Dah Duit (Hi) and welcome

Seán O’Casey

“When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me.”

 Three More Plays: The Silver Tassie, Purple Dust, Red Roses For Me

Franco-Irish Literature Festival: Free Crime Fiction event for schools

•           Friday 24 April, 10.00am
•           Alliance Francaise, Kildare Street, Dublin
•           Tickets: Free
Alliance Francaise and Poetry Ireland present a crime-fiction event for senior post-primary students, which offers students an opportunity to hear readings by Irish and French language crime writers Anna Heussaff and Chantal Pelletier, and to engage with the authors as they discuss their work.
Anna Heussaff’s novel Hóng, an adventure mystery for young readers, won the 2013 Judges Special Award at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards. Her most recent novel, Deadly Intent, published under her pen name Anna Sweeney, is an English translation of her previous Irish work, Buille Marfach, and is a gripping tale of tangled relationships and shadowy secrets.
Described by Le Monde as “a wonderful story teller”, French novelist Chantal Pelletier's Goat Song introduces Maurice Laice, the world-weary inspector of three of her crime novels, and was awarded the Grand Prix du Roman Noir.
English translations of European crime fiction have become increasingly popular in recent years, and this event promises to give students an opportunity to hear the writers talk about their work in a lively and interesting environment.

To book a place for your school, please email writersinschools@poetryireland.ie or call Anna Bonner on 01 678 9022.

Scribes and scholars to gather in Doolin

Posted by Denise Lyons

Scribes and scholars from all over Ireland and overseas will gather in County Clare this weekend for the 2015 Doolin Writers’ Weekend (March 27 to 29th).
Organised by Hotel Doolin, the third annual festival features workshops and readings by some of Ireland’s leading writers, including Booker Prize nominee Donal Ryan, playwright, screenwriter and director Peter Sheridan, poet Dave Lordan, and award-winning novelist and short-story writer, Christine Dwyer Hickey.
Other contributors include singer John Spillane, Hennessy Award winning writer Madeleine D’Arcy, author Catherine Dunne, writer Anthony Glavin, and poets Stephen Murray, Eleanor Hooker and Graham Allen.
The Weekend also features the third annual Doolin Poetry & Short Story Competition, which Hotel Doolin is hosting in association with Tramp Press and Salmon Poetry.
Doolin, which was this week named by Tripadvisor in its Top 10 Irish Destinations list, has a lengthy association with some of the world’s most famous writers and artists, including J.R.R. Tolkien, J.M. Synge, CS Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas, Augustus John and Oliver St. John Gogarty, each of whom spent time in the village and wider North Clare area.
“The upcoming Festival affords a great opportunity for aspiring writers as well as literary fans and published authors to get together and celebrate everything that is good about Irish literature,” said event organiser and Doolin Hotel General Manager, Donal Minihane.
“We’ll have readings from Donal Ryan, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Dave Lordan, workshops from Catherine Dunne, Madeleine D’Arcy, Anthony Glavin, as well as singer songwriter John Spillane, theatre with Peter Sheridan, a workshop with publishing whirlwinds Tramp Press, a photo exhibition by Hanne T. Fisker and a plethora of local trad musicians, our own Dooliner Beer and some of North Clare’s finest food to keep the whole thing moving,” stated Mr. Minihane.
For further details on the Doolin Writers’ Weekend visit: http://www.doolinwritersweekend.com.


“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” 
                                                     James Joyce 


Michael Quinlin has always been passionate about his Irish roots.
Quinlin, the son of an Irish immigrant mother from Armagh, Northern Ireland, and an Irish-American father, has written two editions of “Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston’s Colorful Irish Past,” and self-published three other titles on the region’s connection to Ireland.
But the Milton resident’s latest, “Tales from the Emerald Isle and Other Green Shores” (Lyons Press; $14.95), released earlier this month, tells the Irish experience abroad and at home through stories by the island’s top literary names and lesser- known scribes.
“The big names deserve to be at the top of the marquee because they’ve done so much good work,” Quinlin told the Herald. “If you only look at big names, it’s the equivalent of only looking at best-sellers. Some of the smaller, less-known authors who published at the time captured what was going on at that point in time in Ireland and America.”
William Butler Yeats, Liam O’Flaherty and Arthur Conan Doyle are among the most famous names in the 19-story compilation. He searched through collections at the Boston Athenaeum and Boston Public Library for original texts to thread together a timeline of Irish history starting in the 1850s through World War I, and Irish independence in 1921.
“Once I started doing the research, there were a lot of forgotten authors’ stories that were good,” said Quinlin. “I found a lot of them in penny magazines. Back in the day it was a way for people to get their stuff out there.”
Among them were newspaper writer Ellis N. Myles and Sarah Orne Jewett, who was published in Scribner’s Magazine.
During his research, Quinlin read 80 to 100 stories before whittling down the list to 19.
“I tried to touch on a lot of themes that are so prevalent in Irish literature: relationships between tenant and landlord, Catholic and Protestant. The other portion of it, obviously as an Irish- American, I’m really interested in the immigrant experience,” said Quinlin. “There are a couple really good ones about coming to America and finding their way in New York and Boston.”
Quinlin’s passion for Irish literature began as an English major at LaSalle University. His time abroad at The School for Irish Studies in Dublin, where he studied under noted Irish writers like Benedict Kiely and Eavan Boland, only bolstered his interest.

