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Our Blog • Ár mBlag

The Center for Irish Research and Teaching

An tIonad um Thaighde agus Theagasc Éireannacha

Georgia Southern University

The Flagship Irish Studies Program in the University System of Georgia

America's Third-Largest University System

Post Office Box 8023 (Carroll Suite 2288), Statesboro, Georgia 30460, USA


  Allsorts mingle on our Facebook page: superstar singer Ed Sheeran connects to his Wexford roots; respected journalist Una Mulally interrogates what being Irish means to the nation's young people; accomplished Dutch photographer Bertien van Manen captures unique impressions of West-of-Ireland landscapes; and much, much more!   


Allsorts mingle on our Facebook page: superstar singer Ed Sheeran connects to his Wexford roots; respected journalist Una Mulally interrogates what being Irish means to the nation's young people; accomplished Dutch photographer Bertien van Manen captures unique impressions of West-of-Ireland landscapes; and much, much more!   

SAMHAIN 1 ••• Friday 21 October 2016 • 12:00 Noon - 1:45 pm • Domain: BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • Ticketed Event: For more information, please email irish@georgiasouthern.edu • Venue: Liberty Room, Kevin Barry's Irish Pub, 117 West River Street, Savannah, GA 31401 • Hon. Shane Stephens, Consul General of Ireland for the Southeastern United States, visits Savannah to pay tribute to and plan next steps with the CIRT Director and the other members of the recent Savannah-Hilton Head economic-and-cultural delegation to Wexford and Dublin. Led by Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) Chair Steve Green, the delegation's packed, week-long trip was a direct outcome of CIRT's Wexford-Savannah Axis research project. At Georgia Southern University, we privilege the interface between research and economic development, and we're proud to serve Savannah and its region. • All of us congratulate Vic Power, owner-proprietor of Kevin Barry's, and his team for winning the 2016 Authenticity Award ("most authentic Irish pub outside Ireland") from the Irish Pub Global Awards. We're proud to acknowledge that since its creation in 2006, Vic and his wife Cheri have been principal donors to CIRT's Eddie Ivie Scholarship for Study in Ireland. 

SAMHAIN 2 ••• Tuesday 25 October 2016 • 3:30 pm • Domain: BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • Ticketed Event: For more information, please email irish@georgiasouthern.edu • Venue: Visit Savannah Headquarters, 101 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401 • CIRT supports Visit Savannah, the city's official visitor-and-convention agency, as it hosts a networking and cross-promotional event for members of Savannah's tourism and hospitality industry and an equivalent web from Southeastern Ireland, led on this occasion by Mr. Larry Byrne (of Club Choice Ireland and Heritage Choice Ireland). The initiative is another manifestation of the economic linkages that are emerging from CIRT's Wexford-Savannah Axis research project. Four tourism-divers—golf, heritage, festivals, and cuisine—will constitute core foci at this high-level gathering. Later in the week, Byrne meets with the President of Visit Hilton Head (Wednesday) and the leadership of Georgia Southern University's golf teams (Thursday). He concludes his CIRT-facilitated visit by joining guests in the President's Box for the Georgia Southern-App State football game: kick-off at 7:30 pm on Th 27 Oct at Paulson Stadium, Statesboro. Go Eagles!

SAMHAIN 3 ••• From the morning of Mo 31 Oct through the evening of Th 4 Nov 2016, CIRT is delighted and honored to host Jonathan Culleton PhD, a leading Irish sociologist, as a short-term Visiting Scholar. This important initiative is supported by Dr. Culleton's home college, as well as the General Fund for Irish Studies and the Fred and Donna Sanders Fund for Irish Studies Lectures at Georgia Southern University. In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities as member of the School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)—the principal university in Ireland's southeastern region—Dr. Culleton also serves as his institution's academic coordinator for the Wexford-Savannah Axis project, a grant-supported, transatlantic research initiative founded by and based at Georgia Southern's Center for Irish Research and Teaching. He also plays a critical role in CIRT's Full Term in Ireland Program, which has operated each Summer Term B since 2008. Last year, CIRT made Ireland an educational reality for 79 students: a record number. Towards the end of his tenure as Twelfth President of Georgia Southern, Dr. Brooks Keel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the relationship between our university and WIT.  

In addition to conducting research on campus and in Savannah, Dr. Culleton offers a range of student-centered activities during his four-day stay:  

Mo 31 Oct • From 9:05 am - 1:10 pm • Various venues • Dr. Culleton interacts with students in three Irish Studies courses: Irish-American History since 175o; Irish Global Literatures; and Religion and Irish Identity. During the afternoon, he joins graduate students and a librarian to explore resources at the Henderson Library relevant to the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project. As Halloween derives from the ancient Irish festival of Samhain, we cannot for certain say what Dr. Culleton plans for the evening!

Tu 1 Nov • 1:30 - 3:30 pm • Invitation-based event: For more information, please email irish@georgiasouthern.edu • In the Irish Studies Suite (Carroll 2288), Dr. Culleton conducts a seminar for graduate students and other academic and community stakeholders engaged in the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project.  


Tu 1 Nov • 5:00 - 5:50 pm, including Q&A • Dr. Culleton delivers a free, public lecture: "Irish History, Irish Memory: Gender and the Magdalene Laundries." The venue is the Auditorium (Room 1115) of the College of Education on the Georgia Southern University campus. Students may obtain Proof of Attendance as the event concludes. • Also known as Magdalene Asylums, Magdalene Laundries operated throughout Ireland from the late 1700s. The last one, in Waterford, closed in 1996. Much of these institutions' legacy is dark: a record of incarcerating "fallen" women to punish them for transgressing the perceived moral code. The talk draws extensively from Dr. Culleton's work among women with direct experiences of Magdalene facilities in southeastern Ireland, not least a "memories project" based on oral interviews.  

Tu 1 Nov • 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm • Dr. Culleton is the guest of honor at a reunion (in Eidson House) of students who participated in the full-credit Inquiry in Savannah and Ireland Program during Summer Term A of 2014, 2015, and 2016. Having spent three weeks at a variety of archives in Savannah, the students traveled to Ireland, where Dr. Culleton helped facilitate their research. Serving complimentary pizza, dessert, and soft drinks, this event is invitation-only.  

Tu 1 Nov • From 8:00 pm • Another reunion! Veterans of CIRT's Summer Term B Full Term in Ireland Program are receiving email invitations from Center faculty member Dr. Dustin Anderson to dine and reminisce with Dr. Culleton. Entering its ninth consecutive year in 2017, the Full Term in Ireland initiative owes a big debt to Dr. Culleton for exposing Georgia Southern University students to first-order participative learning through a variety of educational and cultural opportunities in multiple Irish locales.

We 2 Nov • From 9:05 am - 1:10 pm • Various venues • Dr. Culleton interacts with students in three Irish Studies courses: Irish-American History since 175oIrish Global Literatures; and Religion and Irish Identity. Afterwards, over lunch at Dining Commons, he discusses existing and potential new study-in-Ireland options with various Georgia Southern faculty members.   

We 2 Nov • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm • In collaboration with the University Honors Program's Living-Learning Community, CIRT hosts—in Centennial Place Café—an open-to-all Information Session about the 2017 (fourth annual) iteration of the Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program, which coincides with Summer Term A. Dr. Culleton and former participants are on hand to provide insights as the Program's Georgia Southern faculty leaders explain this unique opportunity. Open to Honors and other high-ability undergraduate students, it offers six hours of academic credit, based on primary-source research conducted in Savannah (over three weeks) and then Wexford and Dublin (over two weeks). 

Th 3 Nov • The graduate students and faculty members associated with the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project spend the day with Dr. Culleton at two Savannah archives essential to the Wexford-Savannah Axis project. In the morning, Luciana Spracher, Director of the City of Savannah's Research Library and Municipal Library, shares some of that body's rich set of historical papers. In the afternoon, the party conducts primary-source research at Hodgson Hall, the world-famous Research Center of the Georgia Historical Society (founded in 1839).  Over lunch, Dr. Culleton interfaces with a couple of members of the Savannah Irish community who've generously supported the Wexford-Savannah Axis project since its inception in March 2014.  

SAMHAIN 4 ••• Wednesday 9 November 2016 • 4:00 pm • Domain: THEATER ARTS, LITERATURE • Free and Open to All • Venue: College of Education Auditorium (Room 1115), Georgia Southern University Campus • From the stage of Dublin's famed Abbey Theater to HBO's Game of Thrones, Irish actor Barry McGovern is a leading international star. After the drama of the General Election on the prior day, join us during the afternoon of We 9 Nov to enjoy McGovern reading—as only he can—selections from the recently launched fourth and final volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The most revolutionary dramatist of his generation, Beckett (1906-1989) was born in Dublin; however, he spent most of his adult life in France. Winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature, he was both fastidious and self-deprecating. His letters reveal those qualities, as well as his being the best of friends.  

