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Geology Field Course in Ireland


Clonbur, Ireland

Program Description

This is a capstone field geology course intended for geoscience majors that are near the end of their undergraduate careers. Upon completion of this course, students should be qualified to function as professional geologists or environmental scientists in respect to field data collection, map preparation, and report preparation.

This intense lecture and practicum seminar serves as a capstone experience for geology majors, and combines study-abroad experience in western Ireland with a modern approach to field mapping, tectonic synthesis and professional report preparation. We train you to see the “big picture” using the spectacular geology and environment of western Ireland. Emphasis includes classical and digital mapping, glacial geomorphology and climate change, regional tectonics, and environmental earth science. Field locations feature unspoiled glaciated hills and valleys, Precambrian metamorphic rocks, Paleozoic metasediments, meta-volcanic rocks, igneous intrusions, Tertiary dikes, and Quaternary deposits. 

Location Description

The JMU Geology Field Course is based in the Irish village of Clonbur in County Galway, western Ireland. This is approximately 40 kilometers from the medieval walled city of Galway, a cultural center for traditional Irish music and theatre. During the course students will visit spectacular natural landscapes and geologic features in Counties Galway, Mayo and Clare. The final week we transfer to the town of Doolin in the karst limestone of the Burren, one of Europe's unique natural environments.

Participants will have time for leisure activities such as hiking, horseback riding, swimming, sailing, kayaking as well as enjoying cultural visits to Galway, Westport, Doolin, and the Aran Islands.


Steve Whitmeyer | | Geology and Environmental Science


Accommodations will be provided through hostels and residence halls/dormitories, with several lunches or dinners provided per week.

Additional Items to Consider

An equipment list will be provided to students upon acceptance into the program.

This program is only open to upper level geoscience / geology / earth science majors.

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

  • JMU Short-Term Application Form

  • A supplemental essay addressing the following question:

    "Why do you wish to participate in this program?"

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


GEOL 399: Field Geology (6 credits)