Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 100-level unit in Literature or English

Unit rationale, description and aim

Drawing connections between the local and the global helps to demonstrate ways in which people imagine the worlds in which they live and the futures they may have. This unit considers Irish literature published during the period between the early nineteenth century and the present. The unit is concerned with the interaction of culture, politics and region in the formation of Irish literature. While examining poems, short stories and novels from Ireland, students will analyse the relationships between literature, place and identity. The influence of nationalism, modernism and globalisation, among other movements, will be considered in a survey of Irish writing. The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the themes, forms and traditions running through Irish literature.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss theoretical approaches towards and textual knowledge of Irish Literature (GA5, GA9) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience (GA6, GA9) 

LO3 - Locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of texts relevant to Irish literature in order to develop an evidence-based argument (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10) 

LO4 - Apply the methods that literary theorists have used to research and interpret Irish Literature (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA10)  

LO5 - Describe and analyse key debates relating to literary studies over time (GA1, GA5, GA8).  

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


This unit will include a variety of topics relating to the context and content of Irish literature. Consideration of current and past social circumstances in Ireland, through examination of a variety of textual examples, ensures students have the opportunity to discuss theoretical approaches and apply literary theories to Irish literature. Lectures, tutorial discussions and assessments in the unit are designed to incorporate scholarly research on Irish literature; encouraging students to reflect critically upon the relationships between social context and Irish literature.   

Topics will include: 

  • the place of literature in the idea of national culture  
  • the literary image of a national or regional home 
  • the role of literature as a locus of debate about social change or as an avenue of change  
  • literary responses to urban and rural environments of Ireland 
  • the effects of the economy on social life and culture 
  • the effects of economic and cultural globalisation on local sense of community, identity and self   

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will run in attendance mode and will use class exercises, discussions and formal assignments to encourage analyses of Irish literature. Student engagement will be developed through in-class exercises including group work encouraging the exploration of Irish literature through the analysis of relevant examples. Students will investigate critical concepts relevant to the Irish context and consider these in relation to particular texts. The unit will encourage students to analyse Irish literature in relation to both aesthetic and social changes since the nineteenth century, as well as in the light of scholarly responses. The unit will emphasise clear writing and research as key skills in developing well-argued and evidence-based analyses. 

In intensive mode the learning and teaching strategies will also include site visits and field trips connected to Irish writers and Irish literature. In semester mode this cultural context will be delivered as part of lectures, documentaries and readings. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome and will be used for either semester length or intensive offerings.  

The first assessment task will require students to engage in close reading of a set text, considering its context of production.  

The second task extends skills developed in the first task and requires students to examine set texts in relation to each other. Students’ analytical work will address topics covered in the unit by considering common Irish literary themes and relevant critical material.  

The final task is research-based and requires students to demonstrate their ability to locate and synthesise scholarly arguments with their own ideas and to make insightful conclusions about a selection of Irish texts. Students will analyse recurring themes in Irish literature and incorporate relevant scholarly material into their written work. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Close Reading Task  

This task requires students to demonstrate close reading of an Irish text by considering it in relation to their social context.   


LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA6, GA9 

Analytical Task 

This task requires students to examine particular Irish texts and analyse them in relation to topics covered in the unit.  


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Research Task  

This task requires students to demonstrate an understanding of Irish literature and key debates that surround it. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4. LO5  

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Cleary, Joe (ed).  The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism. Cambridge University Press, 2014. 

Deane, Seamus (ed). The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing. Vols 1-5. Field Day Publications & Norton, 1991-2002. 

D’hoker, Elke (ed). The Irish Short Story: Traditions and Trends. Peter Lang, 2015. 

González-Arias, Luz Mar (ed). National Identities and Imperfections in Contemporary Irish Literature Unbecoming Irishness. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 

Harte, Liam. Reading the Contemporary Irish Novel. 1987-2007. Wiley Blackwell, 2014. 

Kiberd, Declan. After Ireland. Head of Zeus, 2017. 

Kiberd, Declan and Mathews, P.J. (eds). Handbook of the Irish Revival: an anthology of Irish cultural and political writings 1891-1922. University of Notre Dame Press, 2016. 

Maher, Eamon and O’Brien, Eugene (eds). From Prosperity to Austerity: a socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its Aftermath. Manchester University Press, 2015. 

Schwall, Hedwig (ed). Irish Women Writers: New Critical Perspectives. Peter Lang, 2011. 

Vance, Norman. Irish Literature since 1800. Routledge, 2014. 

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