August – September 2018

Our next activity is a return visit to Crawley Irish Festival, to tell old Irish tales.
It’s a grand family day out. The festival this year is on Sunday 26 August 2018, 12 noon til about 6pm. 

Forthcoming

A short series of Irish Studies talks, all at Five Leaves Bookshop

Tues 11 Sept: Professor James Moran (University of Nottingham)
The Easter Rising – some connections to the English Midlands
The Easter Rising of 1916 was the foundational event of the modern Irish state, and the centenary was recently celebrated with high-profile commemorations in Ireland.  In this talk, Jim Moran will explore some of the local connections between the English midlands and this insurrection, showing how some of the thoughts of the key figures in the rebellion derived from their links with this region.
Jim Moran is Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham.  His books include Staging the Easter Rising and, as editor, Four Irish Rebel Plays. He has also worked on the history of the Sherwood Foresters of 1916.

Tues 18 Sept: Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo (Erewash Museum)
The Mixed Vocations of (Fr.) Gerald O’Donovan 
Irish novelist Gerald O’Donovan (1871–1942) was ordained into the priesthood at Maynooth in the spring of 1895. He was a practical and political priest, who lobbied for various reforms on behalf of the poor of his parish. Less than a decade later, however, the zealous young man had thrown up his clerical duties, travelling to Dublin and then to London in order to forge a literary career. He went on to pen six novels, many of which take an aggressively anti-clerical approach.
This talk reflects upon O’Donovan’s fictional depictions of vocations of various kinds, be these religious, political or artistic. The books covered range from his 1913 autobiographical novel Father Ralph, a succès de scandale in pre-War London, to the 1921 novel Vocations, which contains a devastating portrait of Irish convent life.
Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo has taught in the Universities of Nottingham and Loughborough. She is the author of James Joyce and Catholicism: The Apostate’s Wake (Bloomsbury 2017).

 

Tues 25 Sept: Dr Sinéad Mooney (De Montfort University)
An Introduction to Anne Enright, focusing on The Gathering (Man Booker Prize winner 2007).

Sinéad Mooney’s research interests include Irish literature, modernism, the work of Samuel Beckett, and women’s writing, particularly Irish women’s writing of the late 19th and early 20th century. She has taught and published widely in these areas.


Venue:  Five Leaves Bookshop, 2018 winner of British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year. The shop is down the alley opposite the Tourist Info Centre.
14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH.
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm
Admission: £3 including refreshments.
Please let us know you are coming by emailing: events@fiveleaves.co.uk

More info: http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/

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Bloomsday 2018

Thurs 14 June: Pre-Bloomsday readings at Five Leaves Bookshop.
7pm – 8.30pm. £3, including refreshments.
Free if you dress in Edwardian costume (as readers will). 
Live Irish music from Ruadh Duggan of Nottingham Comhaltas.
Brian McCormack and Deirdre O’Byrne read some extracts from the works of James Joyce, in honour of Bloomsday, 16 June 1094, the day on which he set Ulysses, his most famous work. Joyce chose that date to commemorate the date of his first romantic assignment with his life partner, Nora Barnacle.

Here’s a link to an excellent audio recording of Ulysses, complete, by Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ). Treat yourself – Joyce’s words are a joy to listen to. 
https://archive.org/details/Ulysses-Audiobook


Sat 16 June: Happy Bloomsday!
Some NISG members journeyed to Northampton for a short play, Letters to Lucia, written by Richard Rose and James Vollmar. It was performed outdoors at 2.30pm, at Kingsthorpe Cemetery, Northampton, where Lucia, daughter of James Joyce, is buried.

This was a Triskellion Theatre Company production.
Deirdre O’Byrne (of Notts Irish Studies Group) played the part of Nora Barnacle Joyce, the writer’s lifetime partner.
The performance had an enthusiastic audience, including Irish Embassy 
First Secretary (Irish Community & Cultural) Mr Ruaidhri Dowling.



Sat 30 June: Recent Irish writing, Lowdham Book Festival
As is now traditional, the famous Lowdham Last Saturday was free all day. Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University presented a talk on the new Irish writers: focusing mostly on the women, including Sally Rooney, Sara Baume, Louise O’Neill, and Eimear McBride, who have made a stir on the 21st-century literary scene.

 

St Patrick’s Day 2018 – activities

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
Tues 6 March 7pm – 8.30pm.
Alan Bairner of Loughborough University talked on the longstanding rivalry between Celtic and Rangers football clubs, and other manifestations of sectarianism in Scottish football. Alan is Professor of Sport and Social Theory, and has written widely on sporting culture and identity. A Scotsman, he spent several years working in the North of Ireland, and is a knowledgeable and engaging speaker. All welcome.

£3, including refreshments.
This event was part of St Patrick’s Day Festival 2018.

As part of the festival, Nottingham Irish Studies Group worked with the children of Holy Cross School, Hucknall. We told the story of The Salmon of Knowledge, and the children made banners based on the story, to carry in the parade on St Patrick’s Day.

We also did storytelling in St Philip Neri School in Mansfield.

Adults were not forgotten, as we told the tale of the King with Horse’s Ears at Beeston Tales. On the Open Day at Nottingham Women’s Centre, we told a selection of stories about remarkable women in Irish legends. 
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On Wednesday 7th March, Deirdre O’Byrne gave a talk for Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, on Irish Famine immigrants using the British Welfare system.

