SS120 Gaelic Literature and Culture; From Cú Chulainn (Cuchulainn) to the Cultural Revival and beyond

Gaelic literature is the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe; this course introduces the student to early Gaelic narrative literature and gives insights into the culture(s) which created that literature. Students read and interpret a selection of texts in translation, including tales of Cú Chulainn and the Ulster Cycle, Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna and tales of the Otherworld, and develop skills in engaging critically with the literature. Tracing the vicissitudes of the Irish language and its culture from the seventeenth century onwards, the course explores Irish folklore and the oral storytelling tradition and examines the emergence and development of modern Gaelic literature from the period of the Cultural Revival in the late-nineteenth century. The representation of so-called ‘Gaelic’ identity as portrayed through Irish language literature and folklore is explored; through the reading of selections of Gaelic prose and poetry in translation, students gain insights into the rapid changes within Gaelic culture from the nineteenth century as represented in folklore and literature. While demonstrating an intimate awareness of formal and thematic developments in a broad range of world literatures, contemporary Gaelic prose and poetry engages closely with earlier sources within the Gaelic literary, oral and cultural traditions.  The course develops students’ understanding of the dynamic interplay between the traditional and the contemporary within modern Gaelic literature.

 A knowledge of Irish is not a prerequisite for the course; all classes are through English. Introductory classes in the Irish language will be provided to interested students.

Jeannine Woods

Director, Jeannine Woods, BA, MA, PhD

Jeannine Woods graduated from NUI Maynooth with a degree in Modern Irish and Cultural Anthropology and was awarded a PhD in English by NUI Galway. She has been teaching and lecturing in NUI Galway since 2005. Jeannine’s teaching and research interests encompass the areas of Irish language and literature, film studies, drama studies, gender and sexuality and performance studies in the context of Irish-language, Irish and international literatures and cultures.

Kicki Ingridsdotter, M.A., Ph.D. 

Kicki Ingridsdotter is currently working as a lecturer of Old Irish and Celtic Civilization in the School of Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway, teaching courses in Old Irish language and literature, Celtic Society, Celtic Kingship and Mythology. She studied for her B.A, M.A. and Ph. D. in Celtic languages at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Her research topics are based on Early Irish Saga text in general and text editing in particular.

Photo of Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill

Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill, M.A.

Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill is a doctoral student in the Department of Modern Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at NUIG and has spent time as a visiting researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her doctoral research focuses on the folktale tradition of Joyce Country, County Galway. 



Tuition and Fees

€2,100 (Euro)

€1,310 - Family Guesthouse (with Irish breakfast – single occupancy)
€1,160 - Family Guesthouse (with Irish breakfast – sharing) 
€875  - Student Residence (without breakfast -single occupancy)

Further Information

Programme Administrator
International Summer School Programme
NUI Galway

Tel: +353 91 495442
Fax: +353 91 525051



Applications open November 2016