Iona University Launches New Campus Pilot in County Mayo, Ireland

Iona University is proud to announce it will launch a new campus pilot in County Mayo, Ireland, connecting to its Irish Catholic heritage and expanding opportunities for students to engage even more deeply abroad. Located within the historic Westport House Estate along the Atlantic coast, classes are set to begin Summer 2024.

“Iona University’s legacy in Ireland dates back many centuries. From St. Columba in 563 A.D. to Blessed Edmund Rice in the early 1800s to the Christian Brothers who opened our doors in New Rochelle in 1940, this is a legacy we proudly carry forward to this day,” said Iona University President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “To return to our spiritual homeland is not only extremely rewarding; it is also full of potential. As we embrace our past, we are building our future, and together with the people of County Mayo, we look forward to the journey ahead.”

September 19 also marked Iona’s 83rd birthday. It was on this day just one year ago that the campus community came together to celebrate Iona’s transition from a college to a university.

Now, the momentum continues to build as Iona expands its presence both around the globe and close to home. Notably, in 2021, Iona nearly doubled its footprint by acquiring a new 28-acre campus in Bronxville, which is primarily home to the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences in addition to newly renovated performing arts spaces, athletic fields, and more. 

Growing new student enrollment by nearly 30 percent since 2019, Iona is also celebrating its recognition in several new national rankings, elevating its previous status on regional lists. The Princeton Review, for instance, just included Iona in its highly influential ranking of “The Best 389 Colleges” nationwide. Also taking notice was The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse, which just ranked Iona as the 66th “Best College in America,” listing Iona among the Top 10 Catholic schools nationwide.

All of this continues to reinforce the transformative power of an Iona education and the value it provides for its graduates, who now number over 50,000 around the world.

“It’s always a great day to be a Gael, but now more than ever, especially as we continue to expand opportunities both inside the classroom and beyond, the energy across campus is infectious,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, senior vice president for Enrollment and Student Affairs. “Iona’s Irish heritage plays such an integral role in our identity and inspires us every single day. I cannot wait to see how our students flourish abroad. It is sure to be a transformative experience with memories that will last a lifetime.”

Opening Summer 2024, Iona Ireland will pilot its summer academic programs at historic Westport House, a 400-acre estate and biodiverse eco-system located in County Mayo.

As a leading attraction along the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way – one of the longest coastal routes in the world – Westport House is not only breathtakingly beautiful but also deeply committed to building a sustainable future. With a history dating back to the 16th century, the property even includes a cherished connection to the famed “Pirate Queen,” Grace O’Malley.

Strikingly, the estate’s majestic, waterside location provides a stunning view of Croagh Patrick, a holy mountain where St. Patrick is said to have banished the serpents from Ireland.

“We will be delighted to welcome the visiting students of Iona University to Westport next year for their first-ever summer academic program in County Mayo. Westport House and its environs have so much to offer every visitor – steeped not only in Irish history and Celtic mythology but with an enviable heritage spanning over 400 years and going back as far as the famous 16th century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley,” said Barry O’Connor, chief executive of Westport Estate. “Our biodiverse estate lands are right now embarking on a new journey rooted in sustainable and restorative nature practices. Westport House is a wonderfully rich, diverse, and varied environment to visit and to learn in and we very much hope this is the beginning of an exciting new and lasting collaboration with Iona University.”    

Westport House is also within walking distance to the center of the town of Westport, which has been voted the best place to live in Ireland by the Irish Times newspaper. Brimming with music, art, dining, and more, Westport enjoys a vibrant cultural scene amidst its charming architectural landscape.  

“Westport House has a bold vision for the future – and we are excited to be a part of it,” Carey said. “We look forward to bringing this program to full fruition. The fertile seeds we have planted in Westport are borne out of the spirit developed over many centuries for us as Gaels. We look forward to growing with the people, land, and communities of Westport for generations to come.”