Ireland and the Union: questions of identity

Published in Issue 3 (Autumn 1999), News, News, Volume 7

On the weekend of 9-11 April 1999, the Irish Studies Centre at Bath Spa University College was pleased to host the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland, particularly as this was the first time that the Society has held its annual conference outside of Ireland. The conference theme was Ireland and the Union: questions of identity, and attracted more than fifty delegates from Ireland, Britain, the United States, Canada and France. The papers explored many of the literary, political, musical, linguistic, social and sporting dimensions of Irish identity under the Union, both in Ireland and in Britain and the wider diaspora. As well as important contributions from some of the ‘old hands’ of the Society and other established academics, there were fascinating papers from several postgraduates on such diverse themes as the links between operatic representations of Brian Boru and perceptions of Irish nationalism, the political dimensions of Somerville and Ross’s In Mr Knox’s Country, ‘Irishness’ and Charles Robert Maturin and Bram Stoker, and the significance of the 1899 controversy over the pedagogic utility of the Irish language. As usual with the Society’s conferences there was a lively social side to the proceedings, and for those who still had the stamina for it there was a guided tour of Bath on Sunday afternoon.

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