Aquinas celebrates the Tully Cross tradition


Stone Walls of Inisheer by Rebecca Kenny

Story by Kelsey Dassance, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Kelsey Dassance

The Tully Cross study abroad program has been an Aquinas tradition for nearly 45 years. Every spring, a handful of students venture to the small village in the west of Ireland to immerse themselves in the community of Tully Cross. The program is specifically designed to encourage an in-depth experience of the rich culture found in the countryside of Ireland. Throughout the history of the program, hundreds of students have taken advantage of this incredible opportunity, and many have called it the highlight of their college experience.

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the program, the Art and Music Center is hosting an  Ireland Alumni Artists’ Exhibition featuring eight artists who participated in the Tully Cross program while at Aquinas.  The artists; Lisa Dionne, Beth Goyette Jacobson, Sally Jenks, Rebecca Kenny, Allison Nix, Ben Pederson, Michelle Plumstead and Tim Priest, used a variety of mediums to express and reminisce about the time they spent as students in Tully Cross.

Nix, who submitted a collection of prints inspired by Omey Island in Galway, described her time abroad saying “it [felt] like a dream, fuzzy but clear, slightly like a Neverland.” Her prints confirmed this description, as they contained rolling coastlines, natural beauty, and the wonder of the countryside. The calm and alluring prints gave a meaningful insight into the program that is an important staple in the Aquinas Community.

Another artist, Tim Priest, described Ireland as “a work of art in itself” which he could not improve upon. Through a series of hand-drawn self portraits, Priest uniquely exhibits the experience he had and continues to reminisce upon. He describes his conscious thoughts to include “gorgeous landscapes, creating lifetime friendships, bitter cold and biting winds, cows greeting me at my doorstep, playing fetch with stray dogs” and more.

Overall, each collection and piece of artwork offers a distinctive perception of the unique experience that is available to all Aquinas students. As the College celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Tully Cross program, this exhibition is a fantastic way to peek into the lives of Aquinas students who embarked on this adventure, and inspire a curiosity for those who have not yet. Tully Cross has and will continue to hold a special place in the heart of the Aquinas community; a fact that is evidenced by the alumni artists on exhibit.

Be sure to make your way through the gallery before it’s gone. The exhibit runs through Sept. 28.

If you have questions about study away opportunities at Aquinas, set up an appointment with Tim Ramsay at

Categories: Culture, The Saint

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