Categories: General
      Date: Dec  1, 2004
     Title: Fall/Winter 2004 Newsletter

Editor: Sean Farrell (PDF Version)

CAIS Newsletter
Canadian Association of Irish Studies
Fall/Winter 2004
Newsletter Editor: Sean Farrell

A Letter from the President

Friends, Mes amis, A chairde -

I hope that this letter finds everybody doing well and thinking thoughts of Irish studies. I just want to convey a little bit of news about what’s going on with the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies / Revue canadienne d’études irlandaises, with the next conference, and with our elections.

At the conference in Halifax, the executive accepted my proposal to move the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies / Revue canadienne d’études irlandaiseshas to the University of Alberta. I will officially begin as editor when my term as CAIS present ends in May 2005. The University of Alberta supported the publication of our most recent issue, on Irish film, and I know will be a good home for our journal. Our next issues will be special issues on the 19th century, the culture of the city of Dublin, and Irish-Canadian perspectives. We will also be resuming general issues, so we really encourage folks to submit their work with that in mind.

Our next conference will be from 22-25 June at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. It’s been over ten years since CAIS met in Ireland, so it seemed like it was time to go back to “the other side.” Longtime member (and CJIS Book Review editor) Jason King has stepped up to convene the event, and he’s working hard to get a good line up ready. You’ll find a call for papers in this newsletter, and we really hope to get a wide variety of submissions from the membership.

The deadline for nominations for our next executive has come and gone. The only nomination that we received under that first deadline was for Patricia O’Leary, as a member-at-large. Many members remember the bang-up work that Patricia getting the Fredericton community out for CAIS 2003. I know, then, that I speak for the membership when I say that we’re looking forward to having her on the Exec.

However, we still need nominations for one more Member-At-Large position, and for the positions of President and Secretary-Treasurer. I want to therefore announce that the deadline for these nominations is now 5 January 2005. Nominations should be sent to Cecil Houston ( or Brian Rainey ( We hope to see you all in Maynooth, and to hear from you on the matter of submissions to the journal or conference, nominations for the Executive, or anything Irish.


Speaking of Maynooth…

Call For Papers:
Ireland and the Atlantic: Intercultural
Contact and Conflict
Canadian Association of Irish Studies

The Canadian Association for Irish Studies (CAIS) invites proposals for presentations of twenty minutes in length – as well as full panel discussions – for its annual conference, to be held this year at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, June 22-25, 2005. The theme of the CAIS conference this year is “Ireland and the Atlantic: Intercultural Contact and Conflict”. Possible topics, very broadly defined, include (but are not limited to):

The Irish Atlantic: cultural, economic, literary, political, and/or social inter-relations and the formation of migratory routes between Ireland and any destination in the North, Central, or Southern Atlantic sphere.

Irish Archipelagic Relations: cultural, economic, literary, political, and/or social inter-relations and the formation of migratory routes between Ireland and/or England, Scotland, and Wales.

Ireland and Europe: Irish-European Atlantic migratory routes and conduits of cultural, economic, literary, political, and social exchange.

Ireland and Canada: Irish-Canadian emigrant letters, historiography, literary history, print and popular culture, forms of nationalism, racialization of the Irish in Canada, research partnership, Ulster and Canada etc…

Ireland and the Atlantic: Selected Topics Comparative historical or literary work on the Irish diaspora and/or other migrant groups in the Atlantic destinations to which they travelled

Cultural hybridity and transfer in trans-Atlantic perspective

Globalisation and immigration in comparative perspective

Scots-Irish culture, history, and literature

Trans-Atlantic Irish ethnicity and inter-cultural contact/conflict with other ethnic groups

The deadline for paper proposals is April 15, 2005. Paper proposals should be 250-500 words in length, and sent either electronically or by post to:

Dr. Jason King
English Department
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Maynooth, County Kildare

Friendship Beyond Borders

Following the successful publication of a book celebrating the human ties between Canada and Indonesia, Elizabeth McIninch and Marianna O’Gallagher are moving forward on their long-held idea of publishing an Ireland-Canada Friendship book for sometime. As McIninch, Executive Editor of the project, writes: “Naturally, with our common Irish inheritances, we feel very strongly about such a volume. The great respect held for Marianna both in Ireland and Canada would ensure a spectacular end product for a volume entitled Friendship Beyond Borders: The Voices of Ireland and Canada Speak Straight From the Heart!

Naturally, in a project of this size, the financial challenges are considerable. But in return for sponsorships, both in Ireland and in Canada, we can ensure the printing of quality books, which interested parties may wish to use as gifts wherever they do business, hold conferences, or just as good old-fashioned tributes of respect and appreciation. We would be honoured to receive essays and photos from our sponsors and reserve a special section of our forthcoming volume to pay tribute to them.” Interested parties should contact Marianna O’Gallagher:

Marianna O'Gallagher
P.O. Box 8733
St.-Foy, QC
G1V 4N6

Beyond Borders: IASIL Essays in Modern Irish Writing

Edited by Neil Sammells Sulis Press

These sixteen essays on modern Irish prose, poems and plays have been developed from papers delivered at the conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures', held at Bath Spa University College in 2004. Beyond Borders offers an international perspective by bringing together voices from different national cultures and scholarly contexts. Each essay explores borders both literal and metaphorical in Irish writing, showing, for instance, how Irish authors look beyond national borders for influences and analogues, and how much Irish writing is corrosive and transformative of partition in its manifold forms. Among the writers discussed are W.B Yeats, James Joyce, Patrick Pearse, John Banville, Bernard Mac Laverty, Dermot Healy, Patrick McCabe, Matthew Sweeny, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Eavan Boland, Chris Lee, Sebastian Barry and Martin McDonagh.

Contributors: Louis Armand, Michall Faherty, Rui Carvalho Homem, Ellen Carol Jones, John Kenny, Marisol Morales Ladron, Vivian Valvano Lynch, Donald E. Morse, Paul Murphy, Erin V. Obermueller, Monica Randaccio, Maryna Romanets, Robert Tracy, Simon Tresize, Clare Wallace, Kim Wallace.

For orders, please contact or visit the Sulis Press website. Cheques should be made payable to Bath Spa University College.

Hardback ISBN 0-9545648-2-0 £45
Paperback ISBN 0-9545648-1-2 £15.99

Seamus Heaney, "Beacons at Bealtaine"

The following notice comes to us from Marcella Smyth, Second Secretary, Embassy of Ireland, Ottawa.

Dear colleagues,

Attached below are several translations (English and French are included here) of the poem 'Beacons at Bealtaine,' which was delivered by Seamus Heaney at the ceremony to mark EU Enlargement on Saturday, 1 May 2004, in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

In the Celtic calendar that once regulated the seasons in many parts of Europe, May Day, known in Irish as Bealtaine, was the feast of bright fire, the first of summer, one of the four great quarter days of the year. The early Irish Leabhar Gabhála (The Book of Invasions), tells us that the first magical inhabitants of the country, the Tuatha Dé Danaan, arrived on the feast of Bealtaine, and a ninth century text indicates that on the same day the druids drove flocks out to pasture between two bonfires. So there is something auspicious about the fact that a new flocking together of the old European nations happens on this day of mythic arrival in Ireland; and it is even more auspicious that we celebrate it in a park named after the mythic bird that represents the possibility of ongoing renewal. But there are those who say that the name Phoenix Park is derived from the Irish words, fionn uisce, meaning “clear water” and that coincidence of language gave me the idea for this poem. It’s what the poet Horace might have called a carmen sæculare, a poem to salute and celebrate an historic turn in the sæculum, the age.

Beacons at Bealtaine

Uisce: water. And fionn: the water’s clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here.
Strangers were barbaroi to the Greek ear.
Now let the heirs of all who could not
The language, whose ba-babbling was
Come with their gift of tongues past each
And find the answering voices that they seek
As fionn and uisce answer phoenix here.
The May Day hills were burning, far and
When our land’s first footers beached boats
in the creek
In uisce, fionn, strange words that soon grew
So on a day when newcomers appear
Let it be a homecoming and let us speak
The unstrange word, as it behoves us here,
Move lips, move minds and make new
meanings flare
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.

Beacons at Bealtaine

Uisce: eau. Et fionn: l’eau est claire.
Mais plonger: cette eau gaélique est
Ici le phénix prend feu sur fionn uisce.
Les étrangers étaient des barbaroi à l’oreille
Que les héritiers de tous ceux qui ne
parlaient pas
La langue, dont le babillage n’était pas clair,
Viennent à présent avec leur don des
langues par toutes les frontières,
Qu’ils trouvent les voix qu’ils cherchent en
Tout comme fionn et uisce répondent ici au
Les sommets du premier mai prenaient feu
de loin en loin
Quand nos premiers venus accostèrent dans
la crique,
Dans uisce, fionn, mots étranges bientôt
Aujourd’hui qu’arrivent de nouveaux venus,
Que ce soit un retour au pays et, comme il
Que le mot proféré ne soit ni étrange ni
Que les lèvres et les esprits se meuvent pour
faire flamboyer
Des significations neuves, se répondent
comme les feux anciens
De sommet en sommet, de mer en mer,
brûlant clair
Comme un feu de phénix ici sur fionn uisce.

Translated into French by Roger Little Genre and Irish Cinema

An International Conference at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, March 14-16, 2005.

Professor Brian McIlroy and the UBC Film Studies Program are pleased to announce an international conference on Genre and Irish Cinema. This conference is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Confirmed main speakers so far include Kevin Rockett (Trinity College Dublin), Cheryl Herr (University of Iowa), Martin McLoone (University of Ulster). 20 minute paper proposals from faculty and graduate students dealing with all aspects of Genre and Irish Cinema are welcome.

