Where are our DIG projects?
The current Dig project is at Ferrycarrig, in Co. Wexford, Ireland. This site is part of a long-term research project, part of a broader community heritage project, in association with the Irish National Heritage Park.
In June 2021 the Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS) launched a major archaeological research project at the site of St Aidan’s Monastery, Ferns, Co. Wexford.
We now run our archaeological field schools as well as our landscape archaeology and environmental sciences programs from our base in Birr, Offaly.
For other research locations, see here.
When will registration open?
How to register for university credit?
Students may apply for the credit programs (Winter or Summer) directly through the Institute for Field Research.
Who can apply?
All courses are open to undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students undertaking any major, and from any university in the world, as well as those who are not yet enrolled in university. Students must be 18 years or over to participate. Our courses are designed to support student development. If you are not a student it is still possible to attend, please contact us for more details.
Brexit: I am a UK citizen, do I need a passport and visa to enter Ireland?
Further education training and opportunities will continue to be available to students and trainees from Ireland going to the UK, and vice versa, under the Common Travel Area. Therefore, there is no change to travel for education.
What is the cost to attend the field school?
Please click here for the 2024 tuition fees.
When do the courses start?
The start date and availability is outline in the information on our Programs page. This is updated regularly as new courses are available.
Is there financial aid/scholarships/volunteer positions available?
The IAFS has no funding for students however there is funding available from other sources:
- (UK) Tessa and Mortimer Wheeler Memorial Travel Award: deadline Jan 15 (annually)
- Institute for Field Research Scholarships
- SAA Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship
YOUR UNIVERSITY: find out if you may be eligible for funding from your own college or university.
What is included in program fees?
All program fees include tuition, homestay accommodation and meals, equipment, and any mandatory field trips.
What is NOT included in program fees?
Students are responsible for their own travel costs. This includes flights to and from Ireland, transport to the program location, and independent travel undertaken by students during free time.
Students are responsible for their own Health insurance and Travel insurance. International Health Insurance is a mandatory requirement for IAFS programs.
Do I need previous knowledge of archaeology or Irish history?
Absolutely not. There is no pre-requisite for previous archaeological training or knowledge for the basic archaeology excavation methods course. In fact, many of our students attend prior to undertaking an archaeological component to their anthropology degree, or are enrolled in a cognate degree program, such as forensics, geology, or earth sciences. Students are required however to familiarise themselves with the project prior to arriving in Ireland. There is ample information available on this website, please look to our Blogs section for relevant information regarding your chosen field school location and projects.
You will also be given recommended readings to prepare you for your training.
Are there any other requirements?
As part of application assessment, we require all students to provide the name and contact details of an academic reference. We will contact them directly to request a recommendation. This is a mandatory requirement for all applications; no place will be offered until this has been received, assessed and the application thus approved.
When is the application deadline?
Winter: The application deadline for the Winter program is the Nov prior to the program.
Summer: The application deadline for each season is April of that year*. Registration opens at the end of September, for the following summer season.
*Late applications considered.
How do you apply for the field school?
Applications for all of our programs can be made through the link provided on each program page.
Do I need to make a deposit to secure a place at the school?
All tuition fees for programs run through our partner organisation the Institute for Field Research must be paid directly to that organisation.
All programs run through the IAFS and on behalf of our partner organisation Maynooth University do not require a deposit at the time of registration. You will however have to pay a deposit, after your reference check, to secure your place.
How long is spent on site each day?
Each working day is from 9am to 5pm (or 4.30pm in the Spring, due to daylight hours). The working week is Monday-Friday; weekends are free, unless a field trip is specified in your course itinerary.
There are two breaks during the working day, a morning tea break, and an afternoon lunch break. Excavation is carried out in most weather conditions so students should be suitably attired to be outside for the full day.
Do I need a passport and visa to enter Ireland?
You will need a passport to enter Ireland if you are travelling from outside the EU. Most airlines require that passengers have a passport, even if you are travelling from an EU member state.
Citizens of the EU do not require a visa to enter Ireland.
A visa is not required for citizens of Australia, Canada and the United States when entering Ireland for a period of under 90 days. Please ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your trip (and at least 6 months from your travel dates), and check your airline’s policy. For citizens of countries outside the EU, please refer the Visa & Passport page on the Discover Ireland for visa requirements.
What else can I do in Ireland?
There is tons to do in Ireland and we love showing off our beautiful country to visitors! If you have not travelled to Europe or Ireland before, you can find information about travel, visas and other useful country facts on the Discover Ireland website.
