Centre for Irish Studies
National University of Ireland, Galway



Irish Studies is an integrated, interdisciplinary programme of learning which explores key aspects of the Irish experience in its historical and contemporary settings.

The distinctive features of our taught and research programmes foreground the University’s longstanding commitment to the cultural traditions of the West of Ireland and the research achievements of academic staff across several disciplines.

Ø      Our bilingual approaches to literature, history, and culture enables students to develop a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to cultural production by studying both Irish and English language material.  

Ø      Irish Music and Dance Studies develop the dynamic relationship between students and the artistic practices of the region where the traditions of Irish music and dance are particularly strong.

Ø      Place Studies encourages students to consider the deep attachment to place as a signature element of the Irish imagination, and migration and dislocation as defining aspects of the Irish experience.

Ø      A commitment to interdisciplinarity requires students to work across the traditional boundaries between individual disciplines, including Irish, English, History, Geography, Political Science and Sociology.

Since its inception in 2000, the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway has established itself as one of the premier locations worldwide for interdisciplinary research and advanced teaching on the cultural, social and political endeavours of Irish people.


Irish Studies (Literature & History) MA, full-time or part-time
Irish Studies (Literature & Music) MA, full-time and part-time

Irish Studies (Literature & History)

This is an interdisciplinary programme, drawing on the disciplines of English, History, Irish, Sociology and Political Science, and is run within the Centre for Irish Studies. The programme focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries and provides a critical examination of key 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 from the early 19th century to the present day.

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.

There are some scholarship opportunities available for this programme.  Please visit the 
MA (Humanities) Scholarships website for more information. 

Further information and how to apply at

Irish Studies (Literature & Music)

This new MA in Irish Studies (Literature and Music) offers an intensive academic curriculum in Irish Literature Studies and Irish Music Studies, focusing in particular on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Using a dynamic interdisciplinary approach, aspects of Irish historical experience and Irish identities are examined through the prism of music, from traditional to popular, and through critical reading of literature in Irish (studied in translation) and in English.

Further information and how to apply at

Irish Studies Online Diploma

Irish Studies Online is an interdisciplinary introduction to Irish Studies, developed by the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. The two-year part-time diploma programme offers an excellent opportunity for those interested in Ireland, especially those without access to traditional programmes of study in this area. The purpose of the diploma is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, literature in English and in Irish (presented in translation), Political Science and Sociology, traditional Irish music and dance.

Click here for full information about the Online Diploma in Irish Studies

Customised Programmes in Irish Studies

The Centre for Irish Studies provides a customised course in Irish Studies that offers an interdisciplinary introduction to modern and contemporary Ireland through the disciplines of Irish, English, History, and Political Science and Sociology, with a particular emphasis on twentieth-century Ireland. Students are provided with an overview of Irish history and a survey of changing patterns in Irish society as well as a critical reading of key literary texts in both English and Irish. The Irish language material is presented and studied in translation. This course which incorporates guided field-trips, is offered to institutional groups rather than single students. For further information contact the Coordinator:

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: 


Ø      Representing Ireland - Literature and Film

Ø      The Archaeological Heritage of Ireland

Ø      Irish History

Ø      Gaelic Culture and Literature

Ø      Irish Society

Ø      Negotiating Identity: Irish Traditional Music and Dance

Ø      Introduction to Art in Ireland   

Ø      Creative Writing: Poetry and Fiction

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.

Further information and how to apply at



The Centre for Irish Studies has a long-standing commitment to supporting international research initiatives in the field of Irish Studies. In particular, the hosting of Visiting Scholars makes a significant contribution to the intellectual life of the Centre by providing a platform for wider discussions among the Irish Studies community at NUI Galway. With the generous assistance of funding agencies, including the Leverhulme Foundation, the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Fulbright Commission, the Irish Research Council, Foras na Gaeilge, and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, the Centre has hosted emerging and established scholars from Europe, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Comhrá Ceoil: Research in Irish Music and Dance Studies

Irish Music and Dance Studies is central to teaching and research at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, drawing on cognate disciplines of ethnomusicology, cultural history, spatial and cultural geography to expand the field of Irish Studies internationally. There is a vibrant post-graduate research cluster in music and dance studies, a thread which also runs through the fabric of undergraduate teaching.

For a number of years now, a music and dance studies reading group, Comhrá Ceoil, has been meeting regularly as a forum for debate and discussion. Comhrá Ceoil draws together strands of research, discourse and practice in the field and encompasses a variety of research driven initiatives and events, both on and off campus. It provides a robust but collegial environment to develop new ideas and revisit old paradigms of discussion on the matter of music, dance and Irishness.

Ómos Áite: Space/Place Research Group

Ómós Áite grew from a conversation about the contested role of place in Irish culture and this informal dialogue developed into the formation of an interdisciplinary research group that now meets on a monthly basis at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. Membership ranges from Irish Studies to cognate disciplines across NUI Galway, while also including musicians, dancers, artists and community partners concerned with spatial and environmental issues in their work.


Doctoral Research in Irish Studies
Doctoral research in Irish Studies at NUI Galway requires an interdisciplinary approach to key junctions and issues in the historical, cultural and social development of modern and contemporary Ireland.  The Centre for Irish Studies provides a supportive environment and has an exceptional record in assisting PhD candidates to complete their theses to the highest standards in a timely fashion. Its particular areas of expertise are in Irish Literature, Space and Place, and Irish Music Studies. For discussion of doctoral research possibilities in each of these areas, contact

Dr Louis de Paor, modern and contemporary Irish writing in Irish and in English; translation studies

Dr Nessa Cronin, space and place studies; cultural geography; cartography

Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Irish music and dance studies 



Samantha Williams
Centre for Irish Studies
Martha Fox House, Distillery Road
NUI Galway


Tel:  353 (0)91 492051











Samantha Williams
Centre for Irish Studies
Martha Fox House, Distillery Road
NUI Galway


Tel:  353 (0)91 492051






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