Spring/Summer 2006 Newsletter

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CAIS 2006
For most sensible people, the coming of Spring can only mean one thing – CAIS must be coming soon. So let the call ring out across the continent and beyond: come join us in Ottawa for the 2006 Conference and Annual General Meeting (14-17 June 2006).This year’s conference focuses on the theme of urban Ireland. The conference will begin with a reception hosted by the Irish Ambassador, Martin Burke, on the evening of Wednesday, 14 June. The following three days will feature a wide variety of sessions. Among those featured will be the Irish writer Emma Donoghue, who will read from her upcoming novel Time Zone Tango, and Kieran Bonner and noted theatre director and actor John P. Kelly, who will give keynote addresses.

All in all, it promises to be a wonderful occasion, so make sure you join us in Ottawa, and remember to book your accommodations early (before 1 May). On-campus accommodations at the University of Ottawa will be available for delegates (The confirmation number for CAIS conference delegates is 141175. You can reserve a room by calling UO at 613-564-5400 or by email at: reserve@uottawa.ca).

But if hotels or BB’s are more to your liking there are plenty of choices:

Quality Hotel (identify yourself as CAIS for discount!) 290 Rideau (corner of King Edward)

Econo Lodge (identify yourself as CAIS for discount!) 475 Rideau (near Nelson)

Quality Inn, Econo Lodge and other well-located Ottawa hotels can be booked online at:


Bella Notte (108 Daly Avenue) Tel.: 613-565-0497

Email: nd.oscar@sympatico.ca

Auberge McGee’s Inn (185 Daly Avenue) Tel.: 1-800-262-4337

Email: contact@mcgeesinn.com

Gasthaus Switzerland (89 Daly Avenue) Tel.: 1-888-663-0000


For more detailed information (including rates and email/internet contact information), please see the CAIS website: http://www.irishstudies.ca/

Hope to see you there!

Regime Change?

The CAIS Committee for Nominations (Cecil Houston, chair, Ninnian Mellanphy and Brian Rainey) reports that as a result of elections that closed on January 16, 2006, two members of CAIS are duly acclaimed in executive positions, Danine Farquharson in the position of President, Peggy Regan in the position of Secretary-Treasurer. Congratulations and thanks to Danine and Peggy!

Eulogy for Joe McGann

To honour the life of Joseph McGann (1926 - 2005), beloved CAIS stalwart, we reprint excerpts from Cecil Houston’s eulogy.

I am humbled to do this for Joe.

In our own ways we came to know him, Mary Ann’s Joe. In his last words, the joys of his life rang clearly; in his silence, he sounded his readiness to go, and his wish not to create a fuss. He wished to make his passing easy for us.

But it was too fast, he said, too quick since the summer in Spain. In the summer he had revisited his Dublin childhood haunts

Among those haunts he had survived to be the single son. As the sisters said, “his ma’s bit of gold”. As Joe said, “her little piece of gold”….

Just last week, on the leaving of two dear friends from his hospital bedside, Joe recited verses from The Man of the North Countrie, a poem by D’Arcy McGee, Irish revolutionary and Canadian.

He came from the North, and his words were few,

But his voice was kind and his heart was true,

And I knew by his eyes no guile had he,

So I married the man of the North Countrie.

Joe was reciting himself—his words were few, his voice was kind and his heart was true….

The Joe I came to know in the late 80s had got it right…unassuming, gentle, kind, widely read, learned, and only very slightly odd… and I knew by his eyes no guile had he….

In 1988 he went to Fredericton to the annual conference of CAIS, the Canadian Association for Irish Studies. There he made the Irish immigrant connection that was needed to complete his Canadian life.

At the CAIS conference he could engage with Irish historians, Irish writers, and poets, listen to the Gaelic. And he knew too late what he had missed in his rush to get a university degree…the time to reflect on what’s being learned.

At a lecture, you could sit beside Joe and wait. In the middle of some professor’s ramble, Joe might lean over and say something like…”Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart”. And you would wonder….maybe he is nuts.

And then you might hear the professor saying “Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart”. Joe would smile, having been away ahead of the professor and having figured out his punch line much in advance.

Or to me he might say, “You lost me….I thought you were going in the other direction….” He was learn-ed….

He was learn-ed and he held a dream….

When Joe had recited to his friends The Man of the North Countrie, the last two lines of the poem put his dream well

Small hate or scorn would ever be

Between the South and the North Countrie.

That was Joe’s homage to his Ireland, united, complete. It was the verse of his soul, learned loving history, literature, drama, poetry and music. Joe lived the romance that the poet Yeats penned in his “To Ireland in the Coming Times”:

Because, to him who ponders well,

My rhymes more than their rhyming tell

Of things discovered in the deep,

Where only body’s laid asleep.