Barry Mc Govern's acting credits span movies (Joe Versus the VolcanoBraveheart, etc.); television (The TudorsGame of Thrones, etc.); and theater. He was a member of the Company of the Abbey, Ireland's national theater; and he has performed on major stages throughout the English-speaking world. Respecting his one-man show I'll Go On, based on the life of playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett, the New York Times commented, "brilliant." For its part, Time magazine said, "An outright triumph...arrestingly funny."

McGovern's visit to Georgia is a joint production of the Laney Graduate School of Emory University; the Center for Irish Studies at Emory University; the Willson Center for the Humanities at the University of Georgia; and the Center for Irish Research and Teaching at Georgia Southern University.

The 2016 Fred and Donna Sanders Lecture in Irish Studies

Barry McGovern Reads from the Letters of Samuel Beckett

Join us at 4:00 pm on Wednesday 9 November 2016 in Room 1115 of the College of Education

Free and Open to All • Proof of Attendance Provided

Collins Scholarship

For the Center for Irish Research and Teaching (CIRT), no higher priority exists than opening opportunities for our students, a considerable number of whom are the first in their families to attend university. Thanks to the generosity and vision of the Collins family—especially Mr. Thomas Collins of Bluffton, South Carolina—we were pleased and proud to initiate in early 2016 a new, endowed scholarship: the Helen Ryan Collins Memorial Scholarship in Irish Studies. 

Named to honor a woman with roots in the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) in Ireland's southwestern county of Kerry, the scholarship provides $1,000 per award. It seeks to assist students whose course of study features significant Irish and/or Irish-American content and would be enhanced by financial support. The late Helen Ryan Collins (captured in the image to the left) believed in American opportunity and the values of hard work and loyalty to one's heritage.

Helen Ryan Collins was a strong women. Upon losing her parents as a teenager, she raised her younger brother. Widowed at only 21, when her husband passed due to service in World War II, she successfully raised her son, despite challenging economic circumstances. In her forties, she realized a long-held dream of earning a college degree, which she subsequently used to build a fruitful career as an investigator and mediator with the State of New York.

Throughout her long life (1926-2015), Helen Ryan Collins loved and honored both the United States and Ireland. She taught her son to cherish the uniqueness and worth of his Irish patrimony. In addition, she took her grandchildren to Ireland to experience firsthand the country in general, but especially her ancestral region of Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula. A spectacular peak, the mountain is named for the a local saint, Brendan the Navigator, whose sixth-century voyage to the Isle of the Blessed—thought by some to be America—seems a fitting metaphor for the boldness and the desire to discover that, year after year, our Irish Studies students manifest. The Collins family and its friends are making the dreams of deserving students substantially more possible, and we're hugely grateful.

The application for the second Helen Ryan Collins Memorial Scholarship in Irish Studies closes on  20 April 2017. To review full details, click here

The scholarship fund is managed by the non-profit Georgia Southern University Foundation. Should you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to build it further, click here and cite the Scholarship's unique four-digit number—3760—when designating your gift. Alternatively, contact Sue Bunning, the Foundation officer whose responsibilities include the Center for Irish Research and Teaching. Sue's direct line is (912) 536-5759, and her email is sbunning@georgiasouthern.edu.  Thank you: bail ó Dhia ort.

"She has been too good, she has done too much, she has worked too hard" • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (author of Doubt) on Patricia Harty's publishing career.

"She has been too good, she has done too much, she has worked too hard" • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (author of Doubt) on Patricia Harty's publishing career.

Spotlight • Spotsolas

Fifth Distinguished Lecture

7:00 pm • Mo 11 Apr 2016

At 7:00 pm on Monday 11 April 2016, CIRT proudly presented the Fifth Annual Distinguished Lecture in Irish Studies, with help from other campus entities. We were privileged to welcome as speaker Ms. Patricia Harty, the co-founder (in 1985) and Editor-in-Chief of the leading publication in its field: Irish America Magazine. The venue, on the Georgia Southern University Campus, was the Auditorium (Room 1915) of the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. The primary sponsor was the Fred and Donna Sanders Fund for Lectures in Irish Studies—Account 0777 (contribute here)—and the secondary sponsor was the Multicultural Student Center. Additional funding came from (in alphabetical order): the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; the Department of Communication Arts; the Department of Political Science and International Studies; the Office of International Programs and Services; and the University Honors Program. 

Click image for full-size version of official event poster. 

