Welcome to the Monasterevin Hopkins Society website.

Our society celebrates Gerard Manley Hopkins, his poetry and his unique connection to our community in Monasterevin.  We hold a annual festival, and invite you to join us and gain an insight into the community and location that he referred to as “one of the props and struts of my existence”.

Zoom Covid Info Image

Due to the current Covid 19 pandemic this year’s Festival will be a Free virtual Zoom event for Lectures and Poetry Reading.

To register for free online Lectures and Poetry Reading and to keep up to date on MHS Society and Festival News, please subscribe to our mailing list:


We are pleased to announce provisional details of the 2021 Festival:

Fri 23rd July 2021

  • Moore Abbey Concert with tenor Aaron Doyle
    • (We are currently investigating the possibility of having a virtual Concert – watch this space!)

Sat 24th July 2021

  • 10:00am Lecture by Hilary Davies
    • Hopkins as Traditionalist and Poetic Innovator
  • 11:00am Lecture by Will Daunt
    • Gerard Manley Hopkins : The Lydiate Connection
  • 12 noon Poetry Reading by Hilary Davies, Poet.
  • Art Exhibition
    • (We are investigating the possibility of having exhibition online)
Hopkins as Traditionalist and Poetic Innovator:
In this lecture I will be looking at the extraordinary diversity of poetic forms and language upon which Hopkins drew to create what is a unique voice in English literature. Hopkins was a passionate linguist: a classicist by training ( he read Greats at Oxford)  but one who, unlike many of his similarly educated contemporaries, had no prejudices about what constituted ‘acceptable’ speech practice. This allowed him to range across multiple literatures and verse traditions to forge a poetic language that anticipates modernism and which remains today breathtaking in its daring.

Hilary Davies is a poet, translator, essayist and linguist. She has published four collections of poetry from Enitharmon: The Shanghai Owner of the Bonsai Shop; In a Valley of This Restless Mind, and Imperium, containing a evocation of the naval conflict of the Napoleonic Wars, of which the poet Christopher Middleton said, ‘hard and brilliant…a fine, expansive freshness of sound …astonishing.’ In her fourth collection, Exile and the Kingdom, published in November 2016, she explores the pilgrimage of faith, grief after the death of her husband, the poet Sebastian Barker, and the history of Europe, strung on the thread of the river Rhine. Hilary won an Eric Gregory award in 1983, has been a Hawthornden Fellow, Chairman of the Poetry Society, and 1st prizewinner in the Cheltenham Literature Festival poetry competition.  She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at King’s College, London, 2012 -6 and in 2018-9 at the British Library, and is a Fellow of the English Association and the Temenos Academy. She is currently co-editing a volume of essays, The Prophetic Word, for Routledge.


Gerard Manley Hopkins: the Lydiate Connections

Book Cover

Ormskirk Imprint. ISBN 9780244165024

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry had an enormous influence on the evolution of twentieth century poetry in English, and two of his most distinctive poems were written while he was posted to the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier, in Liverpool in 1880-1881. ‘Felix Randal’ tells of the life and death of a parishioner that the poet had ministered to. ‘Spring and Fall’ was composed during one of Hopkins’ frequent visits to the village of Lydiate, where he was sent to say Mass at Rose Hill House.
This local guide reflects particularly on what might have inspired that poem: the countryside, the people and Hopkins’ own life. It follows the publication of Will Daunt’s related piece in The Hopkins Quarterly, Winter-Spring 2018 and includes specially-commissioned artwork by Susan Hodgkins. The book concludes with a local guided walk and an Afterword by the renowned Hopkins scholar, Professor Joseph Feeney S.J.

Will Daunt

Will Daunt completed his schooling at the European School in Brussels in the very early days of Ireland and the U.K.’s membership of the E.U. Having studied English Literature at Reading University, he went on to spend his career in English state secondary schools, latterly as a headteacher.

After retiring, Will completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. These studies led indirectly to the submission to the Hopkins Quarterly of a piece called  ‘Hopkins in Lydiate and the Hinterland to ‘Spring and Fall”, which appeared in the Winter- Spring 2018 issue.

Edge Hill is a few miles from Lydiate and Will went on to write and edit the illustrated book,  Gerard Manley Hopkins: the Lydiate Connections.

Recently he has also edited two posthumous books of selected poems: Pleading at the Bar of Truth, by Eddie Wainwright, and Writing on Rock, by Tim Noble.

Six of Will’s poetry collections have been published, including three by Belfast’s Lapwing, and another which was an Indigo Dreams Collection winner. His work has appeared widely, most recently in Orbis, Envoi, Smoke, The High Window and The Poetry Village. He won first prize in the VER Poets’ 2009 competition and has been shortlisted or commended in competitions run by Poetry Nottingham, Envoi, Virginia Warbey, Sentinel, James Kirkup, Swale Life, The Poetry Kit, Southport Writers and Leaf.

Will has written reviews for Envoi, Pulsar, New Hope International, Tears In the Fence and Links.

Living in Lancashire, in the U.K., Will is currently working on a sequence of 100 poems of 100 syllables each. It’s called England’s Edging.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to the Liverpool-based charity, Hospice Africa.

Useful Information:
Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets.  His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

Hopkins in Monasterevin

Hopkins moved to Dublin in 1884 and died there in 1889.  During this time he was a professor of Greek and Latin at University College Dublin.  In letters to his mother and friend, English Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, he fondly mentions taking 6 or 7 short breaks at Monasterevin House with the Cassidy sisters commencing in 1886.  The Cassidy family were wealthy Catholic whiskey distillers.

Monasterevin Celebrating Hopkins

Monasterevin has been celebrating the Hopkins’ association since 1988 when a module on Hopkins was included in the Monasterevin Canal Festival.  The Monasterevin community has supported and organised the Annual Monasterevin Hopkins Festival every year since, under the aegis of a number of community organisations.  Since 2010, the Annual Hopkins Festival is organised by the Monasterevin Hopkins Society.

Our Annual Festival

The Annual Monasterevin Hopkins Festival is a celebration of Hopkins, his poetry and his connection with Monasterevin.  The program consists of poetry, literature, lectures, and music .  Please visit our Past Programs page for further information.

If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback, please feel free to contact us.