Irish Course Descriptions

AN204 Introduction to Irish Archeology
This archeology course will provide a comprehensive overview of Irish Archeology from the first settlers to modern times. The aims and methods of studying archeology will be discussed and the examination of a selection of different sites will show how archaeologists discover, record and excavate sites in the field and also how they study artifactual materials. Special attention will be focused on the archaeological sites and remains of the Dingle Peninsula.

AN299 The Ethnography of Ireland 
The patterns economic, social, political and cultural change in modern Ireland and the globalization of Ireland are examined through the lens of selected ethnographic studies of Irish communities and the Irish population.  The influence of shifting theoretical concerns on the anthropological study of Ireland and of ethnographic studies on the place of Ireland in the popular imagination are also considered.

AN299 Life Histories and Culture Change in Dingle
In the second half of the twentieth century, and particularly since the 1990’s, Ireland has undergone profound economic, social, and cultural change.  With an emphasis on an experiential, fieldwork-based approach, this course will explore the contours of these changes on the Dingle Peninsula and examine how its people understand and experience these changes in their own lives and communities.  Students will plan, record, transcribe, and analyze a series of life story interviews with long-time Dingle residents and examine the collected life histories to discern the patterns of local and regional socio-cultural change.  This work will be supplemented with background reading on the modern history of Ireland and the Dingle Peninsula, classroom discussions and presentations, guest lectures, and field trips.

EN299 The Roots of Irish Literature: Myths, Sagas and Folktales
Ireland’s rich storytelling tradition is one of the oldest in Europe, and many modern Irish writers find inspiration in the ancient myths, sagas, and folktales. In this class, we will read a number of the ancient works, including stories from the Ulster and Fenian cycles of heroic tales, one of the most important voyage tales, and a number of folktales rooted in old myths. We will learn to identify the major themes and symbols found in these old stories and attempt to understand the cultural forces that shaped the tales. Finally, we will use our new understanding of the roots of Irish literature to think about how these hero tales, myths, and legends have informed the modern storytelling culture.

EN299 Modern Irish Literature
By exploring the novels, plays, and poems of writers like James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Colum McCann, Marina Carr, Brian Friel, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, this course will examine Irish politics, culture, language, and identity as these issues have emerged in the national literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.

GL011 Introduction to Irish Language 
Using the communicative method, this course will enable students to initiate simple conversations which elicit personal information as well as introduce a variety of topics of their choice. The emphasis is on developing communication skills in order to deal with immediate and daily situations and to give students the confidence to move on to less immediate things, such as talking about past and future events in greater detail. Points of grammar are included in the lesson notes but are taught only when the student asks to have a phrase or change in form of word or sentence explained. The student will be encouraged to observe patterns emerging, for example in initial mutations and the lengthening of vowel sounds.

HI255  Celtic and Irish History 
This course begins with a survey of the ancient history of Celts in Europe, through the medieval tribes and migrations to present regions of Bretagne, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The survey will highlight the important places of memory, such as tombs, hill forts, monasteries, and cities, as well as mythology and heroes that have contributed to a distinctive culture still present in modern societies. It will also study the rise of Celtic Christianity and its unique contribution to Western Civilization. The majority of the course will examine the modern political, economic, and social developments in Ireland, with a concentration on the nineteenth and twentieth century struggles for independence and modernization.

HI257 History and Memory in Modern Ireland
Ireland has memories; some collective and others individual. It can trace its culture and identity from centuries of myth and history. Despite the limited size of Ireland, disputes about history seem to at times overwhelm agreements. This course will investigate some flashpoints: North and South, Catholic and Protestant, British and other non-Irish viewpoints, and historical interpretation over time. Major events, such as the 1798 Rebellion, 19thc. land wars, 1916 Easter Rising, 1920-21 war of independence, and 1969 riots between Catholics and Protestants will show the interplay of history and memory. The revival of Irish music in the 1960s also underlines the role of memory for national and cultural identity.

