Four Marian University professors – Dr. Mary Gross, Dr. Matthew Szromba, Dr. Jerry Burns, Dr. Cooper Wakefield – set off to explore Ireland, beginning in Belfast, with nearly 30 Marian students. This journey is sure to be one of firsts, new thoughts, and forever-memories.

Belfast, rattled with a torrid past including violence, hardship, and injustice, serves as an excellent experiential classroom, showing students pieces of a past that just can’t be visualized through textbooks.

“In Belfast, tourists are uncommon enough that an American accent elicits a “where err yous from?” and a conversation from the locals. Sometimes a wee pint is included. They will share their stories, so the history and literature of the place is no longer abstract. It has a name. It has a face in Belfast,” said Dr. Mary Gross, associate professor of history. “In Belfast, history is literally painted on the walls of buildings in hundreds of murals which visitors encounter as they turn down unfamiliar streets. Some are painted in the bright hopeful tones of peace and hope…”

Through the oral lessons, students are gaining valuable insight. They’re also enjoying their time. The beautiful landscapes, the new cuisine, the conversations, and the opportunities to fully immerse in a new culture are all experiences that will live on through memories and photos posted on social media #sabressupportingsabres

   

The City streets of Belfast
Photo by: Ashley Black

Giant’s Causeway! (North coast of Ulster)
Photo by: Ashley Black

   

Students (back row left to right: Brock Weston, Haily Joas, Danielle Snyder and front row left to right: Emily Maro and Rebecca Loresch) enjoyed carefully exploring Giant’s Causeway along the north coast of Ulster!

Photo by: Ashley Black

Students (left to right) Jackie Drake, Haily Joas, Danielle Snyder, and Ashley Black took this photo in Belfast after signing the peace wall.

Photo by: Ashley Black

 

Marian University Students crossed the Carrick Rede Rope Bridge during their tour of the north coast of Ulster. This bridge suspends 90 feet high!

Photo by: Ashley Black