Irish Studies

Events and Conferences

A Call for Papers - DEADLINE IS MARCH 1ST!

North American Gaels: Language, Literature, Lore
Saint Mary’s University
18-19 June 2021

This conference seeks to build on the work of the Harvard Symposium on North American Gaelic Literature held at Harvard University in October 2017.

The conference organisers invite proposals for academic papers (20 minutes in length) exploring the history and presence of the Gaelic languages in North America, documenting the stories and experiences of Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx speakers, and tracing the languages’ cultural and literary footprints on this continent.

We welcome proposals from established and emerging scholars, including graduate students.

Paper topics could include:
— The history of Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx in North America.
— Irish and Scottish Gaelic manuscripts in and from North America.
— Folk culture as mediated through the Gaelic languages in North America.
— Irish and Scottish Gaelic in print in North American newspapers and journals, historic and contemporary.
— Language communities or networks, past and present, e.g., Scottish Gaelic in Nova Scotia, Irish in Boston.
— Profiles of prominent North America-based Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx-speaking individuals.
— Recent sources for the study of Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx speakers in North America.
— The status of the Gaelic languages in North American academia.
— New speakers of Irish and Scottish Gaelic in North America: opportunities and obstacles.
— Historic and contemporary Irish-language and Scottish Gaelic writing from and about North America.
— Encounters between Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers and other language communities in North America, including the Indigenous Peoples.

The conference’s keynote speakers are Máirín Nic Eoin (Dublin City University) and Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul (formerly of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye).

Conference organisers: Pádraig Ó Siadhail (Saint Mary’s University), Natasha Sumner (Harvard University), Aidan Doyle (University College Cork).


Past Conferences

  • 2019 Queering Ireland: Queer Intersections/Queer Abilities - September 27-28 in Kingsburg, NS.
  • Beckett Beyond the 'Normal' - July 28-29, 2017; The 3rd Annual Conference of the Samuel Beckett Society, Saint Mary's University
  • Queering Ireland 2017 - Queer Time(s) - May 18-20, 2017 at the University of South Carolina
  • The Easter Rising & Its Aftermath - October 22nd, Ottawa by CAIS - Canadian Association for Irish Studies.
  • 2015 Queering Ireland - University College, Dublin (August 12-14, 2015) Here is the Queering Ireland 2015‌ program. 
  • 2015 Conference - CAIS/ACDI Conference - Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (May 20-22, 2015)
  • Dalhousie Gaelic Colloquium - This was the second Gaelic colloquium that Dalhousie hosted. Guest speakers were: Frances MacEachern (Gaelic Affairs Division, Government of Nova Scotia), Michael Linkletter (Celtic Studies, St. Francis Xavier University, Amy Mitchell (Irish Studies, Saint Mary's University), and Heather Sparling (Department of Heritage and Culture, Cape Breton University).  [Programme]‌‌ (March 14, 2015)
  • Ireland in Pyschoanalysis: An International Conference‌ - Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (August 22-23, 2014)
  • Dalhousie Gaelic Colloquium - Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (January 24-25, 2014)
  • Queering Ireland 2013: Queer Irish Diaspors - University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA
  • Samuel Beckett: Form and History - Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (June 28-30, 2013)
  • 2013 Conference - CAIS/ACDI Conference - Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
  • Ireland and Empire: Seafaring, Slavery and Salvation in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World - Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (June 7-9, 2012)
  • An Fiche Bliain atá Romhainn: Taighde agus Teagasc na Gaeilge i Meiriceá Thuaidh - Concordia University, Ottawa
  • 2012 Conference - CAIS/ACDI Conference - University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Queering Ireland 2: Coming Out in Contemporary Ireland - Cork University, Ireland
  • 2011 Conference - CAIS/ACDI Conference - Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
  • 2010 Conference - CAIS/ACDI Conference
  • 2009 Queering Ireland - QueeringIrelandSchedule