If you can, plan to take some time before or after your trip to do some travelling, see some more of the country, or take a trip to another European country!
I want to book my flights – what day will I start and finish?
Please do not book any flights until you have received confirmation and acceptance onto the program from IAFS.
Our programs typically start on a Sunday afternoon with a ‘Meet and Greet’ with your homestay family. Please allow time for travel to Wexford or Birr from Dublin (c. 2.5hrs).
Our working week is Monday-Friday. You should arrive in good time to deal with jet-lag (a day or two before your start date). Your departure day should be, at the earliest, the day after your last day on site. If you are travelling home from Dublin Airport to, or through, the USA on your route home, please allow time to arrive to the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time to go through security and US Pre-Clearance (immigration) at Dublin Airport – see here for more information.
How do I get to Wexford or Ferns?
Getting from Wexford to the Irish National Heritage Park: There is a taxi rank across from the train station. On weekdays only (Mon to Fri) Wexford Bus run a bus every hour from Redmond Square outside McCauleys to the Irish National Heritage Park.
How do I get to Birr?
Getting to Birr from Dublin city: Kearns bus. This bus stops at the Ha’penny bridge, Heuston station and drops you off at Birr square. Birr is situated in County Offaly, Ireland. Please see our Contact Us page for more details.
What do I need to bring with me/pack?
The weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable. Students must pack a good waterproof jacket and waterproof pants, and sturdy waterproof closed-toe shoes (hiking boots or similar). In addition, students should pack clothes suitable for layering up on cold, chilly days, and light weight clothing for warm days.
We recommend fleece and thermal tops and shirts for layering, and t-shirts or tank tops for warm weather. Long pants are required for comfort as you will spend a lot of time kneeling. Shorts are not advised if you want to avoid scratches and stings from thistles and nettles, and bruises from kneeling. Also, long trousers will protect from insect bites and thus from associated illnesses.
We advise against wearing jeans as if it rains and you get wet, these take a long time to dry, and can be uncomfortable.
Bring a hat to keep the sun off your head, and a pair of work gloves to protect your hands. Pack sunscreen (at least SPF 30!) to protect your skin from sun and wind burn.
Pack separate clothes, shoes and a clean weather proof coat for days off. You must provide your own toiletries, medicines and anything else you require for your trip. While some of these will be available locally, please ensure you have a sufficient supply of any prescription medication etc. that may not be available in Ireland. If you are not staying in our Homestay accommodation please check that your accommodation provides towels.
Do I need to bring my own trowel?
A trowel is a personal piece of equipment for archaeologists. We have plenty of trowels for students to use, however, you may want to have your own. If you want to buy and bring your own trowel, we recommend a pointing type archaeology trowel, four to five inches in length – the Marshalltown archaeology trowel and WHS 4″ pointing trowel are typical. You should be able to buy a trowel in any good hardware store. There are plenty of on-line sources also. Remember to pack this into your hold luggage, as it may be confiscated by airport security if you pack it in your cabin luggage.
Are there any specific health concerns I should be aware of?
Archaeological excavation is a strenuous physical activity. In addition, the associated course activities includes walking for sustained periods on uneven terrain, standing, sitting or kneeling for long periods, and lifting and carrying tools, equipment and archaeological material. You may walk for several hours a day, and cover several miles, on hills and steep terrain. You need to be fit and able to participate.
If you suffer from any health concern that may affect your safe participation in this activity, you should speak to your physician before applying.
For information on vaccinations, please refer to your physician for recommended vaccinations, and those appropriate for your needs.
What else do I need to know before I travel?
We recommend that you consult your home country Foreign Travel Advice department to identify any health and safety concerns that may be of relevance to you, and for information on local customs and laws.
How much money should I bring?
This depends on the type of accommodation you choose, and how much travel and adventuring you plan to do while in Ireland. For travel around Ireland and further afield, most national and international travel hubs are based in Dublin (central train (Heuston, Connolly) and bus (Busaras) stations, Dublin International Airport) – as Wexford is a regional town, and Ferns is just outside Wexford you must travel to Dublin to continue on to most destinations. Students based in Birr will find that Athlone is the closest town with links for touring Ireland.
There are banks and ATMs in Wexford and Birr; most business will take MasterCard and Visa; American Express is not so common. Check with your bank before you travel.
For general safety and security reasons, it is never a good idea to travel with large quantities of cash.