One indication of the esteem in which Harty is held was her receipt on 23 October 2015 of the Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, a leading plaudit for service to Americans of Irish descent or birth. Over 34,580,000 US citizens self-identity as Irish-American, and perhaps no one has achieved more than Harty as regards knitting them together and reminding them of their inheritance. A native of the county of Tipperary in Ireland's southern province of Munster, Harty has become a role model for women in journalism—and in educational and community service. Her board positions include Glucksman Ireland House (New York University's Irish Studies unit); the Irish Repertory Theater of New York; and Women of Concern, a fundraising arm of the Irish-based relief organization Concern Worldwide.

Harty's list of interviewees for Irish America Magazine constitutes a "who's who": Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, novelist Pat Conroy, General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck, and multiple others. One of her annual endeavors is the Irish America Hall of Fame. On 30 March 2016, at a special awards ceremony in New York City, Harty hosted this year's inductees: Astronaut Eileen Collins, NASA's first female space-shuttle commander; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey; novelist, essayist, and journalist Pete Hamill; and special consultant at Mutual of America Edward J.T. Kenney. Also present was former President Bill Clinton, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his seminal role in helping negotiate the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. That compact brought peace to Northern Ireland after the three decades of ethno-sectarian and political violence known as The Troubles.

CIRT Director Howard Keeley PhD reflects, "A fifth anniversary is always significant, and Patricia Harty's acceptance of our invitation to present the Distinguished Lecture in Irish Studies underscored that the Center has—by dint of hard work and dedicated fundraising—established itself as an international-grade academic unit. Hosting Ms. Harty was an honor, and I know she thoroughly enjoyed interacting with our students, both after the lecture on Monday evening and during a coffee on Wednesday morning." Another highlight was her CIRT-hosted Tuesday in Savannah, which centered on a meeting with members of the Harty-Abbott family, one of the city's most respected Irish lines. According to Keeley, "In addition to Ms. Jane Abbot and her children, Ms. Ann Devane and Mr. Anthony Abbott, we're indebted to Dr. Francis P. Rossiter, Jr., and Monsignor William Oliver O'Neill for their graciousness in revealing to our esteemed guest key elements of Savannah's Irish story."

30 March 2016: Patricia Harty presents Irish America Magazine's 2016 Hall of Fame Award (by the House of Waterford Crystal) to Colonel Eileen Collins (left) and General Martin E. Dempsey (center). On the same occasion, she honors President Bill Clinton with the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award (right).   

"To transmit to you the last newest news" • Thomas Moore, from "News for Country Cousins" (1826)

"To transmit to you the last newest news" • Thomas Moore, from "News for Country Cousins" (1826)

Selected Headlines

23-26 June 2016 • A scholar of Irish philosophy of the long eighteenth century (1650-1800), CIRT faculty member Bill Eaton presents a keynote lecture at the 5th Annual Robert Boyle Summer School. Deemed the "father of modern chemistry," Boyle was a native of Lismore, Co. Waterford, site of the Summer School or multi-day academic gathering. Eaton's topic is The Origin of Forms and Qualities (1666), a book-length Boyle treatise blending science and philosophy. • Eaton's contribution complements his working with the CIRT Director and a team from Kilkenny College, Ireland, to successfully produce a major international symposium, Educating the Irish Genius, at Kilkenny College in June 2014. 

27 April 2016 • Accompanied by the CIRT Director, Irish Studies Master's student Brittany Sealey offers an invited presentation of findings from her primary-source research before 25 members of Savannah's Catholic Cemetery Preservation Society. Among those present is Most Rev. J. Kevin Boland, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Savannah. Throughout the 2015-16 academic year, Brittany has been exploring material related to Catholic Cemetery housed at the Diocese of Savannah Archives and the City of Savannah Archives. A special focus: the impact upon the Cemetery of the yellow-fever epidemic that struck Savannah—including many recently arrived Irish immigrants—in 1854, just a year after the burial ground's establishment by Dublin-born Bishop Gartland. On display during Brittany's lunchtime presentation is an undated (probably early-twentieth-century) map of the Cemetery that she and diocesan archivist Katy Pereira discovered. Very significantly, the document reveals for the first time the location of the Cemetery's Free Ground, where large numbers of yellow-fever victims were interred. CIRT is privileged to be working with the Savannah community to honor the city's unique and diverse Irish heritage.   

24 April 2016 • At the Savannah Arts Academy, CIRT helps host the orientation session for the Savannah Children's Choir, in anticipation of its Tenth Anniversary Tour of Ireland. 

