the Galway Program are housed in en suite apartments, which are described below.

En Suite Accommodation

All apartments have 4 bedrooms namely 2 doubles and 2 singles. One double and one single are en suite with the remaining double and single sharing an interconnecting bathroom. All bathrooms have shower, toilet, and wash hand basin. All bedrooms have television and direct dial telephones, which can be activated by paying a deposit to reception upon arrival. Each apartment has a living area with T.V. En Suite accommodation is “Type 2” on the plan below.

Floor Plan

Reception

Reception is open from 24 hours daily. Check-in is between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Checkout is before 10:00 a.m. and there is a late checkout charge of €50.00 for anyone who fails to check out on time. Guests must come to reception to check in and to check out / return room key. Failure to return room key will result in a fine of €20.00 per key.

Linen, electricity, & heating

Linen and towels are provided for all guests. Timers located in each apartment operate hot water, heat, and electricity and these charges are included in the rates.

Cleaning Schedule

B&B Bookings and room only bookings:

  • Clean towels are provided, beds are tidied, bins are emptied, and bathroom is cleaned daily.
  • Linen is changed every third day.

Reservations

With bookings handled by the conference office all information is passed on directly to Corrib Village. Should you have any queries relating to your accommodation prior to arrival, please contact Olivia McBride at conference@nuigalway.ie. If there are any issues relating to your accommodation upon arrival please let the on site manager know and contact the registration desk immediately and we will endeavor to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

On Site Facilities

  • Shop — open 7 days a week c .9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Laundrette — Open 7 days a week 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. - coin operated.
  • Restaurant — serving Continental breakfast, open 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (The above opening hours may be subject to change.)
  • Tennis Courts
  • Horseriding
  • Childrens Playground
  • Complimentary Shuttle Bus Service — the shuttle bus service operates from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Every hour on the hour the bus goes into Eyre Square and every half of the hour the bus returns from Eyre Square to Corrib Village.

2012 Galway Courses

Session 1: June 10–June 29

Legal History: The Development of Human Rights Law

Professor Philip K. Hamilton
9:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.
“Human rights” is an ideal that includes far more than the political rightsthat were articulated in  the 17th and 18th centuries in such documents as the English Bill of Rights and the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. How was that limited concept of “rights” extended beyond the borders of individual countries and expanded to include such notions as economic rights and group rights? How were states persuaded to commit themselves to honor that expanded and universalized view of rights? How do we evaluate that commitment in light of recent and continuing abuses of human rights? This course will attempt to address those questions by examining some of the events and ideas that contributed most significantly to the development of our current understanding of human rights and to its codification in the documents that form the basis of modern human rights law. Readings include both historical and legal materials.

International Law and International Humanitarian Law

Professors Ray Murphy and Shane Darcy
11:00 a.m.–12:50 p.m.
This course explores contemporary issues of international law and IHL or the law of armed conflict. It involves a brief introduction to the sources of international law, an examination of the United Nations Charter provisions governing the use of force, and an examination of the concept of humanitarian intervention and UN-authorized or UN-mandated peacekeeping operations. The course explores the concept, purpose, and contemporary sources of IHL; the concept of armed conflict; and the protection of civilians and the conduct of hostilities. The convention dealing with the protection of prisoners of war is also examined. The course refers to contemporary situations such as Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, draws on a number of historical examples, and includes a review of the implementation of IHL and the role of international tribunals.

International Human Rights Law

Professor Kathleen Cavanaugh
1:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m.
This course surveys the major universal and regional systems of human rights law, their relationships to each other, and the legal value and authority of declarations, decisions, judgments, and other materials generated by them. It also addresses some of the normative and other debates, old and new, that accompany the human rights discourse and, especially, how the war on terror discourse has affected the application, development, and implementation of human rights law. By the end of the course, the student should be able to carry out effective research in the field of international human rights law.

Session 2: July 2–July 20

Perspectives on the U.S. Supreme Court

Visiting Professor Jeffrey P. Minear
9:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.
This course surveys the U.S. Supreme Court in three distinct dimensions. In the first week, students examine the Court from a practice-oriented perspective, focusing on the Court’s rules of procedure and internal process for deciding cases. In the second week, we take an historical perspective and assess how the Court has evolved over the past two centuries of momentous social change. In the third week, the course focuses on three Court decisions that illustrate the unique institutional challenges facing a court of last resort within a tri-partite system of federal government.

