Irish Studies BA (Hons)

Key information


Irish Studies

As a modern European nation with a fascinating although often turbulent past, Ireland represents an ideal prism for the study of history, peace and conflict, literature, and politics.

The role of Ireland as an emerging independent nation, as well as part of a broader matrix of British and global history is explored. Its outstanding contribution to English literature in writers such as Wilde, Beckett, Joyce and Yeats also feature as part of this absorbing degree. Students can also look to study the causes of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and learn about what lessons can be drawn from the region’s peace process for divided societies elsewhere.

The interdisciplinary nature of this programme facilitates an interesting and rewarding engagement with the true personality of Ireland and its peoples. The aim of this programme is to set aside the simplified and stereotypical view of Ireland and its peoples and to focus instead on the diversity and plurality that inform Irish identity.

Please note: In Year One students are required to take 30 credits of optional modules outside Irish Studies. These may include Ancient History, Archaeology, Egyptology, or modules focusing on History or Latin America. You may also choose modules from other subjects.

Programme in detail

You will explore Irish identity and society from a number of perspectives including the historical, the linguistic, the literary and the ethnographic. You will then have the opportunity to choose modules in order to specialise in a specific area. The programme is very flexible, offering you the chance to select approved modules from within the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Fieldwork opportunities

Students will have an opportunity in year one to undertake a three day fieldtrip to Ireland or Northern Ireland. The Fieldtrip provides immersive training through walking tours of the city (Dublin or Belfast), visits to sites of historical and contemporary importance, and engagement with local community groups or elected representatives.

Study as part of joint-honours at 50:50 Choosing this subject as a combined degree

You will receive a general grounding in all aspects of Irish Studies.

You will explore Irish identity and society from a number of perspectives including the historical, the linguistic, the literary and its material culture. You then have the opportunity to choose modules in order to specialise in a specific area.

Department Key Facts

Number of first year students

389 students took Irish Studies modules in the academic year 2018-19.

Department resources

For many years the Institute has been the recipient of bequests and donations of books and archive material, to the extent we now have one of the most important collections of Irish Studies sources.

Our collection is named after Brendan MacLua, founder of the Irish Post, and includes a complete hardbound run of the newspaper, and related materials from 1963 onwards.

Research performance

The mission of the Institute is to be the UK’s main centre for multidisciplinary research into Ireland and its world-wide relations.
Specific interdisciplinary areas of research strength include:
- Northern Ireland/Ulster
- Political Inclusion and Exclusion in Ireland
- Religion and identity in Ireland and its Diaspora
- History of the Irish Literary Revival

Why this subject?

Study in a department with world-leading research in an internationally recognised institution

The Institute of Irish Studies was recognised in 2007 by the Irish government with a multi-million pound endowment to celebrate its achievement in contributing to the development of greater understanding between the two countries.

Be part of an important, influential and internationally recognised institute

We are a National Centre of Excellence in Britain for the study of Ireland, and our programmes cover a wide range of topics from Irish politics and history to its literature and culture.

Learn in a friendly and supportive environment recognised for its high levels of student satisfaction

All academic staff are widely published and internationally respected for their scholarship, this learning then feeds into our teaching so that students are at the cutting edge of research in a variety of intellectual fields.

Benefit from access to renowned speakers

While you are studying with us you’ll also be able to access the extensive programme of events that are held at the Institute, with regular high calibre speakers presenting, including former Taoiseach of Ireland Enda Kerry, veteran BBC news correspondent Orla Guerin, the late David Ervine and the current Irish President Michael D Higgins