Past Events

  • March 6, 2020 - Biddy Jenkinson, an Irish-language poet spoke at the D'Arcy McGee Lecture entitled "Why do you write in Irish?"
  • February 13, 2020 - Dr. John Shaw, Honarary Fellow, Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh did a presentation on "Hard Questions, Emerging Answers: Why Gaelic in Nova Scotia Matters"
  • September 30, 2019 - Knuckles documentary screening put on by Peaceful Schools along with the department of Modern Languages & Classics. 
  • March 15, 2019 - 2019 Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture - CodCo reunites
  • March 5, 2019 - Cormac O'Malley gave talk on "Irish Nationalism, 1886-1924, and Ernie O'Malley's IRA role, 1916-1924."
  • October 24, 2018 - Giving Celtic Context was a prelude event for the Halifax Celtic Festival. Professor Neil Ó Briain gave insight into Irish Language-based culture and Musical Sharing in Modern Perspectives. He also peformed for the audience.
  • October 23, 2018 - "The Legacy of Terry Punch" by Bruce S. Elliott, history professor with Carlton University. Held at the Central Library - Paul O'Regan Hall. 
  • October 20, 2018 - Halifax book launch of A Land of Dreams: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Irish in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Maine, 1880-1923 by Dr. Patrick Mannion, a pre-course instructor with Memorial University.
  • April 28, 2018 - Lá Gaeilge Halifax/Halifax Irish Language Day
  • March 17, 2018 - D'Arcy McGee Lecture - Dr. Joe Valente gave a talk entitled "From Whiteboys to White Nationalism: Reading James Joyce in the Age of Trump"
  • March 2, 2018 - 2018 Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture - Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, the celebrated Irish poet, gave this year's lecture at Saint Mary’s University. Live music provided by the Maritime Brass Quintet. Reception provided by the Dean of Arts.
  • January 27, 2018 - Puck of the Irish - Poc na nGael - A film exploring the Irish connections to the creation of hockey.
  • O‌ctober 5, 2017 - Masculinity and its Discontents: Three Lectures - Dr. Seán Kennedy will give a short series of public lectures starting October 5th. 
    • 22nd October: ‘The phallus: an introduction’
    • 5th November: ‘Homo Economicus: an elegy’
    • 26th November: ‘Economic castration and the hypermasculine’
  • November 9, 2017 - Northern Ireland Peace Process, 1994-2017. What of the future? Peaceful Schools International hosted General de Chastelain. 
  • September 26, 2017 - Genetic Insights into the Population of Ireland was presented by Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.
  • September 22, 2017 - LIPS Talk! What: Bilingual life after school: Opportunity, choice and ideology among former Gaelic-medium students - the Linguistics program hosted Dr. Stuart Dunmore of the School of Literature, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • March 30, 2017 - Biopolitical Beckett Lecture - lecture is presented by Dr. Seán Kennedy is Professor of English and Coordinator of Irish Studies.
  • March 27, 2017 - Gaelic Football Demonstration - Professor John Prendergast hosted a dmonstration with members from the local GAA team.
  • March 3, 2017 - What Should I Read? Proposing a Canon for Literature in Irish - the D'Arcy McGee Lecture 2017 - Philip O’Leary, Professor of English at Boston College and a faculty member in Boston College’s Irish Studies Program, is one of the foremost authorities on twentieth-century literature in Irish.
  • November 2, 2016 - Healing Divided Societies: The Forum for Cities in Transition - Round table led by Padraig O'Malley.
  • April 3, 2016 - Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising 2016 Centenary – held at the Halifax Central Library, O’Regan Theatre.
    • Silent newsreel footage from 1916, with musical accompaniment
    • The response of the Irish in Halifax – Dr. Patrick Mannion, Memorial University
  • April 1, 2016 - The Annual D’Arcy McGee Lecture in Irish Studies: Waking the Feminists? Ireland’s National Theatre in 2016 – Emer O’Toole from the School of Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University, joined us for a discussion of the status of women in Ireland’s national theatre movement on the centenary of the 1916 Rising.
  • March 11, 2016 - The Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture. Canada Poet Laureate – George Elliott Clarke read from work never before heard in public. Musical guest was ECMA Winning Gospel/Jazz Singer Linda Carvery.
