Thursday, November 28, 2013

Father Alec Reid laid to rest

Press cutting from the Sunday Times
21 April 2002
The Brendan Duddy Papers
The funeral of Father Alec Reid took place yesterday, giving us pause to reflect on the key role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process, and on the importance of dialogue in times of conflict.  In among the Brendan Duddy papers, we came across a newspaper clipping profiling Father Reid, and his work in brokering peace in the Basque region.  Here in Ireland, he is remembered most as being a key figure in bringing The Troubles to an end, and as an icon for peace in one of the most enduring images from The Troubles, where he is photographed praying over the bodies of two British soldiers.  Father Reid was a powerful ambassador in convincing people that dialogue was the only true way to resolve conflict.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class - Inaugural Conference at NUI Galway


Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour & Class

Moore Institute, NUI Galway 

Inaugural conference

Venue: James Hardiman Building (new extension), NUI Galway
21-22 November 2013

For full conference programme please click here 



A landmark symposium on Patrick Pearse's theatric work hopes to encourage new productions of the neglected plays of the Irish revolutionary.

Experts on Patrick Pearse will travel from across Europe at the end of the month to attend ‘Pearse and the Theatre’, a  bilingual symposium on the plays of the Irish rebel and writer, which takes place in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra on the 29th and 30th of November. The organizers of the two-day symposium on the Irish rebel’s dramatic work hope that this special event will encourage a new generation of Irish theatre makers to stage Pearse’s plays, which caused both controversy and excitement when first produced.
 As well as featuring lively discussion on all aspects of Pearse’s work in the theatre, the programme for ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ also includes a workshop for actors and directors guided by Colm Hefferon and a musical performance led by harpist Síle Denvir that will help to bring the 1916 leader's plays to life.

 As the 100-year commemoration of the Easter Rising  approaches, this special event will shed new light on an important area of Pearse’s work that has been largely neglected. In the years before he became an icon of rebellion, Patrick Pearse was obsessed with the theatre.   As the author and producer of hugely popular plays in both Irish and English he was the imaginative force behind pageants that were staged on remarkable scale. Contemporary performances of Pearse’s works attracted large and enthusiastic audiences to various locations around Dublin - including St. Enda's School, the Abbey Theatre, the Mansion House Jones Road (now Croke Park) - while many leading figures from the worlds of culture and politics were involved in the preparation, promotion, and staging of his of art and literature helped stage the ambitious scripts.  
The plays themselves were often allegories for Pearse's political vision and he drew on the theatrical expertise of his brother Willie and their circle of friends to devise innovative productions that included spectacular open-air performances. 

One of the lesser known plays under discussion, The Singer, which dealt with the morality of rebellion, was in rehearsal in the weeks before the Rising but the production was abandoned as history took centre stage.
Speaking ahead of the symposium, Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, one of the co-organisers of 'Pearse and the Theatre', said: “We are looking forward to an exciting programme which will feature scholars, writers, directors and actors. Speakers from as far away as England, France and the Czech Republic will be travelling to participate and we are also inviting people directly involved in the theatre in the hope that these plays, some of which have been half forgotten for years, will be restaged for a new audience. There is something here for anyone with an interest in Pearse, the theatre, or this crucial period in Irish history.”
The keynote speakers at ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ are Brian Crowley, The Pearse Museum/OPW, author of the recently published Patrick Pearse: A Life In Pictures; Dr Elaine Sisson, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and author of Pearse's Patriots, St Enda's and the Cult of Boyhood; and Dr James Moran, University of Nottingham, author of Four Irish Rebel Plays.
The workshop and musical performance were specifically included in the programme to ensure that the texts discussed in the lectures are brought to life for participants and audience. The organisers hope that the gathering of scholars and practitioners will provide a fresh take on Pearse’s work in theatre. Actor director Colm Hefferon, who is facilitating the workshop, wants to ‘get away from ideology’. ‘I am interested in exploring the human aspect of the plays’ he says.
‘Pearse and the Theatre’ will explore a sometimes-overlooked dimension to Pearse’s life. The organizers of this unique symposium, Róisín Ní Ghairbhí and Eugene McNulty, earlier this year published Patrick Pearse; Collected Plays/Drámaí an Phiarsaigh, a new bilingual edition of Pearse's plays with Irish Academic Press. The symposium is being supported by Foras na Gaeilge.- For further information about ‘Pearse and the Theatre’ or to contact keynote speakers please contact  0833733151  or 0876461661 /