15 & 16 April 2016 • CIRT features at the 2016 (27th annual) meeting of ACIS-South—the Southern Chapter of the American Conference for Irish Studies—whose theme is Pre-Revolutionary Ireland. In addition to creating the event's website, we deliver two faculty members, each of whom presents scholarship and also chairs a panel. The papers: Howard Keeley's "Sydney Owenson and the 'Jesuitism the age will bear': Pre-Revolutionary Anxiety in The O’Briens and the O’Flahertys" (10:45 am on 15 April); Marti Lee's "Yeats and Monty Python: Heroes and Farces" (9:00 am on 16 April). • Delivered by Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Modern Irish History at the University of Oxford, the conference keynote concerns the "pre-revolutionary generation" whose activities led to Ireland's Easter 1916 Rising. • CIRT has a proud history of engagement with ACIS-South. It hosted the organization's 2009 and 2011 conferences in Savannah. And with Emory University's Center for Irish Studies, it co-hosted the 2013 gathering in Decatur (an in-town suburb of Atlanta). Between them, those three conferences featured memorable keynoters, not least: Mick Moloney, Global Distinguished Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology at New York University; Lucy McDiarmid, Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University; Seán Ó Sé, Ard Ollamh (high bard) of traditional Irish music; and Seamus Heaney, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

11 April 2016 • WIth assistance from the Multicultural Student Center and other campus entities, CIRT hosts the Fifth Annual Distinguished Lecture in Irish Studies: 7:00 pm in the Auditorium (Room 1915) of the Nessmith-Lane Building. The speaker, Patricia Harty, is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of Irish-America Magazine, as well as the principal of the Irish America Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, this native of Co. Tipperary was honored with the Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, a leading plaudit within the vast Irish-American community. • The day after her campus  lecture, Ms. Harty joins another CIRT guest, Mr. Seán Reidy—one of our valued, Ireland-based supporters—to enjoy aspects of the Tipperary and Wexford legacies in Savannah. The experience is graciously hosted by the Abbott family, Dr. Francis P. Rossiter, Jr., and Monsignor William Oliver O'Neill. • For additional coverage of Patricia Harty at Georgia Southern, please see our Spotsolas ("Spotlight") feature near the top of this webpage.

Occupying Ireland's southeast corner—and essentially coterminous with the diocese of Ferns—Wexford (or Loch Garman) was the county of origin of many of Savannah's Irish families. The WEX-SAV logo represents our Wexford-Savannah Axis research project. 

8 April 2016 • Two graduate students and a dozen undergraduate students gather in Eidson House (the Honors Program HQ) for their inaugural, two-hour orientation ahead of the May-June 2016 Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program, which is dedicated to immersing high-achieving students in substantive archival and field research that advances the Wexford-Savannah Axis project. Thanks to the generosity of donors in and beyond Savannah, each of the participating students (selected by a rigorous application process) is receiving a $1,500 scholarship. The CIRT Director remarks, "Our ability to award $21,000 in scholarships this year underscores, first, that our stakeholders deem this research worthwhile and, second, that they recognize our track-record of productivity, despite the project's being only two years old." You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Wexford-Savannah Axis Research Fund (Account 0968 at the Georgia Southern University Foundation) by clicking here.  

6 April 2016 • Following a competitive selection process, CIRT student Aleyna Rentz serves as the official Student Speaker for Georgia Southern University's Honors Day Ceremony. Her topic is the transformative worth of undergraduate research, which she experienced as a participant in the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project during the summers of 2014 and 2015. 

1 & 2 April 2016 • Two faculty members affiliated with CIRT present scholarship at the National Conference of the leading professional organization in the US dedicated to Irish Studies. The venue for the 2016 (54th annual) meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies is the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame. The event's theme is The Worlding of Irish Studies. At 11:00 am on Friday 1 April, Marti Lee PhD delivers "Yeats, Cúchulainn, and the Rising," a paper examining Yeats's one-act play At the Hawk's Well, first performed in 1916. At 9:00 am the following day, Rebecca Ziegler PhD offers "Two Ambivalent Irishmen: Novelist J.G. Farrell and Painter Francis Bacon."   

1 April 2016 • Aubrey Trevathan, a veteran of the 2015 iteration of CIRT's Full Term in Ireland Program presents a Global Ambassador lecture to students attending Langston Chapel, a public middle school close to Georgia Southern University's campus. The Superintendent of the Bulloch County School System, Charles Wilson, remarks, "As educators, we value beyond words the willingness of students like Aubrey to bring international perspectives into our middle-grade classrooms." The illustrated talk enthuses the young people, who absorb Aubrey's message about "broadening my horizons during the best summer of my life."  

