Irish Writing

Trinity College Dublin

Irish Writing

Amid a diverse and dynamic community of students and scholars, this course will allow you to gain a thorough grounding in the field of Irish writing, from canonical figures such as Maria Edgeworth and James Joyce to contemporary critical debates around gender, sexuality, class and race.

The centrepiece of the course is the core 'Perspectives in Irish Writing' module. Running across two semesters, it introduces students to the multiple contexts in which Irish writing in English has developed from the late seventeenth century through to the present. It also considers the literary history and reception of Irish writing, covering the main critical narratives and debates, as well as revisions of the Irish literary field as regards questions of gender, sexuality, class and race. A notable strength of Trinity's faculty is the historical range of its research interests. This is reflected in the coverage given to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Irish writing. The final portion of the course also decisively turns to the eclectic state of contemporary Irish literature.

Further exploration of the field of Irish Writing is offered through the core 'Conditions of Irish Writing' module. This focuses on the publishers, periodicals and institutions through which Irish writing has been produced and mediated, covering a wide range of historical periods, genres and writers. Further foundational grounding in issues of importance to studying and researching literature at postgraduate level is provided through the 'Research Skills for Postgraduate English' module.

Students also take two specialist option modules, reflecting our commitment to cutting-edge research-led teaching. Within the Irish Writing programme, these modules focus on examining the work of significant Irish writers in detail.

A wealth of option modules from our other M.Phil. programmes, including the chance to take a creative writing option, are also available to you. In the final phase of the course, you will complete a dissertation. This will allow you to pursue in-depth research on a subject of your choice under expert supervision and drawing on our fantastic library and archival holdings.

This course provides an excellent platform for moving on to doctoral research, as well as offering transferable skills for a variety of future careers, including in education, the arts, publishing and the media.

Subjects taught

The course consists of five modules:
Single Author:
This module, taught in a weekly two-hour seminar, covers the work of four major individual authors from the Irish literary tradition. In Michaelmas term we study Swift and Yeats, and in Hilary term, Joyce and Beckett.

Perspectives in Irish Writing:
This module introduces students to the socio/cultural contexts in which Irish writing in English developed from the late sixteenth century through to the twenty-first century. It investigates key terms that students will encounter in the critical literature on Irish writing and culture: Anglo-Irish, Protestant Ascendancy, the Gaelic tradition, colonialism, the Big House, romantic and cultural nationalism, the Literary Revival. In addition to covering the significant authors of the tradition, it also addresses such issues as authorship, publishing history and reception as they bear on the emergence and development of a national literature in English and explores a number of theoretical issues.

Students take one option module in each of the semesters, choosing from the variety of special subjects on offer each year. These special subjects include: Publishing Twentieth Century Irish Literature, Big House Literature, Irish Poetry after Yeats, Ireland on Stage, and Creative Writing.

In place of the special subjects offered in the second term, students may enrol for a Creative Writing Workshop (an element of the M.Phil. in Creative Writing). Entry to this workshop is restricted and based on assessment of a portfolio of the student's creative writing, which must be presented before the end of the first term.

A dissertation (15,000-18,000 words) is planned in consultation with a Course Director during the second (Hilary) term and is written under the guidance of a supervisor. This work is undertaken in the third term (Trinity term) and in the long vacation (April-August).

Further information on the course in provided for incoming students in the course handbook and on the website of the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing of the School of English:

Entry requirements

Admission Requirements
Applicants should have an Honours Bachelor degree (at least of upper-second class standard or GPA of 3.3) or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject (such as English, History, Art History, Irish Studies, Modern Languages).

Application dates

Closing Date: 31st March 2023

Assessment Info

Assessment is by a combination of course papers and exercises and dissertation.


DPTEN-IWRI-1F09: 1 Year Full Time
DPTEN-IWRI-1P09: 2 years Part Time

Enrolment dates

Next Intake September 2020

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
Graduates have gone into careers in education, the arts and culture sector, librarianship, publishing, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, social work, the civil service and management consultancy. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful writers.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    M. Phil / P.Grad. Dip.

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider