Irish Seminar Photo

The Irish Seminar

The Irish Seminar nurtures a cosmopolitan community of young scholars and provides an intellectual infrastructure for scholarly collaboration, balancing the theoretically rich with the empirically rigorous. The Seminar adopts a flexible pluralization of approaches, less constrained by the firmness of institutional boundaries and disciplinary consolidation. It is self-reflective about professional and intellectual formation, while seeking to foster a supportive environment that develops the intellectual poise of emerging scholars.

Seminar sessions elicit sustained feedback between faculty and participants. Ideas are taken seriously, the exchanges occur in a dialogical manner, and there is a real focus on fostering a community of learning. Alongside formal sessions, there are readings, theater visits, archive and library visits, and field trips. Participants have been drawn from the United States, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Israel, Albania, France, Italy, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, and England. Student participants have included representatives from Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, NYU, Dartmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, Boston College, and Aberdeen. The Seminar also attracts a cohort of Irish graduate students and the mingling of Irish, European, American, and global graduate students provides a matrix for stimulating debate.

The Irish Seminar has been presented annually since 1999 at ND’s Dublin Global Gateway in O’Connell House. It is a flagship program for Irish Studies at Notre Dame, founded by Seamus Deane, Chris Fox, and Kevin Whelan. Past themes include The Vernacular Imagination, The Irish Revival, Apocalypse and Utopia, Genealogies of Culture, and Ireland and Globalization. The Seminar has taken place in Dublin, Kylemore, Paris, Buenos Aires, and, this year, Oxford.

Faculty have included two Nobel Prize winners (Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott), some of the world’s pre-eminent scholars (Edward Said, Fred Jameson, Giovanni Arrighi, Jacqueline Rose, Homi Bhabha, Benedict and Perry Anderson) and celebrated writers (Edna O’Brien, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, John McGahern, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson, Nuala Ó Faoláin, Alice McDermott). Leading figures in Irish Studies participating in the Irish Seminar have included Elizabeth Cullingford, Emer Nolan, Clair Wills, Marjorie Howes, Siobhán Kilfeather, Máirín Nic Eoin, David Lloyd, and Joe Cleary.

List of past seminars

2019 IRISH Seminar

The theme of the Summer 2019 IRISH Seminar is "Ireland and Britain." It will take place from June 9-21 at the University of Oxford. Patrick Griffin, Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, is director of this year's seminar. Catherine Wilsdon, Keough-Naughton Programme Manager & Liaison, based at O'Connell House in Dublin, is the Seminar's program manager.

Download the 2019 IRISH Seminar Schedule

Executive Director: Professor Patrick Griffin

Program Manager: Catherine Wilsdon


The Irish Seminar is interdisciplinary and open to all faculty and graduate students. Students applying from the University of Notre Dame will be admitted as participants while students and faculty applying from other universities will be admitted as associates.

For Notre Dame applicants   Applicants from other universities