Suggested theoretical topics utilizing Irish and Irish-related cinema could include Genre and Ideology, Genre and Auteur, Genre and Consumption, Genre and Fandom/Spectatorship, Genre and Economics, Genre and Globalization, Genre and hybridity; or within Irish film criticism and history, an examination of specific genres—the crime film, romantic comedies, biopics, troubles films, diasporic films, reparation cinema, etc. Discussion of emerging or neglected genres welcomed.

Please submit your 250 word abstract and a brief biography to Professor Brian McIlroy at by November 15, 2004. It is expected that a selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in an edited collection. More details of the conference will be posted on the UBC Film website:

The Irish Theatre : At the Crossroads of Traditions

L’Annuaire théâtral is a peer-reviewed journal founded in 1985, and published twice a year by the Centre de recherches en civilisation canadienne-française at the University of Ottawa, and La Société québécoise des études théâtrales. It was dedicated from its founding to the theatrical arts, broadly defined: that is, theatre, dance, circus, pageant, radio drama, etc. In 2001, the journal began its collaboration with the CRCCF and SQET, introducing a focus on French-Canadian culture and its interactions with other world cultures. Now, in response to high-visibility productions of Irish plays in translation in Paris and Montréal, as well as the emergence of a new generation of playwrights whose work tours internationally, L’Annuaire Théâtral is devoting its Spring 2005 issue to the contemporary Irish theatre.

Ireland is a meeting place between North American, Anglophone, and continental European cultures. The Abbey Theatre, celebrating its centenary this year, deliberately engaged with continental European models from its inception, as its centenary programming of work from the New Europe recalls. Synge’s debt to Ibsen and Yeats’s relationship with French symbolism are well known, as is the influential presence of Irish playwrights such as Sheridan, Farquhar, Goldsmith, Wilde and Shaw in the British canon. The Irish theatre was born from a multiplicity of influences and aesthetics. Now the flow of cultural and aesthetic influences seems to be reversed, with Irish artists exploring the obsolescence of the nation-state and nationalism, as well as the cultural and social implications of European federalization and integration, replacing introspection with aesthetic experimentation.

This issue focuses on the Irish theatre since 1973, the year Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC). Now ranked the most “globalized” economy in the world, and enjoying the second highest income per capita in the European Union, it can hardly be coincidence that a new generation of playwrights emerged in a post-1973 context. The editors are particularly – though not exclusively – interested in papers that think outside axioms of nationalist discourse or identity politics. Explorations of the connections this new generation of playwrights is forging internationally with audiences and practitioners, or articles that will help present a practice and a theatrical institution for the first time to a French Canadian readership with few reference points, are particularly welcome. Possible topics include :

1 Uses of language / dialect / invented and poeticized languages

2 The notion of canonicity in the contemporary Irish context

3 Studies in reception (réception critique)

4 Comparative analysis, particularly with francophone canons and repertories

5 Aesthetic links to be made between Irish and other contemporary practices throughout the Western world, but in particular, French speaking Canada

6 Translations of Irish scripts into other languages

7 Avant-garde productions of seminal texts from the Irish canon, particularly those that open new perspectives on known plays

Articles will be accepted in both French and English. Closing date for submissions is Friday, January 14th 2005. Articles may be submitted by email or hard copies may be mailed the editors. Style sheets are available by email from either of the editors. Questions may be addressed and articles mailed to:

Dr. Joël Beddows,
Professeur adjoint,
Departement de théâtre,
Universite d’Ottawa
135, rue Séraphin-Marion
Ottawa (ON) K1N 7N5, Canada

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick,
Dept. of Applied Arts,
Waterford Institute of Technology,

Conference on the Ulster Cycle This is the second international conference devoted to the Ulster Cycle of tales and will be held at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth from 24 to 27 of June 2005. The conference will be hosted by the University’s Departments of Modern Irish and Old- and Middle Irish. In addition to the academic programme, a number of social events are planned, including a tour to some sites associated with the Ulster Cycle.

As with the first international conference on the Ulster Cycle (Belfast 1994), this second conference will provide a forum for papers and discussion on all aspects of the Ulster Cycle of tales. Relevant papers on language, literature, history, mythology and archaeology are invited. A formal paper call together with details of registration and accommodation etc. will be issued in the autumn.

Those wishing to receive further details about the conference can register their interest by contacting the Department of Modern Irish, NUI Maynooth, Co.Kildare, Ireland. E-mail:

Please keep in touch!

In an age of severe staffing cutbacks and outsourcing, this newsletter depends on you, intrepid reader, to provide us with information about all things Irish. So please keep in touch and don’t hesitate to contact me with any news that you think might be of interest to CAIS members.



Jerry White, President and CJIS Editor

Cecil Houston, Past-President

Danine Farquharson, Sec/Treasurer

Brad Kent, Member at Large (Graduate
Student Rep.)

Dermot McCarthy, Member at Large

Evelyn O’Leary, Member at Large

Julia Wright, Member at Large and