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Celtic Folklore in Britain and Ireland

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.


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Course Description

Too often, Celtic folklore conjures up visions of romantic spirits and ancient worlds. This course aims to look beyond such notions of Celtic mysticism and consider the complex world of folklore both past and present in Britain and Ireland. The course will explore the perennial fascination of how people viewed their world through a series of case studies that centre on historical events such as witchcraft trials or the effects of religious belief. However, by using methods drawn from historical, folkloristic and literary studies, it will also consider how folklore practices have been adapted to modern life. The course will examine familiar folktale and legendary topics such the fairies, ghosts and the supernatural, but it will also consider printed sources such as almanacs, chapbooks and broadsides which provide a rich vein of material on prophecy and astrology as well as folk narrative and song. We will also have the opportunity to consider the degree to which urbanization and globalization have affected tradition, and the effect of Enlightenment thinking on the role of the supernatural. 

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in folklore through the ages and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.

Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered over nine evening classes through a mixture of lectures, class discussions, group-work and workshop-style activities. Each two-hour session will include elements of direct student participation to hone your skills in interpreting evidence and in pursuing academic study more generally. These evening sessions are supplemented by support and activities delivered online via Learning Central, the university’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Coursework and Assessment

To successfully pass this course students will need to complete five short study sheets based on work that they have done and discussions they have had in class. These study sheets then form the basis of a 1500-word essay which is to be submitted at the end of the course. Advice and guidance will be available throughout the course and in particular you will receive support in turning your study sheets into an academic essay.

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Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on

(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.