Irish Studies Celebrates Anniversary with Special Events on Campus

Jack Birle Staff Writer

Irish Studies at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is celebrating its 40th anniversary  this year. It will be celebrated with several events throughout Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

Irish Studies has roots at the University dating back to  1842, when the University was founded by Irish Augustinians. The Irish Studies program was founded in 1979 and was upgraded to the Center for Irish Studies in 2016.

According to the University, the Center for Irish Studies “provides students in all colleges the opportunity to participate in vigorous conversations about Irish identity, history and culture.”

The Center hosts several study abroad opportunities, including an eight week summer program in Dublin, Ireland which includes an internship. The Center also hosts study abroad opportunities in Belfast, Galway and Ballina, Ireland.

“For 40 years, we have explored creative expression, minority rights, and enduring diasporic connections with our students and community,” Director of the Center for Irish Studies Joseph Lennon said. “We now reach across eight distinct disciplines in our scholarship, programming and outreach.” On the meaning of Irish Studies to the University, he said, “Irish Studies is at the center of Villanova’s heritage and helps guide its vision of its future.”

The Center has long provided the opportunity for students to minor in Irish Studies, and the Center included an Irish Studies major in 2018. 

Along with majors and minors, the center has the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies, which is held by documentary filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick. The teaching position is held each year by a visiting distinguished Irish writer. 

The center also frequently partners with members of the local and international community to “further the Center’s reach and recognition,” according to the University. “The Center regularly provides programming for the Philadelphia area’s Irish-American community and for those interested in learning more about Irish history and culture.”

To celebrate the 40 years of Irish Studies, the Center has planned several events unique to Irish culture. 

The first of the planned events occurred on September 25. The event featured Irish author Emilie Pine. Pine read from her best-selling collection of essays, Notes to Self, in St. Rita’s Hall. 

The next event, titled “Readings by Belfast Writers,” will be held on October 29  in Garey Hall and will feature Belfast writers such as Glen Patterson.

Other events throughout the year will include the “Kelly House Symposium” which will include a 40th anniversary of memoirs with authors Christine Cusick, David Lloyd, Jim Murphy and Jim Rogers. According to the Center, The “Symposium on The Referent of Ireland in the Nineteenth-Century” event being held in February 2020 “hopes to re-evaluate the importance of nineteenth-century Irish literature in order to rethink the aesthetics and politics of nineteenth-century Irish literature.”

In total there are six events planned by the Center for the 40th year of Irish Studies. More information about the events can be found through the University’s Center of Irish Studies.