Equity, Access, and the Enabling Right to an Education: A Comparative Legal Inquiry

Professor Monica Teixeira de Sousa
11:00 a.m.–12:50 p.m.
The right to an education is a basic human right. It was enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This course examines complex law and policy issues involved in securing that right in the United States and in other countries. We first explore the legal and political foundations of the education system in the United States and examine how constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law have shaped such basic features as: (1) compulsory education; (2) school funding; (3) curriculum; (4) school governance; (5) student rights; and (6) the rights of teachers. We then compare the American educational system to those of other countries, focusing on difficult issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students are evaluated on the basis of class participation and a final paper.

Cross-Cultural Negotiations and Dispute Resolution

Professor Eileen A. Scallen
1:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m.
This interactive course examines negotiation and mediation theory and practice in a cross-cultural context. A variety of readings, exercises, and role-plays are employed to encourage rigorous analysis of alternative dispute resolution concepts and critical assessment of the application of these concepts in practice. Topics to be covered include conflict and negotiation theory; stages of the negotiation and mediation processes; ethical and legal issues in negotiation and mediation; reaching agreements and issues surrounding their enforceability; addressing power imbalances; and variation in the lawyer’s role at all stages of negotiation and mediation. Students participate in exercises and simulations, focusing on various stages of these processes. The course also addresses recent research examining causes of impasse as well as the impact of diverse cultural backgrounds on facets of both negotiation and mediation.

2012 Galway Faculty

Visiting Professor Jeffrey P. Minear is counselor to the chief justice of the United States. His duties include serving as the Supreme Court’s chief of staff and assisting the chief justice in his administrative responsibilities as head of the federal judiciary. Mr. Minear is the former senior litigation counsel in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he argued 56 cases before the Supreme Court. He is also the executive director of the Supreme Court Fellows Program and a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. Mr. Minear has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center and as a visiting professor at Washington and Lee Law School and the University of Utah College of Law. He holds B.S. and Ch.E. degrees from the University of Utah and M.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh is a lecturer of international law in the Irish Centre for Human Rights. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Connecticut, an LL.M. from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a Ph.D. in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has held visiting positions at Hebrew University, Boston University, and Oxford University. From 2004–2010, she was chair of the Executive Committee of Amnesty International (Ireland), and she has been a member of the International Policy Committee of Amnesty International. She has undertaken numerous missions on behalf of Amnesty International, including to Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and, more recently, to Iraq. She has conducted trainings for governmental as well as nongovernmental organizations throughout the Middle East (Egypt, Israel/Occupied Territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), India, and the Republic of Ireland.

Dr. Shane Darcy is a lecturer in international human rights law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway. He holds a B.A. in law and accounting from the University of Limerick, and LL.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining the academic staff of the centre, he was a lecturer at the University of Ulster, a Government of Ireland scholar, and a doctoral fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. In 2007, he was awarded the Eda Sagarra Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is director of the Ph.D. program at the centre. Dr. Darcy has participated in training, workshops, and research projects in Cambodia, China, India, Iran, South Africa and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An associate editor of Criminal Law Forum, he is currently conducting research projects that explore the judicial development of international criminal law and humanitarian law.

Professor Philip K. Hamilton is a professor of law at New England Law | Boston and currently teaches Evidence, Civil Procedure, Legal Ethics, and Legal History. He has also served as associate dean and as director of New England Law’s clinical program. Before joining the New England Law faculty, he was a legal services lawyer for eight years. He received an A.B. in history from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Prior to law school, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil. In 2005, while on sabbatical in England, he was a reader in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, studying ancient Celtic law.

Professor Ray Murphy is the interim director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway. He received a B.A. and an LL.B. from the National University of Ireland, Galway; a B.L. from King’s Inns, Dublin; an M. Litt. in international law from Dublin University, Trinity College; and a Ph.D. in international law from the University of Nottingham, England. He is a former practicing barrister and captain in the Irish Defense Forces, and he served with UN forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 1981 to 1982 and in 1989. He has worked for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, Amnesty International, and the Irish government in human rights and election monitoring in Africa and Europe. His main teaching and research interests include international peace operations and international humanitarian law.

Professor Eileen A. Scallen has been on the faculty of William Mitchell College of Law since 2000. Prior to attending law school, she received an M.A. in communication studies from the University of Minnesota, focusing on legal argumentation and persuasion. She received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Law Review. After law school, she clerked for a federal judge in Los Angeles, worked in the litigation department of a large firm, and then began her teaching career at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she received tenure. Her teaching and research interests include evidence, civil and criminal procedure, communication in legal organizations, and argumentation and persuasion theory, and she has published articles in several of those fields. She often speaks to audiences of lawyers and judges, as well as to other academics.

Professor Monica Teixeira de Sousa joined the faculty of New England Law | Boston in 2007. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, she grew up in Rhode Island. She received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Georgetown University. She began practicing law in 2002 as a Skadden Fellow at Rhode Island Legal Services, where she specialized in representing children and parents in education law cases and created a multi-site, school-based legal clinic. She is the former chair of the Rhode Island Education Justice Council. She speaks and writes on education law and school reform topics, and was recently featured in the documentary, The Class Slipper: Middle Class Warfare in America. She teaches Education and the Law, Education and Class Mobility, Family Law, and Property.

Galway Application

To Apply

The application deadline is April 2, 2012, but because enrollment is limited to approximately 50 students, we recommend that you apply early to ensure admission. The nonrefundable application fee is $200. Admission is open to any law student at an ABA-accredited law school, as well as any student enrolled in a Canadian or European university law program, who is in good academic standing as determined by the student’s home school and who has completed the first year of full-time or part-time study.

Notification of acceptance will begin on February 1, 2012. Within two weeks of notification of acceptance, the student is required to provide a $500 nonrefundable tuition deposit. The balance of the tuition and fees ($4,600) must be paid by May 18, 2012. This date may be extended upon request due to timing of financial aid disbursement.

The application is complete when the following have been submitted:

  • A completed application form.
  • A letter of good standing from the student’s law school, which includes permission to take these courses (if other than a New England Law | Boston student)
  • A $200 nonrefundable application fee payable to New England School of Law Galway Program (if the program is full when your application is received, your $200 application fee will be returned to you)

Policy of nondiscrimination

It is the policy of New England Law | Boston to provide equality of opportunity in legal education for all persons, including faculty, other employees, applicants for admission, enrolled students, and graduates, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, or sexual orientation.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Philip K. Hamilton, Director
Phone: (617) 422-7220
Fax: (617) 422-7453
E-mail: phamilton@nesl.edu

Galway Dates, Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

The program opens Sunday, June 10, with an afternoon introductory meeting and welcoming reception for participants and faculty. First-session classes run from June 11 through June 29. The second session runs from July 2 through July 20. To give participants extra time to explore Ireland and Europe, there are no classes on the following Fridays: June 15, June 22, July 6, and July 13.

The fees for the program total $5,300 (including a nonrefundable $200 application fee). This charge covers tuition ($3,200 for up to six credit hours), accommodations, computer access, and activities. Other anticipated expenses are food (approximately $1,800, depending on how much use students make of the kitchenettes in their apartments); books (approximately $350); airfare to and from Ireland; and any additional entertainment and travel chosen by the individual student. A student who wishes to arrange his or her own housing in Galway may do so, and the student’s charge will be reduced by $1,900, provided that written notification of the alternative housing is received by the program director before May 1, 2012.

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and obtaining their assigned textbooks in their home countries before their departure for Galway. Passports are required for travel to Ireland and are the responsibility of each student. Visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to Ireland. Participants should contact the financial aid officer at their own law school to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Cancellation Policy

New England Law | Boston and the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education, Inc., reserve the right to alter or cancel this program. Cancellation would occur in the event of program underenrollment by April 6, 2012, or unforeseen international events that could substantially inhibit program operations or seriously compromise student safety. If the program is canceled, all tuition and fees will be returned.

Withdrawal and Refund Policy

If the program receives a student’s written notice of withdrawal prior to May 15, 2012, the program will retain the student’s application fee and $500 deposit but will refund any other money the student has paid. If written notice of withdrawal is received after May 15, 2012, the student will also be responsible for any charges beyond $500 that the program has incurred on the student’s behalf, including full tuition and fees if notice of withdrawal is received after classes have begun. If the withdrawal is occasioned by a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Alert covering Ireland for all or part of the period of the program, or by changes in the program, refunds will be as follows: (1) if the program change or travel warning or alert occurs before the program begins, all money paid by the student will be refunded; or (2) if the program change or travel warning or alert occurs after the program has begun, program fees will be refunded except for those incurred prior to the date of withdrawal.

To Apply

The application deadline is April 2, 2012, but because enrollment is limited to approximately 50 students, we recommend that you apply early to ensure admission. The nonrefundable application fee is $200. Admission is open to any law student at an ABA-accredited law school, as well as any student enrolled in a Canadian or European university law program, who is in good academic standing as determined by the student’s home school and who has completed the first year of full-time or part-time study. Please use the application form. LINK Notification of acceptance will begin on February 1, 2012. Within two weeks of notification of acceptance, the student is required to provide a $500 nonrefundable tuition deposit. The balance of the tuition and fees ($4,600) must be paid by May 18, 2012. This date may be extended upon request due to timing of financial aid disbursement.

