Irish Culture, University of Kansas {photo copyright KConrad}

ENGL 530, HWC 530, HIST 552, and EURS 512
Spring 2004
7-10 pm
4019 Wescoe Hall

Professor Kathryn Conrad (English)
Office hours:  2035 Wescoe, Tuesdays 1-3 pm and by appointment
Office phone: 864-2572
E-mail (best way to reach me): kconrad @

On this page:
[Grading policy] [Other resources] [Reading and assignment discussion schedule]

5/9:  Alternative examination date for those with scheduling conflicts:  May 18, 4076 Wescoe.  If you choose this option, you must let me know by May 10 in class.

4/26: Paper grading guidelines on Blackboard)

Course website:
Blackboard website (for discussion boards, grades):

Course description and texts:
       This course provides an accelerated overview of Irish history, literature, and culture from prehistory to the present day, with the main focus on recent (19- and 20th-century) Ireland, North and South.  The course will explore a number of questions about Irish culture:  What is "Irishness"? What cultural, political, and economic forces have influenced Irish culture? What is the relationship between Ireland past and present?  By examining a variety of primary source readings (such as laws, poetry, short fiction, and plays), art, music, film, and modern historical writing, we will try together to answer these questions.
     The course is an advanced interdisciplinary introduction to Irish culture. No previous knowledge of Irish history or literature is required or expected, but students will be responsible for building a working knowledge of a wide variety of material over the course of the semester.  In order to provide the widest selection of texts and topics possible, many of the required texts for the course will be online at this website or on electronic reserve. Students are responsible for checking the online syllabus regularly for the most up-to-date information (although what is assigned in the classroom takes precedent over anything posted at this site).  A selection of additional online resources is currently available at and will be updated regularly.

    These books will be available for purchase. Please note that the books may be listed under any of the course numbers:

Grades consist of three major components:
1.  Attendance, participation in discussion, and short assignments.  All readings to be completed by date listed on the syllabus.  Students are expected to attend every class and should contact me by e-mail (kconrad @ or phone (864-2572) before your absence if you must miss class. Students will be expected to access materials online and participate in Blackboard discussion boards.  One of the short assignments is the Spencer Research Library annotated bibliography, which should include at least five separate entries with paragraph descriptions of each of the materials viewed.
 2.  Exams: quizzes (identification and short essay) as listed on the syllabus and a final comprehensive essay examination.
 3.  Paper of 8-10 pages on a topic of your choosing related to the course; grade also includes paper topic, annotated bibliography, and paper draft, due in advance of the final paper.  It is an interpretive research paper; that is, you will do outside research of both primary and secondary materials (at least one primary source and one secondary source not assigned for class reading) and develop an interpretive argument based on your research.  All papers must be typed, double-spaced, and contain consistent, full citations. Topic, annotated bibliography (bibliography plus paragraph descriptions of at least two works, not including those used in the Spencer Research Library bibliography), first draft (three copies), and final draft are due as marked on syllabus.
Other resources:

Plagiarism is stealing and passing off someone else's ideas or words as one's own or using information from another's work without crediting the source. Any detected cheating offense--including but not limited to plagiarism, the unauthorized use of crib sheets, texts, or other materials during an examination or quiz, the copying of another student's work (even with the permission or aid of that student, who is thereby culpable), the use of prewritten essays (the student's own or someone else's), or the unauthorized use of work written for another assignment or class--will be reported to the University. A record of each verified offense will be kept throughout the student's association with the University (Adopted from FSE statement).

If after reading the statement above, you are still unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, ask me before turning in an assignment. A plagiarized assignment will result in failure of the assignment and may result in failure of the course. Plagiarism will be reported to the college.

Reading and assignment schedule
This schedule is likely to change.  For the most accurate reading and assignment schedule, pay attention to updates given in class.  Updates will eventually be reflected on this website.
COLOR CODED: Weekly assignments are in blue. Major assignments (and alerts) are in red.  Other material is in green.
NOTE:  Material on websites should be read fully unless preceded by the word "Browse." "Recommended" material is exactly that:  recommended, not required.

