Course Overview

This new MA in Irish Studies (Literature and Music) offers an intensive academic curriculum in Irish Literature Studies and Irish Music Studies, focusing in particular on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Using a dynamic interdisciplinary approach, aspects of Irish historical experience and Irish identities are examined through the prism of music, from traditional to popular, and through critical reading of literature in Irish (studied in translation) and in English.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Module convenors:

  1. Music: Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin / Dr Verena Commins

  2. Literature: Dr Louis de Paor / Dr Marie-Louise Colohan

Requirements and Assessment

Course assessment of all modules is by continuous assessment; essays, dissertations, and oral presentations may be in either English or Irish.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

NFQ Level 8 degree at H2.2, GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent if applicable.

 


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15

Closing Date

Please view the offer rounds website.  

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

MA

CAO

Course code

1MLM1 (full-time)
1MLM2 (part-time)

Course Outline

MA Irish Studies (Literature and Music) offers two alternative, academic pathways. All students share modules in both Literature and Music, and select additional modules in their specific area of interest, weighting their studies towards Literature or Music. Irish language literature will be studied in English translation.

Students select three modules each semester

Semester 1

IS105 Young Ireland to the Free State: Writing in English 1949-1922 (10 ECTS)
IS106 Decline and revival: Language, literature and society 1800-1939 (10 ECTS)
IS6103 Writing Irish traditional music: The development of Irish music studies, 1792-1950 (10 ECTS)
IS6101 Tuning the archive: Irish traditional music and the digital humanities (10 ECTS)

Semester 2

IS108 The Politics of modernity: Writing in English from 1922 to the present (10 ECTS)
IS109 Gaelic and free: Cultural politics and writing in Irish since 1939 (10 ECTS)
IS6100 Representing Irish music: Irish music studies, 1950 to the new millennium (10 ECTS)
IS6102 Popular music and Ireland (10 ECTS)

Dissertation (30 ECTS)

An 18,000 word minor dissertation is submitted at the end of the year. The research topic is chosen by the student with support and supervision provided.

Irish language classes

In order to support bilingual approaches and the study of Irish language materials, Irish language tuition at a level appropriate to students’ needs are delivered in both semesters.

Interdisciplinary seminar

A discussion based seminar offering critical and theoretical approaches to key ideas and concepts across the different disciplines is offered in both semesters.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required IS106: Decline & Revival: Language, Literature & Society 1800-1939


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module explores the status of the Irish language during the 19th century and challenges the received notion that the Irish language literary tradition came to an end during the period. The latter half of the module particularly examines the language revival movement and attempts to create a new modern European literature through the Irish language. Emphasis is placed on key writers in this movement, Pádraig Mac Piarais and Pádraic Ó Conaire among them.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of the Great Famine, emigration and the national school system on the Irish language.
  2. Outline the continuity of the Irish language literary tradition during the period, in light of demographic and sociological changes.
  3. Describe and critique the Language Revival movement and the literary achievements of Mac Piarais and Ó Conaire as key writers of the movement.
  4. Analyse and situate the autobiographical ‘island’ literature that came to prominence in the new independent state.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Cambridge history of Irish literature" by Margaret Kelleher and Philip O'Leary (eds.)
    ISBN: 0521822246.
    Publisher: Cambridge; Cambridge University Press
  2. "The Field Day anthology of Irish writing" by Seamus Deane (ed.)
    ISBN: 0393030466.
    Publisher: Field Day Publications
  3. "An Duanaire, 1600-1900" by Seán Ó Tuama (ed.) with translations into English verse by Thomas Kinsella
    ISBN: 0851053645.
    Publisher: Dolmen Press
  4. "The Islandman" by Tomás O'Crohan; translated from the Irish by Robin Flower
    ISBN: 0192812335.
    Publisher: Oxford [Eng.]; Oxford University Press
  5. "An old woman's reflections" by Peig Sayers; translated from the Irish by Seamus Ennis and introduced by W. R. Rogers
    ISBN: 0192812394.
    Publisher: Oxford [Eng.]; Oxford University Press, 1978
  6. "Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850" by Niall O Ciosain
    ISBN: 1843510723.
    Publisher: Lilliput Pr Ltd
  7. "Charlotte Brooks' Reliques of Irish Poetry" by Charlotte Brooks and Lesa Ní Mhunghaile
    ISBN: 1874280770.
    Publisher: Irish Manuscripts Commission
The above information outlines module IS106: "Decline & Revival: Language, Literature & Society 1800-1939" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required IS6101: Tuning the Archive


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module investigates cultural and theoretical perspectives on the archival paradigm in order to develop strategies for presenting and interpreting archive material. It will critically examine Irish traditional music and related archives held at the James Hardiman Library (JHL), and in other repositories held both nationally and internationally. Exploring historical and contemporary examples of archiving methods, it will consider the impact of new technologies in transforming archive communication, digitization and the role of the Digital Humanities.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the major archive collections held at the JHL, and other Irish and international repositories that may inform Irish music studies.
  2. Demonstrate the development of methodological research skills in accessing materials in archives and special collections.
  3. Analyse the cultural and scholarly complexities of collecting and archiving Irish traditional music.
  4. Understand the potential of the Digital Humanities as an interdisciplinary platform for research and dissemination.
  5. Conduct archival research and extract and publish information in a digital format from archival research.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Irish Folklore Commission 1935-1970: History, Ideology, Methodology" by Briody, Mícheál
    Publisher: Finnish Literature Society
  2. "Archives and Recordkeeping: theory into practice" by Brown, Caroline (ed)
    Publisher: Facet
  3. "What Are Archives?: Cultural and Theoretical Perspectives: A Reader" by Craven, Louise
    Publisher: Ashgate
The above information outlines module IS6101: "Tuning the Archive" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required IS108: The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English, 1922 to the present


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module explores Irish writers publishing in English from the formation of the State and the civil war to the present day. The focus is on both literary developments in poetry, fiction and drama, and the representation of political themes of nation, gender and society. Key areas we will explore are literary modernisms; exile, nation and multiculturalism; women and gender relations; landscape, the urban and place; identity and memory; family and change. Students will engage with theories relating to postcolonialism, gender, and cultural politics.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Outline developing literary genres (prose, poetry, drama and other forms) and key themes across the period, eg. postcolonial theory, historical materialism, ecocriticism
  2. Critically examine texts from both ‘modernist’ and ‘realist’ writers
  3. Engage with key issues relating to gender, sexuality, class and ethnicity in the texts under scrutiny
  4. Explore the politics of translation and how Irish writers in English engage directly, and indirectly, with the Irish language literary tradition
  5. Understand the transnational literary systems in which literature is produced
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Ulysses" by James Joyce
    ISBN: 1840226358.
    Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  2. "Later Poems" by William Butler Yeats
    ISBN: 142978721X.
    Publisher: Cornell University
  3. "Murphy" by Samuel Beckett
    ISBN: 0571244580.
  4. "The Last September" by Elizabeth Bowen
    ISBN: 009927647X.
    Publisher: Vintage
  5. "The Ante-Room" by Kate O'Brien
    ISBN: 1844083179.
  6. "Translations" by Brian Friel
    ISBN: 0571117422.
    Publisher: London; Faber & Faber, 1981
The above information outlines module IS108: "The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English, 1922 to the present" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required IS204: Dissertation


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 30

MA Minor Thesis
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Employ scholarly tools, and project management skills, to successfully develop and complete a postgraduate Minor Thesis (15,000-20,000 words)
  2. Apply research skills in the areas of archival research, close textual analysis, discourse analysis, critical theory, bibliographic data collection
  3. Develop and sustain a coherent scholarly argument (exposition, description, analysis, interpretation), and to employ appropriate sources to support the main points of enquiry under scrutiny in the dissertation
  4. Expand the knowledge base in the field of Irish Studies through original research contributions
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module IS204: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required IS6102: Popular Music and Ireland


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module will introduce students to further critical scholarship in Irish music studies, drawing on writings in ethnomusicology, cultural geography, popular music studies and Irish studies. Particular emphasis will be given to popular music styles and performances from 1960 to the twenty-first century.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Outline key concepts in popular music studies.
  2. Discuss key performers, performances and genres in Irish popular music practice.
  3. Apply theories of popular music studies to critical Irish case studies.
  4. Demonstrate research and writing skills.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Beautiful day" by Sean Campbell and Gerry Smyth
    ISBN: 9780953535354.
    Publisher: Atrium
  2. "Noisy Island" by Gerry Smyth
    ISBN: 9781859183878.
    Publisher: Cork University Press
  3. "Popular Music Culture: The Key Concepts" by Shuker, Roy
    ISBN: 0415598664.
    Publisher: Rutledge
  4. "Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2" by McCloone, Martin and Noel McLoughlin
    Publisher: Irish Academic Press
The above information outlines module IS6102: "Popular Music and Ireland" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional IS6103: Writing Irish Traditional Music


