IRFL40120 Folklore and Folkloristics

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course examines the history of folklore collecting and folkloristics in Ireland and abroad, with reference to the various movements and interests which have shaped their development. The importance of early literature in providing a historical backdrop to the study of folklore will be described and discussed. Particular attention will be paid to early collecting work in Ireland in the modern period, and to the work of pioneers in the field. The development of collecting methodology will be examined and traced from the late 18th century to the present. Specific examples of oral narrative and other aspects of tradition will be examined in depth with a view to enhanciing our understanding of the processes and dynamics of popular tradition. The conceptual approaches and ideologies underpinning the development of folkloristics will be investigated, both in Ireland and abroad, and these approaches will be evaluated in their historical context.

The course will make reference to the National Folklore Collection's unique archive holdings at UCD, and to the library in the UCD Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore with its comprehensive collection of 18th and 19th century writings and publications.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

1 Explain the historical development of folklore collecting and folkloristics in Ireland.
2. Assess the importance of individual collectors and writers in the field and review their contribution to the subject in the context of their own time-period.
3. Analyse and evaluate some of the principal sources for the study of Irish oral tradition and ethnology.
4. Indicate a familiarity with contemporary scholarship in the subject, and with significant trends in current research.
5. Place the history and development of Irish folklore studies in their European context.
6. Recognise and assess the contribution of key players to the development of folklore as an academic discipline at home and abroad.
7. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the nature of oral tradition and folklore, and of the principal theoretical approaches to the subject.
8. Show an awareness of the connection between the development of folklore studies on the one hand, and events in the wider political and cultural spheres on the other.
9. Evaluate the place of folklore studies in the area of cultural studies as a whole.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching in the module is geared towards the promotion of a spirit of enquiry among students and towards encouraging them to develop a reflective approach to their studies. Teaching is carried out in lectures and, in the academic year 2021/22, it is expected that classes will be delivered in person rather than online. Assessment will take the form of an in-semester essay and an end-of-term essay OR an end-of-term in-person exam. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Research essay, to be submitted online. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Essay: Research essay to be submitted online. Depending on the ongoing health situation, students may be required to sit an in-person exam rather than completing an online essay. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback in this module is centred around the in-semester continuous assessment component, enabling students to draw on feedback provided for the earlier in-semester component to improve their performance in the later component.

Name Role
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer