Gerald Dawe at Eastside Arts 2014 Pic: Michael Fisher

Professor Gerald Dawe RIP.

Michael Fisher writes:

Sad to learn of the death at his home in Dún Laoghaire on Wednesday 29th May of another Carleton scholar, the poet & TCD Professor emeritus Gerald Dawe. I met him a few years ago during the East Side arts festival at his former school in East Belfast, Orangefield Boys Secondary (where Van Morrison was also a pupil). His MA thesis at University College Galway in 1977 was entitled: “A critical study of the major works of William Carleton (1794-1869)”. He was also a contributor at the Society’s summer schools. He was 72 and in checking his biography I now realise we shared the same birthday on April 22nd 1952. May he rest in peace. I published this article about him in April 2015 following our meeting in Belfast:



Gerald Dawe Photo: TCD

Professor Gerald Dawe, Director of the Oscar Wilde School of Irish Writing at TCD,  returned to Orangefield School in East Belfast in August 2014 as part of the East Side Arts Festival. During his talk another former pupil looked in the door and stood at the back for a while, before going on to perform in concert: Van Morrison. During his talk Professor Dawe mentioned that he had been a postgraduate student at University College Galway, where he completed an MA thesis on William Carleton. He was a contributor to the William Carleton Society International Summer School in 1994 and 2008. He has now published a new collection of essays and memoirs, ‘The Stoic Man’ (Lagan Press). In The Irish Times, he writes about the publication:

‘The Belfast I left behind doesn’t exist anymore’

Gerald Dawe       Irish Times  Monday April 6th 2015

In the autumn of 1974 as a 22-year-old, I took the Ulsterbus to Monaghan town, and from there boarded the CIE coach that wound its way through several counties before arriving at Eamonn Ceannt Station off Eyre Square in Galway. It was a little over 40 years ago. The Belfast I had left behind doesn’t exist anymore, except in people’s minds and memories. The republic I was travelling through has also been transformed, including the somewhat sleepy market town that was Galway.

How can one ever remember the tone and timbre of the 1970s and the values of the republic that really were on the cusp of lasting change? It was a different world, for sure, but some things remain lodged in the memory of that time. Like the grotesque disfiguring violence inflicted upon ordinary people by the paramilitaries; like the long and arduous battle women of all classes and backgrounds had to endure to achieve basic civil liberties in their own country; like the demeaning deference expected by a male-possessed Church and the preening patronising of many (male) politicians.

But I also have a lasting sense of the edgy, challenging focus of the culture that was calmly self-confident and productive of counter images and contrary views.

I have no nostalgia for that time, although in The Stoic Man, the new collection of essays and memoirs I have just published with Lagan Press, the recalling of life in the west of Ireland in the 70s sounds again like a “sheltering place” from the travails and troubles of the Belfast I had in part left behind. So The Stoic Man is accompanied by a collection of Early Poems written during those years in Galway’s old city, around the streets and canal-ways, the bridges, Lough shore and harbour where we used to live.

It is hard to think of how things could have been so different without making it seem as if things turned out not as well as one had hoped, which is not the case. The fact is though that no one back then that I knew really planned a future. It sort of just happened. Maybe that is the biggest change I can spot between then and now.

Targets, outcomes, graphs and statistics, the numerical volumes of which we seem to be increasingly addicted in post-“Celtic Tiger” Ireland, forecasting everything from weather to economic predictions to just about every facet of social life. These strainings after certainty certainly did not exist. We lived more in the moment. That may have been unwise, I don’t know, but what I can say is that the not knowing about these matters did not halt our growth or stunt our enthusiasm for life.

The petulance, complaint and unceasing quest for factoids and percentages, faults and failings, blame and admonishment which characterises so much of Irish life today did not play any significant part in our life back then, or if it did it hasn’t left any trace behind in my memory. Politics was cut and thrust; business was precisely that, business: nothing more, nothing less but nothing like the current fad for elevating it to a new religion.

There was an intelligent debate going on about literature and art, among many other things, that weren’t in hock to the market-place or the mantra of economy. Perhaps, surprisingly too, there was an openness and appetite in brashly engaging with European ideals, probably because we had only recently joined the European family. This act would prove critical in underpinning the modernisation of our infrastructure like roads, and the liberalisation of our codes of conduct. But also, critically, the opening of our minds as well; no longer being obsessed with England started to take root sometime around the 70s.

