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M.Phil. in Irish Writing


1 Year Full-Time or 2 Year Part-Time

This taught master’s programme allows you to engage with a wide range of Irish writing in English, from canonical figures such as Maria Edgeworth and W.B. Yeats to contemporary critical debates around gender, sexuality, class and race. Core modules give a thorough grounding in the field. Special author option modules allow you to focus on a particular writer’s work in real depth. Completing a dissertation, under expert supervision, allows you to pursue you own research interests.  

Trinity boasts an extraordinary literary heritage, ranging from Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde to Eavan Boland and Anne Enright. It is situated at the heart of Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature full of writers past and present, and containing a wealth of theatres, literary events and festivals, and cutting-edge magazines and publishers. Trinity has also long led the way in the teaching of Irish writing. Its current faculty includes many of the foremost scholars in the field, as well as several distinguished contemporary Irish writers. Trinity’s historic library also offers a peerless collection of books and archival materials relating to Irish writing for you to explore.

Emma Webb

The teaching staff are leaders in their field and present an exemplary programme of learning, with great scope to develop one’s own areas of interest.

Tom Monahan

The staff are all very generous with their time and I am greatly appreciative of the independent support they provided during the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Course Structure

The centrepiece of the course is the core ‘Perspectives in Irish Writing’ module. Running across two semesters, it introduces students to the multiple contexts in which Irish writing in English has developed from the late sixteenth century through to the present. It also considers the literary history and reception of Irish writing, covering the main critical narratives and debates, as well as revisions of the Irish literary field as regards questions of gender, sexuality, class and race. A notable strength of Trinity’s faculty is the historical range of its research interests. This is reflected in the coverage given to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Irish writing. The final portion of the course also decisively turns to the eclectic state of contemporary Irish literature.

Further exploration of the field of Irish Writing is offered through the core ‘Conditions of Irish Writing’ module. This focuses on the publishers, periodicals and institutions through which Irish writing has been produced and mediated, covering a wide range of historical periods, genres and writers. Further foundational grounding in issues of importance to studying and researching literature at postgraduate level is provided through the ‘Research Skills for Postgraduate English’ module.

Students also take two specialist option modules, reflecting our commitment to cutting-edge research-led teaching. Within the Irish Writing programme, these modules focus on examining the work of significant Irish writers in detail. In 2021/22, these will include Maria Edgeworth, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Eavan Boland. A wealth of option modules from our other M.Phil. programmes, including the chance to take a creative writing option, are also available to you. In the final phase of the course, you will complete a dissertation. This will allow you to pursue in-depth research on a subject of your choice under expert supervision and drawing on our fantastic library and archival holdings.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching for the course is primarily delivered through small-group seminar teaching. Much of this takes place in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, which offers a lively working and social environment for the School of English’s M.Phil. students and creative writers. Current staff teaching on the programme include the directors of the programme, Dr Sam Slote and Dr Julie Bates, as well as Professor Christopher Morash, Professor Aileen Douglas, Professor Andrew Murphy, Professor Eve Patten, Dr Jarlath Killeen, Dr Paul Delaney, Dr Amy Prendergast, Dr Rosie Lavan, and Dr Tom Walker – all of whom are recognised internationally for their publications and expertise in Irish writing. Modules are assessed by essay or other written coursework. The final phase of the course sees student’s undertake independent research and write a 15,000-18,000 word dissertation. Students taking the course part-time complete the three core modules in their first year of study. In their second year, they complete two option modules and their dissertation.

Admissions Information

Students of many different nationalities and from diverse backgrounds have successfully completed the programme. Applicants should have an Honours Bachelor degree (at least of upper-second class standard or GPA of 3.3) or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject (such as English, History, Art History, Irish Studies, Modern Languages).

Applications for admission in 2024/25 opens on the 1 November 2023. Candidates are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible, as applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as they arrive. The closing date for admission is 31 March 2024. The 2024/25 academic year will start in September 2024.


The Peter Irons Taught Postgraduate Studentships
The studentships will contribute towards M.Phil. tuition fees (EU or Non-EU) for any School of English taught postgraduate programme. They are generously funded in memory of Peter Irons. Two studentships will be awarded for the academic year: one for an EU student, and one for a non-EU student.  For further information, please open this PDF link

European Excellence Awards 
The €1,000 awards are open to applicants with EU fee-status who hold an offer letter for a Postgraduate Taught Masters programme in Trinity College Dublin. Further information can be found here

Details of further funding opportunities can be found here

Brontë Prize
This prize was founded in 1921 by a bequest from Miss A.G. Woolson of Portland, U.S.A. It is awarded triennially by the Board on the recommendation of a committee for the best essay on either (a) an English author of Irish descent, or (b) the seats of learning in Ireland prior to 900 A.D. or (b) the seats of learning in Ireland prior to 900 a.d. The committee consists of the Regius Professor of Greek and the Professors of Latin and English Literature. A candidate must be of Irish birth or have been domiciled in Ireland for at least ten years. The candidate must also be an undergraduate of the University or a graduate of not more than five years’ standing. The next award will be made in 2022 and essays must reach the Registrar before 1 October 2022. Value, €1,905.

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