2017 Programme


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Monasterevin Hopkins Society 

Annual Festival 2017

Fri. 28th & Sat. 29th July

Official Program:

Fri. 28th.

Venue: Moore Abbey

Courtesy of The Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary and the Muiriosa Foundation.

7.30 pm  2017 Inaugural Lecture: 

Prof. Kirstie Blair, ‘Hopkins: Work & Wilderness’

8.30 pm  Moore Abbey Concert

Vocalese will perform their unique and beautiful sound with a seamless blend of vocal harmonies.

Sat. 29th

Venue: Moore Abbey


10.00 am Lecture: 

Dr Norman White will present a talk on “ Hopkins, Gladstone and ‘The Hopkins Conundrum”

11.30 am Lecture:

Barry Walsh : “Monasterevin in Hopkins’s Time”

12.30 pm Poetry Reading:

Tim Cunningham 

  1.00 pm Lunch

After lunch we gather at Monasterevin House, Main Street, Monasterevin, where Hopkins spent vacations as a guest of the Cassidy family.

Venue: Monasterevin House

By kind permission of the Presentation Sisters.

  2.30 pm Poetry Reading:

Mary O’Donnell 

 3.00 pm My Favourite Hopkins Poem

Participants will be invited to read their favourite Hopkins Poem.

 3.30 pm Close of Festival


Professor Kirstie Blair Professor Kirstie Blair:  Hopkins, Work and Wilderness

This paper revisits Hopkins’s engagement with wild places by setting his poems in relation to popular Victorian traditions of pastoral and georgic that engaged intently with the management and use of Britain’s countryside, often in relation to highly politicised issues, such as water usage and access rights. It considers Hopkins’s engagement with the worked landscape, and suggests some of the additional complexities that might lie behind such famous poems as ‘Inversnaid’.

Kirstie Blair holds a Chair in English at the University of Strathclyde, having previously worked at Stirling, Glasgow and Oxford. She has published extensively on Victorian literature and culture, particularly in the fields of poetics, literature and religion, and working-class literature. She is the author of two monographs, Victorian Poetry and Culture of the Heart and Form and Faith in Victorian Poetry and Religion. Her recent work focuses on Victorian Scottish verse culture, and includes an anthology, The Poets of the People’s Journal: Newspaper poetry in Victorian Scotland, and a new monograph, Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community.

Dr Norman White: “Hopkins, Gladstone and ‘The Hopkins Conundrum”

Norman White has published and lectured widely on Hopkins throughout an academic career dedicated to the poet. After M.Phil. (London) and Ph.D (Leverhulme Research Fellow at Liverpool) theses on Hopkins, he was appointed to University College Dublin, and retired as Senior Lecturer there in 2001.

Barry Walsh Barry Walsh: Monasterevin in Hopkins’s Time.

Barry Walsh is a founding member and Secretary of Monasterevin Historical Society.

Since 2004 he has researched and promoted the history of the town and parish from its foundation as an early Christian monastic site to its industrial heritage up to the 20th century.

For the past twelve years he has also worked as a Living History practitioner, specialising in the history of the Irish soldier from the 18th to 20th century which has taken him across Europe and Ireland.

A native of Monasterevin with roots in the parish going back to the 18th century he can call on a wealth of local folklore and knowledge combined with historical documentation to present a picture of history that comes alive.

Mary O'Donnell Poetry Reading: Mary O’Donnell

Mary O’Donnell is a poet and fiction writer. Her first three poetry collections were published by Salmon Poetry. Other collections include September Elegies (Lapwing Press, Belfast 2003) and her selected poems, The Place of Miracles (New Island, 2006). The Ark Builders, appeared from Arc Publications UK in 2009, followed by an anthology of Galician poetry in translation – To the Winds Our Sails: Irish Poets Translate Galician Poetry – which she co-edited with Dr. Manuela Palacios, from Salmon Poetry. Her most recent collection is Those April Fevers, and InPress Recommends (UK) had the following comment: “This sharp, distinctive collection soars like verse and sings with a unique emotional intensity. Decisive. Ruthless. Brilliant.”
Her Selected Poems were published in Hungarian in 2011 and she was co-winner of the Irodälmi Jelen translation prize. A member of Aosdana, she currently teaches Poetry on Galway University’s MA in Writing programme. She has written four novels and two collections of short fiction, including the very popular Where They Lie (New Island 2015) www.maryodonnell.com

Tim Cunningham Poetry Reading: Tim Cunningham

Tim Cunningham was born in Limerick. He has worked, mainly in education, in Dublin, London, Delaware and Essex.
Tim has six collections published: Don Marcelino’s Daughter(Peterloo Poets, 2001), Unequal Thirds (Peterloo Poets, 2006), Kyrie (Revival Press, 2008), Siege (Revival Press, 2012), Almost Memories (Revival Press, 2014) and The Lyrics to the Nightingale’s Song (Revival Press, 2016). This coincides with the centenary of his father’s birth in 1916.
Tim was awarded a Kavanagh Fellowship in 2012.

‘Ever since I met Tim Cunningham and his poems at an Arvon course in 1984, I have urged him to get a volume together for publication. I’m delighted that he has now done so, and hope readers will enjoy his work as much as I have.’ Fleur Adcock

‘Tim Cunningham’s poems are as various and fascinating as the animals in Noah’s Ark. He has a most musical ear, a keen eye and an open heart. His aim is true. He writes beautiful poems.’ Adrian Mitchell


Vocalese Vocalese have a unique and beautiful sound with a seamless blend of vocal harmonies.  Formed in 2012 for International Women’s Day, this Portlaoise-based trio have been performing locally and nationally to great acclaim. Vocalese are Vivienne Graham, Georgina Ireland and Nuala Kelly. Accomplished singers individually, the trio share many years of vocal experience between them in musical theatre, choral and classical genres. Over the past 5 years they have built up a wide and varied repertoire of popular, folk, traditional and classical music singing everything from Carole King to Sting! Past performances include Leaves Literary Festival, Laois; Eigse Festival, Carlow; Dan Fogelberg Tribute Concert; Shannonside Radio (guests of Charlie McGettigan’s); Dunamaise Arts Centre Fundraising Gigs and International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin. They are delighted to be part of the 2017 Hopkins Festival.


People coming to the Festival may register on arrival on Friday, July 28th or Saturday, July 29th.


Fri. 28th, Concert: € 10
Fri. 28th, Lecture: €   5
Fri.28th, Concert and Lecture: € 10
Sat. 29th, Two (2) Morning Lectures & Poetry Reading: € 10
Sat. 29th, Afternoon Poetry Reading: €   5
Full Day Sat: € 15
Fri. and Sat. Total: € 25