The Stoic Man sorts some of these bass notes into a record of personal time. From growing up in a vibrant 60s Belfast, through the blunt decades that at times followed, before the republic soared economically and then crashed unceremoniously leaving the ordinary “Joe” to pick up the tab.

And now what? The book ends with a few more questions than it can possibly answer.

I hope The Stoic Man is a good read, alongside those Early Poems written by a young lad who I kind of remember disembarking from the dewy CIE coach one crisp late afternoon many moons ago.


in memory of Bridget O’Toole

It is a desert of rock
the rain has finally withered
till we are left black
dots on a shrinking island.

We come like pilgrims
wandering at night through
the dim landscape. A blue
horizon lurks behind whin
bushes and narrows to pass
the pitch-black valley.

We are at home. A place as
man-forsaken as this must
carry like the trees a silent
immaculate history. Stones
shift under the cliff’s shadow.

Nearby the tide closes in,
master of the forgotten thing.


1952- [Gerald Chartres Dawe; fam. “Gerry”]; b. N. Belfast; ed. Orangefield Boys School (‘an extraordinary school’), East Belfast; worked with Sam McCreadt at Lyric Youth Th.; grad. NUU (Coleraine), BA., 1974; briefly worked at Central Public Library, Belfast; held major state award for research, 1974-77; wrote a thesis on William Carleton under Lorna Reynolds, Galway, MA 1978; lecturer, UCG [1976]; appt. lect. in English and Drama, TCD, 1988; introduced to Padraic Fiacc by Brendan Hamill, 1973; Arts Council Bursary for poetry, 1980; Macauley Fellowship for Literature, 1984; taught at Galway University, 1977-1986; m. Dorothy Melvin; a dg., Olwen, b. 1981; also a son, Iarla; appt. lect in English, TCD, 1988; moved to Dublin, settling in Dun Laoghaire, 1992;
Poems: Sheltering Places (1978) and The Lundys Letter (1985), winner of Macaulay Prize [Fellowship in Literature]; fnd. ed. Krino; ed. with Edna Longley, Across the Roaring Hill: The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland (1985) and The Younger Irish Poets (1982, reissued 1991); criticism includes How’s the Poetry Going? (1991), False Faces (1994), and Against Piety: Essays in Irish Poetry (1995); Director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing (TCD); issued The Rest is History (1998), dealing with influence of Belfast culture on Van Morrison and Stewart Parker; issued Lake Geneva (2003), poems; appt. TCD Fellow, 2004; his Collected Criticism was edited by Nicholas Allen in 2007;
Has taught at Boston College and Villanova Univ.; issued Points West (2008), poems, his seventh collection; issued an anthology of Irish poetry of WWI (Earth Whispering, 2009); presents RTE poetry Programme [Sats.]; directs the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing; gives a talk entitled “From Ginger Man and Borstal Boy to Kitty Stobling: A Brief Look Back at the Fifties”, concluding a public lecture-series on that decade at TCD, March 2011; his wife Dorothea is head of Public Affairs at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
Heritages (Breakish: Aquila/Wayzgoose Press 1976), [20]pp. [also signed ltd. edn. of 25];Blood and Moon (Belfast: Lagan Press 1976) [16pp.; pamph.];Sheltering Places (Belfast: Blackstaff 1978);Dead Loss [Poetry Ireland Poems, No. 9] (Portmarnock: Poetry Ireland 1979) [ 1 sht.; signed copy, TCD Library];The Lundys Letter (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1985), 49pp.;The Water Table (Belfast: Honest Ulsterman 1991), [6], 18pp.;Sunday School (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1991), 47pp.;Heart of Hearts (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1995), 47pp.;The Morning Train (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1999), 51pp.;Lake Geneva (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2003), 56pp.;Points West (Oldcastle: Gallery Press), 56pp.
‘An Absence of Influence, Three Modernist Poets’, in Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Irish Poetry, ed. Terence Brown & Nicholas Greene (London 1989), pp.119-42;How’s the Poetry Going? (Belfast: Lagan Press 1991) [review essays];A Real Life Elsewhere (Belfast: Lagan Press 1993) 112pp. [essay];False Faces: Essays on Poetry, Politics and Place (Belfast Lagan Press 1994), 104pp.;Against Piety: Essays on Irish Poetry (Belfast: Lagan Press 1995), 193pp. [12 essays];The Rest is History (Newry: Abbey Press 1998), 123pp.;Stray Dogs and Dark Horses: Selected Essays on Irish Writing and Criticism (Newry: Abbey Press 2000), 212pp. [includes essay on William Carleton];The Proper Word: Collected Criticism – Ireland, Poetry, Politics, ed. Nicholas Allen (Creighton UP 2007), 365pp.
