We believe we offer a first class educational experience in a welcoming and fun environment.  Here is what a few of our past students have said about us:

Student journeys: Watch the journey of Cecilia Isabel Vasquez– winner of the IFR-SAA Historically Under-represented Groups Scholarship 2016– to the Blackfriary Field School in Ireland:


‘Signing up for a term at the Black Friary began as a spur of the moment decision and turned into one of the best academic moves I’ve made.  Taking this four week course in place of winter quarter at school allowed me to learn through full immersion in the time I was there and focus on my personal learning goals in the weeks before beginning another quarter at UCLA.  The faculty were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and living with locals in a off-tourist season gave me proper insight into the mindset and pace of life of a unique culture’. Linn, UCLA, USA (2016)

‘Having attended the Winter 2016 field school I would highly recommend the Blackfriary programs to anyone interested in broadening their archaeological experience and skills. I really enjoyed that this field school offered me a range of dig-related experience, including being involved in planning, and post-excavation work. The staff were fun to work with, as well as being excellent educators. The side trips and lectures were great fun and supplemented my work on site; it was definitely worth coming halfway around the world to participate in!’ Ilana, Macquarie University, Australia (2016)

‘Attending the IAFS this winter was an extremely rewarding experience. The instructors were able to tailor the program to equally fit the needs of their students (who ranged widely in experience level), and were knowledgeable in their field of study and the surrounding historic sites. I returned home after two weeks a better archaeologist, historian, traveller, and tea drinker thanks to my experience at IAFS’. Mairead, Smith College, USA (2016)

‘The vast array of experience gained through the guidance of the Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project and the Irish Archaeology Field School is the most beneficial that I have had in my archaeology career, and these experiences certainly will be vital as a scaffold to my future educational and professional endeavours. Also, it cannot be denied that this program’s instructors are the most skilled in their field. Not to mention, they are enthusiastic and creative in their instruction. For those wishing to participate in an archaeology field school, this program can offer a student much to discover’. Jake, University of California, USA (2016)

‘I had one of the best summers I can remember while attending IAFS for two main reasons. The first is the field school itself. There was enough variety that I felt like I was doing something different every week. The atmosphere created by a group of people passionate about archaeology was stimulating and exactly what I was looking for. The second was the people I met at the field school or through it. I had so much fun with them and I felt like I really experienced Irish culture from music and dancing to weekly card games at the pub. I definitely came back home with a tea addiction and have shared that with numerous family members and friends. Even the weather, which I had been dreading, was actually perfect most of the time – a heat wave in Ireland, whaaat! Anyways, I could not have asked for a better experience for my first field school’. Caroline (McGill University)

‘My time at Blackfriary, with the Irish Archaeology Field School, was the most beneficial experience I have had the pleasure to participate in. The amount of information I was able to learn was invaluable as the supervisors encouraged an atmosphere of independent learning. My time on site was most certainly a positive one as I learned techniques and processes necessary for my educational development. I would highly recommend this course for anyone wishing to gain field experience’. Jordyn (Palm Beach Atlantic University)

‘I came onto the Blackfriary site having had no prior dig experience and was really nervous. But the supervisors and directors at Blackfriary were really welcoming and great teachers. I was never afraid to ask a question a second or even a third time and they never hesitated with an explanation. On top of living in Trim which is full ruins and history on its own the field school provided off site trips so we could really experience Ireland. I wouldn’t have spent my summer any other way’. Lindsay (Lycoming College)

‘My first session with IAFS was only two weeks, but within that time the supervisors made sure I was able to experience all aspects of an Irish excavation – troweling, survey, planning, post-ex, and picking up sheep poop. The IAFS staff and students were friendly, helpful, and as was the case with the supervisor that spent three days teaching me how to plan, extremely patient. When I returned to Blackfriary I excavated a juvenile skeleton as part of the bioarch course, planned an entire cutting, and was taught about medieval masonry. Being from the U.S., this field school was especially important for me because it prepared me for my MSc Forensic Archaeology course in the UK. Overall, through IAFS I gained proper experience in all aspects of archaeological excavation, friends from around the world, and as a biological anthropologist, a greater appreciation for stone that I couldn’t have learned in the classroom’.  Ashely (Appalachian State University)

‘I spent two weeks participating in the Blackfriary Community Archaeology Project during the 2014 excavation season. As an archaeology undergraduate student at university, my time at the field school taught me essential skills in field archaeology which will be relevant to both my studies and professional work in the future’.  Rochelle (La Trobe University)

‘The first time I went to Ireland to participate in the Irish Archaeological Field School was my first time travelling out of the country alone, as well as my first real excavation experience. I had no idea where I was or what to expect. The second time I went, I could barely contain my excitement because, in a sense, I was going home… Both times, I have been amazed (but welcomed) how quickly the students bond with one another. All aspects of the excavation are taught, from excavation techniques to surveying techniques, recording techniques and onward. The practical knowledge that comes out of an excavation such as this, along with the memories that come alongside it, is a unique and beneficial experience I would recommend to any archaeology student or even any person merely interested in this field. Thanks to my IAFS experience, I have made friends from all over the world and from all across my native United States. It was for that reason, even, that I found myself in Australia this past semester on a study abroad experience, taking university classes with team members and friends from my first field school group.’
Emma (Hofstra University)

‘This past summer I had the amazing opportunity of attending a field school in Trim, Ireland with the Irish Archaeological Field School.  The four weeks that I spent digging at the medieval friary site in Ireland solidified my desire to study and pursue a career in archaeology. During my time at the field school I learned how to trowel, take field notes, map a site, take levels, catalogue artifacts found and generally did the day to day basics of working on a field site. Yet my experience here was more than the technical knowledge I gained. My work at this site connected me with the reasons I fell in with Anthropology and Archeology in the first place. Spending half a day trawling and cleaning back an area covered in slate and mortar to find one tiny piece of bone. This tiny piece of bone, however, turned out to be one bone in a fully articulated infant skeleton. Finding this skeleton was the highlight of my time in Ireland; it was a surreal experience to clean away, expose, photograph and lift such delicate and tiny bones. The bones and the rest of my work in Ireland left me with the desire for more hands on experiences in the field.’
Julie (Hofstra University)

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Laura (University College Dublin)

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Marye-Claude (Université de Montréal)

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Malika (Western Washington University)

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Gwen (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Audio courtesy of Nora Stout, the Bective Abbey Projects Podcast and Meath County Council. Nora Stout is a Radio Production (BA) Student and New Media Content Producer.