Jump to... [March]  [April]  [May]

January 26: Introduction.
Course outline and goals.
Introductory questionnaire.

February 2: The Celts and Pre-Christian Ireland
Guest lecture:  Prof. Bill Carswell, School of Architecture
        Access Blackboard; check and, if necessary, update your e-mail address.
          [ - Kinsella, Táin (first third) We will discuss the Táin on February 16.  Note the quiz on that date, which may deal in part with the Táin.]
           - Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 1, "A Geographer's View of Irish History"; ch. 2, "Prehistoric Ireland"; ch. 3, "Early Irish Society."
           - Website: Simon James, "The Conventional History of the Celts,";
            "An Alternative History of 'Celticism',"
           -Website: Browse megalithic tombs site at

February 9: Early Christianity
         [- Kinsella, Táin (middle).]
            -Handout:  Heptads, triads, penitentials
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 4 "The Beginnings of Christianity"; ch. 5, "The Golden Age of Early Christian Ireland"
             ch. 6, "The Age of the Viking Wars"; ch. 7, "Ireland in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries"
             -Website:  St.  Patrick, Confessio,
             -Website:  Cogitosus, Life of Brigit, online at Blackboard (copyrighted material; listed under "Course Documents")

February 16: Early Irish Literature and the Irish Language
Guest lecture:  Barbara Carswell, gaeilgeoir
            - Kinsella, Táin, finish.
            -Website: Browse medieval Irish poetry,

February 23:  The Medieval Ireland through Plantation:  Seeds of Discontent
           -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 8, "The Normans:  Arrival and Settlement"; ch. 9, "The Medieval English Colony";
            ch. 10, "The Gaelic Resurgence and Geraldine Supremacy"; ch. 11, "The Tudor Conquest."
           -Website: Kilkenny statute,
           -Website:   The Pogues, "Young Ned of the Hill" (lyrics),
            -Spenser, "A View of the Present State of Ireland,"

March 1:  Penal times to the Act of Union
Guest lecture:  Prof. Hodgie Bricke, History
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 12, "The Colonisation of Ulster and the Rebellion of 1641"; ch. 13, "The Restoration and
            the Jacobite War"; ch. 14, "The Age of the Penal Laws"; ch. 15,"The Protestant Nation."
            -Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent, in The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (95-146)
            -Website:  Brian Merriman, The Midnight Court,
            -Website:  Declaration of the United Irishmen,

March 8:  Famine
Guest lecture:  Victor Bailey, History
            -Friel, Translations, in Modern Irish Drama.
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch.16, "The Age of Daniel O'Connell"; ch. 17, "The Great Famine"
                        -Population figures, at
                        -Browse Irish views of the Famine, http://www.people.Virginia.EDU/~eas5e/Irish/Irish.html
                        -Browse English views of the Famine, http://www.people.Virginia.EDU/~eas5e/Irish/english.html
                        -Browse The Famine,
            Web assignment:
                -Choose one image online that sums up the Famine for you; print and bring to class for discussion.

March 15: Fenianism, Home Rule, and the Emerging Irish Revival
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 18, "Fenianism, Home Rule, and the Land War"; ch. 19, "From Parnell to Pearse"
            -James Joyce, from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (407-414).
           -Website: Matthew Arnold, selections from On Celtic Literature,
           -Website: Browse folksongs (then and now), NEW LINK!
           - Lady Gregory, "Our Irish Theatre," in Modern Irish Drama (378-9).
            -Yeats, Cathleen ni Houlihan, in Modern Irish Drama.
            -Website: Yeats, "The Secret Rose,"
           -Website: Speranza (Lady Wilde), The Fairy Child,
                                                                Fairy Music,
                                                                The Leprehaun,
                                                                The Fenian Knights,
           -Website: Lady Gregory:  Herbs, Charms, and Wise Women,
                                                    Banshees and Warnings,

[March 22:  SPRING BREAK]

March 29: The Irish Revival: the Politics of Representation
            -Synge, Playboy of the Western World, in Modern Irish Drama.
            -Joseph Holloway, "Journal 1907," in Modern Irish Drama (454-459).
            -Joyce, "Circe" from Ulysses, in The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (         ).
            -Website: "The Attack on 'Playboy of the Western World" and "At the Abbey Theatre,"
[April 5:  RESEARCH WEEK; class will not meet.] (Prof. Conrad in Northern Ireland March 31-April 7)
       Visit Spencer Research Library.  List and annotate (1-paragraph description per item) materials viewed. List should include at least five
        separate entries.  This may be done anytime until April 9; you need not wait until this week.
        Blackboard:  Continue discussion of readings from March 29 and/or those for April 12.  Participate before April 12.

