Anna Burns won the 2018 Man Booker Prize with Milkman, a groundbreaking novel set in 1970s Belfast. Burns uses humour and a distinctive narrative voice to tell a story of the Troubles.
Join us at Five Leaves Bookshop (who also won an award in 2018 – for Independent Bookshop of the Year!) to discuss Milkman.
Monday 25 February 7pm – 8.30pm.
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row (near Primark, next to The Works, opposite the Tourist Information Centre) NG1 2DH.
The bookshop is down a little alleyway… watch out for the sign.
Email email@example.com to let us know you’re coming, as this session may be busy.
You do not need to join the book group, or Nottingham Irish Studies Group. or come to any other events – though you may, of course, if you wish. It’s fine to just join us for this discussion.
Free. All welcome. Refreshments provided.
All we ask for this book group discussion is that you read the book beforehand. If you want to buy it at Five Leaves Bookshop, tell them you’re coming along to the discussion and you will get 15% discount off the price of the book (and you can book your place in person while you are there).
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
Our group didn’t organise this, but we were happy to spread the news that Black ’47, the new film about the Great Hunger in Ireland of the 1840s-50s, was showing at Nottingham Broadway Cinema from 19th October. Broadway is a great supporter of Irish film, and can be relied on to let us know about interesting screenings.
Venue: Broadway Cinema, Broad St. Nottingham NG1 3AL.
The film made a return visit in December, by popular demand.
Current and Forthcoming Activities
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
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: 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.
£3 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 this year 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.
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.
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.
“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 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
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 email@example.com or tel. 0115 837 3097.
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.
This was a popular session, and got lots of good feedback.
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.
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.
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
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.