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Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies

burns library

Since 1991, the Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program has brought to Boston College a long and distinguished series of professors, poets, novelists, journalists, librarians, literary critics, and notable public figures who have made significant contributions to Irish cultural and intellectual life. Burns Scholars teach courses, offer public lectures, and engage with the rich resources of the Burns Library in their ongoing research, writing, and creative endeavors.

The Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies is a cooperative venture between the Boston College University Libraries and the Center for Irish Programs. It was established through a generous gift by the children of the Honorable John J. Burns, ’21, who also funded the creation of Burns Library, named in his honor. The Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program has also benefited from the ongoing support of the Office of the Provost.

Current Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies

photograph of Colmán Ó Clabaigh

Colmán Ó Clabaigh, OSB, Burns Visiting Scholar for Spring Semester 2016

Colmán Ó Clabaigh, OSB is a Benedictine monk of Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, and a medievalist specializing in the history of monasticism and religion in Late Medieval Ireland. He was awarded a BA in 1989 at NUI, Galway and after undertaking research in Italy, Belgium and Oxford, received his doctorate in 1998 from the National University of Ireland. This was published as The Franciscans in Ireland, 1400–1534: from Reform to Reformation (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002). He has co-edited the following proceedings of the Glenstal History Conference: The Irish Benedictines: a history (with Martin Browne, Dublin: Columba Press, 2005); Art and Devotion in Medieval Ireland (with Salvador Ryan and Rachel Moss, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006) and, most recently, Soldiers of Christ: the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller in Medieval Ireland (with Martin Browne, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015). His monograph The Friars in Ireland, 1224-1500 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012) was awarded the 2013 National University of Ireland Prize for Irish Historical Research.

Apart from these book length publications Ó Clabaigh has contributed articles, reviews and editions of documents to numerous Irish and international journals. He has lectured and taught courses for institutions and organizations in Ireland, Great Britain, Italy and Nigeria and comes to Boston College having completed a semester as Visiting Professor at the School of Theology, St John’s University Collegeville, Minnesota. His current research focuses on popular religion in Medieval Ireland and while serving as the Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies he will teach a course on Religion and Society in Ireland, c. 1215 to c. 1526 in the Department of History.

PUBLIC LECTURE MARCH 2, 2016

Fifty Ways to Cleave Your Brother: Mayhem, Mischief, & Misfits in Medieval Irish Monasteries

Although St Benedict's Rule describes the monastery as a “household of God,” human frailty has meant that the reality is always more complicated. Br. Colmán, a monk of Glenstal Abbey, explores how ethnic rivalry, madness, alcohol abuse and personal ambition impacted the religious communities of late medieval Ireland.

Listen to Br. Colmán's lecture [1 hr 11 min], presented at the Burns Library on March 2, 2016. Introductory remarks [approx. 7 min] were given by Dr. Christian Dupont, Burns Librarian, and Dr. Oliver P. Rafferty, S.J., Director of the Irish Studies Program at Boston College.

Previous Burns Visiting Scholars in Irish Studies

James H. Murphy, CM (Fall 2016)
Professor of English, DePaul University

Listen to Professor Murphy’s lecture "Novelists and Politicians in Nineteenth-Century Ireland" [1 hr 5 min], presented at the Burns Library on November 18, 2015. Introductory remarks [approx. 6 min] were given by Dr. Christian Dupont, Burns Librarian, and Dr. Oliver P. Rafferty, S.J., Director of the Irish Studies Program at Boston College.

A historian of fiction as well as political historian, Professor Murphy addresses questions that have emerged from his research on the Victorian period in Ireland and its aftermath: What agendas did women novelists of the period pursue, and what kinds of feminisms did they advocate in their fictions? What novels, as yet unrecognized, may have influenced James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? What role did the Dublin Corporation, or city council, play in the national politics of Victorian Ireland, and how did it affect its service to the city's population?

Damian Bracken (Spring 2015)
Senior Lecturer in the School of History at University College Cork

John Horgan (Fall 2014)
Journalist, Historian, Member of Parliament, Professor

Listen to a lecture [1 hr 7 min] John Horgan gave at the Burns Library on Nov. 19, 2014 entitled "Journalism—The First Draft of History?" Introductory remarks [approx. 6 min] were given by Dr. Christian Dupont, Burns Librarian, and Dr. Robert Mauro, Director, Irish Institute at Boston College.

Terence Brown (Spring 2014)
Professor Emeritus of Anglo-Irish Literature, Trinity College Dublin.

