By Julie Anne Stevens
Research recalls detective work. The scholar follows clues to solve unanswered questions or to reveal forgotten or overlooked information. The archive gives opportunity to track clues, and while one of scholarship’s pleasures lies in this search, one of its compulsions may arise when a repository’s mysterious unknown does not immediately deliver information. Nonetheless, just like the fictional detective, the researcher expects to discover eventually some central source of knowledge if she or he looks carefully enough and with the right eyes.
Yet with research, revelation does not always happen – especially when the archive goes missing.
Dr. Noēlle Davies (1889-1983), née Ffrench, of Mount Talbot, Co. Roscommon, was a 20th Century intellectual, educationist, litterateur and political activist across Ireland, Wales, Denmark and Europe. Her story is largely unexplored. Using transnational sources, we can trace and assemble her 50 years’ intellectual output. This has four strands: her life-long commitment to education that was both practical and national; seminal intellectual and political collaboration building a modern Welsh nationalism with her husband, Dr. D.J. (‘Dai’) Davies (1893-1956); her own transnational political writings; and Noëlle’s personal literary output. Read More
Dr Lindsay Janssen
This year’s IASIL (International Association for the Study of Irish Literature) conference, ‘Reimaging Traditions’ was held at Radboud University, Nijmegen (the Netherlands; RU). RU is my alma mater and although I do not work there anymore, I was asked to co-organise the conference. A great opportunity to work together with my former colleagues: Marguérite Corporaal (main organiser), Christopher Cusack, Ruud van den Beuken and Chris Louttit, among others. The conference team also included a life-saving team of student assistants. Although I greatly appreciate their hard work and good company, I am not going to mention everybody involved; this blog post is not my personal Oscar speech. And besides, the full team (and programme) can be found at www.ru.nl/iasil2018/. My apologies if this piece is going to sound bit laudatory: truth be told, of course we had the usual bumps in the road in preparing for the conference, but in contrast to previous ones we organised, this conference itself was relatively stress-free and thus even more enjoyable. Read More
By Tara Giddens, University of Limerick
I was first introduced to Kathleen Blake Coleman (1856-1915) by my supervisor when discussing PhD topics. Coleman was an eminent journalist in Canada and the United States at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. She wrote the column “Woman’s Kingdom” for The Toronto Daily Mail, which later became The Daily Mail and Empire, from 1889 to 1911. After leaving the paper, Coleman became a freelancer until her death in 1915. While reading her column, I was drawn into the world of the “Woman’s Kingdom,” and instantly intrigued by Coleman’s voice and her use of both her national identity and gender to attract readers and gain popularity. One of her biggest achievements was becoming the first accredited woman war correspondent in the Spanish-American War in 1898. She was also well-known for her travels, covering the United States, Canada, and Europe as a journalist; even publishing a collection of her articles on Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Read More
by Dr. Niamh Hamill
MARY ANN ALLINGHAM 1820-1836
Will any one read my preface? (thought I to myself, as I sat down one evening with my Crow quill dipped in Indian ink in my fingers ready to begin an introductory page to my Friends . . . Will any one think it worthwhile to read a preface; not by an UNKNOWN AUTHOR (that would be, to be well known) but by an humble County Donegal Female. It was a stupefying thought, and the ink remained in the pen so long, that when my vanity decided that someone would read it: I was forced to clear the point of the congealed ink by my pen knife; and taking that as a lucky omen; here said I, “Female vanity, that sharp and never rusty knife, has cleared away those doubts and fears, Which ever buzz about poor authors’ ears.
—Mary Ann Allingham, Ballyshannon, 1833.