Irish Studies

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Program Overview

An opportunity to learn about the intriguing history, politics, literature, and art of Ireland is available to you through a minor in Irish studies at Fairfield. You can focus on the:

  • Troubled history of the nation and its colonial and postcolonial significance
  • Difficult politics of Northern Ireland
  • Inspired art and literature that emerged from its turbulent past

‌The Irish Studies Program explores various aspects of a culture which has produced the oldest vernacular literature in Europe, a rich tradition of Celtic art, and a devotion to scholarship which perhaps was crucial in saving Western civilization. As a nation, Ireland has had a long, turbulent and fascinating history. In the last century, Ireland has changed from a conservative, agricultural country to a modern, technologically aware one, from a colony of Great Britain to a free, democratic republic, and from one of the poorest nations in the world to a vital economy in the European Union.

Enthusiasm for this area of study has surged in the last three decades as the Irish people have sought to resolve long-standing political issues and taken an interesting role in the new global economy. Fairfield, with a significant Irish-American representation among its students and alumni, provides a welcoming environment for Irish studies. The University hosts a number of lectures, concerts, plays, and readings that complement the academic program and has established a study abroad affiliation with the National University of Ireland, Galway. 

Irish Studies at Fairfield affords you the opportunity to investigate the contributions of Ireland to the world in terms of its literature, history, politics, film, and art. Affiliated with the National University of Ireland, Galway, the Irish Studies program, through study abroad, also allows you to take Irish-focused courses in archeology, economics, sociology, linguistics, and the Irish language, as well as focused internships. Indeed, the Irish Studies minor helps students expand their career opportunities in one of the most booming cultural and tech economies in Western Europe.

Irish Studies | Fairfield University

Student Learning Outcomes

Students with a minor in Irish Studies are able to:



Express, orally and in writing, the significant connections between Irish literature, history, politics, and art.



Articulate the complexity of another culture (social, political, religious, economic) using the example of Ireland.



Explain clearly and in depth the social, political, and religious problems that confronted and still do confront Irish people, including the role of literary and artistic production in the country’s troubled history.

Requirements & Curriculum

Required Courses

One (1) Irish course:
Irish Literature
Ireland: Middle Ages to the Present
Ireland Since the Famine
Four (4) additional Irish Studies elective courses

A detailed list of course requirements, offerings, and more can be viewed in the University’s course catalog.

More About Irish Studies


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Irish Studies Field Trip

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University
Lead by Dr. William Abbott and Prof. Marion White

Fall 2016 Irish Studies Field Trip

Brexit: The Irish and European Perspectives

An insightful lecture presented by Deputy Consul General of Ireland Eimear Friel on the U.K.'s complicated withdrawal from the European Union.

Kevin Barry, Irish Author

"'Welcome to the Stranger': Black Abolitionists in Ireland, 1790-1860."

Dr. Christine Kinealy, Professor of History from Quinnipiac University at the Irish Studies event

Patrick Radden Keefe, Irish Author, Staff Writer at The New Yorker

Seamus Heaney Exhibition

Professor Geraldine Higgins of Emory University, spoke at the Kelley Center on the Seamus Heaney Exhibition in Dublin.

Photo taken at Fairfield Beach.


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‌Fairfield students have abundant opportunities for internships with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Given the large Irish population of New York City and the northeast, there is an abundance of Irish cultural, political, and historical/archival organizations in the area. The program will work with students to inform them of potential internship opportunities in these organizations and to secure course credit for those internships.

Life After Fairfield

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Life After Fairfield

Your career path is likely to be governed by your choice of a major, but the minor in Irish studies adds an interesting dimension to your qualifications for graduate study or future employment. Graduates of the Irish studies program find that their studies enhance all kinds of careers, especially those which demand international awareness and cultural diplomacy. Ireland is a rising economy in the European Union, offers no language barrier for native English speakers, and is only a short flight away. Knowing about Ireland’s rich and complex history and culture gives students a decided edge in seeking employment, fellowships, or further academic degrees in the country. Some recent graduates of Fairfield’s Irish Studies program have earned Fulbright fellowships in Ireland, pursued graduate degrees at leading Irish Universities, and earned internships at Irish political and cultural organizations in New York City.

Learn how Fairfield's Career Services can support your post-graduate goals, and how our tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Four Students sitting together talking to each other in common srrea

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Fairfield is dedicated to diversity and inclusion; to radical hospitality in service of racial, social, and economic justice.

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The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Irish Studies Program.

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