Cultural & Heritage Studies
Bachelor of Arts Degree Preparation (Foundation)
This highly renowned course is over 25 years in existence. This dynamic course delivered with experience and expertise includes the subject areas of Irish archaeology, folklore, local history, genealogy and the arts. It is ideally suited to both young and mature students who wish to progress to the Bachelor of Arts (in UCC and other universities). Many Leaving Certificate students use this as a stepping stone to University using the QQI links scheme. This course prides itself in motivating students to achieve their individual goals. In addition, students secure work within the Heritage Industry. The course incorporates an extensive off-campus field-trip programme, visiting national monuments; archaeological sites and excavations; museums, libraries and archives; and private heritage enterprises. It allows students to meet real life entrepreneurs to gain effective practical experience in the field.
QQI Level 5
Cultural & Heritage Studies
One year full-time
There are no formal entry requirements: Selection for the course is based on an interview, where successful candidates will display an express interest and aptitude for Irish heritage and cultural studies.
This course has traditionally attracted a range of students of all ages, from young to mature, and works well because of this unique mix. It is equally open to the young school-leaver and/or the recently retired and all ages in between.
The following subjects may be offered:
Offers a comprehensive survey of the archaeology of prehistoric and medieval Ireland. It also covers the research techniques and archaeological approaches, including excavation and survey that allow students to develop their own informed view of the past. Field-trips to archaeological sites will be part of this subject.
Folklore & Ethnology
Explores the unwritten aspects of Irish identity: mythology, ritual, tradition and custom. As cultural anthropology, the study explores everything from Ireland’s different belief systems to a full account of Irish vernacular material culture (currachs, baskets, furniture). It also teaches practical skills in ethnographic collection and presentation.
Is an excellent course on how to conduct in-depth historical research and analysis in local history, using a range of primary and secondary historical sources. It includes a major section on genealogical research skills and broadens students’ knowledge and awareness of the regular and constantly developing online digital sources.
Literary, Visual & Performing Arts
Offers a rare opportunity to explore the very best of the arts in Ireland. In the visual arts, there is an examination of Irish film, painting, sculpture and architecture: in the literary arts, we examine Irish drama, the short story, poetry and literary figures: in the performing arts, music (both traditional & contemporary), dance and theatre. Overall, students develop a full appreciation of the Arts and its industry in Ireland.
Cultural & Social History
Takes the conventional perspectives of history (economic and political) and places them in the background while emphasising instead aspects of Ireland’s past in respect of food, dress, family, daily life, manners, customs, women, work, health, disease etc. This exploration of cultural and social history is particularly valuable for those intending to work as historical interpreters and tour-guides.
Irish Cultural & Heritage Resources (Field-trips)
Facilitates students to explore and appreciate Irish cultural and heritage resources and therefore develop their own philosophies, values and critical thinking in a range of cultural and heritage contexts. Each week’s field-trip is undertaken with a specific theme in mind (archaeology, research, enterprise, heritage management, guiding etc.) and the class-based learning is applied in the real world.
This subject equips learners with the necessary skills to use a word processing application to produce a variety of documents.
Gain the knowledge, skill and competence in the theory and practice of digital photographic production to produce digital photographs.
Each year students undertake the organisation and realisation of a major cultural project. These exhibitions and displays are developed with the help of industry professionals to provide invaluable real world experience.
This subject facilitates learners to acquire communication skills relevant to vocational and personal development. Learners will explore the use of modern information and communications technology, in personal and vocational life.
Over the past number of years, the following events were organised to coincide with the annual festival of Life-long Learning:
- Ciseán: A Celebration of Irish Traditional Basket Types
- Reilig: Decoding Irish Gravestones
- Scéal: Story-telling Festival
- Photographic Exhibition of the Stone Circles of West Cork
- Fulacht Fiadh: Bronze Age Cooking Experiment
- Brigid: Celtic Goddess and Saint
- High Cross: An Exhibition of Ireland’s Medieval Sculptural Traditions
- Amhrán: A Celebration of Traditional Singing
- Táin Bó Cuailnge: Ireland’s Epic Saga
- Spin’r Spout: Children’s Street Games
- Inis Meáin: A World Apart
- Tobar: The Magic and Mystery of Ireland's Holy Wells.
Graduates have been successful in securing employment in a wide range of different areas:
- Tour Guides and Information Officers in National Monuments under the care of OPW (Office of Public Works)
- Public and Private Heritage Centres
- Archaeological Excavation and Post Excavation
- Museums, Libraries & Archives
- Genealogical Research Centres and Initiatives.
- Office of Public Works (The Heritage Service)
- Fáilte Ireland, Local Authorities
- Regional Enterprise Groups
- Tourism, Heritage & Arts Projects in receipt of National Grant Support
A number of students have used the course to develop their own enterprises in the Cultural Tourism Area. They have set up their own tour businesses (Walking Holidays, Language Schools, Summer Schools, Harbour Cruises) in addition to working in craft shops, leader-funded programmes and on excavations and community heritage projects.
For full details on progression opportunities see these links:
University College Cork (and other Universities)
Candidates should look upon this course as an excellent foundation course for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the Department of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science at University College Cork. In addition to the BA Degree (CK101), students can also gain access to BMus(CK103 & CK104) and BA Film and Screen Media (CK105). New direct links with other courses (BA Geography and Archaeology (CK 107) are in development.
A definitive number of places on the BA Degree (CK101) have been set aside for students who achieve FOUR distinctions or higher in the Cultural and Heritage Studies Course. On average, 10 to 15 students progress to University each year
Additionally, there is an excellent placement record in UCC for mature students who complete the course.
This course also facilitates direct entry into Degree Programmes in other Universities (NUI Maynooth, University College Dublin, University College Galway &c.) Please check their websites for details.
Cork Institute of Technology (and other ITs)
There is a direct link from this course to Degree Programme CR041 Tourism (BBus) in Cork Institute of Technology.
In addition a number of students have continued their studies in various heritage and humanities-based courses in GMIT (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology) WIT (Waterford Institute of Technology).
Field Trips and Events
Each Wednesday students partake in an extensive field-trip programme off campus, visiting cultural, heritage and tourism based institutes and enterprises. This allows the students to share the expertise of management and staff and realise a clear awareness of employment needs and potential. There are visits to local museums, libraries, heritage centres, archaeological sites, national monuments, public and private developments and initiatives.
There is a winter field-trip to Newgrange, Tara and the National Museum while an extensive 5-day trip to the Burren, Galway and the Aran Islands is undertaken towards the end of the academic year.
The Cultural & Heritage students spent this week’s Wednesday field-trip in an in-depth exploration of the most central and important exponent of living tradition and culture in Cork City: The Old English Market.
Images below from 'Mumming Play' - a performance by the students of the Cultural and Heritage Studies course in CSN