Internship Blog Series – Spring 2018 – Week 1

In Spring 2018 we launched our first dual location internships.  Our first Learn International intern Madeleine (Maddy) Harris, and our IAFS field school ambassador at Flinders University, Australia – Grace Dennis-Toone excavated at Ferrycarrig and then undertook desktop archaeological work, contributing to ongoing research projects, in our Midland office. The girls wrote a series of blogs detailing their time with IAFS. Here is the first blog where Grace talks about Week 1 …

Week 1 – 3rd January 2018

Maddy and I first arrived on the site of Ferrycarrig, Wexford, at 4 in the afternoon on Wednesday the 3rd of January 2018.  After 22 hours of flying for myself and 12 for Maddy we drove down from Dublin with Steve Mandal (IAFS Director).  The fresh air and beauty of the Irish National Heritage Park was a welcome change from our journeys.  On our first walk up the hill to the site Maddy and I remarked at the scenic views across the Slaney and the landscape along it.  Arriving at the top of the hill we were very happy to see the luxury set up that the Heritage Park had provided, for archaeologists it doesn’t get much better than this!  After a brief look around the site and facilities we headed home with our homestay family, who we are happy to say are absolutely lovely.

One of the main things Maddy and I are asked by our families and friends is why did we choose to come back to Ireland, after previously being here the past January.  Our time in Ireland in January 2017 with the Irish Archaeology Field School resonated in me that I had chosen the right career path.  We learnt invaluable field skills from extremely knowledgeable supervisors and I personally couldn’t wait to come back and learn more, but this time I hoped to experience a different role on site.

The internship program offered by Learn International with the Irish Archaeology Field School appealed to Maddy.  After graduating college from UCLA majoring in History, Maddy wanted to experience archaeology again.  This program appealed to her as an opportunity to gain more experience prior to applying for a Masters program.

I had been contacted by the Irish Archaeology Field School in September asking if I was interested in filling a role as ambassador at Flinders University, Australia, for the field school.  I was delighted to be involved with IAFS again, and as part of my role as ambassador I was offered the opportunity to come back to the new site at Ferrycarrig.  For me the main drive for coming back, other than the people, was the opportunity to pursue research for my post-graduate study.  The wealth of the site continues to provide insights into one of the most important periods of history in Ireland, the settlement of the Anglo-Normans.

On Thursday and Friday of the week before the students arrive, Maddy and I organised the office space; we filed resources, set up printers, organised books, scanned documents, laminated drawings and washed tea cups.  All the important things that must be done before 23 students from across the globe arrive eager to learn and eager to dig.

Maddy and I agreed that the site at Ferrycarrig is the most exciting dig either of us has worked on, and the people are by far the best we have ever worked with.  We couldn’t be happier to be back in Ireland with the Irish Archaeology Field School breaking ground on a site that hasn’t been dug for 20 years and holds a significant piece of Irish history.

Grace Dennis-Toone

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