ed., with Edna Longley, Across the Roaring Hill: The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985), xviii, 242pp.intro., Faces in a Bookshop: Irish Literary Portraits (Galway: Kennys’ Bookshop 1990), 163pp. [marking 50th Anniversary of Kennys];ed., with John Wilson Foster, The Poet’s Place – Ulster Literature and Society: Essays in Honour of John Hewitt, 1907-87 (Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies 1991), xi, 330pp.;ed., Yeats: The Poems (Dublin: Anna Livia 1993), 160pp.;intro., Literature in Ireland: Studies in Irish and Anglo-Irish [1916] by Thomas MacDonagh (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary: Relay Books 1996) [with profile by Nancy Murphy], xiv, 209pp.
Edited anthologies
ed., The Younger Irish Poets (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1982), and Do. [reiss. as] The New Younger Irish Poets (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1991), xv, 176pp.ed., Catching the Light: Views and Interviews (Moher: Salmon Press 2008), 184pp.ed., with Jonathan Williams, Krino 1986-1996: An Anthology of Irish Writing (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1996), 435pp. incl. 80 writers; critical essays by Susan Schriebman, Hugh Haughton; J. C. C. Mays; Eavan Boland; Nuala Ni Dhomnaill; Terence Brown; Henry Gifford; Eoin Bourke also stories by John McGahern; Peter Hollywood];ed., with Michael Mulreany, The Ogham Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Ireland (Dublin: IPA 2001), x, 230pp., ill., ports.;ed., Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 2009), xx, 412pp. [incls. as Postscript Samuel Beckett’s “Capital of the Ruins”]ed., Conversations: Poets & Poetry (q. pub. 2011).
‘Checkpoints: The Younger Irish Poets’, in Crane Bag, 6, 1 (1983), pp.85-89;‘Where Literature Ends and Politics Begins’, in The Linen Hall Review, 5, 3 (1988), cp.26;‘Brief Confrontations: Convention as Conservatism in Modern Irish Poetry’, in Crane Bag, 7, 2 (1983), pp.143-47;‘A Question of Imagination: Poetry in Ireland Today’, in Cultural Contexts and Literary Idioms in Contemporary Irish Literature, ed. Michael Keneally (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1988)‘Living in Our Time’ [review], in Linen Hall Review (Summer 1990), pp.42-3;“Three Poems” [‘Herald’; ‘Heart of Hearts’; ‘Couplet’] in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 17, 2 (Dec. 1991), p.103;interview with W. J. McCormack/Hugh Maxton, Linenhall Review (Spring 1994), pp.14-16;‘Visiting Chartres’, in Fortnight (Nov. 1994), 32-33 [taking issue with Ronan Bennett’s ‘An Irish Answer’ in the Guardian, Mary Holland, and others, ‘a key feature of Protestantism is precisely its intense individualism and reluctance to nominate itself, or to be exploited, as representative’];‘Parts of Speech’, in Fortnight Review (May 1995), p.38 [an account of his experience and views of the Irish language and politics relating to same];‘Praising the Poet’, in Fortnight Review, 344 (Nov. 1995), p.22-23;‘Civil Codes’ in Fortnight Review (March 1996), pp.26-27) [with cheerful phot. ill.; writing on Ireland and Czechoslovakia];‘Finding the Language: Poetry, Belfast, and the Past’, New Hibernia Review, 1, 1 (Spring 1997), pp.9-18;‘Small is Beautiful’, in Fortnight (July-Aug. 1997), p.26;‘Bring it all back home’, in Fortnight (Jan. 1999) [review of Michael Longley, Selected Poems and Broken Dishes; Denis Sampson, The Chamelion Novelist: Brian Moore];“Raccoons” [a poem], in The Irish Times (10 May 2003), Weekend, p.10;“Midsummer Report” and “The Interface” [two poems], in Fortnight (April 2003), p.31; ‘Francis Ledwidge: A Man of His Time’, in The Irish Times (31 July 2004), p.11 [extract from a lecture given at Slane, Sunday 25th July 2004; see under Ledwidge];Foreword to Facing White: A Collection of New Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre M Phil in Creative Writing [TCD] (Lemon Soap Press 2007).Review of The Red Sweet Wine of Youth, by Nicholas Murray [on British Poets of WWI], in The Irish Times (12 March 2011) [Weekend Review].Review of Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas, by Matthew Hollis, in The Irish Times (13 Aug. 2011), Weekend Review, p.10.
See also Graph, No. 1 (Sept. 1995), & No. 2 (March 1996). Also extensive contributions to The Honest Ulsterman, issues 57-97 (see Tom Clyde, ed., Honest Ulsterman, Author Index, 1995).

