UCC International Office courses

Early Start Semester in Literature in Ireland and Creative Writing

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Early Start Semester in Literature in Ireland and Creative Writing

  • Code


  • College

    International Education Office

  • Duration

    Three week pre-session course running from Monday 22nd August – Friday 9th September 2022. Following completion, students continue with the regular Autumn semester.

  • Teaching Mode

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

  • Qualifications


  • Fees

    €8,700 (Tuition fees include the Early Start Programme and Autumn Semester) See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

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

  • Closing Date

    Applications close in June

Course Outline

This course facilitates both an exploration into modern Irish literature and insights into the creative practices of some contemporary Irish writers. It focuses on the works of W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, and includes talks, Q&As and workshops from several contemporary writers. The 2022 guest lecturers include award-winning writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa, whose A Ghost in the Throat was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 2020 and won the An Post Irish Book of the Year. Classroom teaching is supplemented with field trips that are designed to give an insight into the literary inheritances of modern Ireland and the nature of contemporary Irish writing.

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.

Creative Writing

We will have guest workshops, lectures and Q&As with with contemporary writers, and explore the forms and ideas that inspire Irish writers who are working 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.

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

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

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 works of Yeats, Heaney and several contemporary writers.

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

€8,700- 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