This is a longer than usual lecture- 30 minutes long. The purpose of this class is to introduce students to an overview (from 500BC to the present) of the Irish Literary Tradition. This includes the original literary tradition which was in Irish (Gaelic) language, and the transition to English caused by colonization. The focus of this class will be on a poem by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, titled ‘Epic’ – because it is a very important poem in the context of the history above.

This lecture would be very useful for students beginning any study on an Irish writer or artist and provides a good general overview of the impact of colonization on culture. Students will not need a background in Irish literature to enjoy the lesson. We often describe this as a lesson for people who don’t ‘get’ poetry but want to! 

Dr. Niamh Hamill


Hello, I'm looking forward to introducing you to an overview of Irish Literature, from its roots in the Irish or Gaelic past, to the development of an Anglo-Irish Literature. We will finish with my very favourite poem, called 'Epic', by Patrick Kavanagh, and this class will really help you to understand why this poem is so important. And we actually went out on location to County Monaghan (where Kavanagh came from) to read the poem for you!

This is a good class to get an overview of the historical and cultural context of Irish Literature that is written in the Engl

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Introductory Overview of Irish Literature

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