Irish Mythology & Folklore

Our MA in Irish Mythology & Folklore (Online), offered by the Department of Early and Medieval Irish and the Department of Folklore & Ethnology at UCC, explores Irish tradition, focussing both on the earliest and on the most recent sources: medieval tales evoking the pre-Christian past; and the folklore of the last few generations.

Apart from Latin, Irish is the oldest literary language in western Europe, reflecting the vigorous cultural self-confidence of the early Irish themselves; and a wealth of Old Irish and Middle Irish tales, poems, and other texts speak of the culture and beliefs of the pagan period, evidently drawing on the materials of ancient myth.

Ireland is also unusual in the energy and thoroughness with which its folklore has been collected, especially in the early part of the twentieth century. The Department of Folklore and Ethnology embrace this in our department collaborations with ongoing research projects across both the University and community.

Despite the many changes brought by its eventful history, Ireland's traditions have been remarkably durable, and continuities can be identified linking the popular lore of modern times with the world of primeval myth. Various course modules trace these continuities, examining enduring themes such as gender, kinship, and the supernatural.

Why Choose This Course
Although there are courses in Mythology and Folklore at other universities, this is the only postgraduate course in the world that is specifically dedicated to the myths and folklore of Ireland. Besides its relevance for anyone with an interest in Irish culture, the course's approach focusses on various key areas: the existence in Ireland of a rich medieval literature — the oldest in Europe — that is largely concerned with the pre-Christian past, with its legendary history and supernatural beliefs; the vast and many-sided world of Irish folklore and popular culture, recorded in more recent times in remarkable depth and detail; and the continuities that exist between these two bodies of evidence, revealing the existence of an organically integrated mental world spanning the centuries.

All sources are read in translation. Besides a full curriculum of lectures by internationally recognised experts in the relevant fields, students will explore the subject matter in discussion sessions. The dissertation, written under the supervision of a member of the teaching staff, will give students the opportunity to make use of their knowledge, and to develop their research skills, in an extended independent project. Knowledge and skills gained in the course have broad applicability elsewhere in the humanities.

Connected Curriculum
We encourage innovative teaching and learning practices at UCC and this is embodied in the online delivery of this programme. Our accessible learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff from the Department of Early and Medieval Irish and the Department of Folklore & Ethnology (Béaloideas agus Eitneolaíocht) have made significant contributions to their discipline and will support you in making meaningful connections across the breadth of Irish Mythology and Folklore.

Subjects taught

Course content
The online MA Irish Mythology & Folklore is an online programme running for 12 months (full-time), or 24 months (part-time), from the date of first registration for the programme.

In Part I students take 60 credits consisting of six core modules
In Part II students complete a research dissertation worth 30 credits
Lectures will be recorded, and both they and ancillary lecture material (notes, slides, bibliographies, etc.) will be made available via Canvas, the online teaching platform used by University College Cork.

Part-time option: Part-time students will complete a minimum of 40 credits and a maximum of 60 credits in Year 1. In Year 2, they will complete their taught modules as well as submit the 30-credit dissertation by the end of the second academic year.

Part I
Core Modules (60 credits)

CC6024: Tales of Kings & Heroes in Medieval Ireland (10 credits)
CC6025: Celtic Paganism & its Irish Legacy: The Medieval Evidence (10 credits)
CC6027: Gender Perceptions in Medieval Ireland (10 credits)
FL6011: Doing Irish Folklore: Archival Collection & Dissemination, Past & Present (10 credits)
FL6012: The Gaelic Otherworld: Stories &Theories (10 credits)
FL6013: Feminine Genealogies from Myth to Folklore (10 credits)

Part II
Dissertation in Mythology or Folklore (12,000–15,000 words) (30 credits)

CC6026: Dissertation in Irish Mythology (30 credits) or
FL6010: Dissertation in Irish Folklore (30 credits)
Please see the University Calendar (MA Irish Mythology & Folklore) for more information and learning outcomes.

Entry requirements

Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines. Successful applicants will normally have a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or the equivalent.

Candidates who hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), based on the information provided in a supplementary statement and/or interview.

For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected.

Applicants must complete a short personal statement outlining their academic background and interests and reasons for applying to the programme.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Application dates

How Do I Apply
1. Choose Course
Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online
Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents
Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
Any supplementary items requested for your course.
Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline
Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details.

5. Rounds
For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates via link below.

Questions on how to apply?
Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme. Please outline your academic background and interests and reasons for applying to the programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15 June.


1 Year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
An MA in Irish Mythology and Folklore is an ideal qualification for those wishing to pursue careers in sectors such as education, academia, heritage, librarianship, local history, broadcasting and media, creative arts, culture, archives, museums and cultural bodies.

This MA also allows you to pursue further research primarily in Irish Folklore, Early and Medieval Irish and Celtic Studies through the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Science (CACSSS). Please see their CACSSS research page for more information.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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