HI299 History and Culture in Irish America
This course will consider the history of the Irish in America beginning with their arrival as indentured servants in the 16th century, their pre-famine experience in the post-Revolutionary United States, the impact of the Famine Irish on society in the 19th century, their rise to respectability at the turn of the century, to more recent waves of Irish immigration in the 20th century and the movement back home as well.  Particular attention will be paid to the role of the Irish in the development of the Catholic Church in the U.S., the racial and ethnic identities of the Irish in America, the political association of the Irish with the Democratic Party, the role of Irish nationalism, and the impact of Irish culture on American culture.

MS 299 Irish National Cinema
This course explores the rich tradition of cinema in and about Ireland.  Weekly screenings illustrate the formal and stylistic strategies of Irish cinema.  Lectures, discussions and readings focus on analysis of the films and exploration of the social, cultural, economic and political issues that have contributed to their production.

MS384 Irish Cinema: Theory and Practice
This course is an opportunity for students to engage with both the study and production of Irish cinema.  During the morning sessions, students will examine and explore the rich cultural history of Irish filmmaking as they screen and discuss movies from the 1930s to the current day. In the afternoons, students will learn the basics of video production and will work in teams to produce short video documentaries focusing on the town of Dingle and it’s surrounding community. No prior production experience is required.

MU106 Introduction to Traditional Irish Music
This course will provide students with a thorough overview of Irish Traditional Music, Song and Dance from their earliest references right up to today’s influence on the world music stage. Aural as well as some basic traditional musicianship skills will be developed over the course of fifteen weeks. The students will experience firsthand the Irish music scene locally. Attendance at “sessions” and “céilís” will enable them to savor Traditional music in its natural social setting. The course will study the history and development of the tradition, while also ensuring the students gain a deeper understanding of this tradition by learning some practical skills. This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the development of Traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance. Students will acquire a good knowledge of the local tradition through participation in dance and music sessions and will receive a clear overall picture of the tradition today by embarking on various field trips. Students will also acquire some practical skills on a chosen traditional instrument. The students will develop their aural skills throughout the course that will include visits from renowned musicians and singers.

PO310 Irish Politics
Examines the politics and governing structures of Ireland as well as the contemporary challenges of the 21st century.

RS216 Celtic Religious Traditions
The course is concerned with the mythic history of Ireland, and “beginning” of the Irish, and the traditions by which the Irish have come to identify themselves and give meaning to their world. Students study the religious function of social institutions; gods, goddesses and ruling powers; holy places; feasting and sacrifice; spirits and ancestors; and the other world. The class also looks at the role of women in these traditions and what these traditions mean with regard to such issues as our own estrangement from the natural order. The continuation of “myth” in modern Ireland is also studied in this course.

RS299 Women and Celtic Spirituality
A theological, textual and historical exploration of the experiences of women in Celtic religious traditions. Critical analysis of texts by and about women in the Celtic religions will form the basis of a course of study that includes such topics as images of the feminine in Celtic religious traditions; Celtic women and spiritual authority, especially with reference to the natural world; narratives of pre-Christian and Christian Celtic women; Welsh and Irish female saints and abbesses, and the feminist reconstruction of tradition.

RS315 Theology & Native Irish Spirituality
Students will be introduced to the concepts of theology and spirituality, and will become familiar with the wealth of the tradition of early Celtic spirituality, including that native to the Dingle Peninsula, and its influence on Celtic myth, folklore and customs. As part of the course, participants will have the opportunity to interact with local people of the Dingle Peninsula to hear first-hand and on a personal level about the relationship between culture, theology and spirituality in contemporary Irish culture. Through readings, in-class reflection and discussion and written assignments, students will also utilize Celtic theological and spiritual concepts to examine the role of spirituality in their own lives. Field trips to archaeological sites give students a tangible representation of the history, depth and longevity of the Irish spiritual tradition. Through various cultural activities, students will also be exposed to aspects of Celtic culture including music, dance and literature.