The application is complete when the following have been submitted:

  • A completed application form
  • A letter of good standing from the student’s law school, which includes permission to take these courses (if other than a New England Law | Boston student)
  • A $200 nonrefundable application fee payable to New England School of Law Galway Program (if the program is full when your application is received, your $200 application fee will be returned to you)

For additional information, please contact Professor Philip K. Hamilton, program director.



Summer 2009 "Postcards from Galway"

Lilli Baculi Lilli Baculi (Class of 2011)

18 July 2009
Galway, Ireland

Ireland welcomed us with warmth and sunshine, two very rare things for this country, according to the locals, even in the summer. But weather was of no importance to me – from the moment I decided to come for this program, I knew I wanted to immerse myself in everything Ireland come rain or come shine. With this mentality coupled with my love of languages, culture, and art history, my ears immediately caught the Irish accent: how they hold on to the “t” and “d”s a half second longer, the intonation, and certain phrases they would say such as “hi-ya” to say hello, “thanks a million,” and “grand.”

Galway, our home base here in Ireland, is exquisite. If you've seen Pride and Prejudice and loved the scenery, Galway – and the rest of the country – is  similar. The air is clean, the water is clear, it's green everywhere, and the dogs run free without leashes and yet are so well behaved you cannot help but just stare at them in awe.

But I will not compare Ireland to home (Boston), because it would not be fair to either. Besides which, there are many places that have been "home" to me, albeit some only for a little while, so this is another opportunity to learn something new.

Galway, our home base here in Ireland, is exquisite. If you've seen Pride and Prejudice and loved the scenery, Galway – and the rest of the country – is  similar. The air is clean, the water is clear, it's green everywhere, and the dogs run free without leashes and yet are so well behaved you cannot help but just stare at them in awe. The people are amazingly friendly – a welcome change from the usual iPod-wearing, walking-with-a-purpose crowd in Boston, of which I am a part. If you ever look lost and confused, even for a second, a local will stop what they are doing to point you in the right direction. 

Churches (Catholic churches, at least) pepper this tiny town the way Dunkin Donuts can be found every 1/4 mile in the greater Boston area. And each of them – or at least the ones I’ve seen so far in our walking escapades – have a unique architecture and style to distinguish one from the other. But the crème de la crème is the Galway Cathedral. Gorgeous! And you would say this even if you’re not Catholic. You can spot its green domes from a mile away, and if you’re walking towards the city you know you’re going in the right direction if you see it getting closer. 

And yes, we do walk a lot. This is definitely a walking city - we have walked everywhere so far, including a 3+ mile walk to Salthill (Galway’s Santa Monica Pier) against the wind. But it never gets old, and you get used to walking everywhere very quickly because there’s not a more efficient way to get around the city. Besides which, walking is a welcome exercise for those of us who do not have set gym regimen in their daily schedule.

Dublin on the other hand is Galway's noisier cousin 3 hours away. It's definitely a bigger city, and the crowds are massive – they come in hordes and they won't move for you, so you better learn to be assertive and push your way through the sidewalks. It is very reminiscent of New York City, actually.  

Dublin – and Galway – are also reminiscent of the 80s in terms of the contemporary fashion (i.e. the young ‘uns). Yes, I'm talking neon-green/pink shirts and tights and leg warmers. Oh, and the mullets!!! It's definitely a place to visit for all its history: Trinity College and the Book of Kells, James Joyce, the door specially made for Louis XV (or XVI?) but he never came – history, art, and architecture I would gladly explore, but not a place I'd want to live in and stay for long. Deep down, I’m a small town girl who managed to end up halfway across the globe. 

The Aran Islands is another sight to behold. It is a 30 minute ferry ride from Connemara (which is about 1 hour from Galway). However, for some of us, it was a grueling, nauseating 30 minute ride. I will spare you the details.

But Inishmore was lovely: population 800. They only had electricity about 30 years ago. The bank is open 2 days a week; and Wednesdays in the winter. Dun Aengus, which is on the island, is a fort made of rock (actually, they have walls made of rock – again, amazing!) some 20 minute walk UPHILL! Yes, I felt the burn! Looking down from the cliffs was beautiful – but no guardrails and the wind was picking up, so I didn't push it . . . I peeked, aimed my camera, and got the heck out of there! But it is absolutely beautiful, you had to sit back for a minute and just take it all in. Clearly, there is some Higher power out there . . .

And yes, I did get myself a sweater – wool sweater, which will supposedly get me through harsh Boston winters, and I believe them because it reeks of sheep. The best part – handmade by ol' gramma in the back, churning it like there's no tomorrow!

