Summer schools in law are a common feature of Irish legal education today. Originating in the US, summer schools are now an international phenomenon. In 2005, the eLaw Summer Institute (or ELSI), was established at University College Cork as a four-week international summer school. In this article, we reflect on the design and development of ELSI, with reference to three key aspects of this summer school. First, we address issues arising from the intensive teaching aspect of ELSI, including the use of technology as part of a blended learning experience. Second, we explore the challenges posed by the international audience in ELSI. Lastly, we critically examine the comparative elements of the school in terms of curriculum design and delivery of the programme. Our analysis builds upon existing literature in the areas of curriculum design and delivery, intensive teaching, the international classroom and comparative legal studies; and is informed by empirical data in the form of anonymous student questionnaires. The aim of the article is to engage with others involved in summer programmes, to share our experiences and critical analysis and to provide an insight for those not involved in summer school programmes into the challenges and the rewards for students, staff and the institutions involved.