University College Cork

These intensive three-week pre-session courses begin before the start of the fall semester. This allows you to comfortably settle into your new surroundings before the academic year begins and earn five credits toward your total course load. You can select one of the five courses available.

Early Start Semester in Archaeology

This program provides an historic and current overview of the physical and cultural landscapes of Ireland. Weekly field trips illuminate the sites discussed in class. A weekend field-study excursion in November visits the Burren, an area on the west coast of Ireland that is rich with archaeological remains. Attention is focused on:

  • The transformation of the physical environment by human intervention.
  • How invasion impacted the cultural change in prehistoric Ireland.
  • Colonist and nationalist agenda in Celticism and the "problem" of the origins of the Irish.
  • Role of archaeology in the construction of Irish identities.
  • Cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic heterogeneity of medieval Ireland and its implications for modern Ireland.

Early Start Semester in Irish Folklore and Ethnology

This program examines the customs of Irish culture from a traditional and modern perspective. The course delves into ancient Celtic rituals that helped shape the country, and how Ireland has evolved, while not loosing a sense of its past. Visits to sites in Cork and stretching all the way to Northern Ireland give a broad view of a variety of Irish customs. An extended excursion to Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, takes place during a traditional Irish "Match-making" festival.

Early Start Semester in History of Modern Ireland

This program provides an introduction to major issues in the modern history and politics of Ireland. A series of excursions and field trips around the Cork area illuminates studies. There is also an extended field-study trip to Dublin that includes visits to the National Archives and the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament). Attention is focused on:

  • The crisis of government in Ireland from 1912-1922, with reference to Home Rule, the 1916 Rising and Michael Collins and the War of Independence.
  • Irish-America, nationalism and partition.
  • Outbreak of civil war in the south and intense communal unrest in Northern Ireland.
  • Consolidation of state authority, with reference to the role of the Unionist Party in Northern Ireland and party system in the Free State.
  • Outbreak of "the Troubles" and their impact on social and political life north and south of the border.
  • Origins and development of the Peace Process, with reference to the role of American peace envoy George Mitchell.

Early Start Semester in Irish Literature

This program introduces a wide range of Irish writings from the year 1200 to the present. Topics that are discussed include Irish cinema, Irish mythology, literature in the Irish language and Irish women's writing. The program includes field visits to areas of literary interest such as the Great Blasket Island where Tomás Ó Crohan wrote The Islandman and the Aran Islands where John Millington Synge wrote The Aran Island Journals.

Early Start Semester in Music in Ireland

Known globally as a bastion of music, this program explores the rich variety of musical traditions in Ireland. Studies being with traditional Irish folk music through to the popular music of today and how all music in Ireland are inter-connected. The impact of outside musical influence is also examined. Field trips offer first hand experiences of Irish music, both locally and nationally. Attention is focused on:

  • Traditional Irish Music, Irish Popular Music and European Art Music
  • Ireland's largest Jazz Festival in Cork, occurring during the Early Start Semester
  • Revival of the Irish Harp