Corkery remembered

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (Spring 1997), News, Volume 5

The restless energies of Daniel Corkery (1878-1964), author of TheHidden Ireland, friend of Terence MacSwiney, scourge of Sean Ó Faoláinand Frank O’Connor, and champion of the Gael, the Church, the language,and the land, seem a little unfashionable in the Ireland of today. So,too, do the charms of the village of Inchigeelagh, County Cork. ButCorkery loved Inchigeelagh and its Ballingeary twin: he foundinspiration in the parish, its inhabitants and hills, for many of hisforays into imaginative writing.
Still, as if defying the topic’s ‘sell-by’ date, upwards of twohundred people filed through the public rooms of Creedon’s Hotel, inthat neglected village, during five days in late July 1996. They heardpaens from Patrick Maume (Queen’s University, Belfast), to Corkery’scourage and integrity. They viewed, through the eyes of Nuala Fenton(Crawford Gallery, Cork), an exhibition of Corkery’s water colours, forthe first time on display. They witnessed a performance, in Irish, ofCorkery’s play An Bonnan Buí. And they examined, with the help ofPatrick Walsh (St Malachi’s College, Belfast), contrasts andconvergences between the strongly regionalist outlook of DanielCorkery, and that of John Hewitt, the Ulster poet.
Daytime activities centred on embroidery, landscape painting, anddancing classes (courtesy of Anne McCarthy, Sarah Iremonger, and EidinO’Shea), save on the fifth day, when Michael Herity (UniversityCollege, Dublin) led a field trip to the area’s Christian, andpre-Christian, sites. The organisers of the summer school had set outto revive a tradition begun in the 1920s by Daniel Corkery himself.They were surprised, though, by the scale of Corkery’s following amongthe Anglo-Irish and the Germans. Henceforward, they conclude, thehurdle of Irish language studies will be raised along the course. The1997 Corkery Summer School will centre on the 175th anniversary of theBattle of Keimaneigh, and on the associated literary output of MaireBuí Ó Laoghaire. Her remains, and those of hercompanions, lie interred in the old churchyard in Inchigeelagh.


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