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About Irish Studies

The Irish Studies Program at Boston College offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Irish culture and society. Individual undergraduate and graduate courses address social, political and economic history, literature, medieval arts, sociology, music, and the Irish language. The extensive Irish collections of the Burns and O'Neill Libraries enhance each of these, while offering a wealth of resources to all Boston College students and faculty.

Boston College was founded in 1863 by two Ulstermen, Andrew Carney and John McElroy, S. J. Since then, the University has maintained a special intellectual and social connection with Ireland and Irish America. When Boston College moved to Chestnut Hill in 1913, the University celebrated this connection by naming the largest and most important room on campus the Irish Hall. The room's imposing stained glass window depicting St. Patrick, and its Irish-language dedication to the Boston Irish neighborhoods that supported the University's growth, stands as testimony to our past.

Today, Boston College is one of the largest and most diverse Catholic institutions of higher learning in the United States and the flourishing Irish Studies Program is an important part of our vision for the future. The Irish Studies Program was created in 1978 by Kevin O'Neill and the late Adele Dalsimer. It has become one of the most successful and influential Irish Studies programs in North America.

The Irish Studies program offers an undergraduate minor in Irish Studies, an English Department MA in Irish Literature and Culture, and an MA in History with a concentration in Irish History. The doctoral programs in English and History also attract, train, and successfully place outstanding PhD candidates who wish to integrate Irish Studies into their disciplines. The Irish Studies program also offers comprehensive lecture, film, and music series.

Sullivan Family Artist-In-Residence Séamus Connolly has earned an international reputation as a performer, teacher, and director of an innovative school of music. Irish Studies has also collaborated with the University's McMullen Museum of Art to offer a number of exhibitions focusing on the visual arts and Ireland, including Éire/Land, which The New York Times described as reaching "far beyond traditional art history into sociology, political science and gender studies."

The Irish Studies faculty is a group of internationally recognized scholars whose influential publications and professional commitment have made them leaders in the field. The expertise of individual faculty members spans a wide range of Irish subjects, such as 18th, 19th, and 20th century Irish history and literature, Irish music and dance, and the American Irish. Faculty members are intimately involved in other interdisciplinary fields of inquiry such as women's studies, American studies, ethnic studies, and area studies.