Irish Studies at UCC offers a strong visual element and a new way of thinking

Marika Bella du Toit

Marika Bella du Toit from South Africa

MA in Irish Studies: Identities and Representations, 2013-2014

The lecturers on the MA in Irish Studies are great. They’re experts in their fields and everyone is very accommodating and open to helping you with research and answering your questions. They go to a lot of trouble with the seminars and field trips and they’re a great bunch of people. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and help you learn as much as you possibly can.

The study tours were a really great part of the experience. We weren’t sure what to expect but it was more than you could ever want. You really see how all of these abstract concepts and ideas that you’ve been reading about are expressed in the landscape. It’s absolutely fantastic. You get to go to parts of Ireland that you might not see otherwise and you learn so much of the history and the culture of the area. It gives a strong visual element to the entire programme, which is great.

The most important skill I have learned on the course is how to integrate different ideas from different fields. That’s been wonderful. Coming from a strictly literary background I wasn’t always aware of the role of history, of material culture, of sociology. And now, when I see how everything integrates I have a far better understanding of the process of culture and identity formation.

I think Cork city is brilliant. It doesn’t feel as much like a big bustling city as one might think, which I personally think is great. Everything is close enough that you can walk. It’s very friendly towards students and very much student-orientated. There’s always something going on – a lot of cultural activities – and the university is at the centre of much of it. Cork people are very interesting and the city is very friendly and embracing towards new people.

I would definitely recommend this course. I think anybody who is interested in Irish Studies should really think about doing it because it gives you perspectives that you probably never have encountered before. The interdisciplinary character of the course provides you with entirely new ways of thinking about Irish Studies and Irish culture.

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