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Irish Writing

The course offers graduates in English or in related disciplines (e.g. history, art history, Irish studies, a modern language) the opportunity to study the broad range of authors of Irish writing in English from the late 16th century to the present. It also addresses thematic aspects of the subject. The course is designed to be complete in itself but can also serve as preparation for those who may wish to proceed to further research in the field.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good honors degree (at least an upper second or equivalent, GPA of at least 3.3). Some previous knowledge of Irish Writing is also desirable. Admission to the course is competitive due to a restricted quota.


1 year full-time

Further enquiries

Course Director Professor Eve Patten
Telephone Number +353-1-8962285/3841
Course Email

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: Writing the Troubles, 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 (12,000-15,000 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 Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing of the School of English:

Assessment method

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

Application date

Closing Date 31st March 2018

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake September 2018

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