DkIT unveils new programme on Newgrange and the Boyne Valley

DkIT unveils new programme on Newgrange and the Boyne Valley
By Ian Cameron @IanAlexCameron

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has announced the launch of a new Certificate in Cultural Landscapes: Newgrange and the Boyne Valley.

The programme which was designed by DkIT’s Department of Humanities, aims to introduce students to the rich archaeological and historical heritage of Ireland through the sites, monuments and history of the Boyne Valley, Co. Meath and areas of Co. Louth.

The Boyne Valley has long been known as a deeply significant area with a very long heritage and history. As far back as 1849 Sir William Wilde (father of Oscar Wilde and a distinguished antiquarian) in his book The Beauties of the River Boyne and its Tributary the Blackwater wrote “So memorable in ancient history and so rich in monuments of the past is it ... that the history of Ireland might be written in tracing its banks”. This observation is as true today as it was then; the cultural landscape of the Boyne Valley charts the development of Ireland over millennia from earliest times to the present day. Fáilte Ireland has recently underlined the importance of the area with its inclusion as a key region in the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative.

During the intensive two-week module, students are introduced to the various phases of development of Ireland’s past with on-campus seminars led by experts in their respective fields. Each session is followed by a themed field trip where students have the opportunity to visit and experience the equivalent Boyne Valley sites first-hand. The field trips commence with visits to prehistoric sites in the region: Newgrange and the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage site, the Loughcrew Megalithic Cemetery and the Hill of Tara. Medieval sites include the monastic complexes at Monasterboice and Kells, the high medieval abbeys of Mellifont and Bective, the castle at Trim and the streetscape of the town. There is even a visit to the ‘live’ archaeological excavation being run by the Irish Archaeology Field School at Blackfriary in Trim. The module concludes with a visit to the historic Battle of the Boyne site at Oldbridge, Beaulieu House, Slane Castle and the Ledwidge Museum.

Speaking today, Programme Director and Lecturer in Archaeology at DkIT, Dr Conor Brady said, “The Boyne Valley is located on DkIT’s doorstep; our staff has a strong track record in carrying out research in the area and we have also been visiting sites and monuments there with our students for years as part of other programmes. It makes a lot of sense to create a programme that is specifically designed to showcase this remarkable region and celebrate the close connections that DkIT has with it.”

The first course participants will travel to DkIT from Molloy College, NY to complete the Certificate in Cultural Landscapes on May 26, 2016. The students will receive academic credits which will count towards their own qualifications in their home college.