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Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies

burns library

Since 1989, the Burns Library 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 Library 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, ’28, who also funded the creation of Burns Library, named in his honor. The Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program has also benefited from the ongoing support of the Office of the Provost.

Current Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies

photograph of Jon Hogan

Damian Bracken, Burns Library Visiting Scholar for Spring Semester 2015

Damian Bracken, Senior Lecturer in the School of History at University College Cork, returns to Boston College as the Spring 2015 Burns Library Scholar in Irish Studies. Bracken previously spent the summer of 2013 as a research fellow affiliated with the Center for Irish Programs. He has also been an honorary research associate at Cambridge University and a visiting associate professor at Boston University.

Bracken is a specialist in medieval history, especially early Ireland and its inheritance of late antique culture. Among his other scholarly publications, he has edited and written an introduction for the forthcoming facsimile of the Schaffhausen manuscript of Adomnán’s Life of St. Columba—the first in a series of facsimiles of major Irish historical manuscripts to be published by Cork University Press.

Bracken is also a co-director of the Irish National Institute for Historical Research of University College Cork along with Hiram Morgan and Dermot Keogh, the 2011-2012 Burns Library Visiting Scholar.

This semester Prof. Bracken is teaching a senior seminar titled "Irish Identity Formation & Expression." One of the few courses ever taught at Boston College on the early history of Ireland, it explores the impact of the arrival of Christianity and literacy on the Irish. Bracken will also offer a public lecture on a topic and date to be announced.

Previous Burns Library Visiting Scholars in Irish Studies

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