IRST40080 Are the Irish Different?

Academic Year 2023/2024

This interdisciplinary module examines key contemporary questions such as: Who are the Irish? Are they culturally different from the rest of the West? Is there such a thing as an Irish national character? Does Irish Studies reproduce myths of cultural difference and foster cultural nationalism? What are the differences between the Irish? How is the island divided? These questions are addressed in a series of weekly seminars on the Irish mind, colonisation, the family, migration, globalisation and cultural nationalism. Thematic lectures will be followed by seminar discussions to further develop the connections between individual topics and these key questions. As well as dealing with substantive issues, lectures and seminars will focus on the theories, concepts and methods that can help illuminate and understand Irish difference. Weekly readings and other material will be provided through Brightspace. Research skills will also be developed through regular workshops and advisory sessions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcomes will be delivered in line with the following:
1. Students will acquire knowledge across the spectrum of Irish Studies and will become acquainted with the work of leading scholars and commentators in the relevant disciplines.
2. Students will develop the skills necessary to analyse and evaluate current and historical issues in the field of Irish Studies.
3. Students will acquire specialist knowledge which will enable them to contribute directly to debates related to Irish Studies through oral and written expression.

Indicative Module Content:

- Hyphenated Identities
- Irish Folk Traditions
- Folk Music
- The City and the Family
- Globalisation
- Migration: The Irish in Australia; Ireland and China
- Marginalisation: Travellers; Queer Irelands

(Subject to change)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will include:
- seminars
- in-class discussions
- active learning
- critical analysis
- essay writing
- reflective 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
Essay: 4,000 word research essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Presentation: Presentation on topic of choice Week 12 n/a Graded No


Journal: Learning journal based on module content Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


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

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Learning Journal: Individual feedback to students at end of trimester Presentation: Individual feedback post-assessment Research essay: Individual feedback post-assessment

Set texts for each section will be made available through Brightspace. It is essential that all students read the required material before class every week so they can participate in the seminar discussion. Additional reading material pertaining to each topic on the course will be made available through Brightspace.

Some general reference works relevant to the module topics can be found below:

