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Centre for Irish Studies

National University of Ireland NUI, Galway


Léann na hÉireann/Irish Studies

Irish Studies is an integrated, interdisciplinary programme of learning which seeks to explore key aspects of the Irish experience in its historical and contemporary settings. The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway was established in Autumn 2000 and is dedicated to research and advanced teaching on the cultural, social and political endeavours of Irish people, on the island of Ireland and beyond. All of the Centre’s programmes are located in Martha Fox House which was recently refurbished and contains dedicated workspace for up to 12 fulltime teaching and research personnel.


Irish Studies is a designated Area of Excellence at NUI, Galway



Taught Programmes


MA in Irish Studies 

The MA in Irish Studies is a one year  programme drawing on the disciplines of English, History, and Irish and including sociological and political science perspectives. The programme focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and provides a critical interrogation of key junctions and issues in the historical, cultural and social development of modern Ireland. The approach is interdisciplinary throughout, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of the Irish experience since the early nineteenth century.

A wide range of political and literary texts, and other forms of cultural
representation are studied as primary material and students are encouraged to make inter-connections between the various strands of their course.

The teaching language of the course is English. Essays, dissertations and oral presentations may be in either English or Irish at students’ own discretion.


Irish Studies Online


This programme, the first of its kind in the world, has been developed in partnership with Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and is targeted at non-traditional and mature students primarily who do not have access to traditional programmes of study in this area.The purpose of the course is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, English, Irish, Political Science and Sociology. The full programme will comprise five 8-week modules leading to the award of a Certificate in Irish Studies for students who successfully complete three of the modules and a Diploma in Irish Studies from NUI, Galway for those who complete the full programme.


The course provides an overview of Irish history from the pagan Celtic world and the coming of Christianity, through to the cataclysmic famines of the 1840s, the establishment of an independent state in 1922 and Ireland’s integration into the European community which has been ongoing since the 1970s. Students will be introduced to Irish literature in both the Irish (Gaelic) and English languages from the Old-Irish sagas and early Irish lyrics through the emergence of Anglo-Irish literature in the eighteenth century and the twentieth century revival of writing in Irish. Particular emphasis will be give to the study of Irish society since independence with due consideration of such crucial issues as gender, religion, modernization, identity and socio-economic development.


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Summer School in Irish Studies


The annual Summer School in Irish Studies at NUI, Galway was inaugurated in 1984 and continues to offer a diverse programme of interdisciplinary study for undergraduate and graduate students. The modular course structure allows a considerable degree of flexibility to students and is designed to reflect developments in the world of Irish Studies since the programme was first established. The full menu of courses is as follows:  



The programme also includes a series of field trips designed to complement the courses taught in the various modules and is an integral element in the overall course structure.


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Diploma in Irish Music Studies


This two-year programme for part-time students provides an integrated interdisciplinary introduction to the ways in which music and literature have contributed to the creation of identity both in Ireland and for communities abroad. Beginning in 1700, the course will investigate the ways in which Irish writers in Irish and English and those involved in the dissemination and revival of Irish traditional music and dance were actively involved in the formation and reformation of modern Irish identities. It will provide insights from music, dance, poetry, television and film of the ways in which Irish performers and writers have been actively involved in imagining and re-imagining Ireland, and illustrating how these cultural expressions provide vital spaces for societal discourse.


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Research fellowships




In partnership with the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Centre for Irish Studies offers an annual Visiting Fellowship in Irish Studies to enable a distinguished scholar from the United States to further his/her research endeavours at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The IACI Visiting Research Fellow is hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies for the duration of the fellowship.

Postgraduate Fellowship

The Arts Faculty at NUI, Galway offers a research fellowship to the most outstanding applicant to the PhD programme at the Centre for Irish Studies each year. Intending applicants should submit an outline proposal to Dr Louis de Paor at




 Professor Tadhg Foley

Chairman, Centre for Irish Studies


Tadhg Foley teaches courses on Romanticism, Victorian culture and society, theorising colonization in the nineteenth century, critical theory, and gender and nation in 19thC Ireland. He is a former director of the MA in Culture and Colonialism and he has organised/co-organised several conferences in colonialism, Irish Studies, and Irish-Australian Studies. His doctoral work was on the concept of ‘taste’ in the 18thC. His main research interest is in the history of ideas in 19thC Ireland and he has collaborated extensively with Professor Tom Boylan of the Economics Department on the production, distribution, and consumption of economic ideas

Dr Louis de Paor, Director

Louis de Paor was educated at University College Cork. He has published articles on a broad range of writing in Irish from the court poetry of medieval Ireland to the work of contemporary poets such as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Michael Davitt. His books include a study of narrative technique in the short fiction of Máirtín Ó Cadhain and an anthology of twentieth century poetry in Irish co-edited with Seán Ó Tuama. He is currently working on a study of the writings of Flann O’Brien.



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Samantha Williams

Centre for Irish Studies

Martha Fox House, Distillery Road , NUI Galway

Tel:   353 (0)91 492051

Fax:   353 (0)91 495513