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ACE2470 Myth and Magic: An Introduction to the Study of Irish Folklore and Mythology (online only)

Started 30 Jan 2024

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description



Course Overview:


This course provides an introduction to the subject of Irish mythology and folklore, ranging from ancient stories of gods, goddesses and sacred landscapes, to contemporary traditions of the otherworldly. Legends, customs, festival celebrations and storytelling traditions are explored, 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. 


This course is especially suited to anyone interested popular religious ritual. The course is unique in that it provides in-depth discussion of a variety of aspects of the folklore, mythology, religiosity and cultural history of Ireland.




Course Practicalities:


Classes will be delivered online over Microsoft Teams on Tuesday evenings 7-9pm for ten weeks from 30th of January to  2nd of April 2024.


Closing date for applications: Monday 22nd of January 2024



Course Schedule and Content: 


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Approaches to the Study of Folklore and Mythology  


Part 1: The Native Irish Otherworld
Part 2: The Otherworld and Water 


Part 1: Fairy Legends and Landscapes
Part 2: Aliens & Fairies 
Part 1: Imbolc & St Brigit’s Day
Part 2: Lughnasadh (Harvest Festival) 


Part 1: Bealtaine (May Day)
Part 2: Halloween and Samhain 
Part 1: Vampires in Gaelic Tradition
Part 2: Changelings
Part 1: St Patrick and the Mythic Christianisation of Ireland
Part 2: The Pattern Day (Pilgrimage Traditions)
Part 1: Witchcraft in Ireland
Part 2: The Cailleach  


Part 1: Celtic Spirituality & the Notion of Mystical Ireland 
Part 2: The Irish Literary Revival & Folklore Collection
Part 1: The Banshee & Death Omens
Part 2: The Wake (Funeral) 


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 "Fairy Lore and Landscapes"  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.

Contact Details for Further Information:

Phone: 021-4904700, Email:

Please note our refund policy as follows
100% refund  if student cancels before course commencement
100% refund if student's course is cancelled due to insufficient numbers. 
If the student cancels after the first week of the course - full refund minus €50 processing fee 
If the student cancels after the second week of the course - no refund