Monday, 9 May 2016

'Yeats & the West' Closing Lecture: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising, at the Model, Sligo, 12 May


Romanticism & Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising

Public Talk with Dr. Mary Harris, 

Senior Lecturer in History, NUI Galway

6pm Thursday 12 May

The Model Theatre, Sligo

followed by Exhibition closing wine reception

All welcome!

Dr. Mary Harris
This talk observes how a cultural revolution became a real revolution. It also examines  personalities and politics that more than any others shaped Irish history. Patrick Pearse and Eoin MacNeill were collaborators in the Gaelic League, writers, thinkers and educators working together on An Claidheamh Soluis; fatally, they disagreed over the preparation and timing for armed rebellion. Pearse’s plays drew upon ancient myth to openly demand revolution; MacNeill’s historical studies produced Phases of Irish History and Celtic Ireland. Was it simply romanticism vs realism? Looking back on the Easter Rising and the foundation of the Free State, W.B. Yeats suggested that ‘the modern literature of Ireland, and indeed all that stir of thought which prepared for the Anglo-Irish war, began when Parnell fell from power in 1891. A disillusioned and embittered Ireland turned from parliamentary politics; an event was conceived; and the race began, as I think, to be troubled by that event’s long gestation’. Looking back from one hundred years on, this talk considers the period’s complex interconnections of culture, literature and history, and asks how that ‘stir of thought’ at once created and limited the gestation and flowering of the decisive events of 1916.


Dr Mary Harris is Senior Lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She was born in Cork and is a graduate of UCC, proceeding to Cambridge for her PhD which led to her monograph The Catholic Church and the Foundation of the Northern Irish State (Cork University Press, 1993).

Mary has worked as a secondary school teacher in Cork and Grenada, West Indies.  From 1992-6 she taught Irish Studies at the University of North London.  Since 1996 she has been in the discipline of History at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  Her teaching and research focus is on modern Irish history, and she has published widely in this area. She is currently working on a book on Eoin MacNeill.

Mary is co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s programme commemorating the 1916 Rising and is a member of the Irish government’s expert advisory group on commemoration.

Dr Mary Harris appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Adrian Paterson. The talk is followed by a wine reception for the exhibition closing at the Model, honouring NUI Galway alumni, who include the illustrious collector and donor to the Model Nora Niland.

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.



Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly

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