  • October 6, 2015 - Paula Meehan, Ireland's Professor of Poetry (2013-2016)
  • March 20, 2015 - D'Arcy McGee Lecture - Dr. Nicholas Wolf discussed the language shift that occured in Ireland in the Nineteenth Century in his talk entitled "The Other 'Silence'?". 
  • March 18, 2015 - Éibhear Walshe – “Oscar Wilde’s Trial: a reading from the novel The Diary of Mary Travers”.
  • March 17, 2015 - St. Patrick's Lunch - information session was for students interested in the Irish Studies Program
  • March 16, 2015 – Éibhear Walshe – “Re-making Henry James: Colm Tóibín’s The Master”.
  • March 13, 2015 - the 9th Annual Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture we hosted Emma Donoghue, the acclaimed author of RoomFrog Music and Slammerkin.
  • February 10,2015 - A Poet and a Pint Series - Dr. Seán Kennedy lead out in discussion on the American poet John Ashbery at the Old Triangle.
  • January 21, 2015 - Dr. Pádraig Ó Siadhail participated in the Faculty Author Series where he discussed his newly published book Katherine Hughes: A Life and A Journey.  The Patrick Power Library has been show casing new publications by faculty of Saint Mary's University.
  • November 14 and 15, 2014 - Book launch for Katherine Hughes: A Life and A Journey by Dr. Pádraig Ó Siadhail.
  • April 23, 2014 – Scarce Heard Amid the Guns: Songs of the Great War period with Professor Joseph Murphy. This was a lecture in the Irish Lecture Series at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • April 16, 2014 – Irish Theatre and World War I with Dr. Ariel Watson. This was a lecture in the Irish Lecture Series at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • April 9, 2014 - From Canadian Imperialist to Irish Republican: Katherine Hughes' Political Epiphany, 1913-1914 with Dr. Pádraig Ó Siadhail. This was a lecture in the Irish Lecture Series at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • April 2, 2014 - Recruiting and Remembering: Irish Soldiers and the Great War with Dr. Michael Vance. This was a lecture in the Irish Lecture Series at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • March 30, 2014 - Bloody Sunday: A Derry Diary (2010) - final film in the 2014 Irish Film Series.
  • March 27, 2014 - Homophobia in the Irish Media -delivered by Panti Bliss, Drag Queen and LGBT activist.
  • March 25, 2014 – A Poet and A Pint at the Old Triangle – Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
  • March 5, 2014 - Beyond the Reel: The Irish Famine, Filmmakers and a Historian - Dr. Mark McGowan author of Death or Canada: The Great Famine Migration and Toronto, 1847 which was made into an Irish-Canada docudrama and nominated for a Gemini and IFTA award spoke at the Public Archives for the joint D'Arcy McGee Lecture and Donald Higgins Lecture.
  • March 2, 2014 - 2nd film night for the Irish Film Series -
    • 12 Days in July is an insightful documentary about the 1997 crisis at Dumcree, Portadown. Director Margo Harkin and her team gained the trust of the otherwise media-shy participants, allowing for highly detailed and deeply personal reflection on the issues Northern Ireland faced and the challenges that still lay ahead.
    • Sisters of the Lodge explores the ceremonies and traditions of the women behind the Orange Order. Allowed unprecedented access to this secretive order, filmmaker Alison Millar has made an intimate documentary allows these women an opportunity to voice their concerns, fears, and aspirations for their organization.
  • February 26, 2014 - The Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture - Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Independence Day, and notable works including Canada, The Sportswriter, and The Lay of the Land spoke. 
  • January 29Irish Film Series - Waveriders (2008) was shown at the Screening Room at NSCAD.
  • October 10, 2013 - Dr. Mark McGowan with the Univesity of Toronto gave a talk entitled "Halifax in a North Atlantic Irish World".
  • August 9-10, 2013 - Queering Ireland 2013: Queer Irish Diasporas was held in Buffalo, New York, USA.
  • June 28-30, 2013 - Samuel Beckett: Form and History Conference was held on Saint Mary's University campus.
  • May 26, 2013 - Abba Kiarostmi: The Art of Living (2001) and Taibhsí i mBéal na Gaoithe: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (2008). Pat Collins’ films were shown at the NSCAD Screening Room on 1649 Brunswick Street. These two short documentaries were about the celebrated Irish-language poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and the celebrated Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (who we encountered here on the Aran Islands).
