Emerald Isle Irish culture adventure

January 21, 2014

One of the main goals of the trip was for students to experience and gain a deeper understanding of Irish Culture. The Emerald Isle of Ireland has a very interesting, long and traditional history. Although students had been given basic information prior to departure through activities organised by BDIC, they still approached the Celtic culture, arts, music, dance and sports activities with curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. During their visit to Ireland, the 30 students had the opportunity to gain practical experience on a cultural adventure.

On January 21, Professor Muiris O'Sullivan led the students on a visit to Newgrange. Located to the north of Dublin, Newgrange tomb is an important part of the Boyne Valley archaeological site and one of the world's oldest historical structures. It was constructed around 3200 BC, hundreds of years before the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is one of Europe's most important pre-historic megalithic cultural areas and was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993. From outside, Newgrange is a huge tomb at the top of a hill on a large circular mound of grass. 200,000 tonnes of stone were used in the construction of the tomb, without any binding agent being used. It is estimated that it would have taken a labour force of 300 over 20 years to complete construction. 

Students were divided into two groups, each led by a teacher. They first saw the outside structure of the tomb before visiting the interior. They were given a guided tour and also watched a short film about Newgrange tomb. The students were astonished at the enormous scale of the construction process, the mysterious spiral design making them even more curious. Some students gained a strong interest in archaeology following the visit and hoped that through the Irish culture module and other information, they would gain a deeper understanding of Ancient Irish culture. 

Students also had the opportunity to visit the Guinness Storehouse and taste the world-famous Guinness stout. They also visited a famous church, castles and museums, gaining a great experience of Irish culture. The students all hoped that the cultural tour would be the start of a process of gaining a deeper understanding of Irish culture. They also hoped to become ambassadors for cultural exchange between China and Ireland, spreading the word about China's long and profound history & culture in order to contribute to the strength of communication between China and Ireland.