Irish Language & European Law

This course is open to Law graduates, or graduates who hold other legal qualifications, or whose degree contains a substantial component of law, with a very high standard of Irish at second level education (A in Leaving Cert Honours Examination or B2 TEG) and Law Graduates who have taken Irish language modules at third level. This course aims to revive and build on the student's previous Irish language experience to the extent that students are brought to a high standard (C1 TEG) during the course of the degree. The course offers students a specialised training in European Law, alongside gaining in-depth Irish language skills. Students spend part of the course in UCC and part of it on an intensive residential Gaeltacht week long course in the Waterford Gaeltacht, allowing students to immerse themselves in the language. Students graduate with a desirable qualification that is seen as a strategic combined language and law need in Europe.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will normally have an honours primary degree in Law (or a degree comprising a substantial component of Law) at 2.1 level (or the equivalent). Applications from graduates whose primary Law degree is at 2.2 level will be considered based on the information in a supplementary statement and interview/assessment. Applications will also be accepted from candidates holding a qualification as a barrister or a solicitor in Ireland or the United Kingdom. A degree in Irish is not necessary but a high standard of Irish is required (e.g. an 'A' at the Higher Leaving Certificate Level or equivalent (B2 Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge)). Applicants will be further required to present for interview/assessment with the Department of Modern Irish.


1 year full-time

Careers or further progression

What can I do after I graduate with an MA in Irish Language and European Law?

Students graduating with this degree will be equipped to compete for Lawyer-linguist positions within the European Commission and European Parliament. With the derogation on the full use of Irish in the structures of the European Commission and European Parliament due to be phased out between 2015 and 2021, the holder of this degree will be uniquely placed to capitalise on the anticipated huge increase in employment opportunities in that period and after.

In the case of domestic employment, they will also be enabled to add a professional qualification in the Irish language to their portfolio of skills, an important element in the area of Irish Constitutional Law in particular. In the wider, non-legally specific arena, the degree will enhance employment opportunities in areas such as print, broadcast and electronic media, particularly with reference to current affairs, and social and cultural commentary relating to Ireland and Europe. Students graduating with first class honours or high second class honours may avail of further postgraduate study opportunities in either Irish or Law.

Occupations associated with an MA in Irish Language and European Law

Lawyer Linguist
Legal Translator

Career Prospects?
A greater role for the Irish language in the EU

As a result of a regulation made by the EU Council (Council Regulation 2015/2264), the amount of staff in the Irish-language Units will increase steadily between now and 2022. According to an estimate given by the Directorate-General for Translation in the European Commission, more than 180 staff members with excellent competency in Irish will be required to satisfy the translation requirements of the principal institutions of the EU: 42 translator assistants, 103 translators and 6 heads of unit/department. A team of interpreters will also be recruited and yet more employees will be needed to ensure a continuous supply of Irish-speaking professionals to meet the requirements of the European institutions.

The MA in Irish and European Law is aimed at people who wish to apply for the position of translator or lawyer-linguist in the institutions of the European Union. These are interesting, attractive careers with high salaries and good working conditions as well as opportunities for continual professional development. Translators earn in the region of €48,000 per annum, for example, and the starting salary for a lawyer-linguist is €5,500 per month. The important and meaningful work undertaken by translators and lawyer-linguists is increasing the status of the Irish language in Ireland and in Europe.

What is the role of a lawyer-linguist?

EU lawyer-linguists ensure that all new legislation has the same meaning in every European language. The job requires capable lawyers with outstanding linguistic abilities, who are experienced in drafting or translating, checking or revising legal texts. Lawyer-linguists must be able to discern precisely what EU legislation is intended to convey, and faithfully reflect that intention in their own native language.

Further enquiries

Contact details for this course
Dr Síle Ní Mhurchú
00 353 21 4902341

Ms Siobhán Ní Dhonghaile
00 353 21 4902340

Subjects taught

Course Details

The MA in Irish Language and European Law will be run by the Department of Modern Irish in collaboration with the School of Law. This collaboration builds on an existing and highly productive arrangement between the two disciplines.

Part 1 of this course consists of two semesters at UCC, starting in September and finishing in May. During the two semesters students complete 60 credits in total. 25 credits are taken in core modules. 35 credits are taken in elective modules, with 25 credits allocated to a selection of law modules and 10 credits allocated to a selection of language modules.

Part 2 of this course consists of a 15 credit intensive and fully-subsidised residential Gaeltacht course over the summer months, and a 15 credit research project on a subject combining a joint Irish-language and Law topic.

The intensive Gaeltacht module will be a feature of the course that will exploit an active and growing strategic outreach engagement between UCC and the Irish-speaking areas in its hinterland, and serve to enhance the student experience of Irish as a living, European language. The intensive residential courses to be conducted over a week at Coláiste na Rinne, in the heart of the Waterford Gaeltacht, will be crucial to the course objective of the transition in the standard of Irish of the students from B2 to C1 in Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG).

The course will benefit Law graduates by bringing their standard and qualifications to level 9 overall, and will fast-track these graduates into new employment opportunities by enabling them to annexe linguistic ability in Irish to their primary degree in Law. It will also enable them to begin adding a third language to their portfolio, should they chose to do so. Graduates will then be well placed to apply for positions within the European Commission and European Parliament, the strategic need for which has been identified by the Higher Education Authority, which is funding this programme. The programme will also prepare graduates for work in either of the legal professions as bilingual lawyers or advocates.


Course Practicalities
The MA in Irish Language and European Law is taken full-time over 12 months. Part 1 within the first two semesters, Part 2 in the third semester. Conventional lecture hours of one per week per module will apply to the core and elective modules. The language modules also carry tutorial and conversation classes. The intensive residential Gaeltacht module (GA6027) consists of a week long course in the third semester.

Who Teaches This Course
Staff of the Department of Modern Irish:

Dr Pádraig Ó Macháin
Dr Seán Ua Súilleabháin
Ms. Mairead Ni Loingsigh

Staff of the School of Law:
Dr Seán Ó Conaill

Staff of the School of Languages
with additional tutorial staff from all departments

Unique Aspects of the Course
This course offers intensive training in spoken and written Irish to holders of legal degrees or other legal qualifications (solicitors, barristers), or degrees that include a significant element of law, and enhances those qualifications with a tailored suite of course modules in European Law. The course builds on the formal status of the Irish language within the European Commission and European Parliament, and particularly on the removal of the derogation by 2021 from the full use of Irish, thereby exploiting employment opportunities at both national and European level.

Assessment method

1. Written examinations in the case of the core and elective modules, with the Irish-language modules incorporating continuous assessment and oral components.

2. The 15-credit intensive Gaeltacht course (GA6027) will be assessed by in-class examinations.

3. The 15-credit research project (GA6028) will be assessed jointly by representatives of the Department of Modern Irish and School of Law.

Application date

Applications for 2019 start dates will open on November 1st 2018.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means we offer places four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds EU application system closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications:

For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019
Offers will be made:Offers will be made by January 25th 2019

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by March 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by May 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

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

While there is no official closing date for Research courses applicants are advised to submit their application at least two months ahead of their proposed start date. There are four official Research start dates – September/October, January, April and July.

Non-EU Applicants:

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

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

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date 9 September 2019

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