Writing Ireland, 1800 to the present (TRU3045)

StaffDr James Kelly - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will aim:

• To introduce students to a representative sample of Irish writing and culture from 1800 to the present day

• To cover the historical and cultural background to individual literary texts

• To introduce students to important themes regarding the relationship between culture and politics in Ireland

• To provide a wide range of texts from Ireland that gives a comprehensive overview of literary developments in the country.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate informed appreciation of the nature and history of Irish literature,
  • 2. demonstrate an informed ability to write about the connections between different Irish writers/texts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to compare different literary genres within broader historical, geographical, and theoretical contexts
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to combine historical and literary analysis of texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Through seminar work, to demonstrate effective communications skills and an ability to assess aspects of their peers’ work
  • 6. Through essay work, to demonstrate appropriate research skills, bibliographic ability, competence in constructing and structuring an argument, and an ability to write in clear and correct prose

Syllabus plan

The syllabus plan involves 11 weekly 1 hour lectures with consequent 2 hour seminars over the course of the semester. Lectures will compose a 10 minute introduction to a relevant historical context followed by textual and thematic discussion.

Part 1. Beginnings: Nineteenth Century Ireland

  1. 1.     Telling Tales & Singing Songs: Maria Edgeworth Castle Rackrent and Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies
  2. 2.     Irish Gothic Tales: Charles Maturin, ‘Leixlip Castle’& extract from Melmoth the Wanderer, Gerald Griffin, ‘The Brown Man,’ Charlotte Riddle ‘The Last Squire of Ennismore’, Bram Stoker, extract from The Snake’s Pass‘The Gombeen Man’

 Part 2. Revival and Independence

  1. Lady Gregory & Yeats Cathleen Ni Houlihan, Lady Gregory, The Rising of the Moon, J. M. Synge The Playboy of the Western World
  2. James Joyce, Dubliners
  3. Poetry of/after the Revival:  Selected poems from Yeats The Tower  & Selections from Katerine Tynan, Alice Milligan, Eileen Shanahan, & Blanaid Salkeld
  4. 6.     After the Revolution: Selected Poems from Louis MacNeice (Selected Lyrics and extracts from Autumn Journal) and Patrick Kavanagh (Selected lyrics and The Great Hunger)
  5. 7.     Love and Faith: Kate O’Brien The Land of Spices

 Part 3. Modern Ireland

  1. Lyrical Revisions: Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney and  Paula Meehan
  2. 9.     Modern Drama: Conor McPherson’s The Weir & Marina Carr By the Bog of Cats
  3. 10.  The Short Story: Selected stories from Claire Keegan, Colin Barrett, Lucy Caldwell, Kevin Barry.
  4. 11.  Contemporary Irish fiction/poetry/drama as chosen by students

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Lectures11 hoursweekly 1 hour lecture
Seminar22 hours11 weekly 2 hours seminars
Independent study267 hoursIndependent study hours

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Optional Essay 1 Literature review600 words6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1503,000 words1-4, 6Written (coversheet) and oral
Essay 2503,000 words1-4, 6Written (coversheet) and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 1 (3,000 words)Essay 3,000 words1-4,6Reassessment Period
Essay 2 (3,000 words)Essay 3,000 words1-4, 6Reassessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Primary reading:

Maria Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (OUP)

John P. Harrington Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama 2nd Edition (Norton)

James Joyce, Dubliners (Penguin)

Kate O’Brien The Land of Spices (Virago)

Students will be asked to pick their own contemporary text for Week 11 and the final assignment.

Additional primary material (i.e. poems/short stories) will be supplied via the ELE site

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Additional primary material (i.e. poems/short stories) will be supplied via the ELE site

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Films are available via Library or Netflix etc.

Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

Irish Literature, Modern Literature, Contemporary Literature, Nationality & Literature