17 March 2016 • The CIRT Director is honored by an invitation to provide the keynote "The Day We Celebrate" speech at the Hibernian Society of Savannah's 204th Annual St. Patrick's Day Banquet. He centers his address on Daniel O'Connell's so-called Monster Meeting, held in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, on 20 June 1838. The great-grandparents of many Banquet attendees would likely have heard O'Connell, the Liberator, on that occasion, when he invoked the "angel wing...of freedom" before asserting, "We will soon—Protestant and Catholic, Presbyterian and Dissenter, all—all be combined. We are working for all, not for a few. The morning of liberty is dawning upon us, and Old Ireland shall be a nation." Past guest speakers at the Banquet have included several sitting US Presidents.  

14-17 March 2016 • Gaining extensive media coverage on campus and in both Savannah and Ireland, CIRT partners with the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) to host an official, multi-day trade and cultural delegation from the county of Wexford, Ireland, among whose members are the County Council's Vice-Chair, Kathleen Codd-Nolan, and its Chief Executive, Tom Enright. One highlight of the visit—a superb outcome of CIRT's Wexford-Savannah Axis research—is a presentation by the 66th Mayor of Savannah, Eddie DeLoach, of the Key of the City of Savannah to the people of the county of Wexford, Ireland, represented by Hon. Paul Kehoe, a Teachta Dála (i.e. Congressman) for Wexford and a Minister of the Government in Ireland's national parliament. The CIRT Director comments, "Upon launching the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project, we promised economic outcomes. Thanks to the support network we've built in Savannah, we're thrilled to be delivering them—within but also well beyond heritage tourism—for both our home city of Savannah and Wexford, from whence so many emigrated to the Hostess City. At Georgia Southern, we link research to economic development, and CIRT takes that mission seriously." Wexford Chief Executive Enright reflects, "From the official Georgia Southern reception, hosted by President Jean Bartels, to our meetings with SEDA, Visit Savannah, the Georgia Ports Authority, the Mayor, and others, the visit—which we'll reciprocate in September—constitutes a significant outcome of the Wexford-Savannah Axis initiative."

2016 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Grand Marshal Michael A. Foran at the Celtic Cross Ceremony in Emmet Park, Bay Street, Savannah, on the Sunday preceding the Parade.

2016 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Grand Marshal Michael A. Foran at the Celtic Cross Ceremony in Emmet Park, Bay Street, Savannah, on the Sunday preceding the Parade.

14 March 2016 • Authored by CIRT, an article about Ireland's Easter 1916 Rising occupies three full pages in the 2016 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Magazine, a publication read by tens of thousands. CIRT congratulates Mr. Michael J. (Jerry) Hogan, Jr., on his appointment as General Chairman of the 2016 Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee. It also celebrates Mr. Michael A. Foran, elected unanimously to serve as Grand Marshal of the 2016 Parade, the 192nd to march through Savannah's Historic District and the second-largest in North America. Reacting to Foran's investiture, US Congressman Buddy Carter recognized the new Grand Marshal, a renowned Savannah River Pilot, as "a great example" of a community servant. 

4 March 2016 • Two CIRT graduate students and their two professors constitute an invited panel at the Transnational Journalism History Conference, held at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, and attended by scholars from the US, the UK, and Ireland. Curating selected images of articles and advertisements from mid-nineteenth-century Irish and Georgia regional newspapers, the Georgia Southern researchers reveal how core elements of the Wexford-Savannah Axis narrative emerged as a result of analyzing the press. • Notable in addition are four recent public presentations by CIRT about the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project to the following audiences: the Georgia Southern Henderson Library International Journeys Series on 27 January 2016; the Sun City-Hilton Head (South Carolina) Irish Heritage Society on 16 February 2016; the Georgia Southern University Savannah Business Alumni Luncheon on 24 March 2016; and the Statesboro Downtown Rotary Club on 31 March 2016.   

9 February 2015 • CIRT receives a $27,500 private donation to establish at endowed status the Helen Ryan Collins Memorial Scholarship in Irish Studies: Account 3760 at the Georgia Southern University Foundation (contribute here). Named to honor a remarkable Irish-American woman with roots in the Dingle Peninsula of Kerry, in southwestern Ireland, the scholarship provides $1,000 per award. It seeks to assist students whose course of study features significant Irish and/or Irish-American content and would be enhanced by financial support. The late Ms. Collins believed in American opportunity and the values of hard work and loyalty to one's heritage. Georgia Southern University is grateful to the Collins family for its generosity and vision as it honors its matriarch by helping to transmit Irish culture and traditions to the rising generation. Information on how to apply is available here.

