Notre Dame’s Irish language program is the only one of its kind in North America Study Irish­—the indigenous language of Ireland and the voice of the oldest vernacular literature in Northern Europe.

“I TELL EVERYONE I MEET THAT THEY SHOULD TAKE AN IRISH LANGUAGE COURSE.”

“I’m still in awe at the richness of Irish history and literature, which still pushes me to investigate other cultures with the same depth of inquiry as I gave to my Irish studies. This skill is immensely useful in a globalized world,” says Rae Moors, who double-majored in Irish language and literature and studio art at Notre Dame. Moors took three fully funded trips to Ireland as an undergraduate and wrote her senior thesis on medieval Irish war goddesses. Now pursuing a graduate degree in gender and women’s studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Moors credits her Irish professors with challenging her to become a better writer.

“WHEN I INTERVIEWED FOR JOBS, IT WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING EMPLOYERS GRAVITATED TO AND WANTED TO TALK ABOUT. NOW THAT I HAVE RETURNED TO DO A DOCTORATE, HAVING IRISH IS WHAT SETS ME APART FROM OTHER HISTORIANS AND IS THE CORNERSTONE OF MY PROJECT.”

“Minoring in Irish was the most important decision I made while I was an undergraduate at Notre Dame,” says Sam Fisher, a current Ph.D. student in the Department of History. Many of his fondest memories and most engaging intellectual experiences revolved around Irish. But the language also proved to be an asset after graduation.

“IT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN LEARN ANYWHERE ELSE.”

As a first-year student, Kristina Hamilton took an Irish language class on a whim and loved it. Just six months later, she found herself on the west coast of Ireland, living with an Irish family, immersed in an intensive language program, and gaining an unforgettable cultural education. Hamilton, now a trade planning manager at General Mills, is glad she took advantage of Notre Dame’s unique Irish program and fully funded summer language abroad opportunities.

“IT WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE. IT HAS FOREVER CHANGED HOW I VIEW THE WORLD.”

“Every student, regardless of major, can benefit from learning a second or third language—particularly one as beautiful and unique as Irish,” says political science major Liam Stewart. The Irish language and literature minor has also improved his writing, challenged him to explore difficult and important questions about Irish history, and expanded his cultural horizons. In his first year at Notre Dame, Stewart was awarded a full scholarship to spend four weeks studying Irish in rural Donegal.

“NOTRE DAME REALLY PROVIDED ME WITH THE RESOURCES I NEEDED TO PURSUE WHAT I LOVE,”

Kathleen Bracke won a prestigious Princess Grace Award to produce her senior thesis film, focusing on themes of cultural loss. Bracke wrote the script entirely in the Irish languageand shot it on the remote Irish island of Inishbofin with a cast of native Irish speakers. As an undergraduate at Notre Dame, she also received grants to work on three documentary films in Ireland. Bracke now owns her own production company, Hallibrack Films.

“Majoring in Irish language and literature has been a life-changing decision. It has offered unbelievable opportunities which have developed me academically, professionally, and personally.”

“Studying Irish has provided incredible experiences in and out of the classroom,” says Jack McGinn, a double major in mathematics and Irish language and literature. The small classes taught by dedicated professors helped develop his critical thinking and communication skills in both English and Irish while allowing him to engage deeply in a variety of topics relating to Ireland. McGinn also received grant funding to complete two internships in Dublin and three summer language immersion programs that included staying with an Irish-speaking host family.

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Chantelle Snyder
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