The Irish Itinerary Podcast is the latest innovation to our longstanding Irish Itinerary circuit which organizes live events with Irish authors and artists in university cities and towns all over Europe. To meet the challenges of the Corona pandemic, we’ll go digital for now. The Irish Itinerary Podcast will allow Irish authors and artists active on the island of Ireland to present their work online. Hosted by leading Irish Studies scholars from across the expansive European network of EFACIS, the readings and performances of Irish authors and artists will be integrated into interviews. This approach will reaffirm and further our EFACIS commitment to marrying Irish culture and scholarship in the field of Irish Studies.
We believe that in times of Corona and other forms of retrenchment in Europe, the role of the arts and the role of scholarship in the humanities to excite, delight, enlighten and connect people as well as to scrutinize, broaden and challenge our experiences, is more vital than ever. In this spirit, the Irish Itinerary Podcast seeks to contribute to transnational dialogues, conversations and discussions.
We thank Gerry Smyth for allowing us to use his tune 'Coming Through Sligo' as jingle and want to express our sincere gratitude to Culture Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Irish College Leuven for their continued and generous support of EFACIS and all formats of the Irish Itinerary.
In her conversation with Daniela Theinová, Irish language poet Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh reads from her poetry, discusses the socio-geographical situatedness of her work, talks about her experiences as an ERASMUS student and the pleasures of anonymity in big continental cities, the challenges of going with and against literary traditions, the difficulty of translating one’s own poetry, the dangers of taking a Utilitarian approach to language, and about writing routines and motherhood.
In his conversation with Michal Lachman, Irish filmmaker and author Maurice Fitzpatrick discusses his documentary In The Name of Peace, which considers the late nationalist politician John Hume and his lasting impact on the political and cultural makeup of contemporary Ireland.
In her discussion with Marisol Morales-Ladrón, Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue reads from her latest novel The Pull of the Stars (2020) and explores its themes of childbirth, motherhood, and lesbian love set against the backdrop of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. They also discuss the setting in a maternity ward in Dublin, the challenge of examining and presenting Irish national history from a female perspective and trace some autobiographical references in the novel.
In her discussion with James Gallacher, Belfast playwright and short story writer Rosemary Jenkinson discusses her time in Europe, the continuing visibility of Northern Irish writers within European literature amidst the saga of Brexit, and gives her perspective on COVID 19’s impact on the arts in Ireland. She also discusses themes of poverty, death, and sex trafficking in her latest short story collection Lifestyle Choice 10mg, while also reflecting on the legacy of conflict and residual paramilitarism in contemporary Belfast.
In his conversation with Michael Lydon, Oein DeBhairduin reveals the pleasure of writing, explains the process of collating and transcribing folk tales, discusses the challenges and excitements of transmitting oral literature to paper, and comments on contemporary Irish Traveller identity, while also reading from his latest work, Why the Moon Travels.
In his conversation with Síle Ní Choincheannain, Irish novelist, playwright and translator Darach Ó Scolaí compares the contemporary Anglo-Irish novel and the Irish language novel; reflects on the European tradition of Irish writing and on his fascination for dark works and for historical novels; talks about his translations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and other English classics into Irish; and reads from his award-winning historical novel An Cléireach.
In his conversation with James Little, Irish drummer and composer Matthew Jacobson discusses his new album Mere Nation, the plans for new-music label Diatribe Records, the evolving interrelationship between education and music performance in Ireland as well as the origins of his slightly weird obsession with palindromes.
In their conversation with Katarzyna Ojrzyńska, Petal Pillar and Charlene Kelly talk about the history of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company and the Blue Teapot Performing Arts School, about synergistic prompting and the Meisner technique, the arts and the decriminalisation of sex with people with intellectual disability in Ireland, challenges of performing on stage and in front of a camera for actors with ID, and Blue Teapot’s involvement with the European project "Crossing the Line". The conversation also revolves around Charlene Kelly's play Into the Dark Woods, the postponed premiere at the Abbey Theatre and other difficulties related to Covid-19.
A transcript of this episode is available here
In his conversation with Pilar Villar-Argáiz poet, translator and novelist Theo Dorgan reads from his work and talks about the mysteries of love poetry, his translations of Frederico García Lorca’s poetry, the power of the Irish language with international audiences and about writing in Irish English, the figure of the rebel and class injustice, ways of transcending European borders, the abiding influence of Greek mythology in his work, Cork winters and feeling at home in Athens, as well as gestures in the imagination that can bring about political change.
In his discussion with Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha, Alan Titley talks about the significance of the Irish language in contemporary Ireland, takes a critical stance towards Europe, reflects on his experiences in Africa, on writing in different genres, an author’s inspirations, and the joys of writing provocative texts; he also discusses the longevity and social relevance of Irish language literature and the challenges that Irish language authors face on the book market today.
In his conversation with Sylvie Mikowski, Paul Lynch discusses the significance of his childhood in County Donegal and how aspects of it resurface throughout his literary career, the use of historical material to comment on the present, the significance of plot and the depiction of character psychologies, philosophical novels and reader satisfactions, his reference to the Zen tradition in Beyond the Sea, and on the intersection of style, rhythm and his aspiration to represent “the feeling of the present.”
In her conversation with Hedwig Schwall, Belfast artist Rita Duffy discusses art as a means of cultural and political expression in the age of Brexit and Trump, the significance of textiles, flags and home, the end of capitalism as we knew it, the intersection of art, poetry, and literature, and the importance of humour in art as a means of conflict transformation in Northern Ireland
Belfast writer Jan Carson discusses art and politics, narrative and empathy, magic realism, masculinity and fatherhood in her novel The Fire Starters with EFACIS President, Katharina Rennhak of the University of Wuppertal.