Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Princes, Priests and Poets: Reading Early Modern Gaelic Prose
Academic Year
Semester 1
IR22120 or GC22120 Students must have done one of these modules or their Welsh-medium equivalents: IR22120 Modern Irish (Lang & Lit) 1&2; GC22120 Gwyddeleg Modern (1&2)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Semester Assessment Essay  (1,000 words)  20%
Semester Assessment In-class presentation  10%
Semester Assessment Fortnightly tasks  (2,000 words)  20%
Supplementary Assessment Student must resit elements of assessment equivalent to those which led to the failure of the module. 
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  (2,000 words)  20%
Supplementary Assessment Presentation  10%
Supplementary Assessment Tasks  (2,000 words)  20%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss in depth the social, political, and literary contexts of the chosen texts, as well as the author’s narrative technique.

2. Identify the grammatical features of an Early Modern Gaelic text that distinguish it from texts of other periods.

3. Outline some of the most important linguistic developments from Early Modern Gaelic to the contemporary Gaelic languages.

4. Describe the paleographical features of Early Modern Gaelic Manuscripts.

5. Identify some of the main features of Early Modern Gaelic and European epistolary culture.

Brief description

This module is an introduction to the language and prose of the Early Modern Period. It focuses on a particular genre of Gaelic-language writing from sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Ireland and Scotland: the letter. In focusing on this particular genre of writing, students will be exposed to many of the main social, historical, literary and linguistic themes of the Early Modern Gaelic world. Students will be dealing with primary sources and so will also gain a basic knowledge of Gaelic palaeography.


Students will read a selection of original Gaelic letters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a series of in-depth textual seminars. The material will be read in the original, from the manuscript images where available. Students will present on a text of their choice, discussing the background and context of the text in question and participate in class discussion. Texts to be examined include letters by both men and women relating to the administration of the Tudor state in Ireland, letters relating to the so-called ‘Flight of the Earls’, letters to and from the Irish colleges on the continent relating to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and even forged letters of the period.

Week 1: Introduction to the Early Modern Gaelic World

Week 2: Early Modern Gaelic hands and manuscripts

Week 3: The Tudor Conquest: Letters of Princes

Week 4: The Tudor Conquest: Letters of Princes

Week 5: The Tudor Conquest: Letters of Poets

Reading Week

Week 6: Letters of Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Week 7: Letters of Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Week 8: Letters of Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Week 9: Forgers and Forgeries

Week 10: Revision of main themes

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars.
Improving own Learning and Performance By independent research; tutor feedback on written work and oral contribution in class; developing time/work management skills; reflecting upon presentational skills and other written work.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of relevant digital humanities resources. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Through independent research for written assessment, presentation and oral contribution in class. Using electronic research and bibliographical resources. Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will get to grips with grammar, historical linguistics and issues of interpretation and contextualization of early modern Gaelic texts. Students will learn basic paleographical skills for Gaelic manuscripts.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6