by Julie Parkins
Kenneallys Irish eyes are smiling just a bit brighter these days,
after being appointed the inaugural chair in Canadian Irish studies at
Concordia and director of the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies.
Dr. Kenneally, a native of County Cork, is one of Canadas leading
Irish studies scholars. His teaching and research include issues related
to Irish landscape, memory and identity in contemporary Irish literature,
and the writings of Irish exiles in 19th-century Canada and other countries
with large Irish immigrant populations.
He is the author of a full-length study of Irish playwright Sean OCasey,
has edited three books on Irish literature, and is also the editor of
the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. Its next issue, which should
be published in a month or two, will feature numerous Concordia connections.
There will be an interview with Ben Barnes, the artistic director
of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Kenneally said.
He has an arrangement with the Centaur Theatre whereby he comes
in from Dublin and directs an Irish play with a Canadian cast. And then
Gordon McCall, the director at the Centaur, goes to Dublin and directs
a Canadian play with an Irish cast. Theyve done this every year
for the past three years.
The interview for the journal was done by Kate Bligh, who teaches in the
Theatre Department at Concordia. Lorrie Blair, of Concordias Department
of Art Education, has written a profile of Irish-Canadian artist Paul
Kane. Several Concordia faculty members serve on the journals editorial
The Centre has grown quickly from its inception in late 2000. This fall
it is offering an undergraduate minor in Canadian Irish studies as well
as a certificate to people with an interest in all things Irish. It is
also likely to offer a travel study course to Ireland next summer.
The centre is jointly supported by Concordia and the community,
Kenneally said. He was formerly the interim director, and has been teaching
courses in Irish studies for over 20 years.
This is an example of community and university support building
on a concept. Its really the Irish community buying into its roots
coming home and being interested in raising money because
Interest generated from money raised by the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation,
which spearheaded the formation of the centre, is used to help fund the
centre. It also provides five scholarships of $1,000 to students enrolled
in Irish studies courses this fall, and four more scholarships may be
on the way.
The Centre was created to provide a structure for the universitys
growing body of teaching and research in the field. It will continue to
grow by offering its popular series of public lectures and films, and
building up its collection of artifacts, many of them contributed by Montreals
Irish culture, literature, history, music, and dance appeal to a
wide range of people, and this interest in Irish culture explains the
vitality of the Irish community in Montreal, Kenneally said. The
popularity of Irish culture around the world today Roddy Doyle,
Seamus Heaney, Sinead OConnor, U2 and Riverdance has made
people want to learn about Irish culture.
The Centre for Canadian Irish Studies is located in the Samuel Bronfman
Building at the corner of Côte des Nieges Rd. and Dr. Penfield Ave.,
and can be reached at 848-8711.