Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to the Literature of Gaelic Ireland
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 5 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (2000 words)  25%
Semester Assessment Presentation  15%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   70%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (2000 words)  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

to describe the major developments in Irish literature from the early medieval period down to the emergence of the Irish Free State, and locate them within the broader context of Irish history and / or the literary history of Europe

to analyze and meaningfully comment on the literary and stylistic features of Irish literature

to demonstrate an understanding of the historical and cultural significance of set Irish-language texts

to demonstrate familiarity with current debates concerning Irish literature / culture and critically observe these debates

to make informed use of the translations, handbooks, bibliographies and major journals in the field.

Brief description

This module serves as an introduction to the literature of Gaelic Ireland from the early medieval period down to beginning of the twentieth century. A wide range of texts, illustrative of various genres (law, saga, poetry, prose, romantic and folk-tales) will be discussed and situated in their literary, historical and cultural context, providing an excellent foundation for students of Celtic Studies, Irish history and Irish literature.
The module will be taught as a one-hour lecture with linked fortnightly seminars/workshops. Seminars will provide opportunities for students to engage in close readings of selected texts and to formulate and present their own interpretations of texts. Students will undertake a significant number of hours of independent study, developing their critical skills.


Outline of content per week

1. Introduction: Irish as a Celtic language; periodization of Irish; outline of Irish history to 1900; outline of course

2. Literacy in Irish: Ogam and the coming of Christianity; the Irish monastery as a literary centre.

Seminar 1: a close reading of the preface to Senchus Már legal text.

3. Old Irish and its manuscripts: glosses and glossaries; Early Irish poetry nature poetry

4. The great Irish manuscripts: Book of the Dun Cow, Book of Leinster etc. contents and contexts; ‘Cycles’ in Early Irish Literature.

Seminar 2: A close reading of sections of An Táin.

5. Deities, devils and delinquents in Early Irish literature

6. The Classical Poets and their Poetry.

Seminar 3: Reading the Book of O’Conor Don.

7. Reformation and counter-reformation: The Irish Bible; Keating’s History

8. Irish Literature in the eighteenth-century: Jacobite poetry, Caoine Airt Uí Laoire

Seminar 4: A close reading of sections of the Aisling.

9. Literary responses to the nineteenth century: Daniel O’Connell; Raftery; John McHale

10. The Gaelic League and the creation of a ‘new literature’ and the lore of the ‘folk’.

Seminar 5: A close reading of Douglas Hyde

11. Summation: Broad developments; location within wider European context.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This is not relevant for this module.
Communication Oral communication skills will be developed in seminars where students will be encouraged to communicate their own ideas and further developed and assessed in student group presentations. Written communication will be developed through the articulation of ideas and analysis in written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance By independent research; tutor feedback on written work and oral contribution in class; interaction of peers during seminar and/or presentation; developing time/work management skills; reflecting upon presentational skills and other written work.
Information Technology For research purposes (assignments and presentations); word-processing and use of PowerPoint or Prezzie in presentations. Using electronic research and bibliographic resources; accessing Blackboard for course
Personal Development and Career planning Personal advice on career goals will be offered on a one-to-one basis.
Problem solving By critical engagement (verbal and written) with intellectual concepts raised by the historical context and specific texts.
Research skills Through independent research for written assessment (essay), presentation and oral contribution/presentation in class.
Subject Specific Skills Through lectures and independent research students will develop subject specific skills relevant to Celtic Studies, Irish Studies and Comparative Literature.
Team work Through students making group presentations; this will entail organizing themselves to meet and discuss material outside of class, to formulate a presentation together and to present and field questions as a team.


This module is at CQFW Level 4