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An update from abroad: Flagler College in Britain and Ireland

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The Study Abroad group meets Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.

The Study Abroad group meets Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.


As part of Flagler College’s Study Abroad program, Dr. Michael Butler and Dr. Wayne Riggs are currently leading 35 students on a two-week experience through Britain and Ireland.

The itinerary is customized by the professors to emphasize areas and sites of particular relevance to the course topic in locations such as the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. The group is visiting spots that pertain to each country’s modern and sometimes ancient history including County Kerry, Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Edinburgh, York and London.

The program, which began on May 25, ends in London during the Diamond Jubilee celebration honoring Queen Elizabeth II, making it a once-in-a-lifetime cultural and educational experience for students.

The following is an update from a blog the Study Abroad program is keeping. For more updates on their journey, click here.

Today we left Killarney behind and began our journey to Dublin. Along the way we stopped at Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney stone. The fortification was built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, a clan chief, and the legends surrounding the famous stone have been circulating since at least 1789. The long spiral staircase leading to the top of the castle is not for the faint of heart: made of carved stone, it becomes progressively steeper and narrower as it climbs. After kissing the rock, we were off to lunch, then continued to wind our way toward Dublin.

Also on the way to Dublin was the Rock of Cashel and the accompanying castle, once the seat of the kings of Munster. After some climbing around on the rocks and pictures of a Celtic cross near the top, we headed back to the bus to finish the ride.

After arriving in Dublin, we went on a brief walking tour (with our tour director, the most marvelous Margret), to get our bearings and catch a first glimpse of particularly historic bits, such as the General Post Office (commonly referred to as the GPO). The GPO was the site of most of the violence of the 1916 Easter Uprising, when factions within Ireland who wanted a unified, independent country rebelled against the government and the union with Britain, which created six-county Northern Ireland, part of Great Britain, and an Irish Free State in the south. The creation of a free state, rather than a fully independent republic with a separate parliament, was another source of dissatisfaction that led to the uprising.

We also became acquainted with the downtown statues of Charles Parnell, the “uncrowned King of Ireland,” and Daniel O’Connell, “the liberator,” whom we discussed previously. Parnell was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Meath and Cork City over the course of his life, as well as a land reform agitator and the founder of the Irish Parliamentary Party.