  • April 28, 2013 – Oileán Thoraí: a documentary on Tory Island (2002) and Tim Robinson: Connemara (2011). Pat Collins’ films were shown at the NSCAD Screening Room on 1649 Brunswick Street. They were two documentaries, one which intimately captures the life of Ireland’s most remote island communities, and the other which provides a visual interpretation of the work of Tim Robinson, Ireland’s most celebrated map makers.
  • April 25, 2013 - Irish Certificate, lecture 5 - "Red Hand to Your Partner: Traditional Tunes and Songs from Ulster" by Professors Joe Murphy and Kate Dunlay.
  • April 18, 2013 - Irish Certificate, lecture 4 - "Gender Dialogues and Disruptions: Interrupting the "Patriarchal Monologue" in Northern Ireland" by Dr. Alexander Dobrowolsky.
  • April 11, 2013 - Irish Certificate, lecture 3 - "Film in Northern Ireland" by Dr. Jerry White.
  • April 4, 2013 - Irish Certificate, lecture 2 - "A War of Words: the Irish language and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland" by Dr. Pádraig Ó Siadhail.
  • March 28, 2013 - D'Arcy McGee Lecture presented Dr. Marjorie Howe. She did a presentation on "Ireland, Slavery and Transatlantic Culture".
  • March 24, 2013 - Silence - a film by Pat Collins. Screening was at the NSCAD Screening room on 1649 Brunswick Street. This was the first night in three of an Irish film series, sponsored by Dalhousie, SMU, and NSCAD. Pat Collins' lush debut feature film is about an Irish sound recordist living in Berlin, who returns to his homeland to traverse the woolly, windswept landscape, further and further away from civilization.
  • March 21, 2013 - Irish Certificate, lecture 1 - "A Momentary Stay Against Confusion: Northern Irish Poetry" by Dr. Seán Kennedy. This was held at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
  • March 15, 2013 - An informal presentation, featuring poetry, commentary and music, by the Irish language writer and community activist, Seán Ó Coistealbha. Seán is a poet who is actively involved in promoting the heritage, language and culture of the Gaeltacht, Ireland's Irish-speaking regions. He read from his work, "Stadhan", accompanied musically by his daughter Maela Lisa Ní Choistealbha.
  • March 15, 2013 - Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture - David Adams Richards present "Blood Ties: One Night, One Story, Once in a Lifetime".
  • Ireland and Empire: Seafaring, Slavery and Salvation in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World (June 7-9, 2012); In partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University, Saint Mary's University brought keynote speakers Nini Rodgers of Queens University Belfast and Angela McCarthy of University of Otago.
  • 1916 Easter Rising, a non-credit Certificate in Irish Studies featured four talks: "Literature and the Easter Rising" (Dr. Seán Kennedy), "Women and the Rising" (Dr. Michael Vance) , "The Rising and the Media " (Dr. Regina Uí Chollatáin), and "Music and the Rising" (Profs. Joe Murphy and Kate Dunlay).
  • April 12, 2012 - ‌. Guest speakers were Peter M. Toner (Professor Emeritus) and Brad Gaunce of the University of New Brunswick, Saint John.
  • March 16, 2012 - The Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture - Variation on the Right to be Untranslatable. Guest speaker for the evening was the critically acclaimed Anne Carson, Canadian writer and poet.
  • March 1, 2012 - Dr. Joseph Nugent gave a presentation on 'Irish Smells' for the annual D'Arcy McGee Lecture.
  • October 27, 2011 - D'Arcy McGee and the Maritimes - book launch for Dr. David Wilson from the University of Toronto on newest book 'Thomas D'Arcy McGee: The Extreme Moderat, 1857-1868 Volume 2'.
  • October 24, 2011 - Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh gave a lecture on "Power and Politics: an Irish Senator's Perspective". He also met with students from the Intermediate Irish Language class.
  • May 17, 2011 - Ambassador Ray Bissett from Ireland to Canada visits Saint Mary's University
  • March 11, 2011- James Smith of Boston College spoke at the D'Arcy McGee Lecture. His subject was on the Magdalen laundries.
  • March 7, 2011 - Earn a certificate in Irish Studies. Literature and Culture: “Coming to Canada Immigrants in Canadian/Irish Literature” by Pádraig Ó Siadhail.
