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Student Recalls Belfast Summer Program

Irish Studies Offers Rich Experience

Jonathan Brown

By Venus Israni

For three weeks this summer, UMass Lowell student Jonathan Brown studied in Ireland, becoming immersed in its extraordinarily rich heritage in the process. As part of the International Summer School in Irish Studies program, Brown also earned college credit by attending classes at Queen’s University in Belfast.

To receive college credit, Brown wrote a paper about conflict resolution. “I wrote about the possible positive reaction toward civil rights through more sport in Northern Ireland,” he explains.

Along with fellow students from UMass Lowell, Brown attended three to four Irish Studies classes a day, Monday through Friday. The instructors were “renowned authors, musicians and incredible teachers; most of them probably lived through the turmoil and conflicts the country has faced,” Brown says.

“Today there is still much tension in the atmosphere as well as on the faces of Northern Ireland’s citizens” he says. “The past is still on their minds, which causes them to remain peaceful today.”

Students also visited great landmarks during the program, including Giant’s Causeway and Derry/Londonderry, where 17th-century walls, which withstood many sieges, still stand. Students also visited Ulster-American Folk Park, where they observed re-created dwellings, city streets and the voyage by ship that transported Irish immigrants to America. Brown recalls seeing where the Titanic was built, in the Belfast shipyard called Harland and Wolff: “The dry docks were massive.” 

Brown is currently a senior working toward a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice with a certificate in Homeland Security. He will attend graduate school in the spring.