New scheme helps U.S. kids learn about Ireland first hand
Supervised stays in Ireland include total Irish immersion
Irish entrepreneur, Brendan Sheehan, has created an innovative and unique spin for people who want to get in touch with their Irish roots. The site is IrishHomestays.com.
Sheehan is the Managing Director of Irish Home Stays, a business that provides a one of a kind experience for children 12-16 years of age who are looking to learn and experience the beauty of Ireland.
The company has many years of experience hosting students from all over the world and educating them about the history, mythology, language and cuisine of Ireland.
Their goal is to have the child learn about how the country was first founded and the fun and diverse world of Irish Mythology, understand and speak basic Irish lingo, as well as be able to prepare authentic Irish cuisine, by the time their stay is over.
“We are the only IRISH owned dedicated company providing Cultural Homestay programs of this kind,” reads the company’s website.
The program offers a new form of vacation in which children will stay in a rural environment with Irish families—who have received Garda (Irish Police) Clearance—and experience everything from educational two-hours a day courses, to visits to some of Ireland’s most popular destinations.
There is a core group of 20 families and the students are placed into a family that is specifically tailored to fit the child’s wants and needs. The program promises student safety in a “cocooned environment” which means they will be under an adult’s supervision at all times.
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Sheehan describes the experience as something that will enrich the student’s knowledge of the country and provide a sort of link and connection for those students who are aware of their Irish decent.
“If you come to Ireland feeling Irish we want you to leave knowing you now truly are,” Sheehan said in an interview with Irish Central.
The program is open to all people, not just for those with an Irish connection. Sheehan’s ultimate goal is to bring more tourism from America and other parts of the world to the Emerald Isle, so that others can experience all that Ireland has to offer.
Brendan Sheehan, originally from Co. Limerick, was first inspired to start the business in 1993 when his uncle, New York Police Officer Daniel Sheehan, first planted the seed by warmly welcoming Brendan and showing him around New York and giving him an experience he will never forget.
“My uncle is my inspiration for this business,” Sheehan said. “My visit to NY in ’93 shaped me fundamentally and opened my mind to what I could do with my life and I want to repay my uncle by doing the same for his children when they visit Ireland.”
From there, Sheehan realized that through the start of Irish Home Stays, not only could he give back to his uncle, but also to the entire community. He wanted to start a business that will help educate his three children and create a future for them, and something that will not only become a valuable business but also a business that will help others.
He has built the idea from scratch, started the website and jumpstarted the company in less than a year. Sheehan hopes that by next spring his program attracts more students so that he can share with them the vast amounts of knowledge, love and admiration he has for his country.
There are different packages available suited for every student depending on their likes. They can choose how long to stay, where to stay and which activities they would like to do for entertainment during their visit, through the website.
The price includes all meals, room and board as well as all cultural activities and a ten percent reduction is offered for people affiliated with the armed forces and police departments.
For more information, visit IrishHomestays.com.
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