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Galway Courses – 2024 Summer

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


You may take three to seven credits during the summer session. At least one 3-credit course is required. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Click the course title to view course details, description, and availability.

  • Summer
    History 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

    In 2012 Ireland entered what is generally referred to as the Decade of Commemoration or Decade of

    Centenaries, and began a series of commemorative events to mark those fateful years (1912-1922)

    when Ireland prepared and fought for sovereign independence from Britain. This field study course is

    designed to provide a historic, political and cultural base for understanding Ireland’s War of

    Independence (1916-1921) and the complexities of its remembrance and commemoration. It will

    provide too a sense of Dublin in the first decade of the Irish Free State as it sought to stabilize after a

    long period of turbulence.

    During our time in Dublin, several of the key sites in Dublin City centre will be visited including City Hall,

    Dublin Castle, the National Library of Ireland, the Abbey Theatre, St Stephens Green, the General Post

    Office (GPO), Collins Barracks, Henrietta Street and Arbour Hill. Connecting with these places will give

    you a privileged insight into how to read the urban landscape in terms of its revolutionary heritage and

    how the politics of the past is ever present in the contemporary setting.

  • Summer
    Anthropology History 100-level 1 credit Taught in English

    Many students who come to Ireland do so because of some ancestral attachment to the country. However, this connection is often hazy: a long-dead family relation, a dusty artifact such as a diary, letter, or photograph, or some cultural trace that manifests, for example, in proficiency in Irish music and dance or active membership in an Irish community abroad. Ireland has a long and distinct history of emigration to every corner of the globe. This one-credit course will help you excavate the archaeology of Irish family history by orientating you towards some of the rich repositories of information about the past, which help explain why, how, and when the Irish moved, where they moved to and what happened to them once they’d moved. Each class will help you navigate your way more deeply into the matrix of online records, which has turned genealogy and family history into an exciting pursuit requiring forensic skills and the instinct of a good detective.

    You will learn about the cultural and political differences that distinguish different waves of emigration from pre-Famine times to the successive generations who left Ireland in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s. You will discover how to read family history through the physical landscape through maps, graveyards, and rural and urban landscapes. Finally, you will learn about the context that led to different Irish diaspora forms in other times.

    The course overlaps with several aspects critical to other field trips—visits to Dublin and areas of the West devastated by famine, including Connemara and Co. Mayo will each be enhanced by a more profound knowledge of and connection to the emigrant experience.

  • Summer
    Gaelic 100-level 3 credits Taught in English

    The Irish language (Gaelige) has both a rich history and a strong ongoing presence in contemporary Irish society. Over the millennia, it has played a crucial role in shaping Irish identity and culture. Today, Galway and NUIG play important roles in sustaining and preserving the rich scholarly and artistic legacies of the Gaelic language and draw greatly from the vitality of the language in the nearby gaeltacht (or Irish-speaking) regions of Connemara and the Aran Islands. This course is meant to give you a better sense of that linguistic heritage and provide opportunities for richer contacts with the Irish-language speakers, performances, and aspects of every-day life one encounters around Galway. The class will provide a basic preface to the structure of the language with the aim of developing some elementary conversational, grammar and reading skills in modern Irish.

  • Summer
    Music 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

    Traditional Irish music and dance have made the transition from pre-modern, through modern, and into the global society that we occupy. This course will trace the substantial changes in performance, transmission, and practice of cultural expression through music (including song) and dance. Class readings will illustrate various aspects of the tradition, both historical and contemporary, beginning with the tradition’s bardic origins and its change and development since the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792. The North American Diaspora’s role in transmitting and developing the music will form an important element of discussion. Historical and current performance practice will be examined, exploring the emergence of modernity in the tradition. Ideologies of preservation and innovation, sometimes in conflict will be examined and discussions of the readings will be supported by both audio and visual material in class.

