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Current course offerings

Courses offered in Fall 2024

Introduction to Irish Studies / IRST 203 AA (3 credits)
Thursday 17:45-20:15
Mention of Ireland conjures up diverse cultural images - from shamrocks, St. Patrick’s Day parades, U2, and Riverdance, to Great Famine emigrants, the IRA, and the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy. While this course will help you make sense of these and other key aspects of Irish history and culture, it will also demonstrate the relevance of Irish Studies to other academic disciplines. The course is organized around seven key themes: Archaeology, History, Geography, Diaspora Studies, Literature (in Irish and English), Music and Folklore - all of which contribute to a transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary overview of the present state of Irish Studies. Treating complex issues of identity, globalization and transformation in contemporary Ireland, the course also will focus particular attention of the constituent communities of the Irish diaspora worldwide (a network of 70 million people scattered across North America, Europe and Australasia). Through lectures, readings, discussions and performances, students will learn how Irish culture has left and continues to leave unique footprints around the world, and how it continues to renew itself in the landscape, language and creative life of Ireland. Students will discover that to study Ireland is to study the world.

Highlights of Irish Literature / IRST 209 A / ENGL 298 C (3 credits)
Tuesday, Thursday 11:45-13:00
Ireland is home to an exceptional number of fascinating and influential writers. With four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (Yeats, Shaw, Beckett and Heaney), Ireland boasts a uniquely rich literary tradition which continues to develop into the present. Many of Ireland’s writers have been instrumental in the development of literary movements and genres such as romanticism, realism, modernism, postmodernism, avant-garde theatre, satire, and the gothic, and have contributed to innovating the novel and poetic forms. This course introduces students to some of the best-known and most influential Irish writers. It will engage in close readings of major Irish texts and place them in their cultural and literary contexts.

The Irish in Canada / IRST 210 A / HIST 212 A (3 credits)
Monday, Wednesday 10:15-11:30
From 17th-century fishermen and traders arriving in Newfoundland to displaced victims of the Famine in the 19th century, to contemporary immigrants from Ireland, the Irish have had a presence in all parts of Canada from the earliest days of settlement. This course examines the emigration and settlement patterns of Irish immigrants in the various regions of Canada across a period of three centuries, paying particular attention to their role in the social, economic, political, cultural, and educational development of Canadian society. The course explores the various strategies by which Irish immigrants both adapted to and transformed the particular host society in which they found themselves, and looks at other immigrant communities as a means of understanding the special contribution of the Irish to Canada.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for HIST 212 or for this topic under a HIST 398 number may not take this course for credit.

History of Ireland / IRST 211 A / HIST 211 A (3 credits)
Tuesday, Thursday 13:15-14:30
After establishing some broader historical context, this survey course traces modern Irish history in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Special attention is given to the development of Irish nationalism and relations with Great Britain.

Celtic Christianity / IRST 228 / THEO 228 (3 credits)
Offered online through eConcordia
This course follows a historical line to show the connections of the pre¬Christian Celtic beliefs with the early Christian Church of Celtic countries. It focuses on the spirituality of the Celtic people in the context of Celtic history and culture. This course is offered entirely online through eConcordia. Students enrolling in this course should have off-campus access to a computer with reliable internet connectivity. To access your online course visit the eConcordia website at Please contact eConcordia at 514-848-8770 or 1-888-361-4949 if you have any questions regarding the online section of this course.

Irish Mythology and Folklore / IRST 230 A / ANTH 298 A (3 credits)
Monday 14:45-17:30
This course introduces students to the vast and varied body of Irish myth and folklore, its practices and its practitioners. It features stories of the fairy kind (the sí people), famous figures such as the banshee, mythological characters like Fionn Mac Cumhaill and Cú Chulainn, songs, material culture, social customs and religious observances. Our class material includes digitised primary sources, accounts of early collectors, historical surveys, theory and modern versions of traditional tales. Students will also have the chance to investigate and present on their own choice of topic in class, as well as to engage with others in discussion on research findings.

