The Institute of Irish Studies is organised, not as a stand alone research unit, but as a focus for the larger body of research being undertaken at Queen's University and beyond. The main research strategy is to explore the social, political, cultural and geographical factors that have influenced the people of this island and its diasporas. Research is conducted into the physical and political environment of the north of Ireland, mapping its unique influence on wider Irish and British identities.
The Director of the Institute is Dr Dominic Bryan. His research interests include political anthropology, ethnicity, Orangeism, policing and human rights.
The Institute offers lively interdisciplinary teaching programmes in Irish Studies including history, politics, literature, anthropology, conflict resolution, language, folklore and archaeology. These courses, offered at all levels, are very popular with students not only in Ireland but also in Europe, the US, Canada and Japan.
In addition, the Institute's International Summer School, 22 July - 9 August 2013 in Irish Studies, in partnership with summer programmes run by University College Dublin and Trinity College, offers a unique opportunity to examine Irish culture, history and politics in both the north and south of the island, enabling those who participate to witness the unfolding of history as it happens.
The Institute has strong links with universities in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Academics and scholars regularly avail of the Institute's facilities to conduct research. American universities with whom the Institute has special relationships regularly send students to participate in its ongoing programmes.