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ACE2347 Myth and Magic: An Introduction to the Study of Irish Folklore and Mythology (Evening, online delivery only) is a Course

ACE2347 Myth and Magic: An Introduction to the Study of Irish Folklore and Mythology (Evening, online delivery only)

Starts Jan 31, 2023

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Full course description

Course Overview

This course provides an introduction to the subject of Irish mythology and folklore, ranging from ancient stories of heroes, gods and sacred sites, to contemporary beliefs in the supernatural (particularly fairies, the banshee and ghosts). Legends, customs, festival celebrations and storytelling traditions are explored, as well as the history of the compilation of mythology as well as folklore collection in Ireland and how the mindset and agendas of different collectors influenced different views and understandings of the collected material. Traditional Irish stories and customs are explored in order to gain insights into cultural meanings and how people make sense of the world around them. Classes cover mythological sources as well as traditional beliefs, customs and narrative traditions in the Irish context.


This is a great course for anyone interested in the beliefs, stories and customs of ordinary people. It is especially suited to anyone interested in the supernatural, mythology, customs, popular religious ritual or storytelling.  The course is unique in that it provides in-depth discussion of a variety of aspects of Irish folklore, mythology, religiosity and the cultural history of Ireland. It is the only ACE course that examines topics such as fairies, ghosts and other beliefs from an academic perspective; serious attention is not often paid to these aspects of culture.


Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Tuesdays 7-9pm for ten weeks from 31 January to 4 April 2023

Location- Online via Microsoft Teams


Closing date for applications: Monday 23 January 2023

  • CLASS 1
    • Part 1: Introduction
    • Part 2: Approaches to the Study of Folklore and Mythology 
  • CLASS 2
    • Part 1: The Native Irish Otherworld & Landscape
    • Part 2: The Otherworld and Water
  • CLASS 3:
    • Part 1: Celtic Spirituality & the Notion of Mystical Ireland
    • Part 2: The Irish Literary Revival & Folklore Collection.
  • CLASS 4: 
    • Part 1: Halloween and Samhain
    • Part 2:  Vampires in Irish Tradition
  • CLASS 5:
    • Part 1:  Bealtaine ( May Day)
    • Part 2: Imbolc ( St Brigid's Day)
  • CLASS 6:
    • Part 1: Lughnasadh (Harvest)
    • Part 2: Changelings
  • CLASS 7:
    • Part 1:  Pattern Days and Rag trees
    • Part 2:  Fairy Legends and Landscapes
  • CLASS 8:
    • Part 1:  Witchcraft in Ireland
    • Part 2:  The Cailleach
  • CLASS 9:
    • Part 1: The Banshee & Death Omens
    • Part 2: The Wake (Funeral)
  • CLASS 10:
    • Part 1: Traditional Irish Christmas
    • Part 2:  Mid-Winter Gift-Bringers: Santa Claus, St Nicholas & Krampus

Course Lecturer

Dr. Jenny Butler holds a PhD from the Department of Folklore and Ethnology, UCC and currently works in the Department of Study of Religions, UCC, where she teaches on New Religious Movements and Western Esotericism. She is a specialist on Irish folk religion and is currently conducting a comparative ethnographic research project on beliefs and legends about fairies as part of the intangible cultural heritage of Ireland and Newfoundland, Canada.  Research Profile:


Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement. No prior knowledge of Irish culture, folklore, mythology or the Irish language is necessary.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Contact Details for Further Information