 

Vagrant Irish Storytelling

“Christmas at the Workhouse event” @ Southwell
Spent the weekend of Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd December in character as a vagrant immigrant from Ireland. My character was a storyteller who was forced to leave home because of the famine. I was dressed in ragged clothes and told old Irish legends, interspersed with snippets of factual information, telling people a little about the history of the 1840s and Irish emigration to England. There are lots of parallels with current immigration and refugee stories.

Loogabarooga Festival Storytelling

Children in the parade

Loogabarooga Festival is an annual celebration of illustrated children’s books. To highlight the many wonderful children’s versions of old Irish tales, Deirdre will be telling old Irish legends in Charnwood Museum,
11am – 12.00, Thurs 19 Oct 2017.
£2. Fun for all the family.
More info, and booking: 
http://www.goleicestershire.com/Loughborough/thedms.aspx?dms=3&venue=2522751&festival=4332&feature=1052&pvieflag=E

An Evening with Eimear McBride

The award-winning Irish author Eimear McBride visited Nottingham on Wed 1st Nov 2017, 7.00-8.30pm, at the newly-refurbished Beeston Library.

Eimear McBride’s debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, won the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, the first Goldsmith’s Prize for experimental fiction, and the Irish Novel of the Year Award. Her new novel, The Lesser Bohemians, is set in 1990s London, and features a naive young Irish student who falls in love with an older actor.

Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group interviewed the author, who was very articulate and forthcoming on many aspects of her writing career, techniques and style. The room was packed, and the audience showed their appreciation by buying lots of books to be signed.

This event was co-hosted by Five Leaves Bookshop and Nottingham Irish Studies Group.

£5. Email events@fiveleaves.co.uk or tel. 0115 837 3097.

Recent events

We were at Crawley Irish Festival on Sunday 27th August 2017, telling Irish stories. As usual, we had a lovely responsive audience, and even some help with dramatising the stories – thanks, Alicia!
The biggest hit this year was the story of the Giant’s Causeway.

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On Tues 12 Sept, Deirdre told Irish legends featuring wondrously wise and witty women, at Nottingham Women’s Centre Open Day.
This was a popular session, and got lots of good feedback.
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Broadway Cinema Nottingham showed The Journey, a film about Martin McGuinness & Ian Paisley as political colleagues, from 5 – 18 May 2017.
The 1.30pm screening on Thur 18 May was preceded by a brief introduction by Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group.

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Wed 8 March 2017, 7.00 – 8.30pm
Five Leaves Bookshop
Professor Azrini Wahidin, Irish Republican Women
This presentation discussed women’s involvement in the Irish Republican Army, political protest and the prison experience in Northern Ireland. Through the voices of female and male combatants,  Wahidin demonstrated that women remained marginal in the examination of imprisonment during the Conflict and in the negotiated peace process. However, as the book shows,  women performed a number of roles in war and peace that placed constructions of femininity in dissent.
Azrini Wahidin is the author of Ex-combatants, Gender and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: Women, the Prison Experience and Political Protest. She is now Associate Dean at Teesside University. 

An International Women’s Day event.

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Wed 15th March 2017 7.00 – 8.30pm
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop
Poetry of the Irish in Britain with Cathy Galvin and Deirdre O’Byrne
Cathy Galvin read her own poetry, primarily from Rough Translation – a collection described by David Constantine as being about “the sea, islands, coastal places,  family who lived very differently from how we do now, the loving connection with them”, drawing on Cathy Galvin’s Irish family past.
The ‘support act’ was Deirdre O’Byrne reading a selection of Irish-in-Britain poetry, from such writers as Maura Dooley, Ian Duhig, Eavan Boland, Bernard O’Donoghue and Catherine Byron, with commentary.
 
£3 on the door. Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
 

Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall visit to Galleries of Justice

We are honoured to be have taken part in an event at Nottingham Galleries of Justice to celebrate the visit of Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, on Friday 11 November. The Ambassador gave a talk on Roger Casement and 1916.
Nottingham Irish Studies Group’s contribution was a brief talk on the role of Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Foresters, who were sent over to quell the Easter Rising. In these days of political turmoil, it’s good to rethink our shared history, and consider what unites rather than divides us. Let us build bridges, not walls.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine: we live in each other’s shadows, as the old Irish saying goes. Let those shadows be protective ones. 

Past events

On the road:

  • On Wed 5 October 2016, Deirdre O’Byrne gave a talk on Irish Halloween customs, using some Irish fiction (eg Joyce’s short story ‘Clay’ from Dubliners) as a basis for the discussion. Hosted by Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, Birmingham Irish Centre, 7pm. The story of ‘Jack o’ Lantern and the Devil’ went down well.
  • Friday 21 Oct, 10.15 – 10.45am, we did Irish Storytelling in Charnwood Museum, Loughborough, as part of Loogabarooga Festival.
    • Sat 29 Oct 2016, 7-9pm:
      More Irish Storytelling, this time at Blessed Sacrament Parish Hall, Gooding Avenue, Braunstone, Leicester LE3 1JS, 7 – 9pm.
      £5 admission, includes refreshments during break. Children free. Tickets available from Priest’s House, Gooding Ave; tel 0116 2858795. Tickets can be collected on door on the night.
      http://www.eventsinuk.net/event-children-of-lir-other-stories-leicester-1206506
      Check out the Facebook event:
      https://www.facebook.com/events/310937585949207/
      All welcome.
      Deirdre told some traditional Irish legends, and given the time of the year, shed some light on some spooky Halloween customs in Ireland.
      Do you know the Irish origins of Trick or Treat and the Pumpkin Lantern?