UCC International Office courses

Early Start Semester in Literatures in Ireland

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Early Start Semester in Literatures in Ireland

  • Code


  • College

    International Education Office

  • Duration

    Three week pre-session course running from Monday 19th August – Friday 6th September 2019. Following completion, students continue with the regular Autumn semester.

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications


  • Fees

    €8,380 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Students must be enrolled on a BA (Hons) course. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Applications close in June

Course Outline

This course facilitates an exploration of modern Irish literature, the cultural contexts out of which it arose and the landscapes that inspired it. It focuses on the works of W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bowen. Classroom teaching is supplemented with field trips that are designed to give an insight into the worlds in which these renowned authors lived and worked.

Early Twentieth-Century Irish Poetry

In this section, we will read the poetry of William Butler Yeats. In particular, we will look closely at his monumental collection The Tower (1928), discussing how the Irish War of Independence, the foundation of the Irish Free State, and Yeats’s appointment as a senator all helped to shape this volume.

Late Twentieth-Century Irish Poetry

This section of the course will look at the work of Seamus Heaney, and in particular his landmark collection North (1975). We will examine his work in the context of the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ (c. 1968-1998) and ask what made Heaney the most prominent English-language poet of his era.

The Twentieth-Century Irish Novel

We will read Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Last September (1929), a very stylish novel that looks at life in an Anglo-Irish ’Big House’ in the early years of the twentieth century.  

Contemporary Irish Poets

We will work with draft poems by and interviews with contemporary Cork-based poets, and explore the forms and ideas that inspire Irish poets who are writing today.


Field-trips are designed to complement the central texts on the course, and to introduce students to the Irish landscape, which plays such a major role in the country’s literature. Day-trips include one to County Galway, in the west of Ireland, to see W. B. Yeats’s tower, Thoor Ballylee, and Coole Park, the site of the home of Augusta Gregory.

On an overnight visit to Dublin we will visit National Library of Ireland exhibitions on Seamus Heaney and W. B. Yeats, see the portraits at the National Gallery of Ireland and the Hugh Lane Gallery, and visit the Abbey Theatre, which W.B. Yeats and Augusta Gregory helped to found.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

Lectures/seminars/field trips

Course Practicalities

The Early Start in Literatures in Ireland runs for three weeks in late August / September, after which students join standard classes with their Irish counterparts. On days when no field-trip is scheduled, the class meets in the morning for lectures and discussion. Literatures in Ireland is not confined to the classroom. It incorporates several day-trips and overnight trips to sites in different regions of Ireland.


Assessment is in the form of two essays on texts and themes discussed in class, and an in-class exam.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught by Dr Adam Hanna, Lecturer in Irish Literature in the School of English You can find out more about his research and teaching here.

Why Choose This Course

...a great introduction to Irish culture, and the field-trips we took proved to be to some of the most beautiful places.

Emily Dunn

Find Out More

The Early Start in Literatures in Ireland:

  • is a comprehensive introduction to Ireland’s literature, culture, and urban and rural landscapes 
  • incorporates field-trips to a range of sites associated with great Irish writers
  • gives students with no previous experience of Irish writing and culture the chance to study this subject in a country with an outstanding literary heritage
  • provides liberal arts students with an engaging and challenging overview of Irish literature
  • considers different aspects of Irish literature, and the role of the landscape in the creation of the literary masterpieces of Yeats, Heaney and Bowen.

Skills and Careers Information

Students who take this course gain a new understanding of how Irish writers created fiction and poetry out of their experience of Irish life, culture and landscape. Reading this literature brings us closer to Irish life and culture as seen through the eyes and imagination of our great writers.

Some participants in this course choose to build upon what they have learned by taking other modules in the School of English when term begins. Some choose to take one or more modules in the area of Irish Studies offered by, for example, the Departments of History, Irish, Folklore and Music as well as English. 


The minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement for admission to the program is normally 3.0 out of 4.0

Fees and Costs

€8,380- Minor costs may be incurred for snacks or meals on field-trip(s)

How Do I Apply

For further information see Visiting US and Non-EU Students.


For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact