Welcome to the blog of the Ottawa Irish Arts. We are a branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE). CCE is an international organization dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of traditional Irish music, dance, language and culture.
The Ottawa Branch was founded in 1975.
Welcome - Failte Romhat!
When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website: http://www.ottawacomhaltas.com/
Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas Ottawa: http://www.ottawacomhaltas.com/
Síle was born in 1960 in Ottawa to Deidre (née Mulrennan) and Pádraig
Scott. Her childhood home was a major hub of all aspects of Irish Culture.
She began Irish dancing with Peggy Kendellen when she was in primary school. By the time she had completed high school, she was already teaching. She established a dance in school in Brockville in 198, and began teaching with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ottawa in the same year. Her dance teams have taken first place in Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada four times since 2011, and have given many performances at other events.
As head instructor for the Ottawa Comhaltas Branch, she was also responsible for calling monthly céilís, and acting as "Bean an Tí" (headmistress). In addition to céilí and set dancing, she also reached sean-nós dancing and placed first int he open event at the Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada in 2012. Other Oireachtas awards include 2nd place in Irish language singing (style other than sean-nós -old style) in 2014, and 2nd place in poetry recitation in 2015.
She was a founding executive member of Cumann na Gaeltachta (2002) along with her husband Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh and others of the North American Gaeltacht (Gaeltacht Thuaisceart on Oileáin Úir, 2007) and Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada (2011).
Síle has been an inspirational Comhaltas figure in Canada, and in the Irish language and cultural community, for more than 20 years. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Her generosity, patience, and genuine interest in people, are immediately in evidence. Her leadership, Intelligence, vision, skills, and talents are legend.
It is with great pride that we induct Síle Scot in the Comhaltas Music Hall of Fame.
Dear Members, a chairde, This is a note to let you know that the public name for CCE Ottawa is changed to “Ottawa Irish Arts.” Our legal name, and our affiliation with Comhaltas, will not change. Why are we doing this? Read on to find out.
Since its inception in 1975 our branch has been named “Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch.” This name served us well for many years, but as time moves on, so have many of our founding and long- time members. Many of those members were first and second generation Irish, and had first-hand knowledge of the Comhaltas organization.
Using the branch's legal name, which is in the Irish language, for public outreach is becoming increasingly difficult as it is difficult to pronounce (for non-Irish), and literally has no meaning to non-Irish. It is after all in another language. Changing our public facing name allows us to reach out to the broader Ottawa community in order to maintain, and hopefully grow, our activities of preserving traditional Irish culture. By changing our name to “Ottawa Irish Arts” we tell people where we are, the culture we represent, and the types of activities we pursue. It is easy to spell, pronounce, and is consistent with many other Comhaltas branches.
Over time we will migrate the website and other media to the new name.
We are still a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branch. From here on, I strongly encourage all members to consciously use the name Ottawa Irish Arts, particularly when reaching out to new people or groups.
Thank you, Le meas,
Craig Hamm Chair/ Cathaoirleach, Ottawa Irish Arts (Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch) On behalf of the Executive
It is with great sadness that we reported that Don died on 25 December. See his full obituary here. Don, a native of Dublin, grew up with traditional Irish music, he was a well-known musician renown for his slow airs, hornpipes, and waltzes played on his trusty harmonicas (an Hohner Chrometta and Chinese Lark chromatics, but more as solo-tuned diatonics than as true chromatics), but he always kept the ornamentation to a minimum. He arrived in Canada in 1954, and along with other Irish-born musicians founded CCÉ Ottawa Branch in 1975. In 2002 he was introduced to the CCÉ Canada East Region Music Hall of Fame. The best way to remember his music legacy is by the memories people have of Don’s life and their experiences of meeting him: Sheila Scott, former CCÉ Ottawa Chairperson || Cathaoirleach:
It is with great sadness that CCÉ Ottawa announced the death of one of the leading Ottawa branch's founding members. Don Kavanagh passed away on 25 December 2016. A gifted musician and story-teller, he gave so much of his time and energy to the promotion and continuation of Irish traditional music in the Greater Ottawa and Outaouais regions.
The hornpipes he played were legendary, but with any reel, jig and slides, he had your toes tapping as well. They will be having some great ceilis in heaven these days. You were the best Don! Glad you are reunited with your darling Celie!
