Irish Studies Online (Diploma)

Course overview

‘Could anything better typify the move from donkey-and-cart picture-postcard Ireland to high tech global leader in software technology that Ireland has become in recent decades?’

President of Ireland Mary McAleese, speaking about the Irish Studies online programme.

Irish Studies Online – What’s it all about?

Irish Studies Online is an interdisciplinary introduction to Irish Studies, developed by the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI, Galway. The two-year part-time diploma programme offers an excellent opportunity for those interested in Ireland, especially those without access to traditional programmes of study in this area. The purpose of the diploma is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, literature in English and in Irish (presented in translation), Political Science and Sociology, traditional Irish music and dance.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Applicants for the programme should meet the University’s requirements for mature students.

Duration: Two years, part time

Next start date: Applications accepted from April 2014, course commences September 2014.

ECTS weighting: 30

Average intake: N/A

Closing date: Closing date for applications, August 2014.

NFQ level: Level 7

Mode of study: Online, distance learning

Course outline

The Courses

Irish Studies online comprises six modules: Early Christian Ireland (431-1169 AD), Medieval Ireland (1169-1603 AD), Early Modern Ireland (1603-1845 AD), Modern Ireland (1845-1998 AD), Social and Political Change in Contemporary Ireland (1922-2003 AD), and From Ceili to Riverdance: Irish traditional music and dance in the 20th century. The courses provide an overview of Irish history from the pagan Celtic world and the coming of Christianity, through to the cataclysmic famines of the 1840s, the establishment of an independent state in 1922 and Ireland’s integration into the European community which has been ongoing since the 1970s. Students are introduced to Irish literature in both the Irish (Gaelic) and English languages, from the Old-Irish sagas and early Irish lyrics through the emergence of Anglo-Irish literature in the 18th century, to the 20th century revival of writing in Irish. Emphasis is also placed on the study of Irish society since independence with due consideration of such crucial issues as gender, religion, modernization, identity and socio-economic development.


Year 1 modules, in order of offering (examined by essay)

1. Early Christian Ireland 431-1169

2. Medieval Ireland 1169-1603

3. Early Modern Ireland 1603-1845


Year 2 modules, in order of offering (Examined by essay)

4. Modern Ireland 1845-1998

5. Social and Political Change in Contemporary Ireland 1922-2003  

6. From Ceili to Riverdance: Irish Traditional Music and Dance in the 20th Century

Applications and selections

Applications will be online

Requirements and assessment

All modules will be examined by essay.

Find out more

For content queries, contact:


Dr. Michelle Comber

Centre for Irish Studies

NUI Galway

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €970 p.a. 2013/14
Non-EU (Total): €1,470 p.a. 2013/14