MA Gaelic Literature and Culture

Online MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture

The Online MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture offered by the Department of Modern Irish aims to provide students with an in-depth introduction to the themes and the tales of the poets and singers, the storytellers and the scholars, who, through a period of over 1,200 years, created a distinctive literature of incredible variety giving expression to the many identities of the Gaelic world. The worlds of mythology, folklore, folksong and timeless traditions of poetry and story all meet in the manuscripts and books to which the student is introduced in this Online MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture.

The MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture is taught completely online. It may be taken full-time (in one year) or part-time (in two years). The course is taught in English, no prior knowledge of any Gaelic language is required. The student chooses six taught modules from a menu that includes a module on the Irish Language for beginners; and completes a minor dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. Access to all reading material is provided as part of the course. As registered students of University College Cork, course-participants are entitled to use all the electronic resources available through the Boole Library.

Listen to one of our graduates speaking about the course (please press the play button on the player that appears on next screen)


Irish/EU €4,930 FT; €2,530 PT
Non EU €7,400 FT; €3,700 PT 
Application is made via

Some graduates from the 2022 conferring:

Bronnadh MA Gaelic Literature, 2022


For further information, please contact Dr Ken Ó Donnchú ( or visit:


Read a description of the course modules: 2023-24 MA Gaelic Literature and Culture course schedule [PDF] updated September 2023



Testimonials from Students

'UCC’s online Gaelic literature MA provided me with everything I needed. It truly is a fantastic program for anyone interested in Irish history, literature, language or mythology.UCC allowed me to immerse myself in the subject, interact with students from all around the world, and have access to the finest faculty available for Gaelic studies, all at my own pace and on my own schedule. There is no other program like it in the world, to my knowledge.’  – Rick Riordan (author, Percy Jackson series).

Bestselling author Rick Riordan is interviewed in Irish Examiner about his interest in Irish mythology and his studies at UCC

Read Rick's interview for UCC student magazine, Motleythe interview (Motley website) by Alana Daly Mulligan discusses the upcoming Percy Jackson Disney+ series, Riordan's time studying in University College Cork and in An Rinn, as well as his insights on diversity in Young Adult (YA) Writing. Also available to read in the Motley online magazine, Vol. 14, No 7, go to pages 32-34.

‘As someone with an immense love for Ireland and Irish culture, I was searching for an academic route to engage more deeply with Ireland's literary and folkloric history, as well as the contemporary implications of its past. Being in my mid-twenties and already with a full-time job – with the added obstacle of the pandemic at the time – I was worried I had missed my chance to further my education in an international setting, but the online M.A. in Gaelic Literature offered me the opportunity to pursue that dream. When I found the course, I almost couldn't believe it existed – it felt like the perfect fit.
I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone interested in Irish history, Irish literature and folklore, or just Ireland in general. It's been such a rich learning experience that has allowed me to be immersed in both Irish culture and a rigorous academic setting, which I was unable to find in distance learning options anywhere else. It will be hard to say goodbye to this program – even as an online student, I feel so connected to the community at University College Cork, and I met so many fantastic professors and students from around the world. I'm so glad I found this course, which was exactly what I was looking for.’
– Alyssa, USA

‘I chose the course for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I was hoping to add to my knowledge of the language, its history, literary tradition and as a central part of Irish culture. As someone overseas who is active in Irish language circles it was important to add to the Leaving Cert Irish I had, and the fairly basic understanding of the background and heritage of the language we had been exposed to in school. An online course was important in order to get around the time differences between Ireland and New Zealand where I am living. And finally, it was important the course had a choice of subjects that would be interesting on a personal level.
I would definitely recommend the course. It’s suitable for people in Ireland and overseas. One doesn’t need fluency in Irish - this might help with getting access to some material online, but it’s not essential. We all have different backgrounds and experience of a wide variety of subjects, and everyone’s individual background can give a fresh approach to this course’s topics. At the same time, it offers an excellent opportunity for those who would like to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the Irish language and culture. And I must mention again how refreshing it was to have an opportunity work with new sources and new academic material during the thesis work!’
– Dermot, New Zealand

‘This was an intriguing and comprehensive course to find delivered completely online. Its medium made it so accessible. The programme of work is charged with engaging material. Knowledge and enlightenment are layered into the modules, which interweave with one another but never fully overlap. Accessing the wonders of an ancient literature, and discussing them, without the stress of learning a new language, is a major bonus for this course. I found the lecturers to be personable, positive, motivating and supportive, in their interactions with us. Social interaction with other students was achieved through the community created by the discussion boards which are central to the course. People from a walks of life were among the students in this creative pool of learning, leading to shared experiences and stimulating discussions, where every student's point of view is valued. I found it to be an exceptional course of exceptional standard.’ – Cathi, Dublin

‘I'm really enjoying the course and the course materials. It's exactly what I wanted to study.’ – Siobain, Italy

‘For people with . . . reduced abilities, I would call this program very accessible.’ – Johanna, California

‘I'm enjoying the course immensely and am finding it fascinating, stimulating and hugely enjoyable. The discussion boards and online delivery are working very well and I'm finding the interaction with my fellow students hugely beneficial.’ – Barry, Leeds, UK

‘This program examines and interprets Gaelic history, culture and society through the rich medium of its oral and written traditions. Literature here is defined expansively; the course begins with the oldest manuscripts and moves on to the present using texts sacred and secular; letters, diaries, and travel accounts by the Irish abroad; lyrics of ballads, work songs, lullabies and laments; poetry and memoirs; speeches, political writings and journalism; myths, place names and folklore; and the history of the language itself. The coursework is challenging and engaging; the lecturers first-rate and responsive; and there is a fine collegial atmosphere among an international group of students of all ages and backgrounds.’ – Ellen, Maine, USA

‘As someone with a strong interest in both Irish History and the Irish Language (although without necessarily great knowledge of either) I found this course to be truly excellent. The course topics are very varied and cover a wide range of potential interests from early Irish mythology and manuscripts to modern Irish poetry and texts. The course material is well presented and challenging but very accessible. The on-line interaction with other participants from around the world and from many different backgrounds, was stimulating and a core part of my course enjoyment and learning. Given the standard of academic direction and course content, it was no surprise to me that many of my on-line colleagues expressed a strong desire to participate in some follow up, related programme with the Department of Modern Irish at University College Cork.’ – Frank, Ireland

‘No one else offers a programme like this online. UCC offering this programme has allowed me finally to pursue a decade-old dream and to make that dream a reality . . . It is a fantastic course, of which I am proud to be a part’ – Falicia, Florida, USA


This online MA forms an exciting part of our long-term commitment to distance learning. It will enable interested students of all ages to take an MA in the central element of Ireland's heritage without ever leaving their homes.

Course description: Gaelic Literature MA - CKD13


Department of Modern Irish

Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge

Áras Uí Rathaille, UCC