Click here to see the full programme for the event.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Curious Eye - An Exhibition About Noticing


Exhibition at NUI Galway Gallery

In association with NUI Galway Arts & Theatre Office
Organised by Robin Jones

23 November to 20 December 2013 | Open 12pm to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday

Contributors include Silvia Bächli, Will Self, Joe Fyfe, Merritt Bucholz, Olwen Fouèré,
Karin Ruggaber, John Rocha, Jürgen Simpson, among a wide range of people.
This exhibition explores the idea of the note, the notebook and the idea of noticing.
Noticing and recording are very human activities. Whether noticing comes in the form of a
sketchbook or written notebook, on a scrap of paper or via a laptop or maybe iPhone, whether
these notes are for some type of personal research, or come from a general curiosity to
register “noticing”, or perhaps even drawings made to explain something to another person,
they are all about developing a contact with the world.

While writing is woven into the fabric of a huge part of human life and has an acknowledged
position as such, drawing too can be thought of in a similar way - though far less
acknowledged - in everyday life. It is integrated into an enormous range of human activity.
Both drawing and writing - and the use of digital media - can be thought of as registers of
complex moments of experience. This exhibition possibly allows a glimpse into the variable,
semi-visible processes of human thought.

Irit Rogoff said that “ curiosity implies a certain unsettling, a notion outside the realm of the
known - of things not quite yet understood or articulated...the hidden or the unthought,” which
is followed then by the optimism of finding out something you had not known or been able to
conceive of before.

Virtually all the work in the show tends towards the quiet and modest, the ruminations of the
mind at some stage before an object is made or a conclusion has been drawn, the necessary
exploration, searching and grasping towards an often undefined and indefinable end point, or
perhaps exploration and examination with no end point in mind at all.

The show brings together a variety of works, written, drawn and digital forms of note-taking –
sketchbooks, notebooks, diagrams, the archetypal note on the back of an envelope, digital
code, mobile phone photos, sketch models, sound recording, short films and marginalia from
writers’ manuscripts. It will include some powerful and interesting work from the NUI Galway
archives, such as mediator Brendan Duddy’s notebook, Kevin Doyle’s handwritten ‘Document
on Civil Disobedience” sketches from Jack B Yeats and items from the John Huston archive.

Further information
Exhibition -
Robin Jones -
Contact -

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vote for the Hardiman Building in Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2013

Here at the Hardiman Library we are delighted to learn that our new extension comprising the home for Archives and Special Collections at NUI Galway, has been nominated in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards for 2013, in the category "Engineering Project of the Year."

Having opened this past August, the new extension to the Hardiman Building includes facilities that meet international best-practice in the storage, access and exhibition of archives, including climate-controlled strongrooms, a 36-seat reading-room, digital archives access area, dedicated archives and special collections training and teaching rooms as well as the allowing for the fit-out of a major new exhibition space. The upper levels of the building will accommodate dedicated study areas for researchers and graduates within the Humanities, providing a connectivity for research and creating a hub for scholarship at the Hardiman Building.

The Hardiman building is also the only Archives building project to have been nominated. All votes and support are greatly appreciated in ensuring the presence and profile of Archives is kept high on a national level as well as focusing continued investment in Archives as being essential.

To vote for the Hardiman Building (formally known as the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Research Building), please click the following link:

Temporary Disruption to Service

Special Collections Reading Room

Advance Warning
In order to accommodate the fitting of new furniture in the Reading Room it will be necessary to close the room from 14.00 on Wednesday 27 November. A  limited service will be offered in the room to the right of the Reading Room on both Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November. It is expected that full service will resume in the Reading Room on Monday 2 December

Seirbhís Srianta

Béidh orainn an seomra léitheoireachta seo a dhunadh Dé Chéadaoin, 27 Samhain ag 14.00 chun troscán nua a fheisiú. Béidh seirbhís srianta le fail sa  seomra  béal dorais ar 28 agus 29 Samhain. Tá súil againn go mbéidh seirbhís iomlán ar siúl arís Dé Luan, 2 Nollaig

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Little Tour Around Ireland . . . in 1859

A Little Tour in Ireland
 A wonderful volume from our Special Collections here at the Hardiman Library, is A Little tour in Ireland by 'An Oxonian'. The author in question was an Oxford student but was later identified as being Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean Of Rochester. This edition goes some way to removing the mystery of the author as at some point in history, someone added the manuscript name of the author, 'S.R. Hole', as you can see in the title page image. The illustrations which add a hugely visual element to the scenes depicted and the people encountered on the journey are by John Leech, a renowned artist and caricaturist, well known in London society of the early to mid 1800s.

