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*Irish Literature and Film

Cork, Ireland ; Dublin, Ireland ; Galway, Ireland

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty Program Director CostsDatesApplication

Note: The information provided here is from a past program. The International Center anticipates offering this program again in summer 2017; however, specific details have not been finalized and may change.



The MU International Center sponsors this summer, faculty-led study abroad program in collaboration with the Department of English and Truman School of Public Affairs. MU professors William Kerwin and James Scott will lead this six-credit program in Cork, Dublin and Galway, Ireland.

This study abroad program will allow you to earn six credit hours while investigating three very distinct Irish locales: Dubin, the capital city and urban center; Cork, a more Irish city in one of the country's largest and most beautiful counties; and Galway, the gateway to the Irish west. One course is interdisciplinary with an emphasis on the rise of Irish films, and the other is an English course emphasizing three groups of writers. The courses together will allow you to follow the places the program will visit from two distinct perspectives.

Contemporary Irish Cinema (Public Affairs 4001/7001, cross-listed with film studies) will examine the rapid, recent growth in Irish film production, employing the dual focus of public policy and Irish films themselves. You will learn the history of Ireland's national cinema, visit the Irish Film Board, Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema, and make a close study of a number of contemporary Irish films. In addition, you will have the chance to attend the Galway Film Fleadh at the beginning of the program. Dublin, Cork and the West: The City and the Country in Irish Literature (English 4260, writing intensive) will study some of the great writers from these parts of Ireland, including James Joyce, Roddy Doyle, Sean O'Casey, Frank O'Connor, Sean O'Faolain, William Trevor, Elizabeth Bowen, William Butler Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson and Mary O'Malley. You will read the work of these writers as they explore the places that inspired them and drove them to write. The two courses connected with numerous excursions to historical and natural places of interest. On most days, you will have two class sessions in the morning and an excursion in the afternoon or evening. On a few occasions, there will be a full-day excursion. Some hiking — hard walking and some mud, but no technical climbing — is built into the course.



You will be enrolled in two MU courses for a total of six credits.

ENGLSH 4260/4260H: Dublin, Cork and the West: The City and the Country in Irish Literature (3) — Despite its small size, Ireland has produced an amazing array of writers, and this course will explore several parts of the Irish literary heritage. You will read literature connected to two Irish cities and the beautiful Irish west. The capital city of Dublin has nurtured writers for centuries, and you will explore the city's ancient monuments and contemporary cultural hot spots. The writings of James Joyce bring to life the "dirty old men" of one era, and you will study his "Dubliners" as part of your introduction to the city. You will also read the fiction of contemporary authors, including Roddy Doyle, as they tell tales of the new Ireland. You will learn the history of the Irish National Theater and attend a play at the historic Abbey Theatre. Cork, the second largest city in the Republic, is both its own urban center and part of one of Ireland's most diverse and beautiful counties, and is the home of a range of writers, including William Trevor, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O'Connor and Sean O'Faolain. In Cork, you will focus on the short story and explore both the city and a few of the surrounding towns and rural retreats. Galway is a county with breathtaking natural beauty. While Galway city, the program's home for eight days, is an international center for contemporary music and culture, the surrounding countryside evokes the ancient Celtic past. That past was central to the work of William Butler Yeats, Ladu Augusta Gregory and John Synge, as well as a range of contemporary authors, including nature writer Tim Robinson and poet Mary O'Malley. During this part of the course, you will explore the countryside, including outings to Connemara and one of the Aran Islands. Taken as a whole, these three locales and the writers from them will give you an introduction to one of the world's most literary countries.

PUB AF 4001/7001 (cross-listed with film studies, honors credit available for 7001): Contemporary Irish Cinema: Cultural Policy and Cultural Identity (3) — The Irish film industry is booming. In a country of 4.5 million people, a variety of films (features, shorts, animation and television) are written, directed, performed, edited and produced by Irish professionals. In 2012, Irish films generated about $750 million in revenue, and employed more than 6,000 people. When compared to the Missouri "film industry," that's pretty impressive. Contemporary Irish cinema is attracting attention in the U.S. and throughout the world. Why does such a small nation have such a large and vibrant film industry? The course examines why (and how) Irish film is growing in a difficult economic climate. You will gain insight into Irish culture by studying contemporary films. They will explore the history of its national cinema and visit the Irish Film Board, Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema. You will also consider the role of government in the development of the Irish film industry and discuss the implications it has on Irish identity in a global society.

Academic credit

You will be enrolled in actual MU courses. You are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into your MU GPA and appear on your MU transcript when grades are recorded by the faculty program director. You must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to your home university. You must work with your home university to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue one transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on your Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Accommodations and meals

You will stay in shared rooms in residence halls and will be responsible for all meals on your own.

Host city and surrounding areas

Often considered the greatest city in all of Europe, Dublin, Ireland, is most famous for being home to the Guinness brewery and birthplace of James Joyce, William Butler Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. In addition to being named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, Dublin has seen tremendous economic and cultural growth in the last 15 years. As the capital of the Ireland, Dublin offers a myriad of museums, historic sites, manicured parks, shops, live music, sports and a community that embraces both its history and newfound multiculturalism.

Founded as a quiet fishing village on the western coast of Ireland, Galway has gone through many transformations in its nearly 800 year history. Visitors can still see parts of the original stone wall built in 1232 near the Claddagh, a Spanish-style arch. Galway is also distinguished in its success as a prosperous trading port between the British, Spanish and Portuguese. The city today embraces Irish tradition and bohemian modernity. Wander the long, winding promenade, relax on one of Galway's beaches, watch the salmon fisherman in River Corrib and bask in the beauty of the sunset of Galway Bay. There is something for everyone! In town, visitors mingle effortlessly with friendly locals while traditional and modern Irish music lingers in the air from one of the many pubs or yearly festivals. Bring spending money for trinkets from the many colorful shops around town and take time to visit Kylemorre Abbey and Ashford Castle. No matter what you choose, you will have lasting memories of this vibrant, Irish city.

Like Chicago in the U.S., Cork is Ireland's "Second City" — a stark contrast to the larger metropolis to the east. Cork looks less to the continent than Dublin does; it is a truly Irish municipality and has a long history as a central part of political conflict in Ireland. It is the home of two of Ireland's greatest short story writers: Sean O'Faolain and Frank O'Connor. Cork is also the name of the county, which is the largest in Ireland. The peninsulas and coastal towns in south and southwest Cork County, as well as in neighboring County Kerry, offer unparalleled opportunities for finding a rural adventure, which might be a great use of the free weekend in the middle of the course.


You will travel with the group, but will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during your time abroad. Travel might include visits to:

  • Newgrange and Boyne Valley
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Christchurch Cathedral
  • Trinity College and the Book of Kells
  • Kilmainham Gaol
  • Abbey Theatre
  • Rugged Hills of Connemara
  • Aran islands
  • Galway Film Fleadh

Tentative itinerary

  • June 30: Arrive in Galway
  • June 30–July 11: Galway
  • July 12–17: Cork
  • July 17–20: Independent travel
  • July 21–27: Dublin
  • July 28: Depart Ireland

Faculty program directors

MU faculty members William Kerwin, Department of English, and James Scott, International Center, will accompany the students to Ireland.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

William Kerwin

William Kerwin teaches Shakespeare, early British poetry and Irish literature. His current research projects involve early modern satire as it relates to changes in urban life; and the connections between forms of lyric, especially the complaint, and the drama. In 2005, the University of Massachusetts Press published his "Beyond the Body: The Boundaries of Medicine and English Renaissance Drama" as part of their series Studies in Early Modern Culture. He has edited a book of essays on the Irish playwright Brian Friel and has published or presented essays on Irish authors such as Peadar O'Donnell, Seán O'Faoláin, James Joyce and Mary O'Malley.

james scott

James Scott

James K. Scott is the director of the International Center, associate vice provost for international initiatives and an associate professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs and Department of Rural Sociology. He served as senior research scientist with the Show Me Project, a multiyear, interdisciplinary initiative in rural communities and economic development in the border regions of Ireland, and also previously served as the director of MU's European Union Center, funded by the European Commission. He has published numerous articles and research reports on rural and regional development policy, local government and local public decision making.


Program Budget

Additional Expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial Aid Information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarship towards the program costs.

Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline Program Start Program End

We anticipate this program will be offered again in the future.


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you apply for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the MU International Center study abroad adviser listed in the program snapshot if you have any questions.
  2. Start an application in using the button below if you are an MU student.
    • Non-MU students should visit our page for Non-MU participants for more information about the application process.
    • Once you have started an application, you can return to it later by logging in to myStudyAbroad (see the button at the top of the page).
  3. Complete your application. There will be several documents that need to be completed for the application. While specific requirements vary by program, a typical application consists of the following:
    • Material submissions - Printable forms which require the physical submission of materials.
    • Signature Documents - Items you may digitally sign (if you are over 18 years of age) to indicate your agreement and understanding.
    • Recommendations - Recommendations may be submitted electronically by MU faculty and staff.
    • Application Questionnaires - Items that you complete and submit electronically.

This program is not currently accepting applications.