It goes without saying (and yet I will say it anyway) that to truly fully immerse oneself in this particular culture, is to spend a little time in pubs. I was worried about this part of my Ireland adventure because I’ve always thought of pubs as synonymous with loud, obnoxious drunks and brawls. But I soon found out that pubs here aren’t the exact functional equivalent of the pubs back home. Here, pubs are just pubs, and beer is just beer. That is, going to the pub and having a pint or two of beer is just routine. Shops close down around 5:30 in the afternoon – something very unusual for those used to the 24/7 Albertson’s and Sav-On’s – and everyone stops in at their favorite pub to have a pint or two with friends to unwind. Our favorite is a family owned, 20+ year old pub called Taaffes, where traditional Irish music is played daily. Our favorite part – the Monday night tin-whistle playing tap dancer. Every day a group of friends come together with whatever instrument they play, and play traditional music for the crowd of mostly locals. They don’t get paid; they’re just a group of friends who come out to play and unwind, and have good “craic” (fun). 

In the end, it’s not much different here than what I grew up with. Halfway across the globe from here, in the Philippines, at about 5:30 pm, people come home from work and have a bottle of San Miguel beer with friends. They could have just gone through the worst day of their lives, but you will still hear loud roars of laughter with clinks of beer bottles. It’s just culture, it’s just routine, and I love it.

Kyle GuyKyle Guy (Class of 2011)

13 July 2009
Galway, Ireland

My time here in Ireland over the last month has been incredible. Something that has been inescapable since I have been here is learning about and developing an appreciation and respect for how rich Ireland’s history and culture is. In terms of history, this is a country that has been inhabited for thousands of years and has gone through tremendous social, political, and economic challenges. From the infamous social divisions caused by religious differences, to the potato famine, to the country’s incredible struggles for political independence, Ireland’s history is certainly marked with its fair share of challenges.

Although Ireland is not a place where you would want to come for the weather, it is certainly a place where you would want to come for the people! The Irish are an amazing group of people and are very welcoming to Americans. For some reason Irish can spot an American from a mile away… and are more than happy to start up a conversation with you.

For all the talk of “the luck of the Irish,” even a brief survey of Irish history will show you the Irish have been anything but lucky for a better part of their history. Certainly, Ireland has come a long way, particularly in recent years, in terms of pacifying the social divisions between Catholics and Protestants, solidifying itself as an independent and advanced industrial democracy, and in terms of economic development as a result of its years as the “Irish Tiger” during the 1990s. Although Ireland is one of the hardest hit countries in Europe during this current global economic recession, as probably any older Irish person would tell you, as bad as the times are now they pale in comparison to other periods in Ireland’s history. Moreover, they would probably also tell you that the Irish will endure through these tough times as they have through others and come out stronger and happier than ever, as it is the Irish way.

Notwithstanding Ireland’s tragic history, the other inescapable feature of Ireland is the vibrant, warm, and welcoming culture. Although Ireland is not a place where you would want to come for the weather, it is certainly a place where you would want to come for the people! The Irish are an amazing group of people and are very welcoming to Americans. For some reason Irish can spot an American from a mile away; however, unlike traveling in some other parts of the world, they are actually excited that you are here visiting their country and are more than happy to start up a conversation with you.

This is certainly so at the pubs, which are a core feature of Irish culture, particularly, here in Galway! Whether you are at one of the trendy tourist pubs in the Latin District, or at a “local” pub on the other side of Eyre Square (also known as JFK park, in honor of one of Ireland’s favorite American presidents), the people are friendly, the music is great (usually played live), and the beer is fresh. I often joke with my colleagues that I don’t think that people go home after work because in the evening the pubs are always packed – notwithstanding the day of the week! (After conducting an unofficial survey by speaking with several locals, my theory appears to be true.) Pubs truly are “public houses” where the community comes together every evening to relax, grab a pint, and appreciate the end of a hard day’s work.

So looking back on my month here in Ireland, I can say that I feel privileged to have been able to learn so much about Irish history and culture. Coming from Boston, with its significant population of Irish and those of Irish decent, I thought I had a decent understanding of the Irish people. To paraphrase Socrates, I know now that I really knew nothing. Fortunately, that is not the case now, and I look forward to the remainder of my time here on the Emerald Isle, to exploring other parts of the country, meeting more people, and taking full advantage of this incredible place with its extraordinary history, culture, and people.

 

 

 

 

Academic Requirements and Application Information: To participate in study abroad programs, law students must have completed the first year of study or its equivalent in part-time study and be in good academic standing as determined by their home institution. Check each program for application deadlines. For information and application forms, contact Assistant Dean Wanda Morrow (wmorrow@stcl.edu) or (713) 646-1825.