Roads to Appalachia Trip to Northern Ireland Planned

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College is sponsoring a study and travel abroad program in the summer of 2012 called Roads to Appalachia through Northern Ireland.

The trip, planned for July 13-28, 2012, will explore Northern Ireland from the Scotch-Irish roots of the 17th century to the conflict of the 20th century through a short-term course and on-site visits. Multiple day trips are planned to explore a significant portion of the six countries of Ulster.

“We will concentrate on understanding the historical background of the early Lowland Scots to Ulster, whom we call the Scotch-Irish. It was this group that immigrated to the back country of Appalachia from the early to late 1700s. We will also study the conflict era of the 20th century in Northern Ireland, learning how the conflict arose and how reconciliation is coming about in recent times,” said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Director of the Folklife Center.

Anyone in the community in addition to FSU and Pierpont students, faculty and staff, may apply to attend. FSU and Pierpont students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships to help defray the costs of the trip. Students must apply by Feb. 1. Those who enroll in the course FOLK 3350 Roads to Appalachia Study Abroad will receive three hours of college credit.

Before the trip, there will be opportunities for the participants to receive background information on the places to be visited. For itinerary information or to apply for the trip, contact Dr. Judy P. Byers at (304) 367-4286 or or the Folklife Center at (304) 367-4403 or or Following is a link to the Student Scholarship Application and Trip Application:

Byers and Noel W. Tenney, Cultural Specialist for the Folklife Center, will lead and host the program. Rev. Richard Bowyer, Minister Emeritus of the Wesley Foundation, will lead orientation sessions and assist with local Belfast arrangements. Sessions will be instructed by Dr. Johnston McMaster of Trinity College, Dublin/Belfast and a minister in the Irish Methodist Church. The Rev. David Kerr, with the East Belfast Mission, has provided local arrangements and will also lecture, present and travel with the group.

The trip will be centered in Belfast, where educational sessions and presentations will be held. Visits to museums, historical and natural sites and research centers are planned. The group will be housed at Farset Conference Center in Belfast. Air and land/lodging in Dublin is arranged by National Travel, Inc.

Pre-travel study sessions and presentations will be available during the spring and summer. A list of selected readings is available. Reading sets will be located in the Fidura Special Collections Library at the Folklife Center and at the Musick Library.