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Irish - Early & Medieval

This course is concerned with Early Irish language and literature in the period from 600AD to 1200AD, and focuses on the study of language, grammar, texts, and their historical and literary contexts. Students are encouraged to develop their skills in close reading of sources, and in close analysis of the medieval Irish language. You will also have the opportunity to study medieval Welsh and Latin, and to take advanced courses in literary studies, palaeography, and textual editing. Provision has been made for supervised independent research to allow you to broaden and deepen your scholarly interests, while a 20,000-word thesis gives scope to postgraduates to complete a significant piece of work in a specific area of interest.

For the full-time one-year option, you are required to choose modules to the value of 50 credits. Most modules have a value of 10 credits and involve weekly classes for the duration of the academic year (24 weeks). Depending on options, a full-time student will have a minimum of 5 classes per week (though many will also contain weekly assignments); students may also choose to attend the two-day palaeography workshop held annually in early September. For one-on-one supervised studies, and for the 40-credit dissertation, students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis.

After you have chosen the modules you wish to study, you are expected to attend regularly and participate fully in taught classes. Attendance at Old Irish language classes and the weekly Department research seminar is compulsory. In areas of supervised study, supervisors for the relevant modules will be organised by the teaching staff of the Department. The thesis topic and supervisor will be chosen by you in consultation with members of staff. The MA in Early and Medieval Irish entails a lot of reading and study — happily; the library facilities in UCC are particularly good in our subject area.

Placement and Study Abroad Information
Upon successful completion of the Master of Arts in Early and Medieval Irish, students often go on to PhD degrees at home and abroad. In recent years, many of our students have received scholarships to study for further degrees in North America, Scotland, Germany and Wales, as well as in Ireland. As we have numerous formal links with higher education institutions overseas, students who avail of the opportunity to pursue their doctoral studies in UCC may elect to spend some time abroad as part of their course.

On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

- translate selected Early Irish texts

- comment grammatically on particular words, phrases or sentences within these texts

- transcribe Early Irish texts from manuscript sources

- write and present a research paper on an agreed topic

- translate selected Medieval Welsh texts

- submit the results of supervised research in a dissertation of 20,000 words, with full scholarly apparatus.

Unique Aspects of the Course
The MA in Early and Medieval Irish offers great training in the language, literature and culture of medieval Ireland, providing opportunities for postgraduates to study the medieval Irish language in depth, as well as receiving training in Latin and medieval Welsh. You can develop your scholarly potential by directed independent study and taught modules, working with staff who are internationally recognised in areas such as medieval Irish Christianity, mythology, palaeography, textual editing, and legendary history. MA students will join a large cohort of international and Irish students already engaged on postgraduate studies in the Department of Early and Medieval Irish, UCC.

Entry requirements

You will have a 2.2 honours primary degree or higher in Early and Medieval Irish.

You will have an honours primary degree in Early and Medieval Irish with second class honours or higher (or equivalent result). For non-EU entry requirements, please contact the International Education Office by email

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please see course webpage (link below) to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.


Full-time 1 year
Part-time 2 years
The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years

Careers or further progression

Skills and Careers Information
An MA degree in Early and Medieval Irish, besides preparing you for further study in the field of Celtic Studies, can also provide an additional qualification — and a mark of distinction — for students pursuing advanced degrees in such fields as classics, English, history or medieval studies. It is also a useful qualification for those seeking employment in the heritage and broadcasting sectors.

Further enquiries

Dr. John Carey
P: + 353 21 490 2999

Ciara Ní Churnáin
Executive Assistant
P: +353 (0)21 490 3360

Subjects taught

Students take 90 credits as follows:

Part I
CC6003 Early Irish Texts (10 credits)
40 credits from the following:
CC6004 Medieval Welsh (10 credits)
CC6005 Research Seminar (10 credits)
CC6006 Special Topic (10 credits)
CC6007 Research Presentation (10 credits)
CC6008 Palaeography and Manuscript-based Research (10 credits)
CC6011 Continuing Old Irish (10 credits)

Part II
CC6010 MA Dissertation (40 credits)

Note: The Dissertation, of no less than 20,000 words, must be on a topic chosen in consultation with the Department. The Dissertation may be written through the medium of Irish or English.

For further details and descriptions of the modules, see the Postgraduate College Calendar.


Who Teaches This Course
The Masters of Arts in Early and Medieval Irish is taught by members of the Department of Early and Medieval Irish. All academic staff supervise postgraduates in their areas of scholarly interest.

Máire Herbert
John Carey
Kevin Murray
Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh

Assessment method

The taught modules are generally assessed by continuous assessment and by end-of-year examinations. In palaeography and the supervised-study modules, assessment is by essay/project while in the research presentation, public delivery to an academic audience is also assessed. The MA dissertation is graded by an external examiner.

Full details and regulations governing examinations for each course will be contained in the Marks and Standards Book and for each module in the Book of Modules.

Application date

Applications for 2017-18 intake are now open.

While UCC operates a rounds system for Postgraduate Taught courses (detailed below) we would advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications: Offers will be made:

For all completed applications received by January 16th 2017 Offers will be made by January 30th 2017

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2017 Offers will be made by March 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2017 Offers will be made by May 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by July 3rd 2017 Offers will be made by July 17th 2017

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

Course fee

2017/2018 Irish/EU Fee: €6,000 full-time; €3,000 per year part-time

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 11 September 2017

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!