Early Irish

Trinity College Dublin

Early Irish

Is This Course For Me?
This course is for you if you are interested in learning how the Irish language has evolved over time and how the culture reflected in medieval Irish manuscripts like the Book of Leinster, housed in Trinity College's Old Library, has also changed. It will help you to develop the skills you need to explore the rich literature of medieval Irish in its primary sources and understand the society in which it was created.

Course Structure
The course lasts for the two semesters of one academic year beginning in September and requires full-time study. The course consists of six contact hours per week.

Subjects taught

Course Content
All candidates take core modules in Old Irish prose, Old Irish poetry, Primitive and Archaic Irish linguistics, early Irish law and Middle Irish. In addition, students may attend a series of guest lectures organised by the department, and all undertake a dissertation of 20,000 words, which allows them to develop independent research skills in the field.

The end-of-year examination consists of three three-hour papers and will be subject to moderation by an external examiner. Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to translate and analyse Old and Middle Irish material, including an unseen Old Irish passage, and to describe the salient features of all periods of Early Irish grammar.

Entry requirements

The M.Phil. course builds on the material presented in the Postgraduate Diploma in Old Irish. Applicants will therefore normally have successfully completed the latter course, though anyone with equivalent competence in Old Irish but who has not completed the Diploma is also eligible to apply.


1 year full-time

Enrolment dates

Next Intake September 2024

Closing Date 27th June 2024

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Career Opportunities
Our graduates have pursued careers in text-based Arts & Humanities, including (and not limited to Irish) language, literature, history, teaching, publishing, librarianship and archiving, as well as the media production and criticism.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    M. Phil.

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Daytime,Full time

  • Apply to

    Course provider