Early Irish Component
Early Irish can be studied in the Single Honor Early and Modern Irish programme (TR022).
Why study Early Irish?
Early Irish is the language in use in Ireland from the earliest period for which there are records up to the year 1200. The course covers the language and literature from the emergence of writing at the arrival of Christianity in Ireland to the production of the great saga manuscripts of the twelfth century.
Early Irish: The course for you?
If you are interested in acquiring a reading knowledge of Medieval Irish, in which the great saga literature of our manuscripts was written, and if you want to understand where today’s Irish language comes from, then this is the course for you.
Early Irish at Trinity
The Irish department staff at Trinity are recognised as experts in their respective fields and many former students are now teaching in universities at home and abroad. You will enjoy small class sizes and a friendly atmosphere.
The pathways available are Single Honors, Major with Minor and Joint Honors.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
Some students of Early Irish pursue independent research in the subject with a view to teaching at third-level. Most follow a career in teaching or journalism, especially Irish-language related media. Library archiving, the public service, marketing, business, interpreting and translation all figure in the profiles of past students.
Your degree and what you’ll study
The Early Irish course, which is taught through the medium of English, covers the history of the Irish language from its first appearance on the Ogam inscriptions at the dawn of the Christian era in the fifth century, to the highly polished language of the sagas and law texts preserved in the medieval manuscript collections held in the libraries of Trinity, the Royal Irish Academy and the National Library
First and second years
In the first two years you will study the basics of Old Irish. At this stage you will read most literature in translation but you will be introduced to the original texts gradually and you will see how the language emerged and developed through the early Christian period.
Third and fourth years
In third and fourth year the horizons are expanded; your study of the history of the language will take you back to its Celtic origins and forward to the dawn of Modern Irish. At this stage you will be reading prose and poetry as well as law and history in the original language, and a special course in palaeography will teach you how to read the manuscripts themselves. Third year students may opt to spend a term in Aberystwyth learning Medieval and Modern Welsh.
At all levels, you will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and exams. We use a mix of traditional and innovative continuous assessment methods: essays, project work, presentations, book reviews and dossiers, podcast creation. Language modules are assessed by written examination.