For fifty years, Aquinas students and faculty have crossed the sea to study, explore and create in a small Irish village called Tully Cross. Located close to the sea, the breathtaking countryside and vibrant culture have inspired many works of writing and visual art by Aquinas students. For the 50th anniversary of Aquinas College’s connection to Tully Cross, students, faculty and alumni took on the task of combining a selection of them into the book Where We Left Our Last Few Words: 50 Years in Tully Cross, now available on Amazon.

Book Cover for Where We Left our Last Few Words featuring an art piece of a landscape made from torn paper ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

“Tully Cross is just breathtakingly beautiful,” said Dr. Michelle DeRose, faculty director of the Ireland study abroad program. “For anyone who needs inspiration from nature, you get that in buckets there.”

A majority of the work to bring this book together was done by students and faculty in Ireland between scenic hikes, excursions to other towns and classwork.

The four students who were part of the selection committee were taking a creative writing class in Ireland with me at the time,” said Dr. DeRose. “I could just say, ‘Come to my cottage tonight for three hours. We're gonna get this done.’”

People pose in front of Aquinas Flag in Ireland

The cover art by Emily Ambs was created during an art class taught on the Tully Cross trip. Ambs wrote this about the piece in a Facebook post celebrating the release of the book.:

I made a card with leftover scraps from our art project and decided to send it to my grandma, Joyce Norton, who was in many ways an artist (though she would hate being described as one) I remember she had the card displayed on her mantle for a while. Some time after she passed, my mom returned the card to me.

Fast forward to today, that same art piece, which was inspired by my favorite place and cherished by my grandma, is the cover of a published book that celebrates 50 years of Aquinas College's study abroad program in Tully Cross, Ireland. I think my grandma would be proud.

The book is dedicated to Professor Emerita Miriam Pederson, five-time faculty director of the Ireland program, who passed away in the spring of 2023. Her poems appear in the book as well as works by the students she took with her to Ireland.

The Ireland study abroad program has created an international family and a lasting legacy. No matter where the alumni who have visited Tully Cross have settled after leaving Aquinas, this book will keep the breathtaking landscape, the welcoming community and the beautiful memories close by on the shelf. 

You can order your copy now through Amazon.

50 Years of Tully Cross Photo Gallery: