IRFL30030 The Life Cycle

Academic Year 2020/2021

Students will need a laptop and Wifi connection to participate fully in this module.
Beliefs and practices concerning the life of the individual, termed ‘les rites de passage’, consist of those rites which mark the individual’s passage from one stage of life to the next. Foremost among these are birth, marriage and death. Irish folk tradition maintains a larges corpus of knowledge concerning these milestones in human life, richly documented in the archives of the National Folklore Collection at UCD. Such intersections of folklife provide a rich point of comparison and reflection detailing how we individually and collectively observe the transitions of the human life cycle. Course discussions and readings will focus on the beliefs, rituals and narratives associated with these occasions in Ireland past and present and among its kindred traditions in Gaelic Scotland, their diasporas and beyond. Among the topics dealt with will be beliefs and customs associated with birth, marriage-related rites and rituals, and practices surrounding death, including the traditional wake and lament for the dead.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module, the student will be able to:
1. Define what is meant by ‘les rites de passage’ and discuss associated rituals and ceremonials.
2. Analyse important theoretical approaches to the study of the life cycle.
3. Make use of primary archival sources as well as secondary sources to discuss the form and function of customs marking major life-cycle events, including the role of verbal and dramatic performances.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching in the module is geared towards the promotion of a spirit of enquiry among students and towards encouraging them to develop a reflective approach to their studies. Teaching is carried out remotely in weekly lectures and seminars. Assessment takes the form of in-semester assignments and a written open-book guided-writing assessment as final examination. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: 1000-word Research Abstract Week 5 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 2500 word research paper Week 11 n/a Graded No


Examination: 1250-word final guided-writing assessment 2 hour End of Trimester Exam Yes Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback in this module is centred around in-semester continuous assessment components, enabling students to draw on feedback provided for the earlier in-semester component to improve their performance in the later components.

Name Role
Dr Tiber Falzett Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer