IRST10010 Introduction to Irish Studies

Academic Year 2023/2024

This interdisciplinary module introduces students to a variety of questions, methods, and concepts underlying Irish Studies. A central theme of the lectures examines the processes through which identity is constructed through time. The course material raises a series of provocative and stimulating questions about concepts of Ireland and Irishness. This introductory module incorporates themes and methods from a broad range of related disciplines including history, archaeology, literature, film, art, music, sport, politics and folklore. The intersection between digital resources and traditional humanities research methods is explored through specified coursework. Active learning will be incorporated through reports on cultural site visits and reviews of cultural events.

The aims of the course are as follows:
1) To introduce students to an understanding of the breadth of cultural and historical knowledge and perspectives on 'Ireland' and 'Irishness';
2) To enable students to grasp the complex and dynamic ways in which Ireland and Irishness have been conceptualised;
3) To facilitate students' engagement with the field of Irish Studies;
4) To develop students' writing skills, research skills, digital competence and cultural awareness.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an increased awareness of the diversity of concepts of Ireland and Irishness;
2. Identify similarities and differences between various disciplinary approaches to such concepts;
3. Analyse a broad range of material from diverse disciplines oriented around Irish Studies;
4. Develop a range of academic skills including research analysis, transcription of source documents and the writing of essays, reports, literary reviews and portfolios.

Indicative Module Content:

(subject to change)

Section A: Excavating the Past: The Archaeology of Ireland
A series of lectures examining Ireland's pre-historic past, the coming of Christianity, the Viking era, the Norman settlement and the medieval period.

Section B: The Emergence of Modern Ireland
A series of lectures on Ireland’s colonial past, the Famine and its legacy, the Gaelic revival and revolutionary Ireland.

Section C: Asserting Irish identity
Lectures and workshops exploring the expression of Irish identity through music, sport, art and literature.

Workshops on specific active learning tasks and compilation of a Learning Portfolio will be incorporated into this schedule.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will include:
- lectures
- active learning
- task-based learning
- digital skills
- critical analysis
- essay writing
- reflective writing
- analytical writing 
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
Portfolio: Learning Portfolio including
1. Report
2. Review
3. Transcription and analysis of online resources
4. Lecture analysis
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: Mid-term essay 1,000-1,500 words Week 7 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
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Mid-term essay: Group feedback will be given orally in class, as well as individual feedback. Learning Portfolio: Feedback will be given online through Brightspace.

**Required texts will be shared through Brightspace in advance of each lecture. Additional reading material can be found below.


[Note – you are not expected to read everything on this list, but the range of titles is intended to offer a range of options available in UCD James Joyce Library covering the various time periods covered in the lectures. ]

Barry, T.B. 1987 The Archaeology of Medieval Ireland, Methuen, London.
Clarke, H.B. & R. Johnson (eds) 2015 The Vikings in Ireland and beyond: before and after the Battle of Clontarf, Four Courts Press, Dublin
Cooney, G. 2000 Landscapes of Neolithic Ireland, Routledge, London.
Cooney, G. & Grogan, E. 1994 Irish Prehistory – A Social Perspective, Wordwell, Dublin.
Corlett, C. & M. Potterton (eds) 2009 Rural Settlement in Medieval Ireland in the light of recent archaeological excavations, Wordwell, Dublin
Corlett, C. & M. Potterton (eds) 2012 Life and Death in Iron Age Ireland in the light of recent archaeological excavations, Wordwell, Dublin [in particular chapters 1, 10, 17, 18, 20]
Edwards, N. 1990 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland, London. [reprinted 1999]
Larsen, A.-C. 2001 The Vikings in Ireland, Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde.
Mallory, J.P. & McNeill, T.E. 1991 The Archaeology of Ulster: From Colonization to Plantation, The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast.
Mitchell, G. & Ryan, M. 1998 Reading the Irish Landscape, Town House, Dublin.
O’Connor, K.D. 1998 The Archaeology of Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.
O’Keeffe, T. 2000 Medieval Ireland: An Archaeology, Tempus, Stroud.
O’Sullivan, A., F. McCormick, T.R. Kerr & L. Harney, 2014 Early Medieval Ireland, AD 400-1100. The evidence from archaeological excavations. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.
O’Sullivan, A., F. McCormick, T.R. Kerr, L. Harney & J. Kinsella, 2014 Early medieval dwellings and settlements in Ireland AD 400-1100. BAR Int. Series 2604, Archaeopress.
Raftery, B. 1994 Pagan Celtic Ireland, Thames and Hudson, London.
Ryan, M. 1994 Irish Archaeology Illustrated, Country House, Dublin.
Waddell, J. 2010 The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland, Galway University Press, Galway.