'The Letters of Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester, edited with a memoir' by George A.B. Dewar, published in 1907 in London is a great source for biographical information on Hole and also Leech and provides additional context for the journey in Ireland and the book that was to follow. In a chronology of the life of Samuel Hole, printed in these collected letters, (1907, London) it is noted that his first book was A Little tour in Ireland, published in 1858. This is at odds slightly with this edition at the Hardiman Library (and most other editions) which is dated as being a 1959 first edition. 

The book points out how "Leech and Hole were great friends. At Leech's suggestion they travelled together in Ireland, and the result was "A Little Tour of Ireland", which Hole wrote and which was illustrated by what Ruskin called "the kind and vivid genius of John Leech.".

The travel route was mapped out by John Deane, one of the members of the Royal Commission at the time of the famine and this would include Dublin, Galway, Connemara, the scenary of the Shannon from from Athlone to Limerick, Kilarney, Glengarriff and Cork. Individual legs of the journey which feature the West of Ireland include, 'From Dublin to Galway', 'From Galway to Oughterarde', 'Connemara', Clifden', Leenane', Kylemore' and then further throughout Ireland.
Dean Samuel Hole

The level of detail in description in each stop along the journey is fascinating to read. Describing the Claddagh, Hole writes; "The Englishman who desires a new sensation should pay a visit to the Claddagh. When we arrived, the men were out to sea; but the women, in their bright red petticoats, descending half-way down the uncovered leg, their cloaks worn like the Spanish Mantilla, and of divers colours, their headkerchiefs and hoods, were grouped among the old grey ruins where the fish market is held, and formed a tableau not to be forgotten. though their garments are torn, and patched, and discoloured, there is a graceful dignity about them which might teach a lesson to Parisian milliners; and to my fancy the most becoming dress in all the world is that of a peasant girl of Connamara." (p38-39)

Hole commented on wanting to travel at his leisure on this jaunt around Ireland: "We had ample time thoroughly to enjoy that which we saw, not acting on the principle of that Cockney tourist . . . who boasted that he had 'knocked off thirteen churches that morning', but going leisurely like large butterflies from flower to flower. . . You cannot hurry in Ireland, there is something in the humid atmosphere and in the habits and demeanour of the people which ignores haste." (p11)

Commentary on the Great Famine in the Galway region makes for grim reading. Upon finishing a "Mighty dinner at Galway", accompanied with Drogheda ale, Hole and Leech are Hole are reminded by their witer of the hardship of Famine Ireland. "That's right good gintlemen, niver forget when ye've had yer males, to thank the Lord as sends them.May ye niver know what it is to crave food and may ye niver see what I have seen here in the town o' Galway. . . .I've gone out of a morning gintlemen, (his lip quiverd as he spake) 'and seen them lying dead in the square, with the green grass in their mouths." (p46) 

Of particular interest to readers here in the West will be the fantastic fold-out colour drawing of a crowded scene of the Claddagh here in Galway, by John Leech. It stretches to cover a triple-page entry included adjacent to the title page of the book, both pictured here. It is noteworthy to see the emphasis both Leech and Hole placed on thier time in the West and in the Claddagh of Galway that they would choose to include this image so prominently within the book. 

The Claddagh, Galway (click to enlaerge)

'A Fair at Leenane"

As an early travel guide around Ireland, highlighting places, landmarks, communities, people and the landscape around Ireland, hardly ten years after the Famine, it makes the book all the more incredible a read. To read this book brings to mind a pharse used by Hole to describe his trip through 'Connamara': 

It has been, indeed, a privilege and refreshment to wander amid these glorious scenes."