Bibliographical details
Across the Roaring HillThe Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland: Essays in Honour of John Hewitt, ed. Gerald Dawe & Edna Longley (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985), xviii, 242pp.; contains essays, James Simmons, ‘The Recipe for All Misfortunes, Courage’ [on Joyce Cary, S. H. Bell, Forrest Reid], pp.79-98; Michael Allen, ‘Notes on Sex in Beckett’, pp.25-38; W. J. McCormack, ‘The Protestant Strain: A Short History of Anglo-Irish Literature from S. T. Coleridge to Thomas Mann, pp.48-78; Edna Longley, ‘Louis MacNeice, The Walls are Flowing’, pp.99-123; Bridget O’Toole, ‘Three Writers and the Big House, Elizabeth Bowen, Molly Keane, Jennifer Johnston’, pp.124-38; J. W. Foster, ‘The Dissidence of Dissent, John Hewitt and W. R. Rodgers’, pp.161-81; Terence Brown, ‘Poets and Patrimony, Richard Murphy and James Simmons’, pp.182-95; Lynda Henderson, ‘Transcendence and Imagination in Contemporary Ulster Drama, pp.196-217; Dawe, ‘Icon and Lares, Derek Mahon and Michael Longley’, pp.196-217. The title of the collection derives from a poem by John Hewitt (‘across the roaring hill … our indigenous Irish din’). [See Table of Contents in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Editions”.]

Against Piety: Essays in Irish Poetry (Belfast: Lagan Press 1995), 193pp.; Brief Confrontations: The Irish Writer’s History [19]; A Question of Imagination: Poetry in Ireland [31]; An Absence of Influence: Three Modernist Poets [45]; Heroic Heart: Charles Donnelly [65]; Anatomist of Melancholia: Louis MacNeice [81]; Against Piety: John Hewitt [89]; Our Secret Being: Padraic Fiacc [105]; Blood and Family: Thomas Kinsella [113]; Invocation of Powers: John Montague [127]; Breathing Spaces: Brendan Kennelly [145]; Icon and Lares: Michael Longley and Derek Mahon [153]; The Suburban Night: Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan and Thomas McCarthy [169].

The New Younger Irish Poets, ed. Gerald Dawe (Belfast: Blackstaff 1982; revised edition 1991); contains poems by Thomas McCarthy; Denis O’Driscoll; Julie O’Callaghan; Rita Ann Higgins; Sebastian Barry; Aidan Carl Matthews; Sean Dunne; Mairead Byrne; Michael O’Loughlin; Brendan Cleary; Dermot Bolger; Peter Sirr; Andrew Elliott; John Hughes; Peter McDonald; Patrick Ramsay; Pat Boran; Kevin Smith; Martin Mooney; John Kelly; Sara Berkeley; also biographical and bibliographical notes; select bibliography; poetry publishers; acknowledgements; index of first lines. [Ulster poets are Martin Mooney; Peter McDonald; John Kelly; John Hughes; Andrew Elliot; Brendan Cleary.]

Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry 1914-1945 (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 2008) – contribs. Katherine Tynan, Stephen Gwynn, W. B. Yeats, AE, Eva Gore-Booth, Lord Dunsany, Thomas McDonagh, William Orpen, Padraic Pearse, Mary Davenport O’Neill, Thomas Kettle, Blanaid Salkeld, Winifred M. Letts, Arnold Bax, D. L. Kelleher, Thomas Carnduff, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Francis Ledwidge, Patrick McGill, Thomas MacGreevy, Austin Clarke, Monk Gibbon, C. S. Lewis, Eileen Shanahan, Jimmy Kennedy, Patrick McDonagh, Franics Stuart, Ewart Milne, George Buchanan, C. Day Lewis, Patrick Kavanagh, Padraic Fallon, Brian Coffey, Samuel Beckett, Sheila Wingfield, Freda Laughton, Louis McNeice, Ruddick Millar, George Reavey, John Hewitt, Denis Devlin, Liam MacGabhann, W. R. Rodgers, Bryan McMahon, Sean Jennett, Leslie Daiken, Donagh McDonagh, Charles Donnelly, Thomas O’Brien, George Hetherington, George M. Brady, Valentin Iremonger, L. J. Fennessy, Maurice J. Craig, Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, Robert Greacen, Roy McFadden, Bruce Williamson, Padraic Fiacc, Patrick Galvin, Pearse Hutchinson, Richard Murphy, Anthony Cronin, Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, James Simmons, Brendan Kennelly, Michael Longley, Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Derek Mahon, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan, Anthony Glavin, Van Morrison.


The committee and members of the William Carleton Society are saddened to learn of the death on March 12th of Mary McCaffrey of Main Street, Fivemiletown. Mary was a brother of our former treasurer, Tom McKeagney, and was a frequent visitor to the annual summer school since it began in 1992 in Clogher. Her funeral will take place at St Mary’s church Fivemiletown on Friday 15th March at 11:00am.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílís. May she rest in peace.

Mary McCaffrey


Traditional musicians the McKenna family from Clogher helped to recreate the atmosphere of past years at Blaeberry Sunday at St Patrick’s Chair and Well Altadaven. The occasion was the launch of the Society’s digital archive project in August 2023 for which a small grant was received from Mid Ulster Council and whose Chair Cllr Dominic Molloy was in attendance. Video by Mary McGee.


The old tradition of gathering at Altadaven near Augher and close to the County Monaghan border on ‘Blaeberry Sunday’ at the end of July was marked by the William Carleton Society in 2023. The event was attended by the Chair of Mid Ulster Council Cllr Dominic Molloy. The Society Chair Michael Fisher brought him to see St Patrick’s Chair and Well. Afterwards the Society announced an exciting project to start cataloguing and digitising its records of more than 25 years of summer schools with the assistance of a small grant from the Council. The McKenna family from Clogher provided traditional music to entertain the visitors.

Michael Fisher and Cllr Dominic Molloy at St Patrick’s Chair and Well, Altadaven
Liam Foley reading from Carleton’s story about Blaeberry Sunday at Altadaven
Keeping the tradition alive for a new generation


Brochure 2012 by Colin Slack
Brochure 2012 by Colin Slack

FÁILTE! Welcome to the 21st William Carleton
summer school. If it’s your first visit to the scenic Clogher Valley, I hope you enjoy the proceedings  and will want to return for more. Those who have attended previously will notice a few changes. We have listened to your comments and are now putting some of them into practice. The most important difference is that the summer school committee has been reorganised into what is once again the William Carleton Society. Originally founded in 1962, it provided the blue plaque for Carleton’s cottage at Springtown and ran successfully until 1972. The first Chair was Master Murray (Éamonn Ó Muirí) a national school principal from Tydavnet. Our tour there last August re-established the Carleton link with County Monaghan. It included the site of the hedge school attended by a young Carleton at Glennan chapel, where Seamus McCluskey delighted the tour group with his stories

William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston and Chair Michael Fisher lay a wreath at Carleton's grave in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, January 2012 Photo: © Evelyn Fisher
William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston and Chair Michael Fisher lay a wreath at Carleton’s grave in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, January 2012 Photo: © Evelyn Fisher

JOIN THE WILLIAM CARLETON SOCIETY If you would like to continue to receive information about our activities hybridge canada goose down skirt canada goose authentic parkas, please contact any committee member. The membership fee to cover the costs of administration will be £5 or €6. The Society hopes to run a series of events over the next twelve months, culminating in the summer school on August 5th-8th 2013. Among the activities we organised earlier this year was a visit to Dublin. We were welcomed at Sandford Church of Ireland parish church in Ranelagh, which Carleton attended in his last years. We also visited Carleton’s grave at Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin, where a wreath was laid and the Society President Jack Johnston addressed the gathering. We hope to repeat this trip in January.

Michael Fisher Chair, William Carleton Society

CONTRIBUTORS 2012  21st William Carleton Summer School

Cormac Ó Gráda
Cormac Ó Gráda

Cormac Ó Gráda is a professor in UCD’s School of Economics. Most of his research has been on the economic history of Ireland and further afield. He is the author or co-author of many books and scholarly articles. His books include Famine: A Short History (Princeton, 2009); Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce: A Socioeconomic History (Princeton, 2006); Ireland’s Great Famine: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Dublin, 2006); Black 47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy and Memory (Princeton, 1999); Ireland: A New Economic History (Oxford, 1994); and An Drochshaol: Béaloideas agus Amhráin (Dublin, 1994). He was awarded the Royal Irish Academy’s Gold Medal for the Humanities in 2010. Cormac’s work involves a lot of travel, and has brought him to places as far afield as Australia and (frequently) North America, but he lives with his family in Dublin 14. Much of his current research is collaborative, and focuses on topics such as the interaction between economic and demographic change in pre-industrial England and the Little Ice Age. In his spare time he likes to take to the hills. He is a keen follower of championship hurling and Dublin football.

