LL.M. Programs in Ireland: Studying on the Green Shores of the Emerald Isle

Known around the world for its castles and greenery, Ireland’s emerging tech sector makes it a great destination for students who want a taste of it all.

Anyone who has visited Ireland can attest that “The Emerald Isle” is no misnomer. Outside of its cities, Ireland’s boasts a wealth of natural beauty, ranging from the rolling hills to beautifully imposing cliffs and much more.

As one explores this multifaceted country, they quickly become acquainted with a land on the forefront of numerous industries—especially impressive for a nation of just under 5 million people. Ireland is an aviation hub, cultural hotspot, and increasingly, a country where tech commands a powerful presence.

Studying for an LL.M. in Ireland, then, proves particularly desirable—even more so after one takes into account their graduate visa, which allows students to remain in the country for a period of time after graduation.

Dublin: a historic capital and growing tech hub

Trinity College, situated in the heart of Ireland’s capital city Dublin, has a reputation built over centuries. Established in 1592, the college is not only a top learning destination, but a living, breathing piece of history—a fact that is palpable on campus. “It's stunning,” says Suzanne De Bruyn, an alumnus of the school. “You can just be walking around campus and realize, ‘oh wait, Oscar Wilde was here, or this other person was here.’ It really makes you feel like you are part of a bigger history.”

This renowned academic spirit is assisted by the inclusivity of the staff, says Kelley McCabe, Administrative Officer of Trinity’s School of Law. McCabe has worked at the school for over 15 years, and she notes that students are frequently surprised by how accommodating and community-oriented faculty can be. “We are focused on student well-being,” she starts. “There is a friendly and approachable nature to the law school staff and the professors. There's not just a focus on academia, but on activities outside of the classroom.”

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One of the elements that sets Trinity’s LL.M. program apart is its dynamism. “We add new modules every year in response to what is going on in the outside world,” McCabe continues. “For example, we have new modules on cyberspeech and cybersecurity, and we have a hands-on human rights clinic as well.” After each year, these modules are evaluated for their value and efficacy. "We're always reviewing our new additions to the problem, and [faculty] always go over student assessments of the modules." Current LL.M. programs at Trinity include Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, International and European Business Law, International and Comparative Law, and more.

Naturally, Trinity is not the only university offering LL.M. programs in Dublin. University College Dublin’s Sutherland School of Law offers a host of LL.M. programs, taking advantage of the school’s location to provide programs centered on International Commercial Law, European Law and Public Affairs, Intellectual Property & Information Technology and much more. Other universities in the city include Griffith College Dublin and Dublin City University, both of which offer their own ranges of LL.M. programs. 

Natural and cultural beauty in southern Ireland

For those uninterested in Dublin, another top Irish university can be found along the country’s southern coast. Cork, the nation’s second largest city with an urban population of just over 120,000 people, is home to University College Cork (UCC), a high-level academic institution also offering LL.M. programs.

Although Cork’s population is relatively small, the city itself provides ample opportunities for students looking to both relax and find potential employment. “[It’s] one of the safest and most welcoming cities in the world,” shares Luke Noonan, a former LL.M. student and current PhD candidate at the school. “It has a richly deserved reputation as the ‘food capital’ of the country… [and] the city is also home to some of the finest annual arts festivals in Europe.” 

UCC’s academic might lies within its specialist offerings, which Professor & Dean of the UCC Law School Mark Poustie and LL.M. Director Dr. Claire Murray agree “reflect the core research strengths of the Law School.” These include programs focusing on intellectual property and e-law, business law, international human rights law, marine and maritime law, and more, all centering on the “practical application of the law through legal clinics and law-in-practice modules.” In these studies, Murray states, students have the opportunity to “undertake strategically important research for law firms or clients.” 

Outside of class, there are many options for students looking for further intellectual stimulation. Says Noonan: “There [are] a wide range of extra-curricular activities, such as the Irish Information Legal Initiative, the student journal Cork Online Law Review, and the Student Law Society.” Furthermore, the school “[organizes] various conferences and guest speakers and seminars, which were a great way to meet students who were studying other modules.”

More to be found throughout Ireland

Just 30 kilometers outside of Dublin is Maynooth University, a growing academic institution with a lot to offer. “In the Department of Law, we are small enough to get to know our postgraduate students, but big enough to be able to offer those students diverse and challenging modules in areas that they are interested in,” explains Dr. Edana Richardson, Lecturer/Assistant Professor at Maynooth University Department of Law. Even though the university is not in the city, she says, “our links with industry continue to set us apart and allow us to offer modules taught by industry professionals and to coordinate internships with law firms, industry and judicial bodies, and non-governmental organizations.” 

One unique offering at Maynooth is their LL.M. program’s Placement module, which allows students “an opportunity to spend two days per week for a semester working with one of our partner organizations, which include bodies and projects that are leading in their fields.” Richardson elaborates: “This gives our postgraduate students an opportunity to obtain work experience, develop their legal and transferable skills and gain an appreciation of the work done within these organizations."

Maynooth offers LL.M. programs in a variety of areas, including Global Legal Studies, International Business Law, International Justice, and a dual International Business Law LL.M. run in conjunction with Université Catholique de Lyon.

Much can be gained from an LL.M. education in Ireland, and students who choose to study in the country will be pleasantly surprised by both only the universities, but their prospects within the country following graduation. A number of universities, such as the aforementioned Maynooth, University, even offer Professional Development modules to aid in this process, which allow students to consult with professionals weekly on issues related to legal research, CV writing, interview skills, and more, all of which making them better prospects for the future job market.

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