Queen’s University Belfast Irish Studies

Queen’s University Belfast Logo

Queen’s University Belfast Irish Studies

The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast was the first of its kind to be established anywhere in the world.

It was founded by in 1965 by Prof Estyn Evans ‘to encourage interest and to promote and co-ordinate research in those fields of study which have a particular Irish interest’.

For over 50 years the Institute has been one of the leading centres for research-led teaching in Irish Studies globally. Since its inception, it has attracted scholars from such widely ranging fields as Archaeology, Anglo-Irish Literature, Geography, History, Irish Language and Literature, Political Science, Palaeoecology, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Art, Architecture, Economics, Mediaeval Studies and Ethnology. The genuinely interdisciplinary nature of the Institute has proved a major strength. The combination of experience and background, resulting from the wealth of experience of its Fellows, provides a stimulating working environment, often leading scholars to develop new approaches in their research and publications.

The Institute’s first Director, Professor Estyn Evans, eminent archaeologist, geographer, and ethnographer, was especially well qualified to develop a broad, flexible approach, as were his two successors, Professor Rodney Green, an economic historian and Professor Ronald Buchanan, geographer and former Chairman of The National Trust’s Regional Committee, a prestigious national charity committed to the preservation of historic properties and the conservation of important environmental sites.

The Institute has offered a popular taught MA programme since 1987, providing the opportunity for graduates to undertake interdisciplinary study in the field of Irish Studies: the wide range of subjects offered maintains the spirit of the Institute, expressed by Estyn Evans in 1966 in the words: ‘We would like to hold an increasing number of our own graduates who could enter the research field through the gateway of Irish Studies’. It has also hosted an International Summer School in Irish Studies since 2000.

In 1995 the joint meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies and the Canadian Association for Irish Studies was hosted by the Institute, and in 2010 it hosted the annual conference of the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (ISAANZ).

The Institute of Irish Studies celebrated its 50th birthday in March 2015. It was the first centre dedicated to the study and teaching of Irish Studies to be established in the world. Today it is one of the leading centres for research-led teaching in Irish Studies and is an internationally renowned centre of interdisciplinary Irish scholarship.

Our Mission

The Institute of Irish Studies is the focus at Queen’s for the wide range of research and teaching across multiple disciplines relating to Ireland.

The university has one of the largest concentrations of expertise in Irish Studies anywhere in the world, and the Institute acts as a gateway to this wealth of knowledge and activity. We also work closely with a number of international organisations and universities to promote Irish Studies.

The aims of the Institute are to:

  • to encourage and facilitate multidisciplinary research at Queens by acting as a focus and a forum for ongoing work in Schools across the University;
  • to promote and develop interdisciplinary research projects in Irish Studies at Queen’s University;
  • to co–ordinate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching in Irish studies at Queen’s University at postgraduate and undergraduate levels;
  • to present and represent, to the local community, to the wider academy, and to policy–makers, the broad range of research and teaching in Irish Studies at Queen’s;
  • to facilitate the development of strategic partnerships between Queen’s University, the local community and the wider national and international academy in Irish Studies.

Meet the Irish Studies Staff

In addition to our Director and Administrator, we have over 70 Associate Fellows in Irish Studies from more than 15 disciplines.

Our Students

Meet our MA, PhD and Study Abroad Students

Our students come from all over the world and from many backgrounds