7 January 2016 • The CIRT Director appears on the 100-person guest list for the official US launch of Ireland's Easter 1916 Rising Centenary Program at the Irish Consulate in New York City. The event features formal remarks by Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, and the country's Ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson. On the steps of the Consulate, the Director comments, "This invitation constitutes an outstanding honor for our Center, confirming that it's regarded as an essential element in Irish-American leadership. We've come a long way from very modest beginnings." Among other offerings, the cultural portion of the launch includes a performance by the Wexford tenor Anthony Kearns and a reading by the Dublin novelist and National Book Award winner Colum McCann.  

18 November 2015 • In the presence of Georgia Southern University's Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the Irish Consul General for the Southeastern US, Shane Stephens, officially affirms CIRT's receipt of a $35,000 competitive grant from the Irish Government's diaspora unit to advance the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project. The announcement occurs during a CIRT-hosted event at the Savannah Golf Club, America's oldest golf club. Present are around 100 invited guests from Savannah's Irish community, gathered for a Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving, as CIRT expresses gratitude for their support of the research and to report on progress over the past twelve months. The evening includes five poster presentations by undergraduate students who participated in the research as part of the 2015 iteration of CIRT's Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program, a five-week, six-credit opportunity offered during the early summer. 

"[W]e must act of our own choice" • Letter from Joseph Mary Plunkett to Roger Casement (6 April 1916)

"[W]e must act of our own choice" • Letter from Joseph Mary Plunkett to Roger Casement (6 April 1916)

Éirí Amach na Casca 1916

CIRT is both participating in and originating events that mark, assess, and respond to the centenary of the Easter Rising, which raged in central Dublin for a week, beginning on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916. Although they surrendered, the insurgents proclaimed Poblacht na hÉireann (the Irish Republic), changing Ireland utterly, as poet W.B. Yeats famously remarked.

On the eve of his execution, rebel leader Patrick Pearse recollected his statement to the Court Martial: "I am speaking to Englishmen who value their freedom and who profess to be fighting for the freedom of Belgium and Serbia. Believe that we [the Irish], too, love freedom and desire it. To us it is more desirable than anything in the world." All history is complicated: during the last three days of the Rising, around 1,260 nationalist Irishmen in British army uniforms—members of the 16th (Irish) Division—became victims of a German gas attack at Hulluch, near Loos in northern France. They believed they were fighting for the liberation of Belgium, a small, mainly Catholic country.

Taken on Easter Monday 2016, the image (above) shows the Irish President, Dr. Michael D. Higgins, laying a commemorative wreath at the site where Pearse read the Proclamation, outside Dublin's General Post Office, rebel HQ. Historian Dorothy Mcardle opined in 1937 that the Rising "united...the passion for freedom and social justice" with "the ideal of a civilization inherently Irish." Here are just a few of CIRT's numerous activities in connection with the centenary.

On 25 Feb 2016, noted scholar of Irish theater John Countryman PhD (Berry College) provided in-class lectures—to the Irish Culture course and the Irish Literature since 1850 course—about seminal plays associated with the Rising: Gregory and Yeats's Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902) and O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars (1926). That evening, to help CIRT advance its public-service mission, he addressed the Spring Gathering of the W.B. Yeats Society of Savannah on the topic of Yeats's 1931 drama The Dreaming of the Bones, whose central protagonist, having served "in the Post Office," fears that "if taken | I shall be put against a wall and shot."

The CIRT Director presented various programs about the Rising to such audiences as the Sun City-Hilton Head (South Carolina) Irish Heritage Society on 20 October 2015; the Savannah Irish Festival on 20 February 2016; the University of South Carolina-Beaufort on 26 February 2016; and the Bulloch County (Georgia) Historical Society on 28 March 2016.

CIRT is an important player in producing the 2016 Conference of ACIS-South (the Southern Chapter of the American Conference for Irish Studies), being held in Atlanta over 14-16 April 2016 and featuring as principal speaker the Carroll Professor of Modern Irish History at Oxford University, Roy F. Foster PhD, whose topic will be "I Am Changing, and Things Around Me Change": The Making of a Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1916.

