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Irish adventure awaits, ye lads and lassies!

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023
Students riding in bus
Scenes from a coach, somewhere between Kilkenny and Cork City. Left side, front to back: Meghan Calley, Holly Tomason, Natalie McGee, Leah Scott, Otto Wallin and Kat Gilmore. Right side, front to back: Ally Bell, John and Andrea Jensen, Sophia Partridge, Eliana Tefft, Jess Byers and Nikolas Clesceri.

Mystery, culture and adventure abroad await those who enroll in Molly Michaud’s spring 2024 Irish Murder Mysteries class at North Idaho College.

Registration is open through Jan. 14 for thrill-seekers interested in having an outside-the-classroom experience while expanding their knowledge of the murder mystery literary genre.

English professor Michaud and NIC P.E. instructor Ryan Hayes, an avid traveler and outdoorsman, will whisk students away to Ireland after a semester of studying Irish murder mysteries ranging from 750 A.D. to present day, covering ancient Brehon law, English occupation, the Magdalene laundries, the Travelling community, the Troubles, Celtic Tiger and points in between.

“These help us study the history and cultural aspects to prepare for our trip,” Michaud said.

Michaud created the course in 2017 with former NIC colleague Aaron Cloyd. They and 40 students embarked on a United Kingdom excursion, visiting England, Wales and Scotland after studying British murder mysteries during the 2018 spring semester.

“I’m fortunate to have friends and family in Ireland and the U.K. whom I visit nearly every summer,” Michaud said. “When chatting about my summer adventures with one of my students during office hours one day, she said, ‘Wow. You’re so lucky. I could never do that.’ It got me thinking about ways I could make that a reality for people who think that is out of reach to them — it’s not.”

Michaud again took students to the British Isles in 2019 and planned for the first Irish Murder Mystery course and abroad study in 2020, but postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic put plans on hold.

Happily, she was able to resurrect the class last spring with assistant philosophy professor John Jensen and bring 19 students to Ireland.

The 2024 Irish Murder Mysteries trip has 18 slots available for students, faculty, staff and community members.

“When I’m on break from grading papers, I devour murder mysteries, so I thought I could bridge that with my love of travel, culture and history and share these with students,” Michaud said.

Education far beyond the classroom gives students opportunities to actually live what they are learning in their books, providing memorable, once-in-a-lifetime academic experiences.

“We use the class time throughout the semester to study Irish history and culture, via murder mysteries, so we have a solid understanding of what we’re hoping to experience once we get there,” Michaud said. “Students are thrilled to walk the streets and visit the places we’ve read about in class, too.”

The trip is planned for May 15 through June 5. NIC travelers will stay in Waterford, Cork City, Kenmare, Galway, Sligo, Derry, Belfast and London and visit historic sites and villages and hike some amazing trails, such as Knocknarea and the Bonane Heritage Trail. Time throughout the semester will be spent team building and getting in shape in preparation for the foot travel ahead — as much as 10 miles a day.

The trip takes place at the end of the semester to allow for a full experience abroad. Students will spend three weeks exploring Ireland, rather than rushing through a shorter trip.

“The travel is timed so that NIC students can participate in the NIC graduation ceremony,” Michaud said. “We’ve also had several dual-credit students participate, and we return in time for them to walk at their high school graduations.”

Michaud said she loves introducing her students to new cultural experiences.

“I had a professor when I was in graduate school who took me to France for a conference,” she said. “It changed my life, so now I guess I’m providing something like that for my students. It is probably the most gratifying experience as an educator to watch my students grow over the course of the semester and then once we touch down in Dublin — their excitement, their joy is phenomenal.”

The course/trip fee is $3,750. This includes round-trip airfare from Seattle to Dublin, all in-country transportation, breakfast every day, some group dinners/lunches and admission fees to the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway, Bunratty Castle and Folkpark.

For more information, contact English Professor Molly Michaud at molly.michaud@nic.edu or (208) 769-7878.

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