James Stephen (local musician): I remember first meeting Don in the mid 1980's when I was playing an outdoor gig in Aylmer with Nathan Curry and John Wood. While I had been playing violin for a long time at that point, I was relatively new to playing Irish traditional music. Nathan got Don up to play a couple of tunes on stage with us, and I remember thinking that this was something I'd never heard before, harmonica playing this kind of music. What I remember the most was the depth of feeling in his playing and the nimbleness of his ornamentation and the overall energy that came out of this spry little man.
I guess I was a bit intimidated, realizing that I knew next to nothing compared to this guy. But when I talked with him after the show he completely put me at my ease with his hallmark social ease and welcoming, almost conspiratorial manner. Here was a man that loved music and being with fellow musicians and he was entirely supportive of my efforts, as inadequate as I felt they were. I asked him about the pieces he had played. Not only was he more than willing to tell me about them (in great detail and with great humour), but he generously offered to record them for me; which he did on a cassette player and I went to his house and collected the cassette days later. From then on, at varying intervals he would call me up and discuss not only Irish music and new developments therein, but also history and politics and people that he had known, who were legion in number. It seemed as if he remembered everyone he had ever met and all the salient details of their lives and their challenges, victories and failures. He was a very empathetic person and I often told him he should write down he impressions of the world. I hope he did. I have still some of the cassettes Don gave me with a full set of liner notes and credits written by him in tiny handwriting that I would struggle to make out without a magnifying glass. He made sure that I also was informed about the social milieu from which these Irish tunes arose, and gave me books to read on Irish history which he felt was important to understand to give the music a context to be placed in.
Recent Irish history was nothing academic for Don, as the Irish Civil War was not long over at the time of his birth, and which had ripped his family apart; uncles and cousins finding themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. His identity was formed by his upbringing in Dublin, but his family mostly all moved away from there to far flung parts of the world, some spending most of their lives on the African continent, helping the least fortunate people there, work that Don wholeheartedly supported.
Dublin in the Great Depression and World War II must have been a hard place for most people, with much poverty and great suffering, and Don was very attuned to this all his life, and was angered by social injustice wherever he detected it. Don had many stories about different jobs he had had, but my favourite ones were from his "Sweety Man" era. He delivered candy to stores across the length and breadth of Ireland as young man, maybe as a 19 or 20 year-old, and discovered the beauty of his country outside of Dublin. I often heard Don talking to visiting Irish musicians about where they were from and more often than not, he could describe the town they came from and local landmarks. What a memory!
Frank Cassidy, Nathan Curry and myself decided that Don's music should be recorded back in the 1990's. Don had already had triple bypass surgery and survived cancer, and he had issues with angina that he was worried would end his ability to play and possibly to live. Happily for everyone, Don far outlived his own predicted life expectancy, but at the time we didn't want to take any chances. So, we gathered a team of local friends and musicians and proceeded to record Don over a year's time, and were able to capture some sense of his musical identity, which was so unique. Harmonica players in Irish traditional music are as rare as a hen's teeth as they say. It gave us all a lot of satisfaction to be able to give back to Don some of what he had given to us, and I know Don was very pleased and proud of is achievement, and I think the CD allowed him to have a wider recognition outside of the Ottawa/Gatineau area. We all were happy and proud to see Don welcomed by the Goodrich Celtic Festival and honoured with their Tradition Bearer Award in 2004. This was a great opportunity for Don to meet players from Ireland such as Peter Horan, and from Newfoundland such as Frank Maher, Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, who all were to become great friends of Don's and warmed to him immediately, which gave him a great deal of pleasure in their friendship. It was to all a mutual love in that was beautiful to see.
Driving the candy truck was a perfect metaphor for this man who everyone was always happy to see and who brought a lot of sweetness into this world wherever he went. I will truly miss him but am forever inspired by his example.
Some years ago Jerome Quinn interviewed Don in downtown Ottawa, hear Don's words here: https://youtu.be/TfNmAxtwK3Q Frank Cassidy (local musician): In the early 1950s , Don Kavanagh decided to emigrate from his native Dublin to Toronto, Canada. Upon his ship’s arrival in Halifax harbour the party was going strong so Don decided to travel on to the next port of call which was New York. He then travelled back to Canada and his original destination of Toronto. This attitude epitomized Don’s approach to life, life is an adventure, enjoy the party as long as you can. Don learned his first Irish traditional tunes on the harmonica from his father Michael who was a fiddle player. His early musical influences, in the late 40s and early 50s came from listening to traditional music on Radio Eireann. One of his favorites was the Austin Stack Ceili Band from Dublin. He was also a big fan of Jimmy Shand’s traditional Scottish dance music.
