Early Irish (M.Phil.)

1 year full-time
8 Places


Course Overview

This one-year course is designed for students with a solid grounding in Old Irish language and literature and is intended to take them to a high level of competence through reading and analysing Old Irish prose and poetry documents. It will also widen their perspective to include Middle Irish language and literature, Early Irish legal texts and the linguistic development of Old Irish from the earlier periods of Archaic and Primitive Irish as attested, for instance, in the Ogam inscriptions.

Is This Course For Me?

This course is for you if you are interested in learning how the Irish language has evolved over time and how the culture reflected in medieval Irish manuscripts like the Book of Leinster, housed in Trinity College's Old Library, has also changed. It will help you to develop the skills you need to explore the rich literature of medieval Irish in its primary sources and understand the society in which it was created.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates have pursued careers in text-based Arts & Humanities, including (and not limited to Irish) language, literature, history, teaching, publishing, librarianship and archiving, as well as the media production and criticism.

Course Structure

The course lasts for the two semesters of one academic year beginning in September and requires full-time study. The course consists of six contact hours per week.

Course Content

All candidates take core modules in Old Irish prose, Old Irish poetry, Primitive and Archaic Irish linguistics, early Irish law and Middle Irish. In addition, students may attend a series of guest lectures organised by the department, and all undertake a dissertation of 20,000 words, which allows them to develop independent research skills in the field.

The end-of-year examination consists of three three-hour papers and will be subject to moderation by an external examiner. Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to translate and analyse Old and Middle Irish material, including an unseen Old Irish passage, and to describe the salient features of all periods of Early Irish grammar. 

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Course Details

Number of Places

8 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Coordinator

Dr. Jürgen Uhlich

Course Director

Dr. Jürgen Uhlich

Closing Date

27th June 2024

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Admission Requirements

The M.Phil. course builds on the material presented in the Postgraduate Diploma in Old Irish. Applicants will therefore normally have successfully completed the latter course, though anyone with equivalent competence in Old Irish but who has not completed the Diploma is also eligible to apply.

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.


To apply, click on the relevant Apply Link below

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 896 1105




Register Your Interest

Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Register Your Interest

My first time at Trinity was as an international visiting student during my undergraduate years. I was very impressed (astounded, actually) by the level and quality of tuition I received. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I enrolled in the Diploma in Old Irish, which proved to be excellent to acquire the knowledge of Old Irish necessary for entering the Master's programme where I continued my studies the following year. Among the many strong sides of the M.Phil. in Early Irish, I must specifically mention the impressive variety of taught courses and overall multidisciplinary approach. The courses are very well structured and, combined with guided research practice and thesis writing, prepare the students perfectly for further academic careers. Beyond that, it is important to note that at Trinity the students are always treated with respect. I am incredibly grateful to the Department of Irish & Celtic Languages and to all my professors for this amazing and life-changing experience.

Eachiarn Erbnen

Current student