Irish Literature

Ref: C3744428

An exploration of Irish literature in the English language,dealing with Irish culture, traditions and social and political issues. Our earliest texts will be by Swift and Maria Edgeworth, and we'll next explore Yeats' poetry & Joyce's amazing evocation of Dublin life in 'Dubliners'. Irish drama has been hugely important ever since the days of the Abbey Theatre and we'll explore Synge's contribution and study Sean O'Casey's 'Shadow of a Gunman' and Brian Friel's 'Dancing at Lugnasa'. Three modern prose writers, William Trevor, Colm Toibin and Anne Enright and the poetry of Seamus Heaney will represent contemporary Irish culture.

Course aim

An exploration of Irish literature in the English language from Swift to Seamus Heaney & Anne Enright; also featuring Maria Edgeworth, Yeats, the Abbey Theatre & Bran Friel.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe the development of Irish literature in the English language over the past 300 years in broad terms
  • show how Irish literature interacts with cultural and political issues
  • demonstrate the enormous influence of Irish writers on English literature
  • outline the distinctive contribution of individual major Irish writers studied on this course.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • It is important to read the texts in advance of the class as these will be discussed in detail.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Please read the texts in advance. It is suggested that you have a folder on which to keep documents supplied by the tutor and your notes on the texts and in class. An e-mail is useful for disseminating information.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It is important to read the texts in advance (a list is available from branch or tutor). You may wish to do some biographical or critical reading on the authors & texts in books or online

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Irish Literature


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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