Independent Ireland from Civil War to the Celtic Tiger
/ IRST 314 A / HIST 398 C
Tuesday, Thursday 10:15-11:30
This course examines political, social and cultural life in the post-revolution southern Irish state formed by the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) and Irish Civil War. Key themes include state formation and post-civil war politics; Fianna Fáil and “the republicanization” of society; church and state; Irish neutrality and Anglo-Irish relations; the political and social character of “De Valera’s Ireland”; post-war economic and social change; external relations and influences; the Republic’s responses to Northern Ireland and the post-1968 Troubles; globalization and the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger economy.

Classics of Irish Theatre / IRST 344 A / ENGL 398 C / PERC 398 C (3 credits)
Monday, Wednesday 11:45-13:00
This course traces a colourful history from the mid-19th century to the present, exploring, amongst other works, the melodramas of Dionysius Boucicault; the pithy plays of Oscar Wilde; the arguably propagandistic work of W B Yeats and Augusta Gregory; the existentialism of Samuel Beckett; the Hiberno-Greek tragedies of Marina Carr; and the Tarantino inspired comedies of Martin McDonagh. Illuminating the politics – national, postcolonial, gendered and global – present in Irish theatre, this course shows that when theatre holds a mirror up to the Irish nation, a wider world is reflected back.

The Making of the Irish Landscape / IRST 398 A / GEOG 342 A (3 credits)
Monday, Wednesday 8:45-10:00
This course focuses on the evolution of the Irish landscape. We will examine the physical, political, social, economic and attitudinal processes that have shaped Ireland’s landscape from prehistoric times to the present. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of physical geography in Ireland, including rivers and canal systems, glaciers, bogs, islands, lakes, and mountain ranges. The course draws important connections between physical and social, economic, and political geographies through case studies across Ireland’s four provinces. Students will consider the intersections between key contemporary human and physical processes shaping the Irish landscape, including weather, climate, tourism, and migration.

Irish Film Studies / IRST 398 B (3 credits)
Friday 8:45-12:45
This course takes an Irish filmic stereotype as its start and end point, while the weeks in-between delve into nuances of Irish history, politics, sexuality and culture. Through analysis of a set feature each week, we will explore how film consistently tackles the thornier dimensions of Irish life. The course examines the oeuvres of key Irish directors, including Neil Jordan, Pat Murphy and Jim Sheridan. Engaging with – among other themes – Ireland’s treatment of its Travelling Community, the Northern Irish ‘Troubles,’ and Dublin’s gangland culture, it offers students images of Ireland both picturesque and gritty, both mythologized and human.

Irish Short Story Tradition / IRST 398 C / ENGL 356 A (3 credits)
Wednesday 14:45-17:30
With strong connections to the traditions of oral storytelling, the Irish short story has gained international recognition for the complexities of its forms and themes. This course will provide students with an overview of the key formal features of the short story genre while also prompting questions about the “Irish tradition.” What makes a short story Irish? How might a national framework influence the way we read a short story? Students will approach these questions through a wide range of writers, from modernists like James Joyce to contemporary voices like Sally Rooney. The course will also explore the work of writers such as Frank O’Connor, Kevin Barry, Eimear McBride, Colm Tóibín and others

Course offered in Fall 2024 and Winter 2025 (full year)

Introduction to Spoken Irish / IRST 299 A (6 credits)
Tuesday 14:45-17:30
This class is a highly interactive introduction to the oldest written vernacular of western Europe: Gaeilge, the Irish language (also known as Gaelic). Special emphasis is put on the spoken word, realistic conversation and essential vocabulary. The first portion of this year-long course is devoted to oral communication, with classwork and homework based on phonetic learning and English/French cognates. The second portion of the course introduces students to the written word, the orthography of Irish, and children’s literature in the Irish language. Students can expect to learn words and phrases very quickly, with refreshers provided in the form of audio files.

