Open and Lifelong Learning History Courses

UCD offers a variety of study options and entry pathways, ranging from full-time degrees to short-term courses for pure interest. Lifelong Learning offers all adult learners the opportunity to explore a subject of their choice without the pressure of an examination. Open Learning is a flexible way of studying part-time at UCD. Explore your history options for 2022/2023.

UCD offers a variety of study options and entry pathways, ranging from full-time degrees to short-term courses for pure interest.

Open Learning is a flexible way of studying history part-time at UCD.

Lifelong Learning offers all adult learners the opportunity to explore history, and many other subjects of their choice, without the pressure of an examination.

For 2022 / 2023 UCD School of History has a range of course options available as part of the Open Learning and Lifelong Learning programmes.

Lifelong Learning

UCD’s Lifelong Learning Programme is a series of specific interest courses that are participative, engaging, and facilitated by experts in their field.

The courses are open to all adult learners and provide a unique opportunity to explore a subject without examinations.

The Lifelong Learning options from UCD School of History for Spring 2023 are:

From Captain Moonlight to Captain Rock: Irish secret societies 1760-1830

In a time and a space where Irish landlords dominated the economic, social, political and legal life of the country, their tenants had few mechanisms by which they could express opposition or dissent. So they often took the extra-legal route. Their activities were nocturnal, illegal and usually violent. They formed secret societies with exotic names like Whiteboys, Steelboys, Terry Alts, and Houghers and took direct action against their oppressors. Intra tenant rivalries—class conflict—was just as pervasive in late 18th and early 19th rural society as tensions between tenant and landlord.

Tutor: Dr Myles Dungan

Location: Online

Start date: 8 May

Fee: €100.

Book here.

The Price of Freedom: America at War

This course will focus on America’s involvement in conflict since World War I. It will examine America’s motivation for becoming involved in various conflicts over the course of the twentieth century and will consider whether America becomes involved in such conflicts to defend its freedom and interests around the globe or has it, as it has claimed, a greater goal of defending the freedom of others too. The way in which America conducted itself during the conflicts under examination will also be considered. It will also discuss how American involvement was viewed by other nations, both those also involved in the conflict, and those who remained neutral.

Tutor: Dr Sarah Feehan

Location: Belfield

Start date: 23 January

Fee: €185.

Book here.

People in Action: Volunteers and Paramilitaries in Revolutionary Ireland

Volunteerism and paramilitary activity in Ireland from 1912-24 enveloped the whole country. Encompassing men and women from both sides of the political divide, the militarisation of Irish society saw hundreds of thousands of people involved in a variety of volunteer or paramilitary organisations. Taking a thematic approach, this course will examine Ireland’s revolutionary period through the lens of movements such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, National Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan, and Irish Republican Army, as well as the unionist aligned Ulster Volunteer Force.

Tutor: Dr Shane Browne

Location: Belfield

Start date: 28 February

Fee: €185.

Book here.

St. Patrick, Bringer of Christianity to Ireland – fake news?

In 431, Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to the Irish believing in Christ. How does the story of Patrick fit into the fact that there were already Christians in Ireland before the traditional date of his arrival? In this course we will uncover the story of how, for the first time, a bishop came to be sent to a Christian community outside the Roman world – a seismic moment in the history of Christianity and how this extraordinary event was overtaken by the story of the conversion of the Irish by Patrick. What was the background to this amazing reinvention of history and how was it achieved? We will look at the story, real and mythological, of early missionaries to Ireland, Patrick included. We will consider the impact on Irish society of this new way of viewing the world, bringing with it a new language, laws and membership of an international organisation.

Tutor: Dr Linda Doran

Location: Online

Start date: 31 January

Fee: €185.

Book here.

Mussolini’s Italy

The course prompts a reflection on the conditions behind the establishment of the Ventennio, a twenty-year dictatorship which continues to shape Italian history. The main themes under scrutiny are the growing appeal of authoritarianism in the inter-war years, Mussolini’s charismatic leadership, the myth of Romanità, a pseudo-mythology which linked the regime to the heyday of the Roman Empire, and the demonisation of internal and external enemies, along with the belief in the necessity of a war to re-establish Italy as a world power.

Tutor: Dr Chiara Tedaldi

Location: Online

Start date: 2 March

Fee: €185.

Book here.

Click here for more information on the Lifelong Learning history courses.

For registration and fee details go to the UCD ALL website, call 01 7167123 or email:

Open Learning

Open Learning means you can fit university around your life. Whether you’re looking to progress your career, or you’ve just finished school and wondering if university is for you, Open Learning fits around your schedule and gives you all the benefits of being a full-time student, without the full-time commitment.

Open Learning allows you to select the modules you wish to study, set the pace of your study, and whether you undertake the module assessment.

The School of History at UCD is the perfect environment for anyone who has a love of history.

The modules – all taught by experts in their field who bring their new research to the classroom – create for everyone the opportunity to explore the past. Sometimes this can mean looking afresh at what might appear to be familiar subjects and on other occasions it means investigating entirely new areas of study. It is this willingness to embrace new ideas and new approaches that defines the School of History.

The Open Learning modules at UCD School of History for 2022 / 2023 are as follows:

Autumn Trimester (September to December)

Spring Trimester (January to May)

Open Learning module offerings are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Details on how to register are here. You can also contact the UCD Access team for more information on 01 716 7123 or email

For registration and fee details go to the UCD ALL website, call 01 7167123 or email: