Irish Folklore

Course Information

BA (Hons) (NFQ Level 8) OR BSc (Hons) NFQ Level 8)

Full Time - Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN520 BA Joint Honours
CAO Points Range 2019: 336
Length of Course: 3 Years
Average Intake: 420

CAO Code: DN700 BSc Social Sciences
CAO Points Range 2019: 392
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 500

Leaving Certificate:

DN520 – O6/H7 in English, Irish, a third language and three other recognised subjects.

DN700 – O6/H7 in English, Irish, Mathematics and three other recognised subjects.

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

Studying folklore involves the study of traditional popular culture, in the past and in the present. It is primarily concerned with the history and culture of ordinary people, and with the evolution and role of tradition at vernacular level. As an academic discipline, folklore (or ethnology) involves the exploration of oral literature, social tradition, material culture, popular belief and practice, as well as traditional music and song.

It explores the dynamics of communal memory and of culture as a collective phenomenon. It looks at the nature of popular tradition and the way in which such tradition is transmitted, usually outside of official channels and often across vast distances of time and space. The course investigates Irish folklore as a local expression of international cultural phenomena, making the subject particularly suitable for international students.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

A degree in Irish Folklore is of relevance to anyone interested in popular culture, tradition and society, and their interconnections. It provides an excellent basis for careers in:

  • Heritage bodies and institutions
  • Community organisations and local development initiatives
  • Media & Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Areas related to Irish studies, local studies & ethnic studies.
  • Communications
  • Museum Education Officer
  • Museum Curator
  • Heritage Officer
  • Local Government Administrator
  • Archivist
  • Community Manager
  • Project Assistant
  • Retail Merchandiser
  • TV Producer
  • 3rd Secretary
  • Senior Civil Servant
  • Public Affairs Officer

You can also pursue MA and Diploma courses in Irish Folklore at graduate level, as well as MLitt and PhD studies, specialising in one of the many areas of the subject.

Specialise: MA (Taught):

  • MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology
  • MA Cultural Policy & Arts Management
  • MA Public History


  • MSc Management
  • MSc Digital Marketing
  • Masters in Common Law
  • Masters in Library & Information Studies
  • Graduate Entry Medicine

What Will I Study

First Year
In first year, modules allow you to explore the nature and context of folklore, and provide you with a general introduction to the wide range of topics involved. You will be introduced to key texts on Irish folklore, and to some of the principal sources of information on the subject.

Modules include:

  • Introduction to Folklore
  • Folklore & the Imagination
  • Traditional Storytelling

Second Year

  • The Study of Folklore: Origins & Development
  • Material Culture
  • Social Life & Legend
  • The Narrative Art
  • Healers & Healing
  • Music & Words: Identity in the Irish Context

Third Year

  • Myth & Tradition
  • Folk Religion & Belief
  • Textual Analysis of the Irish Oral Tradition
  • Calendar Custom
  • Collectors of Song & Music
  • The Life Cycle

Irish Folklore is taught in lectures, with additional tutorials in several modules. Classes are in English. Prior knowledge of the Irish language is not required, however, students will find it beneficial in some areas of the subject. Assessment in all modules involves a combination of in-semester assignment work and an end-of-semester exam.

Key Fact

UCD houses the award-winning UNESCO National Folklore Collection. It is recognised as one of Europe’s largest archives of oral and cultural history.

How Will I Study

Studying Irish Folklore (BA Arts)
Studying Irish Folklore (BA Humanities)
Celtic Studies, Art History & History
Studying Irish Folklore (BSc Social Sciences) as a minor with one of the following:

International Study Opportunities

There are opportunities for students to spend a year studying abroad while pursuing their BA in Irish Folklore. Possibilities include Europe, Canada and the United States.


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