Dr Melissa Fegan
Dr Melissa Fegan

Melissa Fegan   is a Reader in English at the University of Chester. Born in Lisburn, she spent her childhood in Shannon, Co. Clare before moving back to Lisburn in her early teens. She did her BA and DPhil at St Hugh’s College, Oxford; her DPhil thesis was on representations of the Great Famine in literature, and was supervised by Roy Foster. Dr Fegan teaches nineteenth century literature and Irish literature, and is programme leader of the MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. She has written extensively about the famine period. Her publications include Literature and the Irish Famine 1845-1919 (Oxford University Press, 2002) and ‘William Carleton and the Great Famine’ in Peter Gray (ed.), Victoria’s Ireland? Ireland and Britishness, 1837-1901 (Four Courts Press, 2004).

Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher is Chair of the William Carleton Society and this is his first summer  school as Director. A freelance journalist, he retired from RTÉ News in Belfast in September 2010, having joined the broadcaster in Dublin in 1979. He is a former BBC News Trainee in London and worked in Birmingham as a local radio reporter. A native of Dublin, Michael has family connections with the Clogher Valley as well as Co.Monaghan. He is a graduate of UCD and QUB and is a previous contributor to the summer school.

Barry Devlin
Barry Devlin

Barry Devlin is originally from Ardboe in County Tyrone. He is the third member of his family to visit the William Carleton Summer School, in the footsteps of his sisters Polly (who addressed the first school in 1992) and Marie, wife of Seamus Heaney. He is best known as a musician for his part in the legendary Irish rock band Horslips, who have recently enjoyed renewed fame.


2010 Brochure by Sam Craig
2010 Brochure by Sam Craig


The themes of the 2010 Summer School were: Will Modern Historians still read Carleton?; Emigration from 19th Century Tyrone; Carleton and the Established Church; and Modern Ulster Writers.

Contributors 2010

Sean Connolly
Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly: Professor of Irish History at Queen’s University, Belfast; previously taught at the University of Ulster and worked as an archivist in the Public Record Office of Ireland; editor of the Irish Economic and Social History journal; principal publications include, as editor, ‘The Oxford Companion to Irish History’, and, as author, ‘Religion canada goose outlet, Law and Power: the Making of Protestant Ireland 1660-1760’, ‘Priests and People in pre-Famine Ireland 1780-1845’, ‘Religion and Society in Nineteenth Century Ireland’ and ‘Contested Island: Ireland 1460-1630’.

Clíona Ó Gallchoir
Clíona Ó Gallchoir

Clíona Ó Gallchoir: Teaches at University College Cork; research interests include Irish women’s writing; Irish and British 18th and 19th century writing; post-colonial writing and children’s literature; author of ‘Maria Edgeworth: Women,Enlightenment and Nation’; published essays include ‘Orphans, Upstarts and Aristocrats: Ireland and the Idyll of Adoption in The Work of Madame de Genlis’ in Ireland Abroad: Politics and Professions in the Nineteenth Century.

Marc Bailey
Mark Bailey

Mark Bailey: Director of the Armagh Observatory; taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Sussex, and Liverpool, currently Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society; publications include numerous articles and papers in scientific journals including those published on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society; author of ‘Tracing the Heritage of the City of Armagh and Monaghan County.

Emer Nolan
Emer Nolan

Emer Nolan: Teaches at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century Irish writing, modernism, and literary/cultural theory; author of ‘James Joyce and Nationalism, Catholic Emancipations: Irish Fiction from Thomas Moore to James Joyce’; editor of ‘Thomas Moore: The Memoirs of Captain Rock’; contributions to journals including The British Journal for Eighteenth-century Studies, Éire-Ireland and Field Day Review.

Linde Lunney
Linde Lunney

Linde Lunney: Editorial Secretary, since 1983 of the Royal Irish Academy’s monumental nine volume ‘Dictionary of Irish Biography’; contributed to over 550 entries to that work; research interests include genealogy, the history of emigration from Ulster, eighteenth century science canada goose outlet, and eighteenth and nineteenth century Ulster poetry, particularly the work of the Ulster-Scots weaver poets.