  • February 11, 2011 - Anne Enright spoke at the Cyril Byrne Memorial lecture.
  • February 7, 2011 - Earn a certificate in Irish Studies. Politics: “The Irish in Atlantic Canada” by Peter Twohig.
  • January 10, 2011 - Earn a certificate in Irish Studies. History: “Women and Irish Migration” by Michael Vance.
  • May 19-22, 2010- CAIS Annual Conference - Ireland and its Discontent: Success and Failure in Modern Ireland was held on Saint Mary's University Campus.
  • March 19, 2010 - 'University College Dublin Graduate Studies extends a welcome to students in Canada.' Visit by University College Dublin professor, Dr. Máire Ní Annracháin. Dr. Ní Annracháin highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing non-Irish students who might be considering studying in an Irish university.
  • March 19, 2010 - Thomas Bartlett - Early Historians of the 'Wild Geese' In French Service, 1840-1950 - D'Arcy McGee Lecture in Irish Studies, 2010 will hosting Thomas Bartlett (The Boston College Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies, 2009-2010). Bartlett is a visiting scholar at the Burns Library from University of Aberdeen where he has been professor in Modern Irish History.
  • March 12, 2010 - Alistair MacLeod: "The Closing Down of Summer" - Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture, 2010 hosted Alistair MacLeod.
  • October 9, 2009 - Batt Burns, a professional Irish storyteller, or seanchaí, visited Nova Scotia on a regional tour arranged by the Coordinator of Irish Studies.
  • September 18-19, 2009 - Queering Ireland: An International Inter-disciplinary Conference. (Schedule of Speakers)
  • "Lost Urban Histories: Historiography of the Irish in Newfoundland and Canada" presented by Doyle Lahey, student of the master program in the History Department of Saint Mary's University. Open to all. Wednesday 6, May 2009. Starting at 1:30 pm in McNally Main 307A.
  • March 13, 2009 - Inventory: Notes on a Poem. Dionne Brand is the guest speaker for the Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture. It will be held 7:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank Conference Theatre.
  • October 2008 - General John de Chastelain Receives Honorary Degree
  • September 2008 - Senator Pearse Doherty, a member of the Irish Senate visits Saint Mary's University
  • June 2008 - Declan Kelly, Ireland's ambassador to Canada visits Saint Mary's Irish Studies
  • March 14, 2008 - The second annual Cyril J. Byrne Memorial Lecture was sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and the Visiting Speakers Committee. The lecture entitled "The Reverse Side of the Picture: How to make Fiction from Truth" featured the renowned Irish author Colm Tóibin.
  • May 4, 2007 - The D'Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies, the Department of English, and the Atlantic Canada Studies Program sponsored the first Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture featuring the prominent Canadian author, Wayne Johnston
  • March 23, 2006 - The Irish Studies Film Club presented: Irish Halifax in the First Half of the 20th Century on Thursday
  • January 19, 2006 - The Irish Studies Film Club presented: The Boys and Girl from County Clare
  • October 7, 2005 - Noel Hill's Concertina Concert (traditional Irish music)
  • March 28, 2005 - “Irish High Crosses in the art of Aileen Meagher: Ancient images in stone translated and reinterpreted." Dr. Cyril J. Byrne.
  • March 16, 2005 - Thomas D'Arcy McGee after whom the Chair is named will be the subject of University of Toronto scholar, Dr. David Wilson's paper: "Orange and Green: D'Arcy McGee and Irish Secret Societies."
  • March 7, 2005 - "The Rise and Fall of the House of Ryan - 'in Bonavista, did you say?' ” which will deal with an important Irish run business in outport Newfoundland. Dr. James Candow, Parks Canada historian.
  • February 27, 2005 which is the 201st anniversary of the birth of Lawrence O'Connor Doyle, a 19th century champion of Saint Mary's and the Halifax Irish. “Doyle and Howe; a Study in Congruence and Divergence." Dr. Terrence Punch, Adjunct scholar to the Chair.
  • February 13, 2005 - "John Moxley disinterred: Assertions of ethnic identity in 18th and 19th century Conception Bay." Dr. Willeen Keough, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
  • January 24, 2005 - "Rioters, Informers and Revisionists: Synge's Playboy at the Abbey Theatre, 1907." Dr. Pádraig Ó Siadhail.