Literature: Galway, A Literary City
Founded in 1232 by Richard de Burgh, a Norman baron, Galway’s city walls were added after 1270. The city earned its first charter in 1396 and a mayor in 1484. Long dominated by fourteen influential families known as the tribes of Galway (Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Darcy, Deane, French, Font, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerrett families), the city consequently earned the moniker “the city of the tribes.” Further charters arrived in 1545 and 1579 that extended the city’s control and sphere of influence. In 1651, the English general Edmund Ludlow laid siege to Galway and the city finally surrendered the following year. The city, nonetheless, prospered and in the late eighteenth century began to expand beyond the ancient walls. The nineteenth-century famine severely affected the city and its inhabitants, but the subsequent 170 plus years have seen the city grow, expand, and develop. This illustrated talk traces how writers and artists have depicted Galway city in poems, short stories, and novels in the last one hundred and twenty years. From the world-famous Claddagh fishing village and Spanish arch to its winding streets, cafes and bars, its churches and books shops, these literary texts capture the changing face and evolving nature of the city of the tribes.
Brian Ó Conchubhair is Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. His publications include Fin de Siècle na Gaeilge: Darwin, An Athbheochan agus Smaointeoireacht na hEorpa (2009), a monograph on the intellectual history of the Irish revival, as well as the following edited volumes: Gearrscéalta Ár Linne (2006, 2010, 2013), WHY IRISH? Irish Language and Literature in Academia (2008), Twisted Truths (2011), Dorchadas le Liam Ó Flaithearta (2011), The Midnight Court/Cúirt an Mheán Oíche: A Critical Guide (2011), The Language of Gender, Power and Agency in Celtic Studies (with Amber Handy, 2013), Liam O’Flaherty’s Darkness (2014), Pádraic Breathnach: Rogha Scéalta (2014) and Lost in Connemara: Stories from the Irish/Caillte i gConamara: Scéalta Aniar (2014). He was Series Editor for Kerry’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (2009), Limerick’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (2009), Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (2009) and Dublin’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (2009), and (with Mike Cronin) Éire-Ireland: Vol. 48: 1&2 (2013); (with Amber Handy) The Language of Gender, Power and Agency in Celtic Studies (2013). From 2011-13, he served as the Executive Director of the Irish Seminar. In 2013 he was elected Vice-President of the American Conference for Irish Studies and subsequently served as the organization's President (2015-17). He has been a Visiting Professor at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, France and Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Forthcoming publications include chapters in: The Oxford History of Ireland, The Oxford History of the Irish Book and The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre.