Ian Duhig: Reading and Interview

Writer Ian Duhig was born in Britain of Irish parents. He is now based in Leeds, and has written seven books of poetry, most recently The Blind Roadmaker (Picador 2016), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation shortlisted for the Forward Best Collection and TS Eliot Prizes. Duhig worked with the homeless for fifteen years before becoming a writer, and has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once and the National Poetry Competition twice.
We are delighted to host Ian for the following two events:
1) Join us for Irish Book Week for an online reading from Ian on Thursday 22nd October at 7pm.
Details here: https://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/an-evening-with-ian-duhig-online-postponed-from-march-11/

2) On Tuesday 27th October, 7pm, Ian will be in conversation with Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group.
This event is also online.
Details here: https://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/five-leaves-author-interviews-ian-duhig-online/

Both events are free, though you may wish to donate to Nottingham Refugee Forum.
Each event can be booked by emailing events@fiveleaves.co.uk.
Find out more about Ian on Twitter (@ianduhig) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ian.duhig).

Irish History and Story

There’s an enduring connection between Irish writers and the history and politics of Ireland. In this short course, we will explore those links, focusing on four key periods. Dr Patrick Murphy will give a short account of the historical and political background, and Dr Deirdre O’Byrne will talk briefly on some literary representations of the chosen period. Each session will end with a Q & A session from the audience.

All sessions are online and will be made available on Five Leaves Bookshop YouTube channel. To register and receive a link to access the live Zoom event, please email events@fiveleaves.co.uk.

All sessions are free, although you may wish to make a donation to Emmanuel House, which helps homeless people in Nottingham.
Details on Five Leaves website https://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/

and Five Leaves Bookshop YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChfEfiR2q9bXWYpXgT2LgqQ


Thursday 29 October 7.00 – 7.30pm

Let Them Eat … Babies? Famine in Ireland
In 1729, Jonathan Swift suggested in ‘A Modest Proposal’ that poor Irish peasants could sell their babies as food for the rich. If this satire was meant to goad those in power to alleviate the dire state of the Irish peasantry, it did not succeed. Famine continued to haunt Ireland, culminating in the devastation of The Great Famine of the 1840s.
The historical context will be followed by a short discussion of Swift’s document, and some poetry of the Great Hunger.


Thursday 5 November 7pm – 7.30pm

From ‘the uncrowned King of Ireland’ to Queen of the Fairies

After the fall of Charles Stewart Parnell, many Irish people turned to ancient Irish mythology and older traditions in a morale-boosting movement that became known as the Celtic Twilight or the Irish Renaissance. Many of the writers held different political viewpoints, from WB Yeats to Pádraig Pearse. James Joyce also comments on the period in his writings.


Thursday 12 November 7pm – 7.30pm

Birth of the Nation: Easter 1916, the War of Independence, and Civil War.
Easter 1916 was known as the Poets’ Rising, so many of its leaders were writers. The conflicts arising from the birth of the Irish nation were immortalised in the plays of Seán Ó Casey, short stories of Frank O’Connor and prose and poetry of their contemporaries.


Thursday 19 November 7.00-7.30pm

From Rocking the Cradle to Rocking the System: Radical Sexual Politics
The 1980s in Ireland saw several amendments to the Irish Constitution which affected women’s rights, alongside high-profile events such as the Kerry Babies Tribunal and the death of Ann Lovett. In the 21st century, Ireland has radically changed, with a population voting for rights to abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

Online course: Irish History

Dr Patrick Murphy will deliver a 6-part online course in Irish History and Literature, beginnning on Tuesday 13 October 2020, 7-9pm.

Irish Freedom: From Home Rule to Free State. Six online lectures to mark the centenary of Ireland’s independence

Host: University of Liverpool Continuing Education

Ireland is marking the 100th anniversary of Irish independence by a ‘Decade of Centenaries’ from 1913 to 1923. At the beginning of this decade there was overwhelming support for Home Rule – Irish self-government within the United Kingdom – but very little for a republic. Yet within  a few years there was a complete transformation which led to Ireland’s break with the UK. These six lectures and discussions will explain why this happened and why it has had such profound consequences, not only for Ireland but also for the United Kingdom.

  1. Tuesday 13 October 2020 7 -9pm

The Undoing of Irish Constitutional Nationalism:  The Home Rule Crisis and the Great War – 1914-1916.

In 1914 Irish nationalism found itself in its most advantageous position since the heyday of Parnell. The Irish Parliamentary Party held the balance of power and forced the Liberal government to introduce a Home Rule bill, and the Parliament Act of 1911 removed the House of Lords’ veto which had derailed previous attempts to implement Irish Home Rule. But the nationalists gravely misjudged the forces ranged against them and the Home Rule bill and the outbreak of war marked the beginning of the end of John Redmond and constitutional nationalism.

2) Tuesday 3 November 2020 7-9pm

‘All changed, changed utterly’: The Easter Rising  and the Triumph of Defeat

Before the Easter Rising of 1916 the majority of Irish people supported John Redmond’s Home Rule movement. Sinn Fein was almost defunct as a political party and the organisations that took part in the rebellion, the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Republican Brotherhood had little public support. The Rising never had a chance of military success but the nature of a rebellion against the most powerful nation on earth and the sacrifice of the rebels was a far more powerful symbolic victory.

3) Tuesday 1 December 7-9pm

‘The Banner that Flies Nearest the Sky’: The Irish Republic and the Death of Home Rule – 1916-1918.

The Irish Home Rule Act, passed by the British parliament in 1914 promised Ireland self-government within the United Kingdom. Home Rule was to come into effect at the end of the war and was widely supported by the majority of nationalists. However, after the Easter Rising in Dublin, the Home Rule movement, led by John Redmond, was eclipsed by the rise of Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers. Nationalist aspirations turned away from Home Rule to an Irish Republic, independent of British Rule. In James Fintan Lawlor’s resonant phrase, the vision of the republic was now ‘The banner that flies nearest the sky’.

4) Tuesday 2 February 2021 7-9 pm

‘The Freedom to Achieve Freedom’: The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty – 1919—1921

Sinn Fein won an overwhelming victory in the general election of 1918 and immediately established the first independent Irish Parliament, the Dáil, which the British government refused to recognise. A bitter conflict erupted between republicans and British forces including the infamous Black and Tans. The guerrilla campaign led by Michael Collins was very different to 1916 and forced the British to the negotiating table in 1921 and led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty which, Collins argued, offered ‘The Freedom to Achieve Freedom’.

5) Tuesday 2 March 2021 7-9pm

The Unfinished Revolution: Civil War, the Eclipse of Social Radicalism and the Irish Free State – 1922-1924

For many nationalists Irish independence was the chance to build a new, free and more equal society – an Irish republic. As the Irish writer Dorothy MacArdle noted, for every individual in the movement ‘the Republic seemed the Ireland of his desire’. However, the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which led to the formation of the Irish Free State and partitioned the country, fell far short of this ideal and, for many, it seemed like the victory of a narrow conservative nationalism. Although the Treaty and the Free State was supported by a majority of the Irish people, a sizeable minority of republicans refused to accept this and took arms against their former comrades. The bitter civil war that followed deeply divided the country and shaped Irish political life for generations.

6) Tuesday 23 March 2021 7-9pm

‘A Temporary Exclusion’: Partition, Sectarianism and the Northern Ireland State.

The inclusion of partition and a Northern Ireland state in the Home Rule Act of 1914 was, it was claimed, ‘a temporary exclusion’ but was made permanent by the creation of the Northern Ireland state in 1921. This was seen as a betrayal by many nationalists, but Ulster unionists saw it as their only protection against the loss of their identity and traditions in a Catholic nationalist state. The Northern Ireland state was designed to give unionists a majority and, in the words of the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Craigavon, it created ‘A Protestant government for a Protestant people’. The failure of successive British and Irish governments to deal with the state’s inherent instability and the discrimination that nationalists suffered has had far-reaching consequences with which we are still living.

These lectures can be booked individually at:

email: conted@liverpool.ac.uk

Fee: £11 per session.

Sláinte = health. Safe home / Slán abhaile.

Beannachtaí na Cásca oraibh, a chairde.
(Say: bann-okh-thee nah caw-skah ur-iv, ah khaw-ir-deh)

Easter greetings, friends.

Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo arís.

(Say: Guh merr-imm-eed be-yoe err on owm shoh arr-eesh)
That we may be living at this same time again – ie, this time next year.

Téigí slán / Go safely.

