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Celtic Studies

Celtic Studies (incorporating Celtic Civilisation, Welsh and Early Irish)

The subject areas of Early and Middle Irish, Welsh, and Celtic Civilisation offer separate but interrelated opportunities to study aspects of the languages, literatures, history and civilisation of the Celtic peoples over a wide geographical and temporal span. Celtic Civilisation offers a broad survey of archaeological, historical and literary topics (and can be studied as a full joint honours degree course), while the linguistic modules in Early and Middle Irish, and in Modern and Medieval Welsh, give students a guided introduction to the languages and first-hand familiarity with some fascinating texts.

Early Irish

Early Irish is the language of Ireland's Golden Age (7th - 9th centuries) which has left us an extensive corpus of vernacular writings to match the better-known material heritage of this period.  Two introductory modules in Old Irish provide the student with a linguistic foundation to complement the many literature courses offered in our School.  Assessment takes the form of in-term exercises and a final examination.  The modules are taught through the medium of English and no previous knowledge of Irish is required.


The study of Modern Welsh provides Irish and international students with an opportunity to study a vibrant, neighbouring but largely unknown Celtic language, and to gain an insight into its literature, history and culture. The language and its literature are interesting for their own sake and also valuable from a comparative perspective, offering both parallels and contrasts with Irish in Ireland. Language classes are small to medium-sized and students are encouraged to interact and collaborate in class and are helped to explore a wealth of online material. Assessment is via oral presentations, peer collaborations, oral and written exercises, essays and final written examination. Welsh also has a rich medieval literature and students can choose to study Welsh prose and poetry of the period.

Celtic Civilisation

Celtic Civilisation introduces students to the achievements and legacy of the Celtic-speaking peoples, from their roots on the European continent to the medieval societies of Ireland and Wales, which despite their great cultural value are often little known except by specialists. Students gain an overview of the rich, complex tapestry of Celtic culture, an acquaintance with a range of literary texts in translation, and an understanding of the variety of approaches which researchers employ when they seek to reveal, contextualise and elucidate the material. Lecture sizes vary: when large they are supported by weekly tutorials. Use is made of computer-aided presentations, UCD’s digital repository and guided visits to Dublin museums and other relevant initiatives such as the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Ancient Technologies. Assessment takes the form of participation, set essays, and final written exams.

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Other courses: 

(opens in a new window)View full information on Celtic Studies, Art History & History course here.