Sam Shepard, True West, and the Eblana

The death of the playwright Sam Shepard represents a huge loss to American theatre. Some of his best work shows a gift for exposing patterns of connection and disconnection in family and personal relationships, registered in moments of loss, violence and even lyricism. True West (1980) demonstrates the – at times – comic potential of… | Read on »

Stumped by Trump’s ‘Irish American’ Cabinet?

It has not gone unnoticed that the Trump administration features many Irish Americans. The Independent has catalogued some of them. I see two questions being raised by the article—first, what are Irish Americans doing joining this administration, and why do these Americans see themselves as ‘Irish’? Or, more broadly, why do Americans cling to such… | Read on »

The Contested Meanings of Creativity

At a recent speech to mark the opening of NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, President Michael D. Higgins warmly welcomed the new theatre, but he went on to warn of today’s widespread misuse of the term ‘creativity.’ Similar to the language of an advertising slogan, he said, ‘creativity’ is in danger… | Read on »

Agallamh na Scoláirí

In the summer of 1745, Charles O’Conor of Belanagare (1710-1791), the Gaelic historian, scholar and prolific pamphleteer noted the imminent death of Dominic O’Duignan in his diary: Iun 5 1745: … Dominic Ua Duibhgennáin, Seanóir Chloinne Gaodhal, d’fhagháil bháis ar a tseachtmhuin so. Bu hé sin mh’oide san Scuit-Bhérla, agus ba duine cráifeach, agus trócaire… | Read on »

The Problem of Plastics

Plastic marine litter has recently attracted public attention due to a regular flow of media releases. However, marine litter presents one aspect of a much larger problem. During a sabbatical from Massey University (New Zealand) this year, I spent a week as a Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute, working with colleagues in Geography, especially… | Read on »

Tribute to Dr. Sylvie Lannegrand ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques’ by Prof. Jane Conroy

Sylvie Lannegrand has been a much valued colleague, and a wonderful friend to the student population, since she first appeared in the French Department in 1985, as a lectrice de français, and particularly since her full-time appointment in 1987. The prestigious award of the ‘Palmes académiques’ is an appropriate recognition of her exemplary work here… | Read on »

Cuba: With or without Castro

Fidel Castro’s death on 25 November 2016 provoked a predictable storm of polarised and partisan commentary about his leadership of the Cuban Revolution, the longest and most audacious in Latin American history. Whether you see him as a totalitarian ruler of the Cuban people or a champion of the oppressed, his legacy in terms of… | Read on »

Theses on Trump and the 2016 Election

As an American citizen living abroad, I have been reflecting on the course of the election and its outcome. Here are some theses on the process. § However immersed they are in the world of politics, Americans still disapprove of the political. Therefore, lack of experience is no discredit to a candidate. § Trump succeeded… | Read on »