April 12: Revolution Come Again: Writers of the Revolution; the Easter Rising
        Readings (websites):
        -Browse BBC Easter Rising site:
        -Padraic Pearse, The Singer (play), online at
        -Pearse, poems:
            "Why do ye torture me?"--
            "I am Ireland"--
            "The Mother"--
            "The Fool"--
            "The Rebel"--
            "Christmas 1915"--
         -Pearse, "Barbara" (short story)--
        - James Connolly, from Nationalism and Socialism:
                Ch. 1, "Socialism and Nationalism"
                Ch. 3, "Socialism and Irish Nationalism"
        -Song, "James Connolly",
        -Joseph Mary Plunkett, "The Splendour of God" and "I See His Blood Upon the Rose,"
        -Yeats, poems:  "Easter, 1916," "Sixteen Dead Men," and "The Rose Tree" --
          -Recommended:  Browse Pearse readings. (Note: this link will also allow you
            to link to plain text versions of the above readings.)
        -Recommended:  Browse Connolly  readings. Note: this link will also allow you
            to link to plain text versions of the above readings.)

April 19: The Anglo-Irish War and the Civil War
       Recommended: schedule a meeting with Writers Roost before May 3.
        -O'Casey, "Juno and the Paycock" and "The Shadow of a Gunman," Modern Irish Drama.
        -Proclamation of the Irish Republic:
        -Recommended:  Debate on the Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland (1922)

April 26: A Divided Ireland: The Free State, the Republic, and the North
        *FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER DUE. Bring three copies; keep one and exchange with two other people in the class.
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 21, "The Irish Free State and the Republic of Ireland, 1921-66"; ch. 22, "Ireland, 1966-82"
            -Kate O'Brien, from The Land of Spices, in The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (475-488)
            -Frank O'Connor, "Guests of the Nation," in The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (526-534)
           - Websites: Frank O'Connor, on Irish censorship,
        -Recommended:  The Playboys (film)

April 29: Recommended: The Crying Game (film); to be screened Thursday evening, 7 pm, 4034 Wescoe.
May 3: Northern Ireland
           * FINAL PAPER DUE. Resubmit bibliography and other reader's paper comments from 4/26 with final draft.
            -The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction:
                 -Mary Beckett, "A Belfast Woman" (767-775)
                 -Eoin McNamee, from Resurrection Man (1016-1025)
             -Website: Poetry (TBA) online at Blackboard (copyrighted material; listed under "Course Documents")
             -Website:  Browse CAIN website,  "Key Events,"
             -Website:  BBC, Northern Ireland conflict, "Origins and Civil Rights," starting with "Partition,"
            Recommended:  Browse CAIN website,, esp. "Background to the Conflict," "Symbols," "Murals"
            Recommended: Patrick McCabe, from The Butcher Boy (The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, 969ff )

May 5: Recommended: Bloody Sunday (film); to be screened Thursday evening, 7 pm, 4034 Wescoe.

May 10: Contemporary Ireland
       *Course Evaluations (in class)
            -Moody & Martin, The Course of Irish History, ch. 23, "Ireland, 1982-94"
            -The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction:
                -Mary Dorcey, "A Country Dance" (936-948)
                -Roddy Doyle, from The Snapper ( 991-1000)
                 Robert McLiam Wilson, from Eureka Street (1047-1059)
           -Website:  Alice Maher (artist),
           -Website:  Re/Dressing Cathleen (exhibition archive),

May 18: Alternative date for Final Examination, 4076 Wescoe.  IF YOU CHOOSE THIS OPTION, you MUST INFORM ME BY MAY 10.
(grades to be posted by May 26.)