Drs. Samuel Fischer and Gregory Baker with the Irish Ambassador

On Tuesday, April 26th, faculty and students from across the University had the pleasure of welcoming Ireland's 18th Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, to campus. The Ambassador came to offer remarks on two new books by faculty in the program of Irish Studies. Samuel Fisher, professor in the History department, recently edited a new anthology of Irish language poetry with Brian Ó Conchubhair, professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. Their collection, Bone and Marrow - Cnámh agus Smior: An Anthology of Irish Poetry from Medieval to Modern, was published this past March with Wake Forest University Press, a prominent publisher of Irish poetry in North America. Gregory Baker, director of Irish Studies and professor in the English department, also recently finished a monograph focused on classical reception, nationalism and experimental writing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. His book, Classics and Celtic Literary Modernism: Yeats, Joyce, MacDiarmid and Jones, was published in February with Cambridge University Press.

Photos of the Irish Ambassador and new Irish Studies books
In his lecture Ambassador Mulhall stressed the indispensable role of education in the cultural transformation of Irish civilization, specifically in the period stretching from 1880 to 1930. The lives of Thomas MacDonagh, Pádraic Pearse, James Joyce and Éamon de Valera illustrated in different ways, he argued, how new widespread access to university life late in the nineteenth century helped foment a spirit of revolution, independence and radical innovation across Irish politics and Irish literature. Both books by Dr. Fisher and Dr. Baker, he suggested, would make significant contributions to understanding this period, and others in Irish history. They will be welcomed by the broad international community of scholars devoted to studying Ireland and its contributions to the world. As a diplomat, Ambassador Mulhall has extensively engaged with this community in many places across the world. Before coming to Washington in 2017, he was Ireland's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where, in addition to his diplomatic work, he often lectured at a number of major British universities on subjects of Irish interest. Beginning in September later this year, Ambassador Mulhall plans to step down from his diplomatic position to become the Global Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at New York University. Though he took his own degree in modern Irish history from University College Cork some years ago, the Ambassador showed on his visit Tuesday how eager he remains to think, read and write about Ireland, and the importance its literature and languages still possess today.