Mary McAleese (Fall 2013)
President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011, McAleese was Ireland's second female president and its first president from Northern Ireland.

Peter Fallon (2012 - 2013)
Poet and publisher

Dermot Keogh (2011-2012)

Head of the Department of History at University College Cork

Listen to a lecture [1 hr 45 min] Dermot Keogh gave at the Burns Library on Mar. 28, 2012 entitled "Contrasting Studies of Irish Catholic Intellectuals in a Revolutionary Age, 1908-1919." Introductory remarks [approx. 3 min] were given by Thomas E. Hachey, Ph.D., University Professor of History and Executive Director of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College.  Response by Professor Joseph Lee, Glucksman Chair of Irish Studies and Director of Glucksman Ireland House at NYU.

Listen to a lecture [1 hr 32 min] Dermot Keogh gave at the Burns Library on Nov. 16, 2011 entitled "Ireland’s Relationship with the Holy See Reconsidered – From the End of the Civil War (1923) to the Papal Visit in 1979." Introductory remarks [approx. 3 min] were given by Thomas E. Hachey, Ph.D., University Professor of History and Executive Director of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College.  Response by Reverend Liam Bergin, Rector, Pontifical Irish College, Rome.

Nicholas Allen (Spring 2011)
Moore Institute Professor, National University of Ireland, Galway
Below, you can listen to a lecture [51 min] Nicholas Allen gave at the Burns Library on March 1, 2011 entitled "Jack Yeats and the Picture of Ireland." Introductory remarks [approx. 5 min] were given by Robert K. O'Neill, Ph.D., director of the John J. Burns Library at Boston College.

Francis Carroll (Fall 2010)
Professor Emeritus of History, National University of Manitoba
Below, listen to a lecture [61 min] Francis Carroll gave at the Burns Library on November 1, 2010, entitled " 'I thank God I have lived to see this day': The Official Visit of the First Irish Free State Leader, W. T. Cosgrave, to the United States in 1928." Introductory remarks [2 min] were given by Dr. Michael Cronin, Academic Director of Boston College -- Ireland.

Thomas Bartlett (2009-2010)
Professor of History, National University of Ireland
Video from Front Row: Ireland and the British Empire, 1690-1800

Diarmaid Ferriter (2008-2009)
Historian 
Video from Front Row: Unfulfilled Promise; Sex and the Archbishop

John F. Deane (Spring 2008)
Irish Poet and Fiction Writer
Below, listen to a poetry reading [1 hr] John Deane gave at the Burns Library on April 8, 2008.  Introductory remarks [6 min] were given by Robert K. O'Neill, Ph.D., director of the John J. Burns Library at Boston College.

Brendan Kennelly (Fall 2007)
Irish poet
Listen to a poetry reading [1 hr] (Real Player required) Brendan Kennelly gave at the Burns Library in October 2007. Introductory remarks were given by Robert K. O'Neill, Ph.D.

Tom Garvin (2006-2007)
Professor of Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin.
View video from Front Row. 

Maria Luddy (2005-2006)
Professor of History at the University of Warwick.
View video from Front Row.

Gerald Dawe (Spring 2005)
Poet literary critic; Director of Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, Trinity College, Dublin.
View video from Front Row.

Mick Moloney (Fall 2004)
Professor of Music and the Irish Studies, New York University

Peter Gray (Spring 2004)
Senior Lecturer in History, University of Southampton

Margaret Kelleher (2002-2003)
Senior Lecturer, Department of English, National University of Ireland - Maynooth

Breandán Ó Buachalla (2001-2002)
Formerly of University College, Dublin

Patricia Donlon (2000-2001)
Former Director of the National Library of Ireland

Paul Bew (1999-2000)
Historian, Political Scientist, The Queen's University Belfast

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (1998-1999)
Irish poet, author

Bernard Meehan (Spring 1998)
Keeper of Manuscripts, Trinity College, Dublin

Alvin Jackson (1996-1997)
Historian, The Queen's University Belfast

Kevin Whelan (1996-1997)
Historian, geographer; Director of the Keogh Center for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame

Timothy O'Neill (Spring 1995)
Calligrapher, historian

Seán Ó Tuama (Fall 1994)
Irish language scholar, National University of Ireland, Cork

Maurice Harmon (1993-1994)
University College, Dublin, Professor of Literature, literary critic and author

Margaret MacCurtain O. P. (1992-1993)
Historian, National University of Ireland, Dublin

Alf Mac Lochlainn (1991-1992)
Film and literary critic, bibliographer, cultural historian and novelist who served as director of the National Library of Ireland