  • Summer
    English 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

    This course seeks to provide an opportunity for you to develop greater familiarity with the rich diversity of Irish writing over the last century while at the same time affording you the means for locating that writing within explicitly Irish contexts. Irish writing has very broad implications for literary and cultural studies whether we think of its importance for modernism, postcolonial studies, race theory, gender studies, studies in nationalism, or contemporary global migration flows. To evaluate the rich efflorescence of twentieth-century Irish literature, we will trace the rise of nineteenth-century cultural nationalism in Ireland and consider its contradictory legacies in the late colonial and postcolonial eras. Beginning with the work of the Young Ireland movement, we will spend the first half of the course moving from an exploration of the Irish Literary Revival, the Abbey Theatre, and the early work of James Joyce through a consideration of the disappointments, tensions, and challenges of the early postcolonial regime as revealed in the work of Elizabeth Bowen and William Butler Yeats. We will then explore the violent upheaval of the Northern Irish “Troubles” and the status of republican nationalism in the south through the work of Seamus Deane and an array of Northern poets. We will continue the course with some readings from contemporary poets as a means of considering contemporary Irish discourses on gender and sexuality and memory. We will conclude by exploring Irish language poetry, so as to explore the present-day position of literature written in Irish, along with issues such as Ireland’s dual literary heritage, the question of translation and the theme of cultural loss. In both cases, we will seek to examine how they illuminate the limitations and potentials of the anti-colonial project as it has been realized so far in Ireland.

    Field Trips and Films: We will be supplementing our readings and discussions with film screenings and field trips to the Aran Islands and a variety of locations in “Yeats Country.” These are integral “hands-on” aspects of the class and will give us a chance to bring the issues, places, and images of Irish literature to life. As such, your attendance and enthusiastic participation at these events is necessary for the course to succeed.

  • Summer
    English Theater 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

    In this course, we will read a selection of Irish plays from across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We will explore the history of theatre in Ireland and the roles of such institutions as the Abbey Theatre at the turn of the twentieth century and the Field Day Theatre Company, the Druid Theatre and local theatre companies formed from the late twentieth century onwards. In our explorations, we will consider a series of key questions. What does it mean to form an Irish national theatre? How can drama contribute to forging a national consciousness and identity, and should it serve that function? How does a national theatre sustain its mandate in the decades after Irish national independence? What roles do a national theatre and other independent theatre companies play as a new state becomes a 100-year-old one? We will examine these works within their social, cultural, and political contexts and in relation to issues such as class, gender, language, identity, Irish myth, the Irish west, the nation and nationalism, and the colonial legacy.

  • Summer
    History 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

    Focusing on the last century of Irish history, this course will trace the main social, political, economic and intellectual changes defining Ireland from the cultural revival, through the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, to the 1922 Treaty and the Civil War. Consideration will be given to the constitutional development of two Irelands: a twenty-six-county republic and a six-county statelet in the North that is still part of the United Kingdom.

    The period 1970-2000 will focus on ‘the Troubles’ and the emergence of a discourse of peace leading to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the sharing of power and the joint executive. Analysis of the last decade will show how Ireland’s relationship to Europe and strong ancestral ties to America led to a development boom and the confidence of the Celtic Tiger, ending with the present downturn in the global economy and the bail out of Irish banks.

    In the background to Ireland’s modern emergence as a progressive European country, you will also be asked to reflect on the nature of ‘History’ as a theatre for continued division and as a political instrument of ‘legitimacy’. A walking tour of the ruins and restorations of ancient Galway and a field trip to various ruins and sites of the Burren National Park will also allow deliberation of contemporary representations of Ireland and how the Irish past is packaged.

To request a course syllabus:

Field Studies

Optional field studies are an excellent way to deepen your academic experience abroad. During your 1-credit field study course, you will participate in carefully planned excursions that allow you to explore the cultural, historical, and natural features of Ireland. These overnight field experiences, combined with required academic components such as readings, research, and written assignments, will increase your understanding of the sites and locales visited.

As an experiential learning method, optional field studies complement the larger academic program and provide you with opportunities to learn in new ways, to gain hands-on experience, and to connect your classroom learning to the world around you.

Optional field studies have an additional fee, are subject to meeting minimum enrollment requirements to run, and may not be available every semester. Refer to the course list above for current field study offerings.