6 Replies to “Wednesday, 29 July: Yeats International Summer School Lectures and Seminar”

  1. I thought that this morning’s lecture on Yeats at Sea was really interesting and valid considering the widening global influence of Yeats since his death. Yeats certainly embraced some nationalist qualities in his writing, particularly his earlier work, but it seems that as time went on his work began to encompass sensibilities far beyond traditional Ireland (which also undoubtedly helped to cement his legacy). I thought that Nicholas Allen was a great presenter and appreciated the structure of the lecture, and it was pretty awesome listening to the rain pour on the roof of the theatre while listening to the significance of different forms of water in Yeats’ poetry.

  2. The most striking fact of Dublin to me was the cosmopolitan nature of the city. I met many more people from around the world than from Dublin. I found that the general atmosphere was closer to New York City than to Galway. I was expecting a bit more Irish encounters, but I had mostly American encounters. I really enjoyed the vibrant night life and the general atmosphere because it reminded me of New York. What I enjoyed most out of the educational aspect was the fact that Professor Cope explained things in a context that conceives Dublin as a place of many cultures from the start. I walked around a lot. It was cool to get lost in the city and take in all of the sites. My favorite moment was at Sweny’s Pharmacy. The man who ran the shop, PJ, sang us a song and talked to us about Joyce. I read him a poem and he was enthralled. It was a magnificent experience with a surreal touch. I also found it interesting how borders and boundaries are evident in the city. The layout clearly favored some over others and with contextual stories I was able to learn a lot about the way in which the city was influenced by the Anglo Ascendancy culture. It was most obvious in the Georgian row houses. I also found the tour of Glasnevin cemetery and the memorials which we looked at to be fascinating. The tradition of immortalizing the dead as martyrs and symbols in order to manipulate the current generations to sympathize with certain political goals was also worth noting. The tour of the cemetery was strange because the tour guide referred to the dead on a first name basis.

  3. This is a place that is so obviously steeped in sectarian politics and lifestyles which have wrought the people to the point of violence. The most fascinating part was definitely the tour of the murals done by The Bogside Artists. I found the artists perspective to be profoundly interesting. His description of the power of art, utilizing classes and murals to break down sectarian beliefs by focusing on an end goal of peace, is remarkable. It made me want to bridge gaps in America by having workshops on art. I found that he has many views on the world that I sympathize strongly with. I also thought that the walls function as such strong symbols and I wondered often if they would ever be torn down. This world entrenched in separation and discrimination cannot possibly last forever. I am hopeful that some day the separation of society will stop. I also found that the people I spoke to in Derry did not dwell upon the violence, but really focused on day to day life. I spoke with a couple of gentlemen at a bar and they were just telling me about how they liked their jobs and how they thought Derry was safe. I did not experience any animosity or hostility. I watched a trio of street performers do a dance routine in bathing suite and thickly caked make up and was seriously confused and entertained. I thought that was worth noting.

  4. This place feels like it could be home for
    me. It is magnificently beautiful and every person at the Yeats Summer School has provided me with interesting stories, advice, interpretations, and discussions which have all influenced me to consider the world in many lights. I realize how I do not fit in to conventional education as neatly as others but that I can and will always be a scholar in spite of that. I find that people are always willing to listen and that each story is unique. The common factor of studying poetry brought us all here yet all of us are indescribably different. The complexity of some of the interactions has helped to open my eyes to many aspects of humanity that I had not considered previously. Specifically the myth and lore of Ireland and the changes that Modernism has imprinted onto poetry. I have also thought a lot about age. There are so many people who range in age so much, yet all of us can talk on a level playing field. I have also been mesmerized from day one with the landscape around me. Yesterday I went to Inisfree and it was a beautiful experience. It gave me a deeper understanding of the poem, but also walking next to Loch Gill has inspired me to write unlike anything else thus far.

  5. One of the biggest cultural differences I have noticed between New York and all of the cities we have visited in Ireland is how we approach drinking culture. In the U.S, especially in a college town, nothing is thought of someone stumbling drunkenly down the road, especially if someone is walking with them and helping them. It’s a very common occurrence on the weekends in any given college town, and it’s almost expected. However, in Ireland, this is not acceptable. People take notice and, in a generally friendly way, express their concern. I had a brief conversation with a bartender in Sligo about this, and he agreed. He added that, in his experience, it is totally acceptable to be openly drunk in a pub, but once you leave the door, you pull yourself together until you either get home, or get to the next pub, at which point it is totally okay to go back to being noticeably drunk. This bartender also somewhat confirmed the stereotype of the Irish being highly competent drinkers, bragging that when he and an Irish friend visited friends in America, their American friends were astounded by how much they could drink while remaining coherent. I got the impression that this was a source of pride for him, although it is similarly a source of pride to a lot of Americans (mostly young men).

  6. Last weekend we visited Derry, which was an interesting contrast to the Republic of Ireland. I remember my phone receiving “you are now roaming” messages and being confused as to why- foolishly forgetting that I had reached the UK. Nonetheless, there was a lot that I enjoyed about Derry (besides the low prices). Both my parents and my brother have spent time in the UK and I have visited London before, so I was excited to see similarities/differences. Of course, British flags were everywhere, along with a Tesco at pretty much every corner. But I loved being able to see some Irish culture mixed there, too. We saw live music at night (after eating dinner at what felt like the British Applebee’s) that we danced to, and even had an interesting conversation with one of the waiters. He referred to the famine as the “Irish Holocaust,” as well as expressing a heavy anti-English sentiment. I had never seen that opinion first hand before. I had gone to Derry anticipating a “less secure” feel, especially after reading Conroy’s “Belfast Diary,” but I still felt safe nonetheless. I would have to say that touring the murals of the Bogside Artist’s was my favorite thing in Derry. Being able to get a first hand perspective on the people who selflessly made those paintings as a way to remember the violence was something that I had never seen before. Additionally, I saw numerous “Free Gaza” or “Free Palestine” stickers and murals in Derry (although I saw quite a few in Dublin and Galway, too). This inspired me to write my paper topic on the Penal Laws that the British enforced on the Irish, and contrast it to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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