Damian Gorman
Damian Gorman

Damian Gorman: Writer; his work has received awards as diverse as A Better Ireland Award and an MBE; a Golden Harp and four Peacock awards; a BAFTA and a major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council;

In 1994 he was founding director of the charity An Crann [The Tree] which worked to “Help people tell, and hear, the stories of the Troubles”, through the arts.

Emma Heatherington
Emma Heatherington

Emma Heatherington: Author of ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Playing the Field’ and ‘Beyond Sin’. ‘The Truth Between’ and Behind The Scenes are to be published soon; scriptwriter/arts facilitator for Beam Creative Network; writes educational drama pieces and films; Project Manager of Imagine Action: a children’s theatre and sports programme.

David Park
David Park

David Park: Novelist, teacher; author of ‘Oranges from Spain’, ‘The Healing’, ‘The Rye Man’, ‘Stone Kingdoms’, ‘The Big Snow’, ‘Swallowing the Sun’ and ‘The Truth Commissioner’; has received many prestigious awards including The Authors’ Club First Novel Award, Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature, The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Award and the American Ireland Fund Literary Award for his contribution to Irish Literature.

Kate Sutcliffe
Kate Sutcliffe

Kate Sutcliffe: related to the Barnett family at Ballagh, Clogher; she is a Software Development Engineer who writes poetry; other intrests include poetry as theatre, and performance, children’s poetry and writing, and humour and nonsense.

Jack Johnston
Jack Johnston

 Jack Johnston: Historian; Director of the William Carleton Summer School; editor of The Spark; A local History Review; published and edited and taught local history over much of south Ulster and north Connacht; editor of Studies in Local History: Co. Monaghan; other publications include chapters in Tyrone History and Society and Fermanagh History and Society; Chairman of the Ulster Local History Trust.

Noel Monahan
Noel Monahan

Noel Monahan: Poet, dramatist and former teacher; poetry collections are ‘Opposite Walls’, ‘Snowfire’, ‘Curse of the Birds’ and ‘The Funeral Game’ and his plays include ‘Half a Vegetable’ – based on the writings of Patrick Kavanagh and ‘Broken Cups’ which won the P.J. Ó Connor R.T.E. radio drama award.

Ruth Illingworth
Ruth Illingworth

Ruth Illingworth: Lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; writer, broadcaster and tour guide; Chair of the Mullingar Historical and Archaeological Society and President of the Westmeath Historical and Archaeological Society; author of Mullingar: History and Guide and contributor to Mullingar: Essays on the History of a Midlands Town.

Alan Acheson
Alan Acheson

Alan Acheson: Historian: specializes in church history; author of A History of the Church of Ireland, 1691-2001; currently researching the life of Bishop Jebb of Limerick; now retired, he was previously Headmaster of Portora and later of the King’s School canada goose sale, Parramatta, NSW, Australia; his memoirs Why the Whistle Went were published in 2009.

Paddy Fitzgerald
Paddy Fitzgerald

Paddy Fitzgerald: Formerly Assistant Curator for Emigration History at the Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh; since, 1998 is Lecturer and Development Officer at the Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh; lectures in Irish Migration Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast; publications include, with Brian Lambkin, ‘Migration in Irish History cheap canada goose, 1607-2007’.

Gordon Brand
Gordon Brand

Gordon Brand:  Summer School           Committee       member; lecturers on writers including Patrick MacGill, Oscar Wilde, William Allingham and Anthony Trollope; editor of ‘William Carleton: The Authentic Voice’.


Liam Foley
Liam Foley

Liam Foley: Summer School Committee member; has rewritten Carleton’s long short story ‘The Midnight Mass’ as a radio play for ten characters – it will be performed as part of the open-ended discussion on Thursday afternoon.


Owen Dudley Edwards
Owen Dudley Edwards

Owen Dudley Edwards: Honorary Fellow and former Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh; broadcaster and writer; Honorary Director of the William Carleton Summer School since 1995; published studies of Oscar Wilde, Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, James Connolly, Burke and Hare and Eamon de Valera; published British Children’s Literature and the Second World War; editor of ‘1916: Easter Rising’, ‘Conor Cruise O’Brien Introduces Ireland’ and ‘Scotland, Europe and the American Revolution’; contributed essays to a range of publications including Scotland and Ulster and Fickle Man: Robert Burns in the Twenty-first Century.