I first met Don in 1989 in Ottawa at an open air concert outside the National Art Gallery. I was immediately at ease with his conversation and his company, he was like a long lost brother. We discussed the status of Irish traditional music in the city, which at that time included a Comhaltas branch, very well attended weekly sessions and a number of groups playing celtic music, many of which had been either founded or influenced by Don.
For Eileen and I, visiting Don and Cecilia in Aylmer, Quebec was like a mini trip to Ireland. Celie would have prepared her famous Irish soda bread and our chat would include wide ranging discussions of current events, politics, music and many of Don’s stories about his life’s adventures. Don was a great student of Irish history, he enjoyed Irish poetry and himself and Eileen would swap lines from Yeats. The week before he died she read him one of his favorites, Lake Isle of Innisfree.
Don had a great regard for his fellow man especially those less fortunate than himself. He raised money for his church, St. Vincent De Paul and many other worthy causes. Each year Don devoted his considerable energy to raising funds for the Kisumba Foundation in Uganda where his brother Brian lived and worked for over fifty years. I had the privilege of working with Don on two fund raising events for the Steven Lewis Foundation. He was tireless in his support of this type of endeavour.
In 1998 Don recorded Don Kavanagh a Dubliner & his Harmonica. The CD beautifully showcases Don’s mastery of the harmonica. Don’s great love of Irish traditional music found expression in the way he played his instrument. The slow tunes were played with great reverence and the fast ones with twinkling eyes and a joy that inspired others to join in the celebration.
We were the very best of friends until Christmas Day 2016 when he slipped away forever into the slow air to join his Irish sweetheart, Cecilia.
“Fairies, come take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide, and dance upon the mountain like a flame.”
Traditional dances from Brittany, Burgundy and Scotland to the music of Emily Stram & friend, and Fiddlehead Soup.
Friday 25th November, 8PM at the Churchill Senior's Recreation Centre, 345 Richmond Rd at Churchill Ave. Ottawa, ON. Tickets $12. Doug Hendry is part of a trio that is hosting a folk dance exchange in Ottawa on November 25th. In this instance they'll be doing dances from Brittany, Burgundy and Scotland. They hope that all celtic dancers might like to go and try these dances.
Where: Irish Ambassador’s Residence, 291 Park Road, Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa
0800: Registration &
0845: Welcome and Opening
Remarks: Ambassador Jim Kelly, Jane McGaughey (President, CAIS/ACEI)
0900: Keynote Address
Moderator: Kerby Miller
Joe Lee: The Republic: Cast a
He will lecture on the Proclamation of the Irish Republic declared on Easter Monday 1916, seeking to locate it in its ideological and historical context, to evaluate the impulses behind it, and inquiring about its impact on, and relevance to, the Ireland of both 1916 and 2016.
1000-1015: Coffee break
1015: PANEL 1: The Status
Quo Ante: Home Rule, the Church, & the Great War Moderator: Dermot Keogh
Marie Coleman: 'Nationalism
and republicanism in regional Ireland,
Exploring the state of local politics in regional Ireland during the period of the home rule crisis, the First World War and the Rising. The presentation will focus on the strength of constitutional nationalist organisations such as the United Irish League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians at local level in an effort to determine the actual strength of the home rule movement in an era when it faced little or no serious political opposition. The effect of wider national events, including the 1909 land act, the third home rule bill, the war and the Rising on the incipient decline of constitutional nationalism will be examined.
Niall Keogh: Juggling Dynamite: The Catholic Church in
The 1916 Rising threw up many challenges for institutional Ireland, none more so than for the Catholic Church which was the pillar of stability in Ireland. This paper will attempt to enunciate the multifaceted approach of the Catholic Church in Ireland during the aftermath of the Rising, including their response to the Rising, the conscription crisis, and continuing to engage with the British State in terms of continuing to send Catholic Chaplains to the Western Front.
John Borgonovo: ‘Remobilisation and
Destabilisation in Cork, 1916-1918’
The commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising emphasized the rebellion’s transformative effect on Irish politics, setting in motion the rise of Irish republicanism. This paper will argue that more attention should be paid to the affect of the British government’s remobilisation campaign of 1917 and 1918 in Ireland. Economic centralisation, food rationing, renewed military recruiting and conscription, and government propaganda emphasizing self-determination for small nations, all rebounded unexpectedly in Ireland. This paper will show how the new Sinn Féin party exploited public discontent with the war in the city of Cork, thus creating the conditions for political revolution at war’s end.
1145: Keynote Address, (sponsored by The Canada Research Chair in European Studies, Dalhousie
Margaret Ward: ‘Commemorating
Irish women and revolution’
The centenary of the Easter Rising has been significant for its unprecedented focus on women’s role in the foundation of the state. How did this happen? McAuliffe et al (2016) have argued that it has been ‘The corrective of the last four decades by historians of women who have been researching and writing about the women’s role in the Rising (that) has helped to force inclusion of women in the 2016 Commemorations.’ This lecture will consider the significance of the centenary year for those supporting gender equality, while also reflecting upon the extent to which a more nuanced picture of women’s participation in political events has emerged.
1345: PANEL 2: Combustible
Elements: Working Class, Women, Cultural Revival
Moderator: Jane McGaughey
Gavin Foster: The
Irish Citizen Army and the Class Politics of the
Founded in 1913 in the context of the great Dublin Lock-Out, but equally reflecting the flourishing para-militarism in Ireland sparked by the Home Rule crisis, the small workers’ militia known as the Irish Citizen Army played a pivotal role in the Easter Rising under the leadership of militant labour organizer/republican- socialist James Connolly. This paper reflects on the brief history of the ICA pre-1916, its role in the Rising, and its dwindling profile in later stages of the Irish Revolution. It asks the question: What does the ICA tell us about the relevance of working- class interests and identities and class conflict dynamics to Ireland’s revolutionary process?
Timothy G. McMahon: “’Not Free Merely,
but Gaelic as Well’: Was
1916 a Gaelic Revolution?”
At the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915, Patrick Pearse declared his desire to see an Ireland that was “not merely free, but Gaelic as well.” Pearse’s role as the titular leader of the Easter Rising further cemented the Gaelic and revolutionary causes in the nation’s historical memory. Indeed, many revolutionaries claimed in statements to the Bureau of Military History and elsewhere that the Gaelic revival had led them to fight for Irish freedom. This paper will question the rhetorical and remembered links between the revival and revolution. Through an examination of contemporary police records, newspapers, and state policies themselves, I will contend that scholars would better understand the place of the language in modern Ireland by recognizing that revolutionaries themselves had only minimal commitment to spoken Irish, utilizing instead its general symbolic cachet with the wider public to gain greater support for political transformation.
Sonja Tiernan: ‘Leave your jewels
and gold wands in the bank
and buy a revolver’: Women and the fight
for Irish independence
The Irish Proclamation first read publicly by Patrick Pearse on Easter Monday, guaranteed ‘religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens.’ The provisional government distinctly acknowledged Irishmen and Irishwomen as equal citizens vowing that a future ‘permanent National Government . . . would be elected by the suffrages of all her men and women.’ Numerous women took active roles to fight for the ideals expressed in the Proclamation during the Easter Rising. This talk examines how and why women were refused an equal position socially, politically and economically in the newly formed Irish Free State after the revolution.
1515: PANEL 3: Canadian
Responses to the Rising
Moderator: Ann Dooley
Patrick Mannion: “From Loyalist
Response to Nationalist Memory: Easter 1916 and the Irish in Newfoundland.”
The Newfoundland Irish present a fascinating case within the broader field of early-twentieth century diasporic nationalism. Migration from Ireland to Newfoundland was an overwhelmingly pre-famine phenomenon, peaking in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. By the 1910s, the colony’s Irish population was, in many cases, three or four generations removed from the ancestral homeland. Nevertheless, a profound sense of Irish identity endured – created and nurtured by networks of family, religion, associational life, and education. The Easter Rising prompted a strong response. Within the overriding context of the Great War, the initial reaction was one of shock, horror, and profound loyalty to the Empire. In subsequent years, however, the memory of the Rising took on an increasingly romantic and nationalist tone as a result of both domestic and external political contexts.
Pádraig Ó Siadhail: “‘How could you or I
die better?’: Irish-born political Conscription Resistors in Canada in 1918
In this paper, I will present case studies of four Irish-born men who were court-martialed in Ontario in 1918 for refusing to fight for the British Empire in the Great War. One of the four was John Terence MacSwiney, brother of Terence MacSwiney, the senior Irish republican leader who would die on hunger strike in Britain in 1920. All of the court-martialed Irishmen publicly expressed their refusal to don the khaki as a political stand against Britain’s role in Ireland, including its response to the Easter Rising. The details of each man’s case, court-martial, sentencing and imprisonment are interesting in their own right. But their story also highlights the existence of an Irish network and defence fund in the Toronto area that provided support for the imprisoned Irishmen. As such, this paper opens up a new line of enquiry as to how the reaction of some Irish in Canada to World War One was determined not by their Canadian experiences but by political allegiances and events back in Ireland.
Garth Stevenson: Irish-Canadian
Politics after the Rising
Irish Republicanism in Canada declined rapidly after the 1860s, in part because Irish immigration to Canada declined and many with republican sympathies left Canada for the United States. After 1914 most Canadians, including Irish Catholic Canadians, supported participation in the war. Hence the initial response to Easter 1916 was hostile, even among pro-Irish Canadians like Wilfrid Laurier. However the executions after the Rising led to a sudden change in opinion in Canada. After 1916 and continuing until the Anglo-Irish treaty in 1921, Irish Republican politics revived in Canada, particularly in Montreal. Activists like Katherine Hughes and John Loye and organizations like the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Friends of Irish Freedom, and the Self-Determination for Ireland League helped to keep it alive and kept contact with Irish republicans in Ireland and the United States. However, when the Irish civil war started in 1922, most of the activists in Canada supported the pro-treaty side and republicanism declined.
1645: Coffee break
1700: Keynote Address
Moderator: William Jenkins
Robert Ballagh: Looking Back
Without doubt 2016 has been a great year for looking back in Ireland. Indeed few people could avoid the profusion of commemorations marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. Unquestionably, in most cases, individual approaches to commemoration tell us more about prevailing attitudes today than about historical conditions in Ireland one hundred years ago. Nevertheless the bravery and sacrifice of a heroic generation should be commemorated; however it would be a disservice to their memory if the true motivation behind their actions remains unacknowledged. After all, these people were not merely rebels – they were visionaries. What they desired was not simply a green flag over Dublin Castle or a harp on the coinage. They were calling for a complete transformation of Irish society. The blueprint for that transformation was set out in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and that remarkable document remains the yardstick by which we can and should measure the current state of the nation.
1800: Closing Remarks
Ambassador Jim Kelly, Michael Quigley
The Canadian Association for Irish Studies / Association canadienne
d’études irlandaises gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance
and support of our sponsors.
Conference Committee: Coordinator: Michael Quigley
Ottawa: Niall Keogh, Fred
Montreal: Jane McGaughey,
Toronto: William Jenkins
J.J. LEE is Director of Glucksman Ireland House, and Professor of Irish History at NYU, since 2002. He previously lectured in U.C. Dublin, researched at the Institute for European History, Mainz, and was a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1968-74, until appointed Professor of Modern History at U.C. Cork in 1974. An Eisenhower Fellow, he has held appointments as Visiting Mellon Professor in the University of Pittsburgh, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the LBJ Graduate School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, and other visiting appointments at Colby College, Maine, the EUI Florence, the Austrian Academy, Vienna, the University of Edinburgh, QMC, London, and TCD. His prize-winning Ireland 1912-1985 (Cambridge, 1989) is in its eleventh printing.
MARIE COLEMAN is a Lecturer in Irish history at Queen's University Belfast. She is the author of three books - County Longford and the Irish revolution, 1910-1923, The Irish Sweep: A history of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstake, 1930-1987 and The Irish Revolution, 1916- 1923. Her current research focuses on the experience of revolutionary veterans in independent Ireland, with particular reference to the award of pensions, and she is involved in a number of projects dealing with the commemoration of the revolutionary years in the context of post-conflict Northern Ireland.
NIALL KEOGH is a native of Cork; he graduated from University College Cork with a PhD in Irish diplomatic history. He published a monograph on Con Cremin and Irish Foreign Policy. He has taught at Moscow State University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, National University of Ireland Maynooth and the University of Ottawa.
JOHN BORGONOVO lectures in the School of History at University College Cork, and is coordinator of UCC’s Decade of Centenaries program. He had published widely on the Irish Revolutionary period and Ireland’s First World War experience. His books include The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918 (Cork University Press, 2013) and Spies, informers and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin Society': The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920– 1921 (Irish Academic Press, 2007). He is the assistant editor of The Atlas of the Irish Revolution, just published by Cork University Press.