Billings, C. ‘The first minutes: An analysis of the Irish Language within the official structures of the Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-1934’, Éire-Ireland (Spring/Summer 2013, 32-53)
Bartlett, T. Ireland: a History (Cambridge 2010)
Cronin, M., Murphy, W., Rouse, P. (eds), The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-2009 (Dublin 2009)
Fitzpatrick, D. Irish Emigration, 1801-1921 (Dublin 1984)
Foster, R.F. (ed), The Oxford History of Ireland (Oxford, 1989)
Hyde, D. ‘The Necessity for De-anglicising Ireland’ A Lecture to the Irish National
Literary Society, Dublin, 25 November 1892.
Irish Studies Review: Special issue on Organised spaces: revival activism and print culture (Vol. 22, No. 1, February 2014)
Kiberd, D. and Mathews, P.J. (eds.) Handbook of the Irish Revival. An Anthology of Irish Cultural and Political Writings 1891-1922 (Dublin, 2015)
Lee, J.J. Ireland, 1912-1985: Politics and Society (Cambridge, 1989)
Maguire, D. (ed.) Short Stories of Padraic Pearse (Cork, 1979)
McGrath, C.I. ‘Securing the Protestant Interest: the origins and purpose of the penal laws of
1695,’ Irish Historical Studies, vol. xxx, no.117 (May 1996), pp. 25-28.
Morash, C. A History of the Media in Ireland (Cambridge, 2010)
Paseta, S. Modern Ireland: A very short introduction (Oxford, 2003)
The Revolution Papers (2016)
Uí Chollatáin, R. ‘Crossing Boundaries and Early Gleanings of Cultural Replacement in Irish Periodical Culture’, Irish Communications Review (Vol. 12, 2010, 50-64)
Whelan, A. ‘Language revival and conflicting identities in The Irish Independent, 1905-1922’, Irish Studies Review (Vol. 22, No. 1, February 2014)


Clune, A. (ed) The singing will never be done (Clare, 2014)
Cullen,F. Ireland on Show. Art, Union, and Nationhood (Surrey, 2012)
Kiberd, D. Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (London 1995)
Meehan, B. 'Decoration and Decorum', Irish Arts Review, Vol. 29, No. 4 (2012-13)
McGonagle, O’Toole, Levin. Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political (London, 2009)
Ó hAllmhuráin, G. A Pocket History of Irish Music and Dance (Dublin 1998)


A Poem for Ireland, with shortlist, biographies, interviews and readings:
'Creating History: Stories of Ireland in Art', National Gallery of Ireland,
Dictionary of Irish Biography, [Access available through UCD Library at ]
Dúchas online folklore collection,
Dunbrody Famine Ship,
Ellis Island Oral History project,
EPIC Irish Emigration Museum,
History of Ireland in 100 Objects,
Irish Newspaper Archive, [Access available through UCD Library at ]
Irish Traditional Music Archive,
Jeanie Johnston famine ship,
Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks,
100 Artworks project,
Titanic Belfast,

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Thurs 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Tues 09:00 - 09:50