Center for Irish Studies

irish studies logo

Villanova’s Irish Studies Program was founded in 1979 and elevated to a Center in 2016 thanks to the generosity of the Connelly Foundation. The Center for Irish Studies provides collaborative, interdisciplinary courses open to all University students to study Ireland and its diaspora. The Center recognizes its role at Villanova University, founded by Irish Augustinians in Philadelphia in 1842, to explore the global dimensions of the Irish experience.  Irish Studies provides students in all colleges the opportunity to participate in vigorous and engaged conversations about Irish identity, historyand culture.  Students can studyIrish language.literature, history, art, politics,theatre, and Visiting scholars, writers, and lecturers from Ireland, including our visiting Charles Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies, keep alive our dialogue with Ireland. Outside the classroom, the organizes vibrant study abroad opportunities, particularly at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland, Dublin.  The Center sponsors two Villanova student groups—the Irish Cultural Society and the Irish Dance Team—and collaborates on events with local Philadelphia and Delaware Valley Irish-American groups, such as the Consul General of Ireland, the Irish Immigration Center, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Philadelphia Ceili Group, and the Irish American Business Chamber and Network.  Villanova’s Irish Studies Program was founded in 1979 and elevated to a Center in 2016 thanks to the generosity of the Connelly Foundation.

The program is open to students from all colleges. Interested students may also study in Ireland either in a Semester Abroad program or with the Villanova in Ireland Summer program at NUI Galway. Details are available in the Irish Studies Office.



The Center for Irish Studies would like to extend a warm welcome to both Andrea Ainsworth and Owen McCafferty.  Both residents of Ireland, Andrea is a dialect coach who will be working with theatre students.  Owen is our 2017 Heimbold Chair.


Upcoming Events

Announcing the Villanova University Center for Irish Studies

Beginning this fall, we will inaugurate our new Center for Irish Studies by hosting an academic conference, "Who's/Whose Irish? Philadelphia Stories of Inclusion and Exclusion" on October 15th. We will also welcome the Abbey Theatre to Philadelphia with a Villanova Night at their performance of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey at the Annenberg Center on October 14th. The performance is part of a tour to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916. 

The Center for Irish Studies is being made possible by a generous gift from the Connelly Foundation. To honor the gift the Center's directorship will be named for Emily C. Riley, Executive Vice President for the Connelly Foundation and a former member of the Villanova University Board of Trustees. For more on the educational philanthropy of the Connelly Foundation and their gift click here.

We will also host the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick on September 20th for their quarterly meeting. Professor Joseph Lee, Director of Glucksman Ireland House at NYU, will deliver a lecture on "Easter 1916" at 7:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center, which is open to the community.

Other news: Vicky Brady from Cork joins the Villanova Irish Studies Center to teach Irish Language courses this year, Introductory Irish I & II and Intermediate Irish. Failte romhat Vicky!

Contact Information

Center for Irish Studies
Villanova University, SAC Room 105E
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Dr. Joseph Lennon
Phone: (610) 519-4647 

Administrative Assistant II,
Wendy Wunderlich
Phone: (610) 519-7517

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* 2017 Spring Calendar.pdf
A listing of all our Irish Studies events for the Spring 2017 semester