MARGARET WARD is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. She has a Ph.D. from the University of the West of England. She is a feminist historian, her publications including Unmanageable Revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism, biographies of Maud Gonne and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and edited works on Irish women’s involvement in nationalist and suffrage movements. She is currently Visiting Fellow in Irish History at Queen’s University, Belfast and a Trustee of National Museums Northern Ireland and a board member of Libraries NI. In 2014 Margaret was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by Ulster University for her contribution to advancing women's equality. She is editing the political writings of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington for publication in 2018.
GAVIN FOSTER is Associate Professor of modern Irish history in the School of Irish Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. His work on the Irish Revolutionary period has appeared in various Irish Studies journals and edited collections. His book, The Irish Civil War and Society: Politics, Class, and Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) was awarded the 2015 James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Books on History and Social Sciences by the American Conference for Irish Studies. His current project uses oral history interviews in Ireland and among the Irish Diaspora to explore later-generation memory of the Irish Civil War.
SONJA TIERNAN is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Liverpool Hope University and was the Peter O’Brien Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies at Concordia University (2015-6). Sonja has held fellowships at the National Library of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame. She has published on modern Irish and British social history and is a contributor to the Dictionary of Irish Biography. Her publications include Eva Gore-Booth: an image of such politics and The Political Writings of Eva Gore-Booth. Her most recent article, re-examining the legacy of Irish women, was published in The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A centenary assessment (2016).
PÁDRAIG Ó SIADHAIL holds the D’Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies and is an Associate Professor in Irish Studies at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax. As part of a project entitled ‘Scairt an Dúchais’ (the call of home), his scholarly publications have focused on members of the Irish diaspora who have made a significant contribution to their ancestral homeland: An Béaslaíoch (2007), a critical biography of Piaras Béaslaí (1881-1965), the Liverpool- born Irish-language writer and Irish Revolution activist, and the original biographer of Michael Collins; a series of articles on James Mooney, the noted American Indian researcher and early Irish folklore scholar; and Katherine Hughes: A Life and a Journey (2014), a biography that chronicles the dramatic career of the Prince Edward Island-born Hughes (1876-1925) and her striking transformation from self-styled Canadian Imperialist to Irish Republican activist.
PATRICK MANNION received his PhD in history from the University of Toronto in September 2013. His dissertation, entitled “The Irish Diaspora in Comparative Perspective: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine, 1880-1923” was a comparative study of Irish community and identity in those three port cities, focusing particularly on the construction of nationalism in different regional contexts. The revised book manuscript is under review at McGill-Queen’s University Press. Patrick is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral scholar at Boston College.
GARTH STEVENSON is a Professor Emeritus at Brock University and former chairman of the Political Science Department. Educated at McGill and Princeton, he has held full-time appointments at Carleton University and the University of Alberta and has also taught courses at Duke University, York University, and the University of Toronto. He is the author of eight books including Parallel Paths: The Development of Nationalism in Ireland and Quebec, which won the Donald Smiley prize of the Canadian Political Science Association in 2007. His most recent book is Building Nations from Diversity: Canadian and American Experience Compared.
ROBERT BALLAGH was born in Dublin in 1943. He studied architecture and worked for a time as a professional musician, a postman and an engineering draughtsman. He has been painting professionally since his first exhibition in Dublin in 1969. His work as a painter is represented in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, the Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, the Ulster Museum and the Albrecht Dürer House, Nuremberg. Major survey exhibitions of his work have taken place in Lund, Warsaw, Moscow, and Sofia. In 2006 a career retrospective was staged in the RHA Gallery, Dublin. As a graphic designer, he has produced book covers, posters, limited edition prints, 66 stamps for the Irish postal service and the last Irish bank notes produced by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Robert Ballagh has been an active campaigner for artists’ rights. He was the founding Chairperson of the Association of Artists in Ireland and in 1983 he was elected to the international executive of the International Association of Artists, a UNESCO affiliate of over 80 countries. For 3 years, he served as treasurer to that organization.
In 1991 Robert Ballagh was elected chairperson of the national organizing committee for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1916 rising. Also for 10 years, he chaired the national executive of the Irish National Congress a non-party political organization, working for peace, unity and justice in Ireland. He is currently president of the Ireland Institute, a centre for historical and cultural studies and in 2000, he was one of the founders of the organization Le Chéile – artists against racism in Ireland. He is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.