Niagara University Students Return from Ireland
As he drove their private coach from Belfast to Dublin, Tony sang for them a mournful ballad of Derry (aka Londonderry), attempting to heal from a long history of sectarian conflict. They were nearing the end of what had been a 16-day study abroad excursion circling the Irish Isle, and Tony had accompanied them every mile. Tony laughed as Drs. Radatz and Schupp, along with their 27 Niagara University students applauded and requested souvenir selfies with their driver-cum-balladeer.
This was the first time that Drs. Paul Schupp and Dana Radatz created and led the study abroad program to the Republic of Ireland and Norther Ireland.
Officials at the Garda national police college in Templmore and the Police Services of Norther Ireland in Belfast hosted the Niagarans. At the former, the group learned about how one of the last police services to police without firearms understands their mission. In the latter, the group learned historical lessons in a context of terrorism and civil rights movement.
In Dublin, the Niagarans toured Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, where they learned that some of the newer buildings were just 150 years old. The college is home to the world-famous Book of Kells. Irish monks hand painted this illuminated manuscript depicting the gospels with Christion and Celtic symbols.
An Irish barrister led students through a mock trial at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. There they met with the Manager of Citywide Drug Crisis Campaign, where they learned about Ireland’s drug crisis and response. The Niagarans also toured infamous jails such as Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol, the Cork City jail, and Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol, the “Crum”, a fascinating way to learn about criminal punishment, colonialism, and sectarian violence.
Fortunately, the luck of the Irish was with the Niagarans who enjoyed beautiful weather throughout their tour. The excursion also took the Niagarans to natural World Heritage sites, the Cliffs of Moher and the Giants Causeway. They also visited castles in Kilkenny and Blarney, where they kissed the famous stone blessing each with the gift of gap.
The Ireland program was the third annual program Drs. Radatz and Schupp created and led focused on criminal and social justice themes and events. They collaborated with Dr. Diana Falco. Dr. Falco was both an alumnus and Criminology & Criminal Justice professor at Niagara University before founding her own educational tour operation ExplorEd.
Students enrolled in Dr. Radatz’s spring semester CRJ 397: Comparative Justice in Ireland and Northern Ireland course. The group then travelled to Ireland together after the semester. The course prepared students and allowed them to bond.
The program is also a brief, affordable, faculty-led option for students who want to add such experiences to their resumes but cannot afford, or are uncomfortable with studying abroad alone for a year. The programs are open to Niagara students in any class year studying in any major.
The Niagarans enjoyed their farewell dinner at the Brazenhead restaurant, Dublin’s oldest public house. Students shared memories and celebrated friendships. The Niagarans raised a toast to their time in Ireland and to next year’s trip, wherever that may be.