Study Abroad

This spring, Wilmington University’s Criminal Justice program leaders will host a study abroad in Ireland. (This will be the ninth time that the program is sponsoring this special learning experience.)

Baily Lighthouse in Howth peninsula, Co. Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Students in any major can join the study abroad and can earn either undergraduate or graduate credit through special topics courses.

For a glimpse into this two-week travel program, Professor Kirk Trate, director of Criminal Justice Programs, and Dr. Greg Warren, chair of the Administration of Justice and Homeland Security graduate programs, shared their travelogue from the April 2017 trip.

A group of 19 students embarked on a 13-day excursion that started with a tour of London, including a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Tower of London, and a Jack the Ripper walking tour. The group visited the prestigious Cambridge University on their way to the medieval city of York. The next stop was Alnwick Castle. In addition to its historic significance, the castle was the sight of the filming for the “Harry Potter” films and the television series “Downton Abbey.”

Next, the group travelled to the Scottish capitol of Edinburgh. After dinner one night, some of the students participated on stage with traditional Scottish music performers. The tour of the Edinburgh Castle was a high point. Unfortunately, there was no time to play golf in the country where the sport began because the group was booked on the ferry from Cairnyan, Scotland, which would take them across the Irish Sea to Larne, in Northern Ireland. The group had been on buses, trains, boats and planes in less than a week.

The Ireland driver and guide, Niall McErlean, was a native Northern Irishman blessed with an outgoing, frank and eloquent disposition. The group’s time in Belfast was noteworthy for its Irish lunch at The Crown Bar, a memorable visit to the Peace Wall, and a guided tour of Queen’s University.

The nearly 200-mile trip that began in the wee hours of the morning was, as the song says, a long way to Tipperary.” Departing Belfast, in the United Kingdom, and driving into the Republic of Ireland meant the group was were crossing an international border, significant because students would trade British pounds for European Union euros.

The first stop in the Republic was the Garda Siochana College and National Police Academy in Templemore, County Tipperary. The group was greeted by the chief superintendent and enjoyed a lecture in the Academy Museum by noted author and Garda Sergeant Dr. John Reynolds.  Several students had read Dr. Reynolds’ book, “46 Men Dead,” which focused on police deaths in Tipperary County at the time of the Irish Rebellion. He graciously signed several copies of his book. Students attended two additional lectures by Academy staff and embarked on a series of tours of the academy facilities and grounds led by Garda cadets. Upon leaving the academy, the group stopped to see the famous Rock of Cashel, the site once occupied by St. Patrick, according to legend.

During a two-night stay at a Victorian mansion in Killarney, the group saw the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, the Skellig Islands (of “Star Wars VII” fame), and the Blarney Castle — yes, many kissed the stone. A stop in the town of Ennis offered fun at the Knappogue Castle. It is rumored that WilmU’s Dr. Greg Warren was made the King of Leinster that evening and a grad student starred in the castle musical presentation.

The final stop was Dublin, the capital of the Republic. The group spent their final two days visiting the Kilmainham Gaol (jail) and Trinity College, with its “Book of Kells.” The Garda Siochana hosted the group at its Special Operations branch offices at Camden Court. At this police center, students attended presentations on the history and state of today’s force of more than 14,500 officers and civilians, as well as Ireland’s community policing program. Many students used their remaining free time in Dublin to explore the city with visits to the Guinness Brewery and shopping on Grafton Street. The last evening featured great food, music and storytelling at the Brazen Head Pub, the oldest pub in Ireland, which opened in 1198.

Although activity logs, presentations, research papers and several classroom sessions will be required of the students, the consensus of the scholarly travelers was that the trip had been a-once-in-a-lifetime event. WU


—Kirk Trate, Greg Warren (compiled by Lori Sitler)