Irish Studies: Identities and Representations MA

Fact File

Course Code: CKE30 Full-time

Course Title: Irish Studies: Identities and Representations

College: Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

Irish Studies:  Identities and Representations

Duration: 1 year Full-time

Teaching Mode: Full-time

Qualifications: MA

NFQ Level: Level 9

Costs: 2017/2018 Irish/EU Fee: €6,000; 2017/2018 Non-EU fee: €13,000

Entry Requirements: You will have normally an honours primary degree at 2.1 level or the equivalent, though applications from graduates whose primary degree is at 2.2 level will be considered. For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected. Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines, but priority will be given to those with a degree in arts/humanities/social sciences subjects. (see detailed entry requirements below)

Closing Date: Programme not on offer in 2017/2018

Next Intake: Programme not on offer in 2017/2018


The theme of ‘identities and representations’ unifies UCC’s MA in Irish Studies. The course investigates how Ireland’s complex past speaks to its present and to possible futures. The course uses an unparalleled range of disciplinary perspectives within a framework of relevant theories and methodologies. The result is a distinctive and compelling intellectual experience.

In this course:

  • core modules explore over a thousand years of Irish history and culture
  • carefully selected case studies will deepen your knowledge of Irish studies and develop your research interests
  • study tours to spectacular sites and landscapes are a central part of the learning experience
  • you will investigate the possible futures of Ireland and its diaspora in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent, and globalised world
  • contributing disciplines include English, history, Irish, sociology, music, geography, archaeology, folklore, government, politics and art history

Course Details

Students take 90 credits as follows:

IR6009 Identities and Representations: Ireland in the modern era (10 credits)
Opening with a critical introduction to theories and methods in Irish studies, this seminar-based module looks at the theme of ‘identities and representations’ in Ireland post 1800. Case studies include the legacy of the Famine and of emigration, diaspora identities, selected writings of Yeats, Joyce and contemporary authors, formations of gender and class, and the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger.

IR6011: Identities and Representations: medieval and early modern Ireland (10 credits)
Seminar-based case studies look at how identities were negotiated during this formative period. Beginning with the complex identity of St Patrick, we progress onto the beginnings of Irish literary culture and the Golden Age of Irish art, examine Viking and Anglo-Norman identities, and interrogate representations of the Irish by early modern writers such as Edmund Spenser.
IR6013: Irish Studies Fieldwork (5 credits)
Participants explore in the field how Irish identities have been shaped by literature, art, music, landscapes, and material culture. 

Students are also required to register for one of the following 'skills' courses (10 Credits):
EN6009: Contemporary Literary Research:  Skills, Methods, Strategies (10 Credits)
HI6038: Interpreting the Sources (10 credits)
HI6075: Making History Public (10 Credits)
SC6614: Sociological Methodology (10 Credits)

Elective Modules (15 credits):

We help you choose 15 credits (1-3 modules) from one of the following three streams, each containing about ten modules:
•    Medieval Ireland
•    Modern Ireland: culture, conflict and diaspora
•    Modern Ireland: literature, music, art and film
IR6010: Dissertation (40 credits)
Working with the course coordinator, you choose the topic for this 15–20,000-word dissertation.
If you take this course you will have a critical understanding of key debates in the field of Irish studies. You will be able to analyse the complex processes through which identities are formed and transformed, with particular reference to Ireland and people with Irish links elsewhere. You will also be able to use advanced critical, theoretical, and methodological approaches in presenting your research.


Detailed Entry Requirements

You will have normally an honours primary degree at 2.1 level or the equivalent,  though applications from graduates whose primary degree is at 2.2 level will be considered. For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected. Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines, but priority will be given to those with a degree in arts/humanities/social sciences subjects.

If English is not your first language, you will be required to sit either an IELTS test or a recognised equivalent test. The minimum requirement is an IELTS score of 6.5. Further information on English Language Requirements can be found at

You will also be asked to complete a short personal statement outlining your academic background and interests and your reasons for applying for the course. You will also be asked to submit the names and contact details of two academic referees. All applications must be approved by the course’s Board of Studies.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests. 

Application Procedure

Application for this programme is on-line at Places on this programme are offered in rounds. The closing dates for each round can be found here. For full details of the application procedure click How to Apply.

Please note you will be required to answer specific additional/supplementary questions as part of the online applications process for this programme. A copy of these questions are available to view here: CKE30AdditionalQuestions

A separate application is not required for application to be considered for the MA in Irish Studies Scholarships. Successful applicants to the programme will automatically be in contention for the MA in Irish Studies Scholarships.

All required documentation must be either uploaded to your online application, or sent in hard copy to The Postgraduate Applications Centre, 1, Courthouse Square, Galway, immediately after an application is made

Course Practicalities

Lectures in UCC take place from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to The two seminar-based core modules (IR6011 and IR6012) run in parallel throughout the first semester. These involve a weekly two-hour seminar and associated reading. The IR6012 seminars continue in the second semester. IR6013 consists of a programme of field studies including cultural events, two day-trips and an overnight study tour. The elective module(s) allow you to focus on the area of Irish studies that interests you most, and which you wish to investigate further in your dissertation. Dissertation topics are developed in consultation with the course coordinator and prospective supervisor. 6 pm, for a maximum of 15 hours per week.


Assessment varies according to module and may include essays, projects, seminar presentations and written examinations. For example, the seminar-based core modules (IR6011 andIR6012) are assessed by essays and a seminar presentation, while the fieldwork module (IR6013) is assessed by a fieldwork project. The single most important item of assessment is the 15–20,000-word dissertation (IR6014).

Who Teaches This Course

University College Cork has a long and distinguished tradition of research and teaching in Irish Studies. This programme is delivered by an interdisciplinary team of leading experts in the field:

Damian Bracken (History)
Claire Connolly (English)
Niamh Hourigan (Sociology)
Piaras Mac Éinrí (Geography)
Kevin Murray (Medieval Irish)
Stiofán Ó Cadhla (Folklore)
Tomás Ó Carragáin (Archaeology)
Maureen O’Connor (English)
Clare O’Halloran (History)
Pádraig Ó Macháin (Modern Irish)

Profiles of the lecturers can be found on UCC's Research Profile webpages.

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