"These days I want to trace | the shape of every townland in this valley | ... | tender in the near blue distance" • Kerry Hardie, from "We Change the Map" (1996) 

"These days I want to trace | the shape of every townland in this valley | ... | tender in the near blue distance" • Kerry Hardie, from "We Change the Map" (1996) 

Study in Ireland

Internationalizing your profile constitutes a smart investment, whether your next-step goal is employment or a graduate or professional program. Many universities highlight Study Abroad among their competitive advantages, and CIRT is proud to advance that outcome for Georgia Southern University through programs characterized by academic integrity, safety and comfort, and value for money. 

Each year, CIRT provides three exciting summer options for full-credit study in Ireland, with all courses countable on your Georgia Southern academic transcript. Each of our Ireland-based courses can—but doesn't have to—be applied towards the 15-credit-hour Minor in Irish Studies. Every available 2016 slot has been filled, but the following information will apply in 2017. To schedule a conversation to discuss the study-in-Ireland option of your choice—plus available scholarships and other financial aid—please send an email with the subject line Study-in-Ireland Meeting to irish@georgiasouthern.edu

Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program

Offered during the five weeks of Summer Term A, the Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program consists of a pair of competitive-entry, research-intensive undergraduate courses worth six credit hours in total. Each year's dozen or so selected students boost their professional résumés by conducting—and also presenting—primary-source and field research linked to the Wexford-Savannah Axis project, which investigates the direct migration pathway that emerged from the late 1840s between Wexford, Ireland's most southeastern county, and the port city of Savannah, Georgia. Usually, the group also includes one or two graduate students whose thesis work centers on the Axis phenomenon. Thus far, we've been able to provide scholarship support to all participating undergraduate and graduate students, and our ambition is to continue that practice as fully as possible. CIRT is thrilled to conduct the Savannah-Ireland Inquiry Program in association with Georgia Southern University's Honors Program, although you don't have to be an Honors student to participate. The initial three weeks are spent on campus and at a variety of archives and historically important sites in Savannah. Then the research team flies to Ireland for two weeks, spread across several venues. We enjoy a span of overnights in the following three places: first, the city of Waterford; next, the town of Wexford; last, the city Dublin. While in Ireland's cosmopolitan capital—to exploit the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland—students reside at the University of Dublin-Trinity College, Ireland's oldest and most prestigious seat of higher learning.  

Full Term in Ireland Program

Throughout the five weeks of Summer Term B, the Full Term in Ireland Program yields up to seven credit hours, based on a student's selections from an eight- to ten-course menu that reflects a range of disciplines. Featuring accredited University System of Georgia faculty members, the entire Program is based at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), a 10,000-student, doctoral-research university in Waterford, Ireland's oldest city. Thanks to CIRT's efforts, Georgia Southern University has an official Memorandum of Understanding with WIT. Sixty undergraduate students a year participate in the Full Term in Ireland Program, which will celebrate its ninth anniversary in 2017, having become one of the largest and most successful study-in-Ireland offerings from any North American source. Students enjoy three-day weekends for independent exploration of the safe and friendly Emerald Isle, but they also travel an average of 150 miles per week in connection with their courses' immersive educational field trips. While the Program originated at the Center for Irish Research and Teaching and counts Georgia Southern students as its largest group, it is open to enrolled undergraduates at most universities and colleges in the University System of Georgia (with online payments being made through the secure Touchnet service overseen by Valdosta State University). The principal webpage for this CIRT-based, CIRT-dependent opportunity has been developed by the European Council of the University System of Georgia. It's available here.    

Summer Graduate-Research Fellowship in Ireland

Available for between three and five (and sometimes more) weeks during June and July, our third study-in-Ireland option caters to graduate students. Called the Summer Graduate-Research Fellowship in Ireland, this opportunity permits up to three graduate students per year to reside at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) while prosecuting advisor-approved research agenda (the plural of agendum) that advance Master's level theses and doctoral dissertations. Room charges are waived, thanks to the generosity of our partner university, WIT. More good news: some additional grant monies are generally available through CIRT and the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, so communicating with the CIRT Director is an essential first step. In addition to other mandatory material (such as letters of recommendation), each applicant is required to submit a prospectus detailing the what, why, how, and where of the proposed Ireland-based research. In the past, projects have included a study of hydroponic solutions for extending Ireland's strawberry growing season; an investigation into visual and written constructions of masculinity by the Gaelic Athletic Association during its first four decades; and an analysis of the fate—and various commemorations—of those members of the British Army's so-called Sherwood Foresters regiment dispatched to Dublin upon the outbreak of the Easter 1916 Rising.