UCC Postgraduate courses

Irish Studies: Identities and Representations

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Irish Studies: Identities and Representations

  • Code

    CKE30 Full-time

  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2019

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2019


  • Entry Requirements

    Successful applicants will normally have an Honours primary degree at 2H1 level or the equivalent, though applications from graduates whose primary degree is at 2H2 level will also be considered. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Not on offer 2019/2020

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Not on offer 2019/2020

  • Start Date

    To be confirmed

Course Outline

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. Contributing disciplines include English, history, Irish, sociology, music, geography, archaeology, folklore, government, politics and art history

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

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 and 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.

MA in Irish Studies Brochure


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

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).

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.

Why Choose This Course

Our definition of Irish studies is broad and inclusive. In addition to world-class tuition on modern Irish literature and history, you will approach Irish studies from a range of other perspectives. You learn how Ireland, an island at Europe’s far western edge, played a crucial role in the formation of Western civilisation, and how continuing emigration in the modern era has ensured that Irish cultures and identities are a dynamic global phenomenon. The theme of identities and representations which runs through the course is a vital one, not just in Irish studies but in the humanities and social sciences generally.

Skills and Careers Information

We have designed this course as a stepping stone to further study, and to a wide range of career opportunities. The course gives you the essential transferable skills valued by employers in the private and public sectors, including critical thinking and analysis, communications expertise, cultural awareness and global engagement.


You will normally have an honours primary degree at 2H1 level or the equivalent,  though applications from graduates whose primary degree is at 2H2 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.

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.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €6,000.

The Non-EU fee for this course is €13,000.

Full-time/Part-time fee:

If your course is offered full time and part time, normally the fee for the part-time course is half the full-time fee per year, please check the fact file for confirmation.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 


For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

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:

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.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Not on offer 2019/2020

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact