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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 24 September 2020

Ireland of 1964... seen through American eyes

O’Connell Street from Nelson’s Pillar, Merchant’s Quay before the shopping centre and kissing the Blarney Stone…

FIFTY YEARS AGO this week, an international exchange programme brought its first students to Ireland, so they could learn about the culture and way of life on the European island.

The small group taking part in the first EIL (Experiment in International Living) trip in 1964 used Ireland as their study subject and destination.

According to EIL, the emphasis was not on tourism – but on education and culture. However, they did manage to visit some of the country’s main attractions.

The students’ time was part of their studies in their respective colleges back in the US and their learnings from the trip here formed part of their studies.

They chose Ireland from a longer list of possible destinations, each ranging in cost from $450 to €1,150.

EIL Intercultural Learning is still running through its headquarters in Cork, the Irish branch of the 1932 organisation The Experiment in International Living.

It is the oldest educational exchange organisation in the world involving over 30,000 people each year on a variety of educational and cultural travel programmes. It is a not for profit, non religious and non political association.


Jo-Anne Higgins, current coordinator of the EIL Travel Awards and 50th Anniversary Events dug out these images from the trip, noting the “retro fashion, long forgotten about cars and glimpses of life in Ireland in the 1960s”.

First Look, arriving at Shannon Airport


Packing Up, Shannon Airport


Pitstop between Shannon and Dublin

PastedImage-70192 Do you recognise the town?

Merchant’s Quay, Cork


O’Connell Street, Dublin 


Dublin Horse Show


Trinity College Track Meet


Dáil Eireann


Blarney Castle


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Kissing the Blarney Stone


Witches Kitchen

PastedImage-16298 Peggy Halpern and Moira Murphy in the Witches Kitchen, Blarney Castle

Boat to Aran

PastedImage-66379 Group leader, John McNichols, on the boat to the Aran Islands

On the Island


House on Aran Island

PastedImage-78044 The students' residence on the island.

Daily Stroll


Leaving for England


See: 26 photos that sum up Ireland perfectly

More: 32 beautiful images of Ireland from 2012

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