Any undergraduate student may enroll in Irish Studies courses. To successfully complete the Minor, however, a student must pass a total of 6 Irish Studies courses. No specific class is required. Students must instead take 1 approved Irish Studies class from across three areas of study: English, History and Modern Languages, along with 3 further Irish Studies electives. From the list below, then, students can select 6 courses, including at least 1 from each participating department: English, History and Modern Languages.

To view the course schedule for the upcoming semester, please visit Cardinal Station. Please note this list of approved Irish Studies classes below is not exhaustive. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Irish Studies with questions about course selection for the Minor. 


  • IRSH 101: Introduction to Irish Language & Culture I
IRSH 101 provides students with a general introduction to the Irish language and to aspects of traditional and contemporary Irish culture. Students learn the fundamentals of the Irish language, primarily covering topics which enable them to talk about themselves; where they come from and live, their family and friends, and their hobbies and interests. Students are introduced to basic grammatical structures and in the first semester focus on oral communication in the present tense.
  • IRSH 102: Introduction to Irish Language & Culture II
Students build upon the fundamentals of the Irish language acquired in the first semester and cover a range of themes pertinent to their everyday lives. They learn to use more complex grammatical and syntactic structures, developing their command of Irish in four essential areas of language learning: oral, aural, in reading and in writing. Topics of both a traditional and contemporary nature are explored through a variety of media including simple poetry and rhyme, music and song, as well as storytelling and film. Among the cultural topics explored are: the meaning of place-names, a selection of ancient Irish myths and legends, as well as the stories of Irish saints. In addition to this, students learn about the role and place of the Irish language in Ireland, its use in the Gaeltachtaí (Irish speaking regions of Ireland), as well as its growing popularity in urban centers today.
  • IRSH 103: Intermediate Irish Language & Culture I
This course aims to build the necessary confidence and language skills to communicate in Irish in everyday situations. The emphasis is on developing speaking and listening skills, while also providing students with the opportunity to read and write the language. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to talk about everyday life in the past, present and future tenses. They will have a greater understanding of the dialects of the Irish language, as well as various aspects of grammar. Students will improve their accuracy and fluency, as well as building upon existing vocabulary. Students will also add to their reading and writing skills.
  • IRSH 104: Intermediate Irish Language & Culture II
Students further develop their communication abilities by discussing and writing about various topics drawn from a variety of sources including literature and film. Students will work on the expansion of vocabulary and the integration and refinement of grammar.
  • IRSH 110: Irish Language & Culture (Summer Institute)
Irish language and culture class, exclusively taught as part of the Summer Institute. Taught on site in Ireland.
  • IRSH 494: Independent Study
  • ENG 305 / IRSH 305: From Shakespeare to Sheridan, the Irish in the Theatre: 1600-1775 
Typically taught abroad in Ireland as part of the Summer Institute, this course examines how plays staged in London and Dublin between 1600 and 1775 represented Ireland, its history, and inhabitants. Students read the most important dramatic literature concerning Ireland written during this period, including works by William Shakespeare, George Farquhar, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In addition, students tour Dublin and learn firsthand how the city served as a backdrop for the social drama of the period. Students visit many places, like Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and the building that housed John Ogilby's Smock Alley Theatre.
  • ENG 306 / IRSH 306: Dublin and the Invention of Ireland 
From its origin as a Viking outpost to its emergence as "a big village and a dirty village where gossip reigns supreme," Dublin has been central to the development of Ireland, epitomizing the country's ability to continually invent and re-invent itself according to the demands of each new age. In this course we consider Dublin's linguistic, religious, and political complexities through the lens of the city's distinguished literary history. Topics include medieval Dublin and the Pale, the Georgian city and the Protestant Ascendancy, the Irish Literary Revival, the Abbey Theatre, the 'exile' of James Joyce, the Easter Rising, World War I and the emergence of the Irish Republic.
  • ENG 360 / IRSH 360: Modern Irish Literature, 1798–1998
This class provides a survey of Irish novels, drama, poetry and political tracts composed over the last two centuries, the time during which both the Republic of Ireland and the power-sharing government of the North emerged. Students examine the connection between nationhood, linguistic identity and style in modern Irish literature, beginning with the Rebellion of 1798 and ending with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Authors may include but are not limited to Maria Edgeworth, Wolfe Tone, James Clarence Mangan, W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett and Paul Muldoon.
  • ENG 368 / IRSH 368: Seamus Heaney, Irish Poet

This course offers a critical examination of the poetry, prose and historical place of Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), a writer once boldly described as the "most important Irish poet since Yeats." Students study Heaney's emergence in the so-called 'Belfast Group' of the 1960s and explore his nascent critical legacy, the broad impact his life and work have exerted on the contemporary reception of Irish poetry across the Anglophone world.

  • ENG 380 / IRSH 380: Yeats, Poet of Modern Ireland

This course offers a critical examination of the poetry, drama and historical place of W. B. Yeats (1865-1939), a writer whose creative and critical work have enjoyed such a broad cultural impact that many consider him the most important Irish poet of the twentieth century. The class examines Yeats' key roles in fostering the Irish Literary Revival, in forming Dublin's Abbey Theatre and later, in generating the very shape of emerging independence in Ireland. Also studied are Yeats' importance to the development of international modernism, and his lasting influence over later generations of poets and thinkers across the Anglophone world.

