New One Year Taught Masters in Art History @ Trinity College Dublin

Ireland has a rich history of visual art, from the Book of Kells and the grandeur of its Georgian architecture to modern and contemporary artists such as Jack Yeats and Francis Bacon. The Department of History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College Dublin will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2016.  Located in the heart of the capital city, close to national art collections, Trinity College is ideally placed for the study of art history in Ireland.

Trinity College Dublin
Barrie Cooke, Magaceros Hibernicus, 1983. IMMA Collection, Donation Gordon Lambert Trust, 1992. Reproduced with kind permission of the Estate of Barrie Cooke.

The new M.Phil., Art + Ireland, offers a unique opportunity to undertake in-depth study of the history of art using collections in Ireland.  This challenging course provides an intensive programme exploring key aspects of the history and analysis of Irish art from the pre-Christian period to the present day.

Ireland is increasingly recognised for its visual art, from the earliest examples at megalithic sites that predate the pyramids, and richly decorated illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells displayed in Trinity College, to the grandeur of its Georgian architecture and, more recently, the challenging work of Modern and contemporary artists like Jack Yeats, brother of the poet, and Francis Bacon, born in Dublin over a century ago, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.  Ireland is also home to major collections of European and World art.

Located in the heart of the capital city, Trinity College is ideally placed for the study of art history in Ireland. In addition to the University’s own visual art collections which adorn the campus, together with its galleries dedicated to contemporary art, and to art and science, it is a short stroll to the national collections of art and artefacts of all periods, as well as to public monuments and sculpture, and to the Georgian squares.  In 2016 the Department of History of Art and Architecture will celebrate its 50th birthday, marking half a century of ground-breaking research in Art History.


Easy access to the finest examples of Irish art and architecture ensure that much of the M.Phil. programme involves direct engagement with the artworks in the museums and galleries, a vital and stimulating dimension to the study of art in its various contexts. Trinity is home also to an extensive library housing thousands of volumes and original manuscripts, thereby providing essential resources for academic achievement. An experienced and enthusiastic faculty provides the ideal environment for students to fully engage with this programme and reach their full potential.  The Department welcomes a range of international students each year, particularly those from North America.  Small class sizes, a collegial community and strong expertise provide a rich learning experience for students.   The internationally regarded academics of the Department teach on the programme’s lecture series, together with invited experts on a range of themes and issues.


 The course is designed both for graduates of art history and for those from other, cognate disciplines who wish to develop a specialisation in visual art.  While focused on examples from Ireland, these are explored within international and interdisciplinary contexts, in order to provide graduates with a range of transferable analytical and practical skills that can be applied within other cultural environments.


The programme comprises a mandatory module, Research Methods in Art History, four taught modules to be chosen from the available selection, and a Dissertation of not more than 20,000 words on a subject selected by the student under the guidance of members of staff.  The taught modules include: Medieval Manuscripts in Irish Collections, Medieval Monastic Ireland, Religious Art in Ireland, Interpreting Ireland’s Built Heritage, Ireland and France c.1800-c.2000, The Art and Agency of the Printed Image in Ireland from the 1800s, and Themes and Agendas in Modern and Contemporary Irish Art, however not all modules will be available in any given year.  The course takes place over the course of one academic year on a full-time basis.


Students form part of the vibrant community of post-graduates and participate in the research culture of the department.  This M.Phil. degree takes place under the auspices of TRIARC, Trinity’s Irish Art Research Centre which falls within the Department of the History of Art and Architecture. Philanthropic funding has enabled the renovation of a unique old building in a secluded area of the campus – the Provost’s House Stables. This dedicated building provides desk-space in the original horse stalls, a classroom where once there were carriages, and a well-stocked visual archive and library in the former hay loft! Thus students have the advantage of up-to-date facilities in an award winning restoration of a sympathetic stone building, set in its own shady, cobbled courtyard – in the heart of a capital city!


On successful completion of M.Phil. programmes, our graduates have found their way into a range of relevant professional environments: many advance to PhD programmes, both in Trinity and other universities in Ireland and abroad; others have taken up highly successful careers in art galleries and museums, art archives and auction houses, and in art journalism and publication.


Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s leading and oldest university with a historic campus dating back to 1592. It is in the top 100 world universities by the QS World University Rankings.   Trinity College builds on its four-hundred-year-old tradition of scholarship to confirm its position as one of the great universities of the world, providing a liberal environment where independence of thought is highly valued and where staff and students are nurtured as individuals and are encouraged to achieve their full potential.   As Ireland’s leading university, the pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education. Situated in the heart of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, the university is a vibrant cosmopolitan community of students from every corner of the world.

For further information please contact Laura Cleaver, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.  Email:; Website:

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