Modern Irish and English Literature with Declan Kiberd

Author: Colleen Wilcox

DeclanKiberd presenting to other scholars and students at this year's IRISH Seminar

The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies  attracts graduate students and faculty of the highest calibre to join together every year for the IRISH Seminar. Since 1999, the summer seminar has offered a unique opportunity for intense intellectual exchange on a chosen theme over a three week period and has long been a formative experience for Notre Dame graduate students and their peers from universities around the globe.

During the IRISH Seminar 2018, scholars considered the history, literature, and music of Ireland from 1600-1800 with the themes of kingdom, colony, empire as a particular focus. The program is comprised of lectures by a range of internationally renowned academics supplemented by a cultural program that included a poetry reading by Paul Muldoon, a musical tribute to Jonathan Swift, traditional Irish music, and a field trip to archaeological sites on the islands of Inishark and Inishboffin.

In addition, the annual Madden-Rooney Public Lecture Series attracted audiences from far and wide to hear Professors Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, Declan Kiberd, and Nicholas Canny talk about their latest research. Participants spent two weeks in Dublin and were fortunate enough to partake in Bloomsday festivities during their stay -- some brave souls even followed in the footsteps of Ulysses hero Stephen Dedalus and partook in an early morning swim at Sandycove. Faculty and participants also spent one week in the magnificent surroundings of Notre Dame's Kylemore Centre in Connemara, Co. Galway. Professor Kiberd, a leading expert in modern Irish literature whose latest publication After Ireland was launched at the Dublin Global Gateway last year, delivered a public lecture entitled Rebel Acts: Voices of a Hidden People. He reflected on his time in Ireland and the friendships he made during the seminar.

“Kylemore offers just about perfect conditions in which to do creative work, whether in groups or in solitude,” says Kiberd. “The wonderful staff, magnificent setting, religious backdrop and throughput of artistic geniuses and intellectuals ensure that everyone who come feels inspired to higher and higher achievement. Truly, Kylemore is a place to restore to spirit and to lift the heart.”

The director of the 2018 Seminar, professor Christopher Fox, was celebrated for his contribution to Irish Studies during the launch of an edited collection of essays in his honor entitled From Enlightenment to Rebellion (Bucknell University Press). Friends, family, and former President of Ireland Mary MacAleese gathered at the Dublin Global Gateway to mark the occasion.