Center for International Programs

Newgrande is a 5,200-year-old tomb in Ireland's Ancient East, a region of the country rich with monuments older than the pyramids. Jenna Kosnick '24 was led deep inside the inner chamber of the tomb, which is older than Stonehenge, and then someone turned out the lights. 

Jenna spent a few years of her childhood living in Japan, though her thoughts often drifted to Ireland. Jenna's father was in the military and was stationed in Japan on March 11, 2011. On that afternoon, the most devastating earthquake in the nation's history rippled through the island, and Jenna remembers the ground swaying like the ocean. She has fond memories of her life in Japan too, but her heart always belonged to the Emerald Isle. 

 "I was just always obsessed with Ireland. I read a lot of books about magical fairies and Irish lore. I wanted the magic to be real."

Is the magic real? She figured she'd have to travel to Ireland to find out. Jenna made the decision to study abroad this fall and she chose Ireland as a full circle moment connecting her to her childhood. She's studying in Cork and currently taking an archeology course. They're not studying fairies, but it turns out, the history is more exciting than fiction. 

The class has taken several field trips including an excursion to the Garranes ringfort, a circular fortress built thousands of years ago. In the Newgrande tomb, the tour guide killed the lights and gave the students a minute in perfect darkness.

  "It's literally a manmade structure that has stood for thousands of years. In that space, in the complete darkness, you feel close to the people who died and were buried there."

Next, the class will be taking a field trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Is there an archeological angle?  "No, but they're cool!"