I cast my heart into my rhymes,

That you, in the dim coming times,

May know how my heart went with them…

In Joe’s passing, we receive to cherish the gift of this man and this man’s humanity,

His gentleness and humility, his giving nature, his joy for family, the sisters, Ste Catherine of Siena, and friends. And cherish too his learnedness raging against the dark for his dear Ireland, his cultured land, an Ireland free, an Ireland in the Coming Times

Our Joe,

Our little piece of gold.

Goin’ Atlantic: A New Book Series

Ashgate Series in Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Studies

Edited by Kevin Hutchings (University of Northern British Columbia) and Julia M. Wright (Dalhousie University), this series offers a forum for the publication of scholarly work investigating the literary, historical, artistic, and philosophical foundations of transatlantic culture. A new and burgeoning field of interdisciplinary investigation, transatlantic scholarship contextualizes its objects of study in relation to exchanges, interactions, and negotiations that occurred between and among authors and other artists hailing from both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, transatlantic research calls into question established disciplinary boundaries that have long functioned to segregate various national or cultural literatures and art forms, challenging as well the traditional academic emphasis upon periodization and canonization. By examining representations dealing with such topics as travel and exploration, migration and diaspora, slavery, aboriginal culture, revolution, colonialism and anti-colonial resistance, the series will offer new insights into the hybrid or intercultural basis of transatlantic identity, politics, and aesthetics.

The editors invite English language studies focusing on any area of the period ca. 1750–1900, including (but not limited to) innovative works spanning transatlantic Romantic and Victorian contexts. Manuscripts focusing on European, African, US American, Canadian, Caribbean, Central and South American, and Native or Indigenous literature, art, and culture are welcome. We will consider proposals for monographs, collaborative books, and edited collections. For information on submitting a proposal, please visit the Ashgate web site:


Yeats Summer School

Applications are now being accepted for the 2006 International W.B. Yeats Summer School. An impressive array of participants includes Seamus Deane, Margaret Kelleher, Edna Longley, Maureen Murphy and Hilary Pyle, among others.

International W.B. Yeats Summer School

Director: Patrick Crotty (Aberdeen University)

Associate Director: Maureen Murphy (Hofstra University, New York)

Application forms may be requested by mail or downloaded from the school’s website:www.yeats-sligo.com

Joyce in Trieste

The Tenth Annual Trieste Joyce School

25 June - 1 July 2006

University of Trieste

The Tenth edition of the Trieste Joyce School will take place from 25 June to 1 July 2006. Following the tradition established in previous years, this year’s school hopes to satisfy the needs both of seasoned Joyceans and of newcomers to the world of Joyce studies. The School draws inspiration from Trieste itself - its history, its culture, its architecture, its institutions - and leaves participants with a sense of why Joyce came to describe the city as his “second country”.

Director: Renzo S. Crivelli, Vice Director: John McCourt

For further information:



SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE (to apply send CV, letter of application and a letter of

reference via email to mccourt@units.it by 15 April 2006). Accommodation from 30 Euro per night.


Irish Perspectives on “Our America”: Views from the “Green Atlantic”

Please join us for the following session at the Organization of American

Historians Annual Meeting in Washington, DC:

Thursday, April 20, 10:30 to 12:00 noon, at the Hilton Washington,

Connecticut Ave. (north of Dupont Circle) (room information forthcoming).


Kevin Whelan (University of Notre Dame), “The Green Atlantic: Ireland and

America in the Late Eighteenth Century”;

Bruce Nelson (Dartmouth College), “‘Hypocrites, tyrants, and unjust men’:

Daniel O’Connell, Irish Nationalism, and the ‘Crimes’ of the ‘White Republic’”;

Niamh Lynch (Boston College) “The United States in the Irish Anti-Imperial

Imagination, 1850-1900.”

Chair and Commentator:

Joseph Lee (New York University).

If you cannot be there, please spread the word. For more information, contact Bruce Nelson (bruce.nelson@dartmouth.edu).


A Final Word (or two)

We would be remiss if we failed to note and thank Jerry White for his excellent service as President of CAIS. Very few people have the ability to combine hard and effective work with good humour; no one should doubt that the dynamic and exciting state of CAIS today is due in no small part to Jerry’s labours over the past few years. Jerry continues to be a significant part of CAIS in his capacity as editor of CJIS.

Please remember that this newsletter depends on your input, so please send me word of “all news Irish” that you think might interest our readers across Canada and the Irish Studies diaspora. Needless to say, I hope this newsletter finds everyone in good health and humour, and I look forward to seeing you in Ottawa.

All the best,



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