25 November 2022. The node of multi-disciplinary activities known as ‘Irish studies’ has been transformed over the last generation and not just by the social and cultural revolution that has taken place in Ireland itself over the last 30 years. Any contemporary scholarly reckoning with the state of the field needs to engage with the so-called ‘transnational turn’ in historical studies, with the rise of global frames for understanding national culture (as in ‘world literature’), with the sheer size, cultural impact and diffuse nature of the Irish diaspora, with the impact of new technologies on the sorts of questions that can be asked and answered. This symposium will take stock and reflect on how a field of study with a national identifier might think beyond the nation, with an emphasis on the Australasian and Pacific regions.
24 November 2022, 6:00pm, University of Melbourne. For much of the twentieth century Ireland was seen as a bastion of Catholic belief and teaching in a secularising world. In the past thirty years, however, that image has imploded, and the role of the Catholic Church in almost every aspect of Irish life has receded, to the point at which we can now speak of a post-Catholic Ireland. It has been well established that almost every Irish writer of the twentieth century registered, (if only in opposition), the earlier dominance of the Church in Irish life, with Joyce providing perhaps the most famous instance. But what of Irish writers of the current century? In this lecture Chris Morash, Professor of Irish Writing at TCD will look at some of the ways in which the ghosts of Catholic Ireland continue to haunt Irish writing, asking if, in some cases, those ghosts might now even be benign, and capable of being turned to creative uses.
19th October 2022, 1:00pm - 2:15pm. In-Person, Melbourne University. When the Dublin diarist Joseph Holloway ventured out on his morning walk on Easter Monday, 1916, he came across a posted notice which he first took to be an advertisement for a play – with good reason, for four of the seven names blazoned at the bottom were published poets or dramatists. In fact, he was looking at the Proclamation of an Irish Republic, posted around the city announcing a nationalist military insurrection, led largely by writers. This vignette can remind us that there are few countries in which literature and politics are more closely intertwined, and hence where the idea of a ‘national literature’ has a deeper hold, than in Ireland. “Art and scholarship”, claimed W.B. Yeats in 1901, “make love of country more fruitful in the mind, more a part of daily life.”
30 Sep - 15 Oct 2022. The Irish Film Festival is Australia’s finest source of innovative, quality film that showcases the culture, traditions, history and character of Ireland and the Irish people. Since 2015 IFF has gone from strength to strength and now with Palace Cinemas in 2022 goes national to premiere moving dramas, inspiring documentaries, eerie horror, darkly funny comedies and captivating family films to become the country’s biggest celebration of Irish culture, language, music and history alongside St Patrick’s Day. Following the nationally-touring cinema festival in August and September, the IFF is proud to present a different and expanded selection of films that will stream online in October 2022.
4 October 2022, 7:30pm NZDT. Hēmi Kelly discusses his new translation of Brian Friel's famous play "Translations", and explores what both it and his work on the translation can teach us about questions that are as real today as in 1833 when the play is set. What importance do languages have to us and our self-identity? How should indigenous tongues interact with new colonial languages?
11 October 2022. Rhys Ryan’s creative fellowship at the State Library of Victoria examines original manuscripts documenting the annual céilithe held in Melbourne in the early twentieth century. By focusing on the specific dances performed at these concerts and the context in which they occurred, his research considers how, in a period of burgeoning Gaelic cultural consciousness, these choreographies both preserved and promulgated Irish identity throughout the diaspora.
21 September 2022. After Long Silence: Redefining Ireland Musically. What is 'Irish music'? In this talk, eminent musicologist Professor Harry White (University College Dublin) challenges long-held assumptions and shows how both traditional music and art music are integral to the way music has defined ideas of Ireland. Ireland has a rich history of both traditional music and art music, yet the orthodoxies of Irish cultural history have long preferred the cultural symbolism of traditional music as an ancient art, uncontaminated by colonial modernity. In this talk, Professor Harry White questions those orthodoxies and proposes a more inclusive model of historiography in relation to Irish musical experience and identity. 'Irish music' can be understood as incorporating 'artworks' of traditional music as well as of art music. Rethinking Irishness in music in this way offers us a new, more generous view of how music has defined ideas of Ireland for three centuries.
11 September 2022. Fr John Joseph Therry, one of two official Roman Catholic priests appointed to colonial New South Wales in 1820, is widely credited as the 'Founder of the Catholic Church in Australia'. This presentation draws upon correspondence and case studies from the extensive Fr John Joseph Therry Collection held at the State Library of New South Wales to challenge dominant themes in early Irish-Australian historiography, including the religiosity and contributions by convicts and emancipists to the fledgling Catholic Church, and Therry’s role as a community as well as spiritual leader.
28 August 2022, 11:00am AEST. Great Irish Famine Commemoration, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney and live stream on the day. The memorial to the Great Irish Famine and the young women who came from the workhouses of Ireland to Australia between 1848 and 1850 on a special emigration scheme is the vision of the Irish community in Sydney. The Irish Famine Monument was commissioned by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW and funded by donations from Government bodies, the Land Titles Office and the Irish Community. It was inspired by the call of the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson during her Sydney visit in 1995, that all Irish communities remember the Irish Famine and strive to alleviate poverty in the world today.
23 August 2022. Andrew George Scott was born in County Down, Ireland in 1845. He was raised in a privileged family and as a member of the Irish Church. After moving to New Zealand with his family, his father was employed as a lay reader for the Church of England. Shortly afterwards, Scott relocated to Australia and was himself employed as a lay reader in Victoria. Scott’s father would go on to be ordained a priest and would serve his community in that capacity until his death. Scott would go on to become one of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers (Captain Moonlite) before being hanged in Sydney at the age of 35. This paper explores how a young man who began his career in Australia in the service of the Church ended up as a convicted criminal. It will be demonstrated that no account of the extraordinary trajectory of Scott’s life is adequate without regard for his personal religiosity.