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Dreaming of Ireland

Dakota College photography instructor still hopes to take group on tour to Ireland in September

Submitted Photo A student on a past trip to Ireland with Dakota College at Bottineau’s study abroad outdoor photography class.

Clint Saunders, who is an online photography program instructor at Dakota College at Bottineau, dreams of travels that will be possible when the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

Last fall’s scheduled trip to Ireland with a group for an outdoor photography course had to be canceled due to the pandemic. A trip planned for this coming September is still on, though Saunders recognizes that it might have to be called off as well. Still, he is staying optimistic.

“If travel can get back to normal by September, I think the 2021 trip will be our largest group,” said Saunders in information provided by the college. “Everyone is ready to get out and explore the world again, and what could be a better place to start than Ireland.”

Saunders started the study abroad program about four years ago in partnership with The Institute of Study Abroad in Ireland. He had gone on a trip with his wife, who teaches at another college, and he fell so in love with Ireland that he decided to try to set up a similar opportunity for his own students.

“It’s all in northwestern Ireland, up in Donegal,” he said, a location that has been largely wild and unexplored, where many people speak fluent Irish Gaelic. “It’s just beautiful.”

Students can take the outdoor, landscape photography course for credit and non-students can take the trip for non-credit. It is open to people who are not students. People must be over age 18 to travel alone. Children between the ages of 13 and 17 can go on the trip with a parent or guardian.

Saunders said the price of the trip, which does not include airfare, is about $1,500, which includes housing and two meals a day. The trip is scheduled for Sept. 5 – 12. During the trip, they will explore or photograph Donegal, the Hill of Tara, Tullan Strand, Fairy Bridges, Sligo Horseshoe, Drumcliffe, Mullaghmore, The Ancients, Cavan Burren & Surrounds, St. Patrick’s Well, Port Na Marbh, Ballyshannon, Glenveagh Castle, Fanad Lighthouse, Errigal & Poison Glen, Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Creevykeel, Glencar Waterfall, Parkes Castle, Giants Causeway, Eagle’s Rock, Kinlough, Boat trip to Devinish Island Monastic Site with visit to Enniskillen, Belleek & Castle Caldwell, The Giant’s Causeways.

A number of people had already paid for last year’s trip and had the option of either getting a refund or leaving their money in the account and going on the trip when it was possible to travel again. The same option will be given if this year’s trip has to be called off again due to the pandemic.

Dakota College at Bottineau’s photography program is offered as a Career and Technical Education program. Students train to be professional photographers and learn how to run their own businesses as well as how to take photos. They can earn either a two year associate’s degree or a one-year certificate. During the program, they also create their own professional portfolios and have opportunities to gain real-lie experience.

Saunders, who lives in Wyoming and also travels to other states to work as a photographer, is able to teach online from various locations. An on-site manager at Dakota College handles needs there.

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