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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.

Autumn Entry (5ECTs): If you are a visiting or exchange student coming to Trinity for a year or a single semester the Understanding Ireland: The Trinity Semester Start-Up Programme (SSP) is a wonderful starting point for you. The programme offers an overview of Irish history and culture through a combination of lectures and fieldtrips and gives you an opportunity to gain an understanding of Irish history and culture as well as providing a wonderful opportunity to meet other Visiting Students before term even begins. This three-week programme carries 5 academic credits (ECTs)

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 February. 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:

  • The cost for the three-week Autumn Programme is €1825.00
  • The cost for the one-week January Programme (2022) is €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.

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.

***Please note the early arrival to your accommodation location is subject to an additional charge. The cost for the total period of the reservation for the duration of the programme is payable in full in advance.
Please contact the Accommodation Office directly for full details


SEMESTER 1 (Michaelmas Term): SSP will run for three weeks before the start of term. Dates for 2024-25 will be posted shortly.

SEMESTER 2 (Hilary Term): SSP will run for one week before the start of term. Dates for January 2025 programme will be posted shortly.

Further Information

Academic Director: Professor Peter Crooks

Academic C0-Director: Professor Suzanne O'Neill

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.