An tIonad um Thaighde agus Theagasc Éireannaigh
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The Center for Irish Research and Teaching (CIRT) • Georgia Southern University
The Flagship Irish Studies Unit in the University System of Georgia—America's Third-Largest State University System
Exploring Diverse Irish Identities with Rigor, Scruple, and Imagination
Relevant throughout Fall 2015 Semester
◊ Coming Soon/Coming Later      ◊ Fall 2015 Courses Applicable to the Irish Studies Minor      
September 2015
◊ Alumnus Chris Rushing's Star Turn      ◊ Campus Theater Opens Season with "Dark Fairytale" by Irish Playwright
Summer 2015
◊ CIRT Co-Sponsors Conference about Fitzgerald's Irishness      ◊ Summer Semester in Ireland Program Celebrates Year 7    
◊ Students Meet Minister Kehoe at Government Buildings      ◊ Irish Studies Eagles Soar Academically
Coming Soon/Coming Later
Thursday 17 September | 7:00 PM | Exact Venue TBA, but in a Housing Activity Room
Open-to-All Information Session about the 2016 Iteration of the Summer Term A Inquiry in Ireland® Program, which Offers Two Full-Credit Courses Based on Undergraduate Primary-Source and Field Research into the Wexford-Savannah Axis | $1,500 in Scholarship Funds Guaranteed to Each Successful Applicant
24 September - 12 October 2015 | Nightly Except 28-29 September and 5-7 October | Studio B Theater, 14th Street, Atlanta
Irish Studies Alumnus Chris Rushing Stars as Christy Mahon—the Lead—in the Arís Production of Synge's Playboy of the Western World
30 September - 7 October 2015 | Nightly at 7:30 PM, with Sunday Matinée at 2:00 PM | Black Box Theater, Georgia Southern Campus
The Georgia Southern Theater Program Presents Irish Playwright Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, Directed by Nicholas Newell (Mature Audiences Only)
Click HERE for "Just Missed" Events!
Save the Date
Wednesday 14 October 2015 | 6:00 PM | Country Club of Hilton Head (Hilton Head Plantation)
Director Keeley Delivers Keynote Address at the South Carolina Hibernian of the Year Dinner
Tuesday 20 October 2015 | 7:00 PM | Palmetto Electric Cooperative Building, Hardeeville, SC
Director Keeley Lectures on Ireland's Easter 1916 Rising to the Sun City-Hilton Head Irish Heritage Society
14 - 16 April 2016 (Thursday through Saturday) | Atlanta (Venue TBA)
ACIS-South Annual Conference
The 2016 conference of the Southern Chapter of the American Conference for Irish Studies will be held in Atlanta, with Georgia State University as the host institution and Oxford professor of Irish history Dr. Roy Foster as the keynoter. • The event theme: Pre-Revolutionary Ireland. • Click HERE to read and respond to the Call for Papers.
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Fall 2015 Courses Applicable to the Irish Studies Minor
The interdisciplinary Minor in Irish Studies is achieved by successfully completing 15 credit hours of approved coursework. All that coursework may be at the upper division; however, up to three hours (i.e. one regular course) may be at the lower division. Each Spring on campus we offer the lower-division Introduction to Irish Culture course, which is non-mandatory. And every semester we offer a unit of the lower-division World Literature 2 course with Irish emphases. While not required, participation in our study-in-Ireland programs is an excellent way to build Irish Studies credits. Six hours are available through the Inquiry in Ireland® program during Summer Term A; and seven hours are available through the Summer Semester in Ireland® program during Summer Term B.
Email the Center to set up a meeting about the excitingly interdisciplinary Irish Studies Minor:

The Minor is a solid educational investment, for it internationalizes your résumé. As the video (right) demonstrates, Ireland boasts one of earth's most global economies, especially in three critical sectors: pharmaceuticals, information technology, and financial services. The country specializes in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and, thus, is home to 1,200 overseas company operations, including nine of the top ten corporations in Pharma—and nine of the top ten corporations in IT. Ireland is the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) headquarters for Google, Mircosoft, Facebook, Intel, Pfizer, and other businesses that define how we live now. The Irish economy, part of the Eurozone, grew at an impressive 4.8% in 2014, the fastest rate in Europe. Ireland’s young workforce is capable, adaptable, mobile, and committed to achievement. With half of the population under 35, Ireland’s dependency ratio is among Europe's most favorable.

All the Fall 2015 courses listed below are pre-approved for counting towards the interdisciplinary Minor in Irish Studies. Any course marked with the symbol "≈" is fully focused on Irish matters. The remaining courses contain Irish-themed modules that allow them to meet the criterion "Significant Irish Content."
Britain and the World
CRN 84806 • HIST 5339 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 11:00 AM – 12:15 AM • Forest Drive 1107
Instructor: Robert Batchelor PhD
British and Irish Drama since 1660
CRN 86685 • ENLG 5332 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM • Newton 2206
Instructor: Dustin Anderson PhD
Comparative Political Conflict
CRN 83379 • POLS 4031 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM • Carroll 2226
Instructor: Srobana Bhattacharya PhD
Ethnicity and Nationalism
CRN 89471 • POLS 3335 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM • Carroll 2226
Instructor: Srobana Bhattacharya PhD
European Cultures
CRN 89433 • ANTH 3332 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM • Carroll 2260
Instructor: Barbara Hendry PhD
History of Religion in the United States
CRN 82157 • HIST 3139 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo, We & Fr • 9:00 AM – 9:55 AM • Forest Drive 1106
Instructor: James Wood PhD
Irish Women Writers
CRN 88404 • ENGL 5238 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM • Carroll 2239
Instructor: Howard Keeley PhD
Race and Ethnicity
CRN 89426 • SOCI 3235 (A) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo, We & Fr • 9:05 AM – 9:55 AM • Carroll 2240
Instructor: William Smith PhD
Religion and Politics
CRN 86684 • RELS 3030 (B) • Upper Division • 3 Credit Hours
Tu & Th • 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM • Newton 1108
Instructor: Finbarr Curtis PhD
World Literature 2 (Irish Emphases)
CRN 82214 • ENGL 2112 (N) • Lower Division • 3 Credit Hours
Mo & We • 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM • Carroll 2239
Instructor: Howard Keeley PhD
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Alumnus Chris Rushing's Star Turn
Chris Rushing (above), a graduate of our Irish Studies program, will perform the lead role—Christy Mahon—in a major production of The Playboy of the Western World from Arís Theater, Atlanta's Stage for Celtic Culture. First offered at Dublin's Abbey Theater in January 1907, this lyrically ebullient three-act drama by John Millington Synge is a masterpiece of Anglo-Irish literature. With John Ammerman directing, the new production will occur in Studio B, which is part of the Georgia Public Broadcasting complex at 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA. Opening date: 24 September 2015. Closing date: 12 October 2015. (Please note that the show is dark on 28-29 September and 5-7 October.) Click HERE for further details and online ticket sales.
One word in Playboy sparked controversy, but Synge believed that "in countries [like Ireland] where the imagination of the people, and the language they use, is rich and living, it is possible for a writer to be rich and copious in his words." As the action concludes, Christy declares that he's turned out "a likely gaffer" who'll "go romancing through a romping lifetime."
After graduating from the Georgia Southern University Irish Studies, Theater, and English programs, our "likely gaffer" Chris Rushing successfully established himself as an actor and drama instructor in Atlanta, the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the US. In addition to Arís, he has performed with Atlanta Shakespeare, Georgia Shakespeare, the Academy Theater, Fabrefaction, and Georgia Ensemble.
