Irish Folklore

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

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Curricular information is subject to change.

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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.

Course Pathways
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

Second & Final Years

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. Modules include:

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

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 and is committed to collecting and documenting the folklore and folk customs of all Irish communities, past and present.

For detailed information on subject content click here.

How Will I Study
Study Irish Folklore
Study Irish Folklore (BSc Social Sciences) as a minor with:
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.

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

Graduates are prepared to 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.

Other Entry Routes

“Studying Irish Folklore, I am able to explore a broad range of topics, from folktales and calendar customs, to oral history and folk medicine. Moreover, this course offered me a brand-new perspective. I realized that many things we see or experience every day but hardly pay attention to, such as lucky charms, internet memes and children’s games, are in fact worth recording and analysing, as they can give us a unique insight into our society and mind-set.”

Lily He Zhou, Student

Contact Information

UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies & Folklore
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716 8385

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