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M.Phil. in Early Irish


This one-year course is intended to take the student to a high level of competence in Old Irish, and will cover a wide range of prose and verse texts, and various aspects of Early Irish language, literature and culture. This course can be taken as a second follow-on year to build on knowledge gained on the Diploma in Old Irish course.

A Handbook for the course is available here.


The course will last for one academic year, beginning in September, and requires full-time study. Students with no prior knowledge of Old Irish may take the preliminary year-long course for the Diploma in Old Irish (see Diploma webpage). In the MPhil year candidates will be assessed by examination (in summer) and a thesis of c.20,000 words.


  • On achievement of 50% or higher in the examinations for the Diploma, candidates will be permitted to proceed to the M. Phil. course.
  • Students who have otherwise acquired a competence in Old Irish on a par with that acquired through participation in the Diploma course, may also be permitted to enrol for the M.Phil. course.
  • Applications for admission must be made through Trinity College's Application system by 30 June of the year in which admission is sought.
  • Students will be admitted every second year. The next round of applications will be for 2024/25.

Course work

The taught portion of the course will extend over two semesters, and this taught element will consist of six contact hours per week as follows:

  • Old Irish prose (2 hours)
  • Old Irish poetry (1 hour)
  • Comparative linguistics (1 hour)
  • Early Irish law (1 hour)
  • Middle Irish (1 hour)

In addition a minor dissertation of c.20,000 words, which must be typed and presented in duplicate, is to be submitted by 30 August of the same year.


A Handbook for the MPhil (PDF) is available here.