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Campus Theater Opens Season with "Dark Fairytale" by Irish Playwright
Theater and Performance (T&P) at Georgia Southern University opens its Fall 2015 season with The Pillowman, Martin McDonagh's "dark fairytale" from 2003. Born in London to Irish parents, McDonagh gained renown for the Leenane Trilogy (1996-1997) and the Aran Islands Trilogy (1996-2001). The most famous play in the latter sequence is The Cripple of Inishmaan, which T&P staged in 2004. As director Nicholas Newell and his cast and crew tackle The Pillowman, they concur with critic Nicholas de Jongh's assessment that the work constitutes McDonagh's "leap[ing] towards maturity" via a "dazzling, disquieting nightmare of a play which makes up its own Grimm fairytales." Winner in the UK of the 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Play—and in the US of the 2004-5 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play—The Pillowman examines totalitarian government. Echoing Kafka's fables, Orwell's 1984, and Tarantino's movies, the play centers on the good cop-bad cop interrogation of a writer, Katurian, the ghoulish content of whose short stories resembles actual child murders by his "simple" brother.
The Irish Times deemed The Pillowman McDonagh's "best play," and while it meditates on totalitarianism, crime and punishment, the legacies of child abuse, and the bond between brothers, it also considers the matter of storytelling. As the action unfolds, the audience hears a few of Katurian's hundreds of narratives, but in fact every one of the drama's characters—even the tempestuous policeman Ariel—is a storyteller of a sort. Katurian describes one of his tales as "a puzzle without a solution" and among The Pillowman's accomplishments is how it confronts us anew with puzzles at the core of the human condition.
For mature audiences only, The Pillowman runs at the Black Box Theater in the Center for Art and Theater Building from Wednesday 30 September 2015 through the following Wednesday, 7 October. Shows begin at 7:30 PM nightly, and there's an additional matinée performance at 2:00 PM on Sunday. Click HERE for online ticket sales.
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CIRT Co-Sponsors Conference about Fitzgerald's Irishness
On occasion, St. Paul, Minnesota, native F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) would sign off with the phrase "Gaelicly yours." During the period 4-11 July 2015, the Center for Irish Research and Teaching was pleased to partner with the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and the School of Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology (in Waterford, Ireland's oldest city) to host a major international conference focused primarily on Fitzgerald's understanding of himself as Irish-American. The event opened in Dublin, but the main business occurred in Waterford.
In his posthumously published memoir A Movable Feast (1964), Ernest Hemingway described his friend Fitzgerald as exhibiting "very fair wavy hair, a high forehead, excited and friendly eyes, and a delicate, long-lipped Irish mouth." Certainly, Fitzgerald's pen frequently tended to matters Irish. In Tender is the Night (1934), principal character Dick Driver's voice "woo[s] the world" on account of the "faint Irish melody running through it." While, earlier, in The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), "Irish girls...[cast] their eyes...upon a society" that includes "young Tammany politicians." That novel's Anthony Patch lyrically describes to his girlfriend Geraldine Burke "Chevalier O'Keefe": "[a] creature of my splendid mind"; "a semi-fictional Irishman." He elaborates that O'Keefe exemplified "the wild sort" of Hibernian: a gent with with "a genteel brogue and 'reddish hair'" who—"exiled from Erin [to France] in the late days of chivalry"—lived his days as "a sentimentalist...a vain fellow, a man of wild passions."
Irish-American figures populate Fitzgerald's opus, from Monsignor Darcy and Beatrice Blaine in his debut, semi-autobiographical novel This Side of Paradise (1920) to Pat Brady and Katherine Moore in The Last Tycoon (unfinished when the author died). Exploring this clear but under-addressed legacy, the conference brought together an impressive array of established and emerging scholarly thought-leaders. Speakers traveled to Ireland from from Brazil, England, France, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The host institution, Waterford Institute of Technology, produced a superior environment and experience, according to Dr. Dustin Anderson, the CIRT faculty member who directed the major, multi-day event.
The 2015 Fitzgerald conference followed perfectly the previous summer's two-day Educating the Irish Genius symposium, co-created by CIRT and Ireland's Kilkenny College (founded in 1538). Held at Kilkenny College, the Newpark Hotel, and Kilkenny Castle, that world-class event interrogated the Irish Enlightenment.