Courses offered in Winter 2025

Research Methods in Irish Studies / IRST 300 (3 credits)
Thursday 14:45-17:30
Intended for students who have completed some previous coursework in Irish Studies, this small seminar-style course will sharpen your understanding of Irish Studies as a cutting-edge interdisciplinary field that addresses a host of compelling questions about Irish history, culture, identity, memory, and politics, to name a few. Additionally, this course is designed to provide students with critical tools and skills necessary for cross-disciplinary research, analysis, synthesis and forms of presentation – written, oral, and visual – that can be of enormous benefit beyond Irish Studies. Course approaches and activities will include: readings and discussions around some of the key debates that have shaped Irish Studies; guest presentations by Irish Studies faculty that highlight the methods of research and analysis used in their own areas of study; research activities and projects that combine reading and research across two or more disciplines; and training in the rudiments of scholarly research – from effective library research and field work, to research project development, to essay writing or other research outcomes.

Sexualities in the Irish Diaspora / IRST 304 A / HIST 398 E / SOCI 398 B / ANTH 398 B
Monday 11:45-14:30
This course investigates the rich history that sex and sexual identities have played in shaping the Irish Diaspora over the past two hundred years. Representations of Irish sexualities and gendered expectations have been a controversial constant in the story of the Irish abroad and their descendants in the global Irish Diaspora. Key themes may include marriage and divorce, homosexuality, asexuality, racism, virginity, media scandals, heroism, alcoholism, sexual assault, nationalism, propaganda, punishment, gender-bending, and religion.

Troubles in Northern Ireland / IRST 315 A / HIST 398 D
Tuesday, Thursday 10:15-11:30
After surveying the historical roots of the divisions in Northern Irish society, the course traces the successive phases of the prolonged “Troubles” (1968 to 1998): the Catholic civil rights movement; the period of armed conflict between the IRA, loyalist paramilitaries, and security forces; and the recent peace process, as well as post-conflict issues including power-sharing, peace and reconciliation, and constitutional change. Attention is also given to cultural expressions of the Troubles and its legacies.

Irish Cultural Traditions in Quebec / IRST 371 A / HIST 398 F / SOCI 398 D / ANTH 398D
Wednesday 14:45-17:30
For over three centuries, the Irish have played a seminal role in the political, economic, religious, and cultural life of Quebec. During the eighteenth century, Irish Wild Geese soldiers arrived in New France as part of the French military and colonial establishment. A century afterwards, Irish ideologues, journalists, and revolutionary figures helped shape the political contours of both patriotic Quebec and the emergent Canadian confederation, while victims of the Great Irish Famine added a new and tragic chapter to the history of the province. Throughout the twentieth century, Irish communities continued to flourish in rural and urban Quebec, while individual Quebecers of Irish origin made formidable contributions to the life of the province. Drawing on historical, ethnographic, musical, and literary sources, this course will explore the story of the Irish in Quebec since the early 1700s, from small community settings in the Gaspé peninsula and the Gatineau Valley, to larger working class and mercantile enclaves in metropolitan Montreal, Quebec City, and Sherbrooke. Particular attention will be given to Irish commemorative practices in Quebec and the manner in which Irish communities have shaped and maintained their own sense of cultural memory and historical place in La Belle Province.

Cultural Geographies of the Irish Night / IRST 398 AA / GEOG 398 BB
Monday 17:45-20:15
The Irish night is shaped by cultural, political, and economic forces. Drawing on the emerging field of ‘night studies’, this course considers the contemporary development of ‘night space’ in Ireland. This includes the night-time economy (for example, policies on closing times, gig-economies, transportation, and extended closures of cultural spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic) as well as ‘night culture’ (for example, the development of major nocturnal events, including Ireland’s ‘Culture Night’, as well as night-time street art galleries and music festivals). We’ll examine how systems of power operate within the Irish night, asking how access – and at times lack of access – to night spaces shape geographic processes, including gentrification, migration, gender (in)equity, and employment. The course will draw on a range of multi-media materials and diverse case studies, as well as virtual and in-person visits from night studies scholars and community activists. As part of the course, students will attend Montreal en Lumiere, to examine how nocturnal culture is presented, experienced, and shaped in different urban environments.