Ballin, M. Irish Periodical Culture, 1937-1972: Genre in Ireland, Wales and Scotland (New York, 2008)
Bartlett, T. (ed.), Irish Studies: A General Introduction (Dublin, 1988)
Beckett, J.C., Confrontations: studies in Irish history (London, 1972)
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)
Brady & Walsh (eds.), Crossroads: performance studies and Irish culture (Basingstoke, 2009)
Boyd, E., Ireland’s Literary Renaissance (London, 1923)
Brown, T., Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-2002 (London, 2004)
Butler, C., Interpretation, Deconstruction and Ideology (Oxford, 1984)
Campbell, M. Ireland’s New Worlds: Immigrants, Politics and Society in the United States and Australia, 1815-1922 (Wisconsin, 2008)
Cairns, D. & Richards, S., Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture (Manchester, 1988)
Connolly, C. Theorizing Ireland (Hampshire, 2003)
Coulter, C., The Hidden Tradition: Feminism, Women and Nationalism in Ireland (Cork, 1993)
Cronin, M. and Ó Cuilleanáin, C. (eds.) The languages of Ireland (Dublin, 2003)
Crotty, W. ‘The Catholic Church in Ireland and Northern Ireland: Nationalism, Identity, and Opposition’, in Manuel, Reardon and Wilcox (eds.), The Catholic Church and the Nation-State. Comparative Perspectives. Washington, D.C., 2006, 117-130)
Cunliffe, B. The Celts: A very short Introduction. (Oxford, 2003)
Dean, J.F., Riot and great anger: stage censorship in twentieth-century Ireland, (London, 2004)
Deane, S., Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1790 (Oxford, 1997)
Donaldson, L. E., Decolonizing Feminisms: Race, Gender and Empire-Building (London, 1992)
Elliott, M. When God took sides. Religion and Identity in Ireland: Unfinished History (Oxford, 2009)
Fanning, B. (ed.), Immigration and social change in the Republic of Ireland (Manchester, 2007)
- The quest for modern Ireland: the battle of ideas 1912-1986, (Dublin, 2008)
- Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland (Manchester, 2002)
Fanning et al. (eds.), Theorising Irish social policy (Dublin, 2004)
Ferriter, D. Occasions of Sin. Sex and Society in Modern Ireland. London, 2009)
Ferriter, D. The Transformation of Ireland, 1900-2000. (London, 2004)
Flanagan, D. and Flanagan, L. Irish Place Names. (Gill and Macmillan, 1994)
Frawley, O. (ed.), Memory Ireland. Vol. 1, History and modernity (New York, 2011)
Foster, R.F., Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History (Harmondsworth, 1993)
Foster, R.F., The Oxford History of Ireland (Oxford, 1989)
Grubgeld, E., Anglo-Irish autobiography: class, gender, and the forms of narrative (New York, 2004)
Harvey, D., The condition of post modernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change (Oxford, 1989)
Horgan, J. Irish Media: A Critical History since 1922 (London and New York, 2001)
Irish Studies Review: Special issue on Organised spaces: revival activism and print culture (Vol. 22, No. 1, February 2014)
Irish University Review: a journal of Irish studies: special issue on literature, criticism & theory (Vol. 27, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1997)
Kelly, F. A Guide to Early Irish Law. (Dublin, 1988 repr. 2009)
Kiberd, D. and Mathews, P.J. (eds.) Handbook of the Irish Revival. An Anthology of Irish Cultural and Political Writings 1891-1922 (Dublin, 2015)
Kirby, P., Gibbons, L., and Cronin, M., Reinventing Ireland : culture, society and the global economy (London, 2002)
Larkin, F. and O’Brien, M. (eds.) Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland. Writing Against the Grain (Dublin, 2014)
Lee, J.J. Ireland, 1912-1985: Politics and Society (Cambridge, 1989)
Leerssen, J., Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael, (Cork, 1996)
MacLysaght, E. The surnames of Ireland. (Irish Academic Press: 1985)
Mallory, J. The Origins of the Irish (Dublin: 2013)
McDowell, L., Gender, identity and place: understanding feminist geographies (Cambridge, 1999)
McGrath, F.C., Language, Illusion and Politics: The (Post) Colonial Drama of Brian Friel (New York, 1999)
McLaughlin, J., Location and dislocation in contemporary Irish society: emigration and Irish identities, (Cork, 1997)
McMahon, T. ‘“All Creeds and Classes”? Just who made up the Gaelic League?’, Éire-Ireland (Vol. 37, 2002, 118-168)
Mills, S., Gender and colonial space (Manchester, 2005)
Morash, C. A History of the Media in Ireland (Cambridge, 2010)
Munck & Fanning (eds.), Globalization, migration and social transformation: Ireland in Europe and the world (Farnham, 2011)
Murray, C., Twentieth Century Irish Drama: Mirror up to a Nation (New York, 2000)
Ní Úrdail, M. The scribe in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland: motivations and milieu (Münster, 2000)
Nilsen, K.E. ‘The Irish Language in New York, 1850-1900’, in Bayor and Meagher (eds.), The New York Irish (Baltimore and London, 1996, 252-274)
Ó Conchubhair, B. ‘The GAA and the Irish Language’, in Cronin, Murphy and Rouse (eds.) The Gaelic Athletic Association 1884-2009 (Dublin and Portland, OR, 2009, 137-155)
O’Leary, P. The Prose Literature of the Gaelic Revival 1881-1921. Ideology and Innovation. (Pennsylvania, 1994)
Potter, S.J. (ed.) Newspapers and Empire in Ireland and Britain (Dublin and Portland, OR, 2004)
Raftery, B.Pagan Celtic Ireland. The Enigma of the Irish Iron Age (London 1994)
Rouse, P. ‘The Politics of Culture and Sport in Ireland: A History of the GAA Ban on Foreign Games, 1884-1971. Part 1: 1884-1921’, The International Journal of the History of Sport (Vol. 10, Issue 3, 1993, 333-360)
Smyth, G., The novel & the nation: studies in the new Irish fiction (London, 1997)
Smyth, G. Decolonisation and criticism: the construction of Irish literature (London, 1998)
Tracy, R., The unappeasable host: studies in Irish identities (Dublin, 1998)
Uí Chollatáin, R. ‘Crossing Boundaries and Early Gleanings of Cultural Replacement in Irish Periodical Culture’, Irish Communications Review (Vol. 12, 2010, 50-64)
Ward, M. ‘A Terrible Beauty? Women, Modernity and Irish Nationalism before the Easter Rising.’ in Walsh (ed.) Knowing their place? The intellectual life of women in the 19th Century (Dublin, 2014)
Whelan, A. ‘Language revival and conflicting identities in The Irish Independent, 1905-1922’, Irish Studies Review (Vol. 22, No. 1, February 2014)
Whelan, A. ‘‘Irish Ireland’ and the Irish Independent, 1905-22’, in O’Brien and Rafter (eds.) Independent Newspapers: A History (Dublin, 2012, 67-80)
Whelan, K., ‘Between: The Politics of Culture in Friel's Translations’, Field Day Review, Vol. 6 (2010), pp. 6-27

Name Role
Miss Alexandra Guglielmi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr David McKinney Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Aoife Whelan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 16:00 - 16:50