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Summer Semester in Ireland Program Celebrates Year 7
18 June - 23 July 2015 • For the seventh consecutive year, Georgia Southern undergraduate students constituted the largest group within the Summer Semester in Ireland® program that the Center for Irish Research and Teaching developed on behalf of the European Council of the University System of Georgia, the third-largest state university system in the United States. Pictured above is one of our 2015 Eagles holding a "True Blue" or university pride sign as she celebrates a stunning landscape view in the county of Wexford. A key feature of the program is its participative-learning field trips, which occur twice weekly.
The photograph was taken on a visit to Johnstown Castle, near the town of Wexford, where the students learned about the Big House Ascendancy that dominated rural Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They also explored several Irish famines, including the Great Hunger of the 1840s, at the Castle's museum of Irish agricultural life. A third outcome was interrogating how present-day Irish farming—the largest sector within the national economy—thrives. It must respond to changing European Union policies; the effects of global warming; and emerging markets for meat and dairy, especially in Asia. Johnstown Castle is home to one of Europe's leading agricultural-research centers, and the students interfaced with its former director, Dr. Noel Culleton.
Dr. Dustin Anderson of the Center for Irish Research and Teaching explains that each year 60 or more students participate in the Summer Semester in Ireland® program. The 2015 iteration of the program, which Anderson co-directed, saw a record 65 students chose from a "menu" of 12 Irish-themed courses at both the lower- and upper-division levels. The courses spanned the following disciplines: art, film and theater, history, literature, music, and psychology.
Some examples are useful. The upper-division history course focused on the phase of the Irish independence struggle that spanned 1912-1922. The instructor, Dr. Gary Sprayberry (Chair, Department of History and Geography, Columbus State University) reflects, "It's a privilege to expose our Georgia undergraduates to a seminal historical decade while on the ground in Ireland. I can't overstate the educational value of the experiential-learning model that Georgia Southern's CIRT has carefully built with its Irish partner, Waterford Institute of Technology."
One innovative upper-division course for 2015 was Queer Ireland: Literature and Culture, taught by Georgia Southern professor Dr. Margaret Sullivan, a CIRT faculty member. Among other things, the course examined Ireland's gay and lesbian heritage, represented by the likes of the Victorian dramatist Oscar Wilde and the early-twentieth-century human-rights advocate and nationalist freedom-fighter Roger Casement. These historical figures provide a powerful lens through which to consider the May 2015 referendum that saw Ireland become the first country on earth to approve same-sex marriage in a nationwide popular vote (62% "yes"). According to the New York Times (23 May 2015), Ireland's fair-mindedness towards its LGBT population puts it "in the vanguard of social change" internationally.
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Students Meet Minister Kehoe at Government Buildings
On Tuesday 16 June 2015—"Bloomsday"—the undergraduate researchers engaged in our Inquiry in Ireland® summer semester received a behind-the-scenes tour of Leinster House (the Irish parliament) and Government Buildings. Here, they're pictured on the main staircase of the latter venue with their professors and Hon. Paul Kehoe TD, Chief Whip of the Government of Ireland. Behind the group is the famous Evie Hone stained-glass window that depicts Ireland's four provinces or "green fields." As a deputy (congressman) for the county of Wexford in the Dáil (House of Representatives), Minster Kehoe takes a keen interest in the principal work of the Inquiry in Ireland® program: primary-source research into the historic emigration axis between Wexford and its hinterland and the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia.
Earlier in the year, Minister Kehoe visited Savannah as Ireland's official representative at the city's 2015 St. Patrick's Day Parade, the second largest in North America. Among other activities, he accompanied members of the Wexford-Savannah research team to Catholic Cemetery, Savannah, where he witnessed the names of Wexford townlands and parishes on numerous headstones. In a 16 March 2015 Op Ed in the Savannah Morning News, Minister Kehoe reflected, "In the Irish parliament...I have the honor to represent the people of Wexford. In centuries past, and in the 1800s particularly, huge numbers....from the towns and villages of my county were forced to flee a homeland beset by poverty and hunger. Many traveled thousands of miles to the United hunt out new opportunities. And it was in this port city of Savannah that so many arrived and built new lives. One Wexford arrival wrote home to a local newspaper to say Savannah was 'the finest city I was ever in.' On this visit, I can certainly appreciate that sentiment. Terrific work is being led by Howard Keeley at Georgia Southern University—in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy Trust in New Ross, Wexford; Waterford Institute of Technology; and this city’s Georgia Historical Society—to explore the history of the Wexford-Savannah Axis. And just as there is so much shared heritage to explore, so are there are also remarkable possibilities for new links between Ireland and Savannah in business, education, and culture."