“I think if you read the stories, you’ll get a sense of the richness of Irish culture and the many characteristics of the Irish,” said Quinlin. “On a day like St. Patrick’s Day, one of many ethnic celebrations in America, it’s a time to reflect on all the strong characteristics of Irish heritage.”

National Library of Ireland and W.B. Yeats


If you’re trying to justify a trip to Ireland this March for reasons that don’t involve Guinness and little green leprechauns, consider a visit to the National Library of Ireland’s award-winning exhibit on William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). You certainly wouldn’t be alone--since it’s opening in 2006, more than a quarter of a million people have made the journey to Dublin to explore Ireland’s preeminent twentieth-century poet and playwright.
Winner of the 1923 Noble Prize for literature, Yeats was a major force behind reviving international interest in Irish literature. In 1892, he founded the Irish Literary Society along with fellow writer T. W. Rolleston and Irish nationalist Charles Gavan Duffy. The group’s goal was to promote the intellectual and literary renaissance in Ireland, and met at Yeats’ home on Blenheim Road in London. Yeats published Celtic Twilight, in 1893,  a volume that American poet Edward Hisrch called a ‘curious hybrid of the story and essay,’ in the 1981 issue of the Journal of the Folklore Institute. In fact, Celtic Twilight was a collection of Yeats’ stories and poems that had previously appeared in newspapers throughout the UK, with a focus on Irish folk and fairy tales. The book’s title eventually became synonymous with the literary movement. Yeats’ social engagement wasn’t limited to the literary scene either: In 1922 he became a senator in the newly formed Senate of Ireland, where he served two terms. (Despite best intentions, the Senate was eventually abolished in 1936.) 
The National Library of Ireland is the world’s largest repository of Yeats’ notebooks, manuscripts and other materials, which were donated by the author’s widow. The exhibition draws on these items to create a thematically organized walk through Yeats life, work and enduring influence. (Note: while patrons must have a reader’s card or temporary pass to enter the National Library itself, this exhibit is open, free, to the visiting public.) Still can’t get to Dublin? The entire exhibit is accessible online--a fascinating multimedia experience that seamlessly wields 21st-century technology to explore the lasting and poignant significance of one of Ireland’s greatest champions.

In praise of Eibhlín Dhubh Ní Chonaill, by Declan Kiberd

Irish Women Writers: ‘She invents a new tense, neither past nor present, which is a kind of “women’s time”, rejecting all ideas of authority, power and deference’
The tomb of Art Ó Laoghaire: If ever a woman spoke across the centuries in tones of authentic love, that is Eibhlin Dubh in her lament for her murdered husband Art Ó Laoghaire in 1773. We know little enough about Eibhlín – almost as little as we do about Homer. It seems somehow appropriate that we have no picture of her.
If ever a woman spoke across the centuries in tones of authentic love, that is Eibhlín Dubh in her lament for her murdered husband Art Ó Laoghaire in 1773. Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire is rightly regarded as one of the great elegies of European culture, an amazing combination of tradition and the individual talent – moving through moods of shock, tenderness, nostalgic reverie, personal outrage, vengeance and (in the end) immense dignity.
It is a cry of passion by a woman who is before and beyond “gentility”, a true aristocrat of the emotions. The ferocity of her language is exceeded only by the awesome control of language, every word etched, indelible, incontrovertible. The lines are spoken in a rhythm of such throbbing intensity as to suggest that a culture capable of this utterance can never die. And how right Eibhlín Dhubh was – her tribute has called forth some amazing translations, none better than that by Eilís Dillon.
We know little enough about Eibhlín – almost as little as we do about Homer. She is believed to have spoken some of the lines over the dead body of her slain husband, whose blood she symbolically drank. After expressing her great pain, a formal feeling comes – and she invents a new tense, neither past nor present, which is a kind of “women’s time”, rejecting all ideas of authority, power and deference. In doing as much, she generates what Peter Levi has called “the greatest poem written in these islands in the whole eighteenth century”. It seems somehow appropriate that we have no picture of her.
Declan Kiberd is Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English and Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. His books include Synge and the Irish Language, Men and Feminism in Irish Literature, Irish Classics, The Irish Writer and the World, Inventing Ireland, and Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece.