Modern Irish History Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Modern Irish History?

For most of its recorded history, Irish culture has been primarily Gaelic. The Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland in the 12th century, and the 16th/17th-century conquest and colonization of Ireland saw the emergence of Tudor English culture repurposed in an Irish style.

The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rise of modern Irish nationalism that eventually led to the conclusion of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 between the British government and representatives of the Second Dáil. This gave Ireland complete independence in its home affairs and practical independence for foreign policy and this time period is generally considered to be the start of Modern Irish History up to the present day.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Modern Irish History in the following subject areas:

  • Modern Irish History – Gain knowledge of chosen areas of Modern Irish history, and develop generic research and organisational skills.
  • Modern Irish History (M.Phil.) – An introduction to research in Modern Irish history.
  • Diploma in Modern Ireland (The Irish Revolution) – The course will investigate and interrogate the decade (1913-23) in which the foundations were laid for Irish independence and in which the establishment of the Irish Free State was achieved.
  • Irish Language and Culture – An introduction to the Irish Language and the culture of modern Ireland.
  • Structured PhD in Contemporary Irish Studies – A study of contemporary issues in Irish society, politics and culture.
  • Irish History – Participants will learn about events in Irish History from Medieval times to the 21st century.

Studying Modern Irish History 

There are many courses in Modern Irish History that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Industry-based summer internships in a research and development environment can also provide excellent experience and insights. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Modern Irish History course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the history of Ireland.

Positions within the field of History require the application of your expertise and skills developed through study and research. You may aim to publish papers on your work in peer-reviewed, well-respected journals and will write reports, books or chapters of books on your specialist area of knowledge.

You’re may also be involved in the teaching and supervision of university students and speaking at conferences. A significant amount of your time could be spent on planning research, attending meetings with colleagues and contributing to the strategic direction of your department or group.

A typical role is that of an academic researcher, and you may be employed in the following roles PhD student/researcher, postdoctoral research associate/assistant, research associate/fellow or higher education lecturer/senior lecturer/professor/reader.

As academic researchers are mainly based in universities, a lot are employed as higher education teaching staff who also carry out research. Some highly sought after roles are purely research-based, but even posts such as postdoctoral researcher often have some teaching element.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. While most positions in this field advertise working hours as being 35 hours per week. In reality, you will likely work longer hours as required, in order to complete projects and reach publication deadlines and targets. This will include evenings and weekends.

Time away from home may be common, depending on the nature of your specialism – for example, to complete scientific fieldwork overseas. Highly experienced and knowledgeable academic researchers may work freelance, completing numerous short-term contracts.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Archivist
  • Heritage manager
  • Historic buildings inspector/conservation officer
  • Museum education officer
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
  • Academic librarian
  • Archaeologist
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Editorial assistant
  • Human resources officer
  • Information officer
  • Marketing executive
  • Policy officer
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Political risk analyst
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Detective
  • Diplomatic service officer

Further study

After completing a course in Modern Irish History you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as IT, media training, research techniques, administration and funding application training.


Is Irish the same as Gaelic?

The word “Gaelic” in English derives from Gaeilge which is the word in Irish for the language itself. However, when English is being used, the Irish language is conventionally referred to as “Irish,” not “Gaelic.”

Where can I study Modern Irish History?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • The remains of St. Valentine can be found in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin City where they’ve been for many years.
  • A lad named Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have been responsible for bringing the potato crop from the Americas to Ireland many moons ago. It was at a farm near his home in Youghal in County Cork that he planted the very first potato in Ireland, around 1588.
  • Thanks to a discovery made in 2016 that we now know that humans were present in Ireland in 10,500 BC. A bear bone that was excavated from a cave in Clare that dates back to the late Palaeolithic Age showed signs that it was butchered.
  • In 1965, Ireland entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time. It won the competition 4 times in total and managed to rack up 7 wins over the years.
  • The seventh lion used by MGM in the opening clip for many of its movies was born in Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park. He started to appear at the beginning of movies from 1957.

Mariza Halliday

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