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Irish Studies Eagles Soar Academically
In May 2015, while wrapping up a post-graduation "gap year" as an English instructor in Seoul, South Korea, Irish Studies Minor Kurt McGee (above) learned that he'd won entry into the MPhil in Irish Writing degree at the University of Dublin, better known as Trinity College. This is a highly competitive program—a signature component of Trinity's School of English, which the 2014 QS World University Rankings placed #25 in the world and #7 in Europe. We congratulate Kurt, who comments, "The literature track within the Georgia Southern Minor in Irish Studies provides a comprehensive academic grounding, but also plenty of opportunities for in-depth study of intriguing and important works outside the canon." Invoking a line from James Joyce's famous short story "The Dead," we urge Kurt to "[m]ake like a bird for Trinity College"!
2014 MA graduate in Irish Studies/English, Aaron Roberts, reports continued success as he prosecutes his full-ride PhD in Irish famine literature under the renowned scholar Dr. David Lloyd at the University of California-Riverside. In June 2015, Aaron attended the Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Immediately after, he traveled to Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, where he was among just a handful of graduate students selected to give papers at the inaugural meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies. What an achievement for one of our Georgia Southern Eagles!
In May 2015, family and friends from Ireland and Britain journeyed to Statesboro, hometown of Georgia Southern University, to celebrate with Eileen Emerson as she received her EdD hood. Dr. Emerson's dissertation focuses on integration and reform challenges facing Irish primary and secondary schools as the nation's population becomes more global and multicultural. Notable is how the work situates its observations and arguments vis-à-vis the history of Irish education since the Stanley Education Act of 1831.
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Contact Us
The Center for Irish Research and Teaching (CIRT)
Carroll Building, Suite 2288 • Post Office Box 8023
Georgia Southern University • Statesboro • Georgia 30461
web •
email •
phone • (912) 478-2297
Recent Events
Friday 28 August 2015 | 12:00 Noon | Irish Studies Suite (Carroll 2288)
August Meeting of Club Gael: the Open-to-All Student Club about All Things Irish
For our AY 2015-16 kickoff session, we welcomed new and returning members; ate some "Paddy Pizza"; previewed the study-in-Ireland programs scheduled for summer 2016; and learned about another Should-Be-Better-Known Irish individual, the Capuchin Franciscan Fr. Arthur O'Leary, a precursor of those who campaigned for Catholic Emancipation, which was achieved in 1829.
Thursday 27 August 2015 | 3:00 PM
CIRT Showcase at St. Joseph's/Candler, Savannah (Private)
Friday 21 August 2015 | 7:00 PM | Chez Sealey
2015 Inquiry in Ireland® Program Reunion: Food and Fellowship ("The Craic")
Friday 21 August 2015 | 9:00 AM | Morris Center, Savannah
Director Keeley Interviewed about CIRT's Wexford-Savannah Axis Research Project by Nine-Time-Emmy-Winner Brian Williams
Monday 24 August 2015 | 11:15 AM | Nessmith-Lane Conference Center, Georgia Southern Campus
Lunch Lecture by James ("Jim") Byous: Trustees' Garden: The Historical Laminates
Savannah-based research historian Byous is interfacing with CIRT's Wexford-Savannah Axis Research Project, and (among other things) he discussed Wexford native William Kehoe's huge iron foundry, one of multiple uses to which Savannah's Trustees' Garden has been put since 1733. Byous's compelling presentation deployed Google Earth and other cutting-edge technologies. • This lecture was sponsored by the Bulloch County Historical Society and attracted around 60 people. Lunch began at 11:15 AM ($12.50), with the presentation following at 12:00 noon.
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