Muldoon’s Northern Ireland

Was clearing up some files just now, and came across this old undergraduate essay. Plenty of stutters in it, but it’s either here or the recycle bin…

Despite having lived in Belfast throughout the height of the troubles, Paul Muldoon has always refrained from outlining his position in relation to the complex political situation in Northern Ireland. In 1985, while still living in Belfast, Muldoon remarked:

It doesn’t matter where I stand politically, with a small “p” in terms of Irish politics. My opinion about what should happen in Northern Ireland is no more valuable than yours. (Donaghy and Muldoon 85) Continue reading “Muldoon’s Northern Ireland”

The utility of the Irish language

Rosita Boland, a journalist with The Irish Times, shared an interesting post today, in which she questions, amongst other initiatives designed to preserve the language, the merits of Irish being a compulsory part of our education. Boland’s piece has come in for some strong criticism on social media, but I would encourage people to see it as a worthwhile provocation, and to engage with the debate in a constructive manner.

Continue reading “The utility of the Irish language”

The Cork Film Festival should never be about red carpets

Cork Film Festival
Image by Fygget

I was first introduced to the Cork Film Festival as a Transition Year student; a review that I wrote was considered sufficient for a place on what was then known as the “Junior Jury”, a panel of second-level students tasked with participating in the selection of various prizewinners. My contribution to the event was the first time that I had engaged in any real cultural criticism–what one learns in the classroom differs greatly from the skills that one acquires in the attic of the Triskel, packed within a tight circle, trashing out the merits of the day’s screenings. The Cork Film Festival exposed me to a world of critical and creative practices which would greatly influence my future–I am now an academic, and publisher, who specialises in digital modes of expression. Much of my work, and by extension, what I teach, is centred around the affordances of screen media. Since that first introduction, I have attended the festival each year without fail (last year being the exception, as I was working at Penn State, and airfare isn’t cheap). It has become an annual ritual; each year I take a day and go see a mixture of the Irish and international shorts, filling the gaps between sessions in some of my favourite Cork eateries and watering holes. I have long seen the day as something of an homage to my nativity, as well as a personal celebration of the escapism that creativity can afford–great food, and great film; this is what it means to be a Corkonian. Let the Riviera have Cannes, we have this! Reminiscing aside, I am very disappointed, indeed angry, to learn that the festival is nearing financial ruin, and that the current board have approached Cork City Council’s Arts Committee for an emergency bailout. I’m disappointed, because, as someone who has spent much of their life in Cork, the film festival is ingrained in our cultural heritage, and it is something which I never thought would be at risk. I’m angry, because, yet again, commerce has been privileged over culture. Continue reading “The Cork Film Festival should never be about red carpets”