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Understanding Ireland:
The Trinity Semester Start-Up Programme

Semester Start Up

About the Semester Start-Up Programme

The Trinity Semester Start-Up Programme is designed for international visiting and exchange students. The programme runs at the beginning each semester prior to the start of normal teaching. Full details of the academic content of the programme are available online in the Semester Start-Up Programme handbook.

Autumn Entry (5 ECTs): If you are a visiting or exchange student coming to Trinity for a year or a single semester, the three-week autumn programme is for you. The programme normally begins in the final week of August and covers the first one-sixth of your semester work commitment at Trinity (5 ECTs), with the remainder being covered by the other undergraduate courses you choose for that semester.

Spring Entry (not credit-bearing): If you are arriving in Trinity for the spring semester, you have the option to take a week-long version of Understanding Ireland, which runs in the week before normal teaching begins in January. The week-long programme offers an overview of Irish history and culture through a combination of lectures and fieldtrips.

What will I be studying?

Understanding Ireland immerses you in the rich world of Irish history and culture. Students receive lectures in each of these three strands, which are taught through lectures and seminars:

  • The Story of Ireland: From St Patrick to the Present Day

  • Visualizing Ireland: Archaeology, Art and Architecture

  • Representing Ireland: Ireland and the Irish in Drama, Literature and Film

Excursions to national cultural institutions and historical landmarks are integral to the programme. Within Dublin, you will attend a performance at The Abbey Theatre (founded by W.B. Yeats in 1904) and visit Croke Park, headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). You will go on a field trip to a site of major historical importance outside the capital, such as the Hill of Tara (the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland) or the monastery of Glendalough, with its famous round tower.


Both the Autumn and Spring programmes incur an additional cost. For students participating in institutional exchanges, this cost will be additional to the fees charged by your home university. The fees are as follows:

  • Autumn Entry (5 ECTs): €1,825

  • Spring Entry (not credit-bearing): €660


Apply on the visiting student application form.

To apply for SSP all you have to do is tick the ‘SSP’ box on the Study Abroad application form and you will automatically be included in the programme


Trinity College Dublin offers a range of accommodation options and all incoming non-EU students are welcome to apply for Trinity accommodation. Due to Trinity's city centre location, your first choice may not always be available. Accommodation breaks down into three types: on-campus, Trinity Hall and Trinity-certified student residences. Students may be housed in different accommodation for the duration of the programme than for the academic term. Autumn term students will be housed in Trinity Hall for the duration of the Semester Start-Up Programme. Spring term students may be housed in any Trinity housing.

Trinity Hall, an official Trinity residence, is an apartment-style complex approximately 4km from the main Trinity campus, which has many recreational facilities including TV lounges, a quiet reading space, games areas, group-use facilities and a music practice room. There is internet access in every room and 24-hour security on the complex. Most importantly, there is a vibrant sense of community in Trinity Hall, making it an ideal place for striking up new friendships and settling into Dublin life. Trinity Hall accommodation comprises a variety of single and twin bedrooms, some with private bathrooms (known as en-suite within an apartment setting. Trinity Hall is accessible by bus and tram, while many students choose to walk or cycle.

All Trinity-certified accommodation has been vetted for quality, security and ease of access to our city-centre campus. For more information and to book accommodation, visit the Trinity accommodation website.


Michaelmas Term:
Welcome reception, Arts Building, 5 p.m. Sunday 19 August 2018
SSP teaching: Monday 20 August – Friday 7 September 2018

Hilary Term:
Welcome reception, Arts Building, 5 p.m. Sunday 13 January 2019
SSP teaching: Monday 14 January – Friday 18 January 2019

Further information

Academic Director: Professor Patrick Walsh

Programme Coordinator: Dr Patricia Stapleton

For general enquiries and further information, please contact the Understanding Ireland coordinator. A full prospectus, including the module handbook and sample teaching and learning materials, is available in hard and soft copy on request.

Telephone: 00 353 1 896 8589
The Trinity Semester Start-Up Programme brochure is available online here.