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Writing Irish Traditional Music Lives: History and development of Irish music studies, 1792 to 1950: This module will critically examine the ways in which Irish music lives and practices are written in literary, scholarly and popular cultural domains from 1792 to 1950. Beginning with the Belfast Harp Festival, it will explore the development of Irish music studies contextualized through changing socio-cultural, economic and political conditions. Using historical and contemporary examples, the module will investigate ways in which traditional Irish music makers represent themselves and how they are represented by others.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyse models of writing on music practice using the critical tools of cultural studies and ethnomusicology.
  2. Discuss the changing socio-cultural, economic and political context for Irish traditional music practice from 1792 to 1950.
  3. Understand the changes and responses in writing about Irish traditional music during the period.
  4. Critique the documentation of Irish music lives and practices in literary, scholarly and popular cultural domains from 1792 to 1950.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Ancient Music of Ireland" by Bunting, Edward
    Publisher: W. Power & Co
  2. "National Dances of Ireland" by Burchenal, Elizabeth
    Publisher: A.S. Barnes and Co.
  3. "Social change and everyday life in Ireland 1850-1922" by Clear, Caitriona
    ISBN: 0719074371.
    Publisher: Manchester University Press
  4. "Writing Culture" by Clifford, James and George E. Marcus (eds)
    ISBN: 0520266021.
    Publisher: University of California Press
The above information outlines module IS6103: "Writing Irish Traditional Music" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional IS105: Young Ireland to the Free State: Writing in English, 1849-1922


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module surveys Irish literature written in the English language from 1849 to 1922. Through close readings of selected texts, the development of cultural nationalism will be explored. Issues to be examined include: negative images of Ireland/Irish in Britain (and resistance to such images); colonial context of Ireland; problems of nationalism; transformative potential of literature. Within the module, an examination of genre – drama, poetry and the short story – analyses the relationship between literature, nationalism and politics.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand and identify key issues concerning Irish writing in English in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  2. Analyse and critique the debate surrounding cultural nationalism in Ireland
  3. Outline key contributions Irish writers made to English literature during the period
  4. Critique how key political and historical issues in this period influenced and shaped Irish writing in the English language (for example, the Great Irish Famine; the Irish emigrant experience; and the post-Famine transition from Irish to English as the majority spoken language by the end of the century)
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Modern Irish drama" by John P. Harrington (ed.)
    ISBN: 0393960633.
    Publisher: Norton
  2. "Dubliners" by James Joyce; with an introduction and notes by Terence Brown
    ISBN: 0141182458.
    Publisher: Penguin Books
  3. "The Untilled Field" by George Moore
    ISBN: 0554311410.
  4. "Inventing Ireland" by Declan Kiberd
    ISBN: 009958221X.
    Publisher: Vintage
  5. "Irish Classics" by Declan Kiberd
    ISBN: 1862074593.
    Publisher: Granta Books
  6. "The Cambridge history of Irish literature" by Margaret Kelleher and Philip O'Leary (eds.)
    ISBN: 0521822246.
    Publisher: Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  7. "The Field Day anthology of Irish writing" by Seamus Deane (ed.)
    ISBN: 0393030466.
    Publisher: Field Day Publications; 1991
The above information outlines module IS105: "Young Ireland to the Free State: Writing in English, 1849-1922" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional IS6100: Representing Irish Traditional Music