AII Carleton’s best work is true to that medieval texture of lrish Catholic life, where the same breath that utters a Hail Mary suffices to shoo the chickens off the floor or the cat from the jug of cream.

Patrick Kavanagh (1945)

1995 Summer School Brochure
1995 Summer School Brochure

Following last year’s consideration of Carleton’s place in lreland’s continuing literary tradition, the theme for this year is William Carleton and His Times. This is in part suggested by the fact that 1995, one year after the bicentenary of Carleton’s birth, is the bicentenary of the founding of Maynooth College and of the Orange Order.

Contrary influences these institutions might be but both impinged on Carleton’s life and feature in his writings. lnterestingly, it will be a Maynooth scholar, Professor W J Smyth, who will speak on the Orange Order.

In addition to the more academic contribution, many of lreland’s leading writers will read from work published or in progress. Amongst these, we welcome again one of our patrons, John Montague, who was recently presented with the American lreland  Fund literary award for his major contribution to lrish literature.


The elegant eighteenth century house, now the Clogher Valley Rural Centre, will again be the venue for the School. This is in Clogher: village in size but city by virtue of the elegant but unpretentious Cathedral of St MacCartan, of 12th century foundation. Clogher is one of a cluster of small towns or villages marking out the Valley. Surrounding them is some of the most  gently pastoral country in lreland and, overlooking all, is the wooded height  of Knockmany, sacral hill for Carleton pilgrims.


During the period of the Summer School, the following events will also be taking place:

. Sketching in the Valley with Margaret Hadden

. Exhibition of Paintings by Sam Craig

. Exhibition of Orange Order memorabilia

. Traditional Music Evenings in local pubs

. The Spolian Fair (Clogher Community Festival – Thursday)

The Spolian Fair, Clogher: part of Summer School week 1995
The Spolian Fair, Clogher: part of Summer School week 1995

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Sam Hanna Bell
Photo Bobby Hanvey via Burns Library Boston College, Creative Commons Licence

by Sam Hanna Bell

There is a tradition that the people of Carleton’s Country, the mountainous district between south Tyrone and Monaghan, were descendants of the Firbolgs or Bag-Carriers, driven there by their Celtic conquerors. In this district, in the townland of Prillisk, between Clogher and Knockmany, William Carleton was born in 1794. It can happen, when discussing a writer and his work, that little is added to our evaluation to mention when and where he was born. We see him only faintly, if at all, a journeyman labouring behind his heroes, his heroines, his villains. But William Carleton of Prillisk in the County Tyrone steps out from the pages of his own tales. He is Jemmy McEvoy the Poor Scholar travelling hopefully towards Maynooth, he is Denis O’Shaüghnessy hurrying homeward from Maynooth, to wed “the cream of his affections”, Susy Connor, he is Shane Fadh, who before the eyes of his sweetheart, could out-dance, out-throw, out-speed all his rivals in the glades of Althadhawan Wood.

From this vanished forest Carleton leads .out his neighbours, remembering and setting down every quirk and turn of their steps. He is the inexhaustibly well-informed legend-and-customs-officer of the baggage of sorrow and joy the Bag-carriers humped through their lives. He was born among their cabins and travelled with them to their christenings and funerals, their weddings and wakes, their places of merriment and of pilgrimage. And, above all, his father was a brimming well of folk-tale and legend and Carleton drew prodigally on him. In later years he could boast that neither Petrie nor Ferguson nor O’Donovan nor any other antiquary had anything to teach the writer who had spent his childhood among the neighbours who tumble from the pages of his books. Throughout his stories there are many examples of Carleton’s indebtedness to the tradition that he learnt around hearthstones in the Clogher Valley.

A few years ago there appeared in Béaloideas*, the Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, a group of Tyrone folktales contributed by the late J. B. Arthurs of Queen’s University. One of these stories, Jack and the Black Horse, was taken down in 1908 from a Tyrone storyteller, Owen Bradley of Carrickmore.* In the course of the life-and-death pursuit in this story the Black Horse (a bewitched Prince) advises the hero: ” ‘Jack,’ he says, ‘look in my right ear now and see do you see anything in it.’  ‘I see a drop of water in it,’ says Jack.        ‘Throw it behind you,’ says the Black Horse, ‘ and wish for an ocean behind you and a plain road before you.’

*Béaloideas, 19 (1949), full movie A Cure for Wellness 2017 online

(Reproduced from Summer School Handbook 2004)