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Both safe (Global Peace Index ‘6th safest country in the world’) and student-friendly (40% of the population under twenty five years old), Ireland offers life-changing experiences to its visitors, and embraces students from diverse backgrounds to maintain and enhance its dynamic higher education sector. International students who are considering taking up music studies in Ireland have a number of options. Those who intend completing a full undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Ireland should make direct inquiries to the music colleges and university music departments at which they intend to study. Students already registered on music courses abroad, but who wish to study music at an Irish institution for a semester, year or more should in the first instance contact the International Office at their own institution.
As part of the EU, Ireland affords EU citizens the same rights to study or work in Ireland as that of native citizens. If you are not a citizen of the EU you may require a visa to enter Ireland, although a number of countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan and U.S. are designated as Non-Visa Required (for further information see www.educationinireland.com). If you are concerned about your English speaking skills, Ireland has a number of English language courses available, both as part of universities and higher education colleges as well as from private English language schools.
The Irish Council for International Students www.icosirl.ie works with student organisations and government agencies to make sure that international students are given both the educational and social support they need. ICOS’s members cover all of Ireland’s universities, most technology institutes and the majority of independent colleges. Musical institutes and departments across Ireland are also committed to ensuring that students with a disability are afforded every support to facilitate the fullest possible access to what the country can offer. You will find a broad range of music studies options in Ireland, from university music departments spanning more than four centuries of higher education on the island, to a conservatoire system established in the 19th century, to more recent courses available in independent colleges. A list of institutions offering undergraduate and postgraduate degree course in music can be found here.
Music is a key part of Ireland’s cultural fabric. European and Pan-Atlantic influences combined with local traditions and contemporary scenes make Ireland a unique and inclusive epicentre for music. Access to live music is unparalleled, ranging from the most intimate settings to lavish open air festivals. Students wishing for traditional music experiences can discover late night session playing, Irish céilí dancing and world renowned step dancing in additional to a multiplicity of gigs and festivals. Students with an interest in classical repertoire are catered for with countless recitals, concerts, competitions and festivals in symphonic, chamber, vocal, choral, opera and other genres, including new music events.
In addition to its thriving domestic popular music scenes, Ireland also hosts international pop and rock acts. The cities of Belfast, Cork, Derry/Londonderry, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford frequently host major international performers. Those wishing to escape to rural festivals have a wide and varied range to choose from, including Castlepalooza and Electric Picnic. Smaller and mid-sized venues cater to multiple musical tastes spanning: dance, techno and electronica; blues and folk; punk, metal; and emerging rap and hip-hop scenes.
Ireland’s diversity does not stop at music. The Irish countryside is never far from the urban centres, and is easily accessible by bus and train. With the urban and rural neighboured so closely, students are within driving (and sometimes, cycling and walking) distance of oceanic panoramas, hikes along national trails, long sandy beaches, inland and coastal mountain ranges and ancient castles and other ruins scattered throughout the countryside. In the major cities, students can visit art galleries; explore museums; eat and drink at assorted. pubs, cafes and restaurants; wander expansive parkland, view historical treasures from ancient Celtic and medieval periods, learn about the legacies of Ireland’s colonial and post-independence past or experience numerous cultural offerings in contemporary film, theatre, dance, visual art - and of course, music. Most importantly of all, Ireland and its residents offer you a warm welcome wherever you go.