25 July 2023. The period between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries saw the Australian-Catholic middle classes grow in both size and confidence. Those developments were aided in part by the temporal progress of élite Jesuit schools in Sydney and Melbourne. This paper will explore these developments, and place them within the wider context of middle-class Catholic identity, and social and sectarian divisions between the 1890s and 1920s.
21 July 2023. The Irish Government has selected Sydney this year as the international venue for the National Famine Commemoration Day. This year's Commemoration will be on Friday 21st July at 2pm, at the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine, at Hyde Park Barracks. Irish Minister of State Thomas Byrne TD will be in attendance. On this day we remember all those who left Ireland during the Great Irish Famine, on the long journey to Australia and other parts of the world.
15 July 2023. At the Melbourne General Cemetery, a few members of the Celtic Club had the pleasure of touring Melbourne with historian, Val Noone. This event was pioneered by Prof. Ronan McDonald and Fergal Coleman who worked together to bring their idea to fruition. Val’s vast knowledge offers incredible insight into the lives of our fellow Irishman over the last 200 years in Melbourne.
15-25 June 2023. Exiles by James Joyce, presented by Bloomsday in Melbourne. Why has James Joyce’s only play been so overlooked? Ahead of its time, featuring free love, polyamory, homoeroticism, bisexuality and thruppledom, Exiles subverts the 19th century adultery comedy in a darkly funny and strange exploration of not one but two sets of partner exchanges… and for good measure throws in a daring undercurrent of homoeroticism, in an era when the open presentation on the stage of such subject matter was strictly taboo. Even avid Joyceans will be startled. Beneath its deceptively conventional surface, Exiles is a gripping psychological drama about love, honesty and fearlessness in intimate relationships. Its characters are complex, shifting, troubled.
9 May 2023. Prof. Stephen Regan speaking on "W. B. Yeats: Culture and Politics in 1921". 1921 was a crucially important year in modern Irish politics. It was the year in which Ireland was partitioned under the Government of Ireland Act, in which a ceasefire brought an end to the most intense phase of the War of Independence, and in which the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. It was also a crucially important year in the life and work of W. B. Yeats. It marked the publication of one of his most powerful books of poems, Michael Robartes and the Dancer, containing ‘Easter 1916’ and ‘The Second Coming’. The birth of his son Michael amid political violence prompted some of his most ambitious work, combining tender family sentiments with anxious fears about the future of civilisation. This talk will look at the key events in Yeats’s life in 1921 and assess the significance of the work he produced in that momentous year. It will close with a critical analysis of one of the great poems that Yeats composed in 1921: ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’.
3 May 2023. Lament: A one-day (hybrid) celebration of the tradition of Irish Keen featuring poetry, music, performance and new research, on the 250th Anniversary of the poem 'Lament for Art O’Leary'. Presented by The Cambridge Group for Irish Studies. The Irish Caoin or Keen was a vocal ritual performed at a wake or graveside. Highly stylised and yet capable of being intensely personal, it recognised the life of the deceased whilst also honouring grief of their loss. Performed (traditionally in Irish) by a group of women made up of professional ‘keeners’ and the female bereaved, its unique sound featured spontaneous utterance, repeated motifs, crying and elements of song. It has been described as ‘A very melancholy chant, rhythmic … Almost a spontaneous choir…’, and as ‘extremely beautiful’. The event will have two strands: in the morning, papers on Lament, its context, history and tradition will be presented by a range of respected Irish scholars, with ample time for discussion, questions and audience participation. The afternoon sessions will feature a poetry reading by Irish poets Martina Evans, Fran Lock and Mícheál McCann, who will consider the lasting impact of ‘Lament for Art O’Leary’, and the theme of the public performance of mourning and grief. Poets Paul Muldoon and Vona Groarke will then discuss their translations of ‘Lament for Art O’Leary’. The day will close with a premiere performance of an extract of Irene Buckley’s opera, ‘Lament for Art O’Leary’, conducted by the composer, along with other settings of extracts of the poem composed by students of Cambridge University.
18 April 2023. Many Irish who settled in Australia wrote about their desire to go ‘home’, if not permanently then at least to visit and see familiar people and places. However only a small number of the estimated 400,000 Irish who settled in Australia between 1788 and the 1920s actually did undertake the long and expensive voyage back. Using the Irish census returns for 1901 and 1911, we will showcase some of the Australians and their families who were living in Ireland in the first decades of the twentieth century. Census data however does not include those Irish Australians who returned to Ireland for visits at other times. Newspaper and family archives show that the dream of return to Ireland was achieved by a few Irish settlers and their families.
2 April 2023, The Academy Award winning short film, An Irish Goodbye, will be shown at ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne on Sunday 2 April 2023 from 4:00 - 5:30pm, to raise funds for the Inclusion Foundation. The film will be followed by a conversation with the lead actor, James Martin. Following the death of their mother, a young man with Down syndrome and his estranged brother discover her unfulfilled bucket list. What happens when a parent dies? Many parents worry about this. So do their children. Sometimes magic happens. Sometimes your relationship with your siblings can change in surprising ways. Join us for this half hour short movie followed by conversation with young people with Down syndrome about their acting and working lives. Ticket costs will be donated to Inclusion Foundation to support young people with Down syndrome preparing for the workforce.
9 March 2023. Irish Melbourne: Then and Now. A night of conversation and music with HE Ambassador Tim Mawe, Irish Ambassador to Australia. In advance of St Patrick’s day, the Celtic Club has the honour of hosting Irish Ambassador to Australia HE Tim Mawe for an evening of conversation, music and fun at the prestigious Woodward Room, in Melbourne University. The evening will be centred around a lively 30-minute panel discussion on the Irish history of this great city and some reflection on the current relationship between Ireland and Australia. The Ambassador will be joined by Professor Dianne Hall, and historian Val Noone. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Ronan McDonald.
23 February 2023. The Celtic Connections Series is a new monthly event where multi-generational Celts from all walks of life are invited to come together, to chat and laugh, to listen to some music and to maybe even learn something new! No Irish blood is required! All you need to bring is an interest in Ireland and Irish Australia and a willingness to enjoy yourself. Our first event is being held on Thursday 23rd February at the Oxford Scholar on Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD. The aim of the night is to create a fun environment where you can meet and connect with new people and discuss everything from culture to politics to business. We will also host a Q&A with Professor Ronan McDonald on the theme "Successes of Failure.”