This blog tracks the experience of engaging in ‘Irish Studies’ while living in Ireland. I only discovered the existence of this subject a year or so ago, while treating myself to an interdisciplinary arts master’s at Oxford. Up to that point I had thought there was Irish literature and Irish history, and the discovery that there were academics in Britain, America and elsewhere beetling away in an interdisciplinary fashion on anything to do with Ireland was eye-opening. When I found there was a taught course in Ireland itself I signed on super-fast.
And so I came to Cork, and here I am learning about Ireland, its representations and identities, via archaeology, history, sociology, literature and material culture – and I’ve probably omitted something. This blog is part of the course. I’ve used it to talk about books I’ve read, plays I’ve seen, seminars I’ve attended, history I’ve learned. I have tried not to make it self-indulgent, and to keep it entertaining.
Living and studying at UCC, I have become more conscious of a phenomenon that must have existed from the days of the Flight of the Earls: many more people than live on this island regard themselves and want to be accepted as Irish; many more think they know what it means to be Irish. Countless numbers have presumed to define Ireland and the Irish. These posts touch on some of these themes. I’ve taken a pop at smooth-tongued abusers of Irish hospitality, from a twelfth-century Cambro-Norman calumniator to a twenty-first century London playwright.
Welcome. Read on, get in touch, disagree..