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

In the first instance, this module surveys literary, scholarly and popular culture representations of Irish traditional music in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Parallel to that, through a survey of ethnographic methodologies, processes and products, the module will also investigate ethnography as a model for the representation of Irish music lives. Students will research and develop an ethnographic fieldwork project over the course of the semester exploring the social, cultural and political economy of the period, and assessing Irish traditional music practice as part of local, national and globalised culture.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the social, cultural and political context for Irish traditional music practice from the twentieth century to the present.
  2. Critique the representation of Irish music lives and practices in literary and scholarly fields from the twentieth century to the present.
  3. Analyse the methods and processes of ethnography and ethnographic research in international and Irish scholarship.
  4. Apply ethnography scholarship and fieldwork training to research, develop and complete an ethnographic fieldwork project.
  5. Understand processes of Irish traditional music and cultural flow at the level of local, national and global.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Cambridge companion to modern Irish culture" by Cleary, Joe and Claire Connolly (eds.)
    ISBN: 9780521526296.
    Publisher: Cambridge, UK ; Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  2. "Turning the tune" by Paul, Adam R.
    ISBN: 0857458086.
    Publisher: Providence; Berghahn Books
  3. "Being Ethnographic" by Madden, Raymond
    ISBN: 1412946972.
    Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
  4. "Ó Am go hAm" by Peoples, Tommy
    Publisher: Peoples
  5. "Music in Irish cultural history" by Smyth, Gerry
    ISBN: 9780716529859.
    Publisher: Irish Academic Press
  6. "The Making of Irish Traditional Music" by O'Shea, Helen
    ISBN: 9781859184363.
    Publisher: Cork University Press
  7. "Global pop: World Music" by Taylor, Timothy D.
    ISBN: 0415918723.
    Publisher: Routledge
  8. "Crosbhealach an Cheoil / The Crossroads Conference" by Vallely, Fintan, Hammy Hamilton, Eithne Vallely & Liz Doherty (eds.)
    ISBN: 97809511569.
    Publisher: Whinstone
  9. "Blas: The Local Accent" by Smith, Thérèse and Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (eds.)
    Publisher: FMSI and IWMC
The above information outlines module IS6100: "Representing Irish Traditional Music" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional IS109: Gaelic & Free: Cultural Politics & Writing in Irish since 1939


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

The first half of this module focuses on the key Irish language writers in post-WW II Ireland, among them poets such as Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máirtín Ó Direáin, Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Eoghan Ó Tuairisc and prose writers such as Máirtín Ó Cadhain. The second half of the module examines the INNTI movement of Irish language poetry, which spawned a new generation of poets from the late 1960s onwards.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Outline and be familiar with the writings of the major Irish language writers in modern Ireland.
  2. Understand and critique the importance of dual language anthologies in making poetry in a minority language available to an international audience.
  3. Apply critical concepts relating to national identities, postcolonial theory, gender, and the politics of translation.
  4. Understand cultural and historical factors shaping Irish language literature in this period.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Cambridge history of Irish literature" by Margaret Kelleher and Philip O'Leary (eds.)
    ISBN: 0521822246.
    Publisher: Cambridge; Cambridge University Press
  2. "Leabhar na hAthghabhála" by Louis de Paor
    ISBN: 178037299X.
    Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
  3. "Repossessions: Selected Essays on Irish Literary Heritage" by Seán Ó Tuama
    ISBN: 1859180450.
    Publisher: Cork University Press
  4. "Selected Essays" by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
    ISBN: 1904301320.
    Publisher: New Island Books
  5. "The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism" by Joe Cleary
    ISBN: 1107655811.
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  6. "Briathra, Beithe Agus Banfhili" by Riona Ni Fhrighil
    ISBN: 1906882614.
    Publisher: An Clochomhar Tta
The above information outlines module IS109: "Gaelic & Free: Cultural Politics & Writing in Irish since 1939" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The Centre for Irish Studies is one of the premier locations worldwide for interdisciplinary research and advanced teaching on the cultural, social and political endeavours of Irish people, in Ireland and beyond.  Since its inception in 2000, the Centre has attracted outstanding graduate students from Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe to NUI Galway. 

This new MA programme draws on the achievements of outstanding scholars and a vibrant postgraduate research cluster in Irish Music Studies at NUI Galway. Irish Music Studies is central to teaching and research at the Centre for Irish Studies, an established Area of Excellence at NUI Galway which is ranked among the world’s top 2% of universities.  It blends survey and thematic modules, allowing students to weight module selection towards music or literature studies according to their interests.

Employment and career opportunities

Graduates of this programme may find employment in teaching (primary and secondary), the arts, heritage and tourism sectors, journalism, media, publishing, and the public service. A large proportion of graduates of the MA in Irish Studies have proceeded to doctoral research programmes in Ireland, Britain and North America.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Find out More

Ms Samantha Williams
T: +353 91 492 051
E: samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie