A place in Ireland

In April of 1999, BC strengthened its international presence and reinforced ties with its Irish heritage

Twenty-five years ago this month, Boston College took a major step in strengthening its international presence, and at the same time reinforcing ties with its Irish heritage.

In April of 1999, the University purchased property in the St. Stephen’s Green area of Dublin, in close proximity to the Irish Parliament and other government buildings as well as Trinity College Dublin, the National Concert Hall, National Museum of Ireland, and shopping areas. The 18th-century Georgian building quickly became a locus for Boston College programs, events, and activities, and a resource for BC faculty, staff, students, and alumni visiting Ireland—all under the bailiwick of Boston College Ireland.  

Mike Cronin

“Boston College Ireland is a vibrant place that welcomes students, faculty, and alumni throughout the year and is deeply rooted in Irish academic, cultural, and political life,” said Professor Mike Cronin, the academic director of BC Ireland since 2005.

During the academic year, BC Ireland hosts study-abroad students participating in weekly Irish Studies classes while supporting a cultural program that enables students to optimize their time spent in Ireland. BCI’s summer programs have focused on the fields of business, law, literature, sports, biology, and chemistry, and its summer internship program gives students employment opportunities in sectors such as business, government, sports, non-profit, education, and culture.

In addition, BCI has co-organized and co-hosted special events, including alumni holiday gatherings and rallies for BC football games played in Dublin, and more regularly occurring affairs like seminars, book launches, and meetings for a wide range of academic organizations. In December, BCI was a venue for a four-day celebration of BC’s partnership with Trinity College Dublin, and will help support an annual symposium jointly with the Long Room Hub at Trinity.

BCI’s fruitful relationship with the BC Irish Studies Program has helped initiate a series of large public history programs, exploring topics such as the Irish experience at Gallipoli in World War I, Irish sporting heritage, and the history of the Gaelic Athletic Association. BCI partnered with the Irish government on an online resource, Century Ireland, relating to the momentous years leading to Irish independence.  

In addition, BC Ireland has provided administrative or logistical assistance to, among others, the United States Embassy, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Irish U.S. Alumni Association, a nonprofit voluntary network of alumni of U.S. State Department exchange programs.

With the 25th anniversary of BCI’s formal opening still more than a year away, planning continues for celebrating the milestone, and for the future of BCI.

“It’s very exciting to think about the years ahead,” said Cronin. “One thing that’s clear, based on the first quarter-century of BCI, is how critical the partnerships we’ve formed are to the work we do. We are continuing to promote Boston College as a multifaceted international university that can collaborate and contribute in so many different ways, on an academic or professional basis.

“BC Ireland is more than a name or a building: It’s a very real symbol of the University’s legacy, as an institution created to educate the children of Irish families in Boston.”