(Say: thay-agh-ee slawn)

Sláinte – the customary Irish salutation when raising a glass – means health, and is, of course, a wish for Good Health.
The Irish for goodbye is Slán
(say: slawn).
A longer way of saying farewell is Slán abhaile
(say: slawn ah-wal-ya).
This directly translates as Safe Home: a parting wish still said by many Irish people when friends and relatives are setting out on the road after a visit.

Irish in Britain Archives

We are collecting newspaper cuttings, brochures and other material relating to the activities of the Irish community in Nottingham, to donate to the Irish in Britain Archives in London Metropolitan University. It is important to acknowledge and record the contribution made by our very active Nottingham community. If you have any brochures or related material, please get in touch. You do not have to part with the originals if you don’t want to: we can scan or photocopy them for the archives.
If you would like to view some of the material collected so far, have a look at the Facebook page for Nottingham St Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade.

Film News


Nottingham screening of Unquiet Graves + Q&A

Canalhouse Bar, 48-52 Canal Street, NG1 7EH
Monday 4th March 7.30 – 9.30pm.
Tickets: £6 (+£1 booking fee) here
This event was not organised by our group, but we will join in welcoming award-winning director Seán Murray to Nottingham for a screening of his remarkable new film uncovering Britain’s secret war in Ireland. It examines collusion between the security forces and known sectarian murderers involved in the assassinations of over 120 farmers, shopkeepers, publicans and other innocent civilians. Now known as the Glenanne Gang, the killers rampaged through counties Tyrone and Armagh and across into the Irish Republic in a campaign that lasted from 1972 to 1978. The film offers an appreciation of these tragic events from the perspective of the bereaved families, and is narrated by actor Stephen Rea.

Directly after the film there will be a Q&A with director Seán Murray

Watch the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/269266157

“Outstanding documentary film-making combining in-depth research and personal testimony to expose the undeniable truth of state collusion and its fatal consequences”
Professor Phil Scraton, author of Hillsborough: The Truth

Unquiet Graves offered a gritting, enraging examination of the state collusion that accommodated (and sometimes actively drove) the murderous actions of the so-called Glenanne Gang. Vital, angry stuff.”
The Irish Times


Fri 5th Oct, the Irish film Jimmy’s Hall (dir. Ken Loach, 2014) was shown at Espresso Café and Gallery. Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group gave a brief introduction to the social and political background of the film, which is set in 1930s Ireland. Jimmy Gralton sets up a community hall in Co Leitrim, and runs into trouble with the controlling authority of the church.
The screening was followed by a Q&A discussion.
Venue: Espresso Café and Gallery, 568 Woodborough Road, Nottingham NG3 5FH

August – October 2018

Activities from last year:

In 2018, NISG ran a short series of Irish Studies talks, all at Five Leaves Bookshop

Tues 11 Sept 2018: Professor James Moran (University of Nottingham)
The Easter Rising – some connections to the English Midlands

Tues 18 Sept: Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo (Erewash Museum)
The Mixed Vocations of Irish novelist (Fr.) Gerald O’Donovan (1871–1942)

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

Wed 31st October 2018: Halloween and Irish Culture
Five Leaves Bookshop  7pm – 8.30pm
Halloween in Ireland is celebrated by traditional games which have their roots in pagan rituals. Dr Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University will lead a discussion of the feast’s place in Irish heritage, including a look at how Halloween is featured by writers such as James Joyce and Edna O’Brien. Halloween costume is encouraged (though not obligatory).
Discover why we duck for apples, eat barm brack hoping to find a ring, and play games like Five Saucers. 
inc refreshments. All welcome.

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, off Market Square.
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/

Our summer included a return visit to Crawley Irish Festival, to tell old Irish tales. It’s a grand family day out. The festival was on Sunday 26 August 2018, 12 noon til about 6pm. Despite the wet weather, the welcome inside The Hawth was warm and friendly, and we had a keen audience for the old legends.
On Saturday 29 Sept, we participated in Inspire Poetry Festival by being part of the warm-up act for Maura Dooley’s Translations event at Beeston Library.
We read ‘Mise Raifteirí’, an old Irish poem, and the contemporary ‘Ceist na Teangan’ by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. It felt particularly good to read in front of Maura Dooley, whose parents are Irish, and has written some wonderful poems of the Irish diaspora.

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. 

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. 
On Wednesday 7th March, Deirdre O’Byrne gave a talk for Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, on Irish Famine immigrants using the British Welfare system.