OU in Ireland - Summer 2013

Jennifer Hackney was thrilled to teach the sociology of Ireland in Ireland to OU students in the summer of 2013. It was Dr. Hackney’s second time to teach in Ireland as a part of the College of Arts and Sciences International Program (CASIP), having also taken a group of OU students there in 2011. This year’s 19 students represented majors including, but not limited to: sociology, anthropology, advertising, letters, construction science, and multi-disciplinary studies.

CASIP’s Ireland program is based in Cork, Ireland which is on the southern coast of the island. It is affiliated with the University College Cork and uses their facilities, including their student housing. This year, we took some fabulous excursions to various places in the Republic of Ireland. In and around Cork, we also visited: the port town of Cobh, Blarney Castle, Fota Wildlife Center, UCC, Blackrock observatory and Castle, St Anne of Shandon Church, the Butter Museum, the old Cork Gaol (jail), and Jameson distillery in Midleton. In Dublin we were housed at Trinity College and visited the Leprechaun Museum, the National Wax Museum and the Guinness Storehouse.

At Newgrange Passage Tomb in County Meath, we learned that this megalithic tomb was built around 3200 BCE—before the pyramids at Giza and Stonehenge in England. The tomb is perfectly aligned such that at dawn on the winter solstice, light illuminates the entire passage.
Students were amazed by the views Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. The cliffs rise 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby area known as The Burren looks like the surface of the moon due to the limestone rocks that dominate the landscape. The Burren is home to many unique species of plants.
We visited Galway city and explored Kylemore Abbey in County Galway. Kylemore was built in 1920 as a 40,000 square foot, private home. Because its grounds are as beautiful as the buildings, it is no surprise that it is the most photographed place in Ireland.

Thanks to the generous donation of Oklahoma native Rod Durrell, the class was able to spend a day in Kinsale. There, tour guide Barry Moloney gave us a walking tour and we visited Charles Fort which was built in the 1670s. We also ate a most delicious lunch at the famous Fishy Fishy restaurant in Kinsale. Head chef, owner and Irish TV star Martin Shanahan entertained and educated us about fish preparation before our meal.

We also spent a great deal of time studying and learning in Ireland. Dr. Hackney’s Sociology of Ireland course focuses on the construction and maintenance of contemporary Irish identity. Dr. Brian Johnson of the Honor’s College was co-faculty in Ireland and taught about Pop Culture and the Emerald Isle. Learning about and being immersed in a foreign culture gives students invaluable experiences to help them live and work in our increasingly globalized world. Students also gain an understanding of what it means to be American and the USA’s position in the global community.