Literature of Northern Ireland / IRST 398 CC / ENGL 398 GG
Wednesday 17:45-20:15
Since its formation through the partition of Ireland in the beginning of the 1920s, the six counties of “Northern Ireland” have experienced significant periods of ethno-nationalist conflict between its two major communities: nationalists and unionists. Writers from both communities have often attempted to make sense of this conflict, colloquial known as “The Troubles,” through their work. This course will examine the literature of Northern Ireland with a particular focus on both depictions of “The Troubles” and the possibilities of post-conflict reconciliation. Students will encounter novels, plays, short fiction, and poetry from a wide range of authors, including Seamus Heaney, Ciaran Carson, Brian Friel, Lucy Caldwell, and Anna Burns.

Inhabiting the Irish Landscape: Irish Cultural Geography / IRST 398 D / GEOG 398 A
Wednesday 11:45-14:30
How have people inhabited, interacted with, and shaped the Irish landscape overtime? This course investigates the relationship between people and the Irish landscape across Ireland’s four provinces: Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connacht. Students will examine lived environments through core themes in cultural geography, including urbanity and rurality, gender and sexuality, migration, and identity. Lectures will draw on a range of materials to explore and learn about Ireland’s cultural geography, including relevant documentaries and films, music records, and podcasts, as well as virtual maps and online walking tours. Students will have opportunities to communicate their knowledge of Irish cultural geography in multiple ways, such as through visual/sonic analysis of maps and independent research.

The Gaelic Literature of Ireland / IRST 398 E / ENGL 398 F (3 credits)
Wednesday 11:45-14:30
Through the medium of English translation, this course explores more than 1,500 years of stories, songs and poems composed in the Indigenous language of Ireland, Gaeilge. We will read inscriptions on stone carvings, lyrics written by monks, bardic poems, heated essays and all sorts of fiction, as well as listening to folk song in the Irish language and looking at films based on important books. Taking as its starting point the contact and conflict between the island’s native tongue, Irish, and its lingua franca, English, students will explore the many ways in which language can reflect and shape art, politics, culture and identity. With an emphasis on the discourse of indigeneity in Ireland, students will consider in particular the roles of poetry, prose, journalism, oral literature, song and film in sustaining a modern language. By drawing on their own linguistic experiences, especially in the context of Montréal/Québec, students will be expected to augment course discussion on topics such as minoritised languages, bilingualism, government policy, Indigenous culture, and the politicisation of speech.

Contemporary Irish Literature / IRST 398 F / ENGL 353 A
Tuesday, Thursday 13:15-14:30
This course examines a selection of Irish literary texts reflecting the social, economic, political, and cultural transformations in both the North and the South, written since 1960. The course will feature novels, memoirs, and personal essays from writers such as Edna O’Brien, John Banville, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Emilie Pine, and Anna Burns.

Irish Horror / IRST 398 G
Tuesday, Thursday 11:45-13:00
This course digs into folklore, mythology, film, theatre, literature, social media, and TV to excavate ancient and contemporary Irish fears. We’ll look at how beliefs about the Tuatha dé Danann or good people persist in the Irish psyche, at the supernatural in storytelling traditions, at contemporary horror films, and ghostly literature. And, most importantly, we’ll create some horrifying art of our own.

Irish Performance Studies / IRST 498 A
Friday 11:45-14:30
Special permission required. This course is intended for students in their final year. Performance Studies is a radical field. Some consider it an “anti-discipline.” Arising in the ’70s at the intersection of theatre and anthropology, it had a double impetus: first – to challenge the dominion of the western canon and give due scholarly consideration to ‘other’ cultures; second – to use performance as a lens through which to understand human activities outside the realm of art. In this course we use the insights of Performance Studies to address Irish culture and identity, from history-making Irish political speeches to modern day street protests, from religious rituals to St Patrick’s Day parades, from Gaelic games to gendered experiences. Irish Performance Studies offers embodied and intellectual tools to address questions of cultural identity and cultural evolution. Students should be prepared for a combination of creative and theoretical work.


Complete list of Irish Studies courses

For an entire list of possible Irish Studies courses, please view our list of other possible course offerings

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