Proposed Itinerary and Course Descriptions for Spring Term in Ireland, Spring of 2002 (April 21-May 31)

Marc Conner, Department of English, Washington and Lee University

Weeks 1 – 4: based in Tralee, Co. Kerry, at the Irish College of the Humanities

Week 1: two day-trips, to Dingle Peninsula and Cashel

Classes twice weekly (6 hours per week): 387, on Irish language with Padraig MacFheargusa, and 380, on Modern Irish literature with Marc Conner

Week 2: two day-trips, to North Cork and Ross Castle/Inisfallen

Classes twice weekly (6 hours per week): 387, on Irish language with Padraig MacFheargusa, and 380, on Modern Irish literature with Marc Conner

Week 3: two day-trips, to Muckross House and Farms, and Blasket Islands

Classes twice weekly (6 hours per week): 387, on Irish language with Padraig MacFheargusa, and 380, on Modern Irish literature with Marc Conner

Week 4: two overnight trips:

trip 1: To Galway, via Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrune, Corcomroe; spend night in Galway; next day to Aran, thorough driving tour, spend night; return to Tralee next day

trip 2: To Thoor Ballylee, Coole Park, Clonmacnois, in a two-day/one night trip

All day and overnight trips led by Marc Conner and Michael Kissane, ICH

There will also be an evening at the National Folk Theatre of Ireland (Siamsa Tire); and an evening of learning set Irish dancing and music at Kate Kearney’s Cottage; as well as a farewell banquet on Saturday May 18.


Weeks Five and Six: in Dublin

Students will be housed in the USIT Youth Hostel in central Dublin. Classes will be held at Trinity College facilities, arranged through USIT. Class schedule will be daily 10-12. Classes will be on Dublin literature (Joyce and Heaney), led by Marc Conner; various guest lecturers will visit.

Day trips will include:

Monday 5/20: guided bus tour of Dublin and environs; learning the ins and outs of the city, bus and DART schedules, major sites, etc.; in the evening, take in the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.

Tuesday 5/21: classes from 10-12; in afternoon a guided tour of the National Gallery; in evening, theater performance

Wednesday 5/22: day-tour of Newgrange, Tara, and Monasterboice

Thursday 5/23: classes from 10-12; walk through city with M. Conner (selected sites); in evening, theater performance

Friday 5/24: guided day-trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland (Professor Peter Collins, historian from Queen’s College, Belfast as guide)

Monday 5/27: classes 10-12; in afternoon, Joyce’s Dublin: tour of Joyce properties, Joyce museum, and Joyce tower (led by M. Conner)

Tuesday 5/28: classes 10-12; afternoon guided tour of St. Mary’s pro-Cathedral, St. Kevin’s Oratory, and Crypt; in evening, a theater performance.

Wednesday 5/29: classes 10-12; in afternoon, tour Kilmainham Jail and Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA); in evening, theater performance

Thursday 5/30: day-tour of Wicklow and environs: Powerscourt, Glendalough

Friday 5/31: tour ends – farewell group dinner


Study Abroad in Ireland: Spring 2002

Marc C. Conner, Department of English

Course Descriptions

Eng 385: Preparatory Reading for Study Abroad (1 credit, P/F, winter term)

A 1-credit class that will meet the final six weeks of winter semester, to introduce students to the culture and history of Ireland. The major text will be J.C. Beckett’s A Short History of Ireland, accompanied by 3 lectures on Irish history and the development of Irish literature. We will also view 3 films on Irish subjects (Michael Collins, The Field, The Commitments). Students will take a 1-hour final exam on the historical material, including geography and chronology questions.


Eng 380: Irish Poetry (3 credits, either early or late British literature)

This course will focus on the development of the rich traditions of Irish poetry, paying attention both to major historical themes and specific poets. We will devote three weeks to the study of the Irish language, culminating in student translations of several medieval Gaelic lays (short poems); concurrently, we will read a wide range of medieval and early modern Irish poetry in translation, attending to the tension between pagan and Christian elements, as well as the movement from oral to written poetry; such early forms as the lorica, the aisling, the ballad, and the song will be emphasized. These readings will coincide with site visits to numerous medieval sites throughout the southwest of Ireland. We will then turn in week four to Ireland’s greatest poet, W.B. Yeats, and will devote a week to detailed readings of his greatest lyric poems, concurrent with our tour of the Yeats country and properties. In addition, throughout the term we will concentrate on the greatest late 20th-century Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, reading a significant range of his work and treating such themes as the uses of the Irish past, particularly myth and legend; belief, despair, prayer, and sin in poetry; fragmentation, paralysis, and silence; the figure of the artist; attitudes toward the Irish landscape, people, and culture; and the political crises of nationalism, colonialism, and revolution that dominate Irish thought. Students will take a number of language quizzes and write a five-page essay on Yeats’s poetry and its relation to Irish place.


Eng 387: Ireland in Literature and Landscape (Supervised Study in Ireland, 3 credits)

An intensive engagement with the landscape and culture of Ireland past and present. Readings will be coordinated with our site visits, and will include such topics as: The Blasket Island literature (Tomas O’Crohan, The Islandman and Peig Sayers, An Old Woman’s Reflections: The Life of a Blasket Island Storyteller); the Aran Islands (J.M. Synge, The Aran Islands); the West of Ireland in folk and fairy tale (Lady Gregory, Visions and Beliefs, Poets and Dreamers, A Book of Saints and Wonders, The Kiltartan Poetry Book, and Cuchalain of Muirthemne); Joyce’s Dublin (James Joyce, Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man); Irish drama, keyed to current showings at the Abbey, Peacock, and Gaiety theaters in Dublin and the National Folk Theater in Tralee; and Irish poetry (selected poems based upon or composed in various sites). Students will write 6 short interpretive essays on various cultural "texts" (be they architectural, botanic, historical, literary, dramatic, or otherwise).