  • ENG 385 / IRSH 385: James Joyce - Young Man, Dubliner

This course offers a critical examination of the early poetry and fiction of James Joyce (1882-1941), an Irish writer whose creative work has enjoyed a far-reaching cultural and literary impact. Many consider Joyce not only the most important Irish novelist of the last century, but perhaps the greatest Anglophone writer of the twentieth century. This class focuses on Joyce’s early life and his published work up to 1916, examining his critique of the Irish Literary Revival and Dublin's Abbey Theatre while discussing his prominent role in generating the shape of literary modernism across Europe. Also studied are Joyce's reception and lasting influence over later generations of poets, writers and thinkers across the world.

  • ENG 394 / IRSH 394: Celtic Revivals 
This class provides an in-depth study of the intellectual history, key controversies and deep connection between the Irish Literary Revival of the 1890s, the Scottish Renaissance of the 1920s, and later, the emergence of modernism in twentieth-century Wales, Cornwall and Northern Ireland. Central to the course is a comparative examination of Celtic nationalism and stylistic experiment in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Students consider the complex relation between literary modernism and forms of language purism, analyzing the impact these forces had on attempts to create new national literary idioms for the 'Celtic nations'. 
  • ENG 395 / IRSH 395: Shires - British and Irish Poetry, 1945-1998 
A comparative examination of the major poetry, critical writings and historical place of Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, Patrick Kavanagh, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Christopher Okigbo, Basil Bunting, R. S. Thomas and other significant writers from this period.
  • ENG 402: English Poetry & World War
This class explores the complex relationship between collective memory, literary style, and the conditions of modern warfare endured throughout World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). Readings may include but are not limited to the work of Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, Francis Ledwidge, Ezra Pound, Sidney Keyes, Louis MacNeice and Randall Jarrell.
  • ENG 405: Yeats, Eliot & Pound

In this course students examine a large selection of the poetry and critical prose of three major twentieth-century writers: W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), Ezra Pound (1885–1972) and T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). The selection of poetry covers the period between 1889–1969, the time during which time Irish and Anglo-American modernism emerged in the English-speaking world. Students consider the diverse ways in which the development of modernist style was, in part, impacted by the historical crises of early twentieth-century Europe. Readings will include but are not limited to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Responsibilities, Homage to Sextus Propertius, The Waste Land, The Tower, Four Quartets, and The Pisan Cantos.

  • ENG 408 / IRSH 408: James Joyce - Ulysses, Ireland's Odyssey 
A critical reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). Attention is paid to the sources and composition of the novel, as well as its dominant motifs and the history of its popular and scholarly reception. 
  • HIST 330A: The Celtic World: People and Mythology

This course will examine the history, literature, art, and archeology of the people known as the Celts. We will look at the evidence for and against the concept of a “Celtic” civilization in classical times, and we will trace the distinctive history of the so-called “Celtic Fringe” in the British Isles: Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We will also study the rediscovery (or invention) of the Celts in modern times, focusing on the Gaelic Revival in Ireland and recent nationalist movements in Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and Galicia. Throughout, we will analyze the fascinating relationship between the “facts” of the historical record and the cultural and political impact of the concept of the “Celt.”

  • HIST 339A: British History, 1600-1800 - Four Nations, One State
  • HIST 380A: Medieval Ireland to 1607

Ireland has been invaded repeatedly throughout its history. Each wave of new arrivals has caused a renegotiation of what it means to be "Irish." This course will engage directly with that question by surveying Irish society and culture from pre-Christian times down to the end of the old Gaelic order in 1607. We will glance at Irish prehistory and then examine "Celtic" society -- its social structure, laws and literature. Next, we will trace the impact of the Christianization of Ireland on this society. We will look at the effect on Ireland of invasions by the Vikings and the Normans, and the establishments of English rule in Ireland. We will then study the varying fortunes of the competing groups in Irish society (Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Irish), analyze the advent of the Reformation in Ireland, and examine the final conquest of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth I and the passing of the old order.

  • HIST 380D: Ireland 1541-1800: Kingdom, Colony, Province (and Nation?)

The Irish are often said to be a people trapped in their past--and the past in question took place during the early modern centuries. The conquest of the native Irish lords, the plantation of Ulster, the bloody rebellion of 1641, Cromwellian conquest, the "shipwreck" of Irish Catholics in 1691, the consolidation of English and Protestant control of the island in the eighteenth century, and the iconic 1798 rebellion that still grips the imagination of Irish republicans: no period has exerted so formidable an influence on subsequent Irish history. This course will examine the period not only from traditional English-language perspectives but also those of Irish-speakers, considering the ways that Ireland became more British but also the persistence of native, Gaelic viewpoints. We will consider the ambiguous legacy of conquest, Ireland's place within a larger British empire, and the powerful ways that the interpretation of the past has shaped Irish life both then and now.