Nottingham Irish Studies Group

promoting Irish Culture in the East Midlands
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What’s the Story?

We’ll be at Crawley Irish Festival on Sunday 28 August, talking about  literature inspired by the Easter Rising of 1916. Free. 

We’ve had a few invitations to deliver Irish storytelling in the Autumn:

Friday 21 october 2016: Charnwood Museum, Gallery, 10.15 – 10.45am. Come along and hear about how Caoilte helped to get Fionn out of the dungeon! Animal noises optional. Free. 

This event is part of Loogabarooga Festival, with a focus on children’s literature. 

Sat 29 Oct: Deirdre will tell traditional Irish tales at Blessed Sacrament, Gooding Ave, Leicester LE3 1JS, 7 – 9pm. 

Douglas MacDonald RIP


We were very sorry to hear of the recent passing of Douglas MacDonald, the photographer who covered our events for The Irish World newspaper. Douglas was always reliable, and has provided the Irish community in the East Midlands, especially Nottingham and Derby, with years of faithful service. He left us an archive of pictures and memories for which we are very grateful.
Douglas’s funeral will be at Bramcote Cementry on Friday 15 July, 11am.
Some of Douglas’s pictures and photo-stories for our Nottingham Irish Studies Group are below, including our beloved dog, Judy (from Carlow), who happened to be in Nottingham Arboretum on the day Douglas was photographing the statue of Feargus O’Connor.
Rest in Peace, Douglas, with our gratitude and respect.

1916 talk @ West Bridgford Labour Club

West Bridgford Labour Party Social Event: THE EASTER RISING, plus QUIZ @ CHIPS!
Sun 24 April 7 p.m @ Poppy and Pint, Pierrepont Road, Lady Bay NG2 5DX.
Easter Monday 24 April 1916 was a momentous day in the history of the Irish Nation, and this evening marks its 100th anniversary. Pat Murphy, of Nottingham Irish Studies Group and West Bridgford Labour Party, will trace the story of this transformation which changed the course of Irish and British history.
As it’s a social event , after Pat’s talk and Q&A, there will be a quiz & chips. Bar available.
Admission £5. Booking: Email or tel. 0115 981 3361

Ranganna Gaeilge – Irish language classes

Scott de Buitléir, who has qualifications in Irish language, is willing to run Irish classes in Nottingham if there’s enough interest. This is a wonderful offer, as we’ve had many enquiries over the years, with no múinteoir (teacher) to run sessions. If you are interested, please fill in this form. It’s just an expression of interest at this stage, with no commitment on your part.

1916 – 2016: Risings, Revolutions, Revelations

In February 2016, we began a short series of talks at Five Leaves Bookshop, marking the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Each event costs £3.

Download a printable poster here:
Spring 2016 events flyer .

Please share with your contacts.

Each event runs from 7 to 8.30pm.
Refreshments available.

A) The Poets’ Rising
with Deirdre O’Byrne
Mon 29 Feb 2016
Many of the 1916 leaders, most notably Thomas MacDonagh, Pádraig Pearse and Joseph Plunkett, were writers. The Easter Rising inspired literature at the time, and has done so ever since, as authors celebrate, interrogate and recreate the 1916 legacy.

Deirdre O’Byrne, who teaches Irish literature at Loughborough University, will lead a discussion of a range of writings of the last 100 years, inspired by the conflict. Literary responses are as varied as the Irish weather.

B) The Road to 1916
with Patrick Murphy
Mon 7 March 2016.
At the beginning of the First World War there was very little support for an Irish Republic. Ireland had been promised Home Rule and it seemed almost certain that as soon as the conflict ended the centuries old aspiration of self-government would at last come about. By the time the war ended in 1918 however, Home Rule and the nationalists who supported it had completely lost the trust and support of the Irish People.
The Easter Rising had in Yeats’ words meant that ‘all had changed, changed utterly’; a terrible beauty had indeed been born. Historian Pat Murphy, founder of Nottingham Irish Studies Group, will trace the story of this transformation, which changed the course of Irish history.

C. The Easter Rising and the Great War
with Michael Robinson
Mon 14 March

Thousands of Irish men lost their lives fighting in the British army in the First World War. Michael Robinson of the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University will look at how the war eroded support for Irish Home Rule and the part this played in the 1916 insurrection. He will also explore the effects of the Easter Rising on how the First World War is remembered and commemorated.

D) Easter Rising 1916 – 2016: The Second Fifty Years
with Eddie Walsh
Mon 21 March 2016

The Proclamation of the Irish Republic promised to pursue the prosperity and happiness of the whole nation and to cherish its children equally. The scandals that have enveloped the principal institutions of the state over the last fifty years would suggest that it is an aspiration yet to be fulfilled.

Eddie Walsh, of Keep Left Irish Politics magazine, will explore the unfulfilled struggle towards a workers’ republic, and how progressive politics in Ireland from 1966 onwards failed to make significant lasting progress despite the many successes achieved during the half-century.

🙂 We’re going on tour! If you can’t make any of the above dates, perhaps you would like to attend the talks in Mansfield, hosted by Mansfield Irish Association. Click on this link for details: History talks Mansfield Spring 2016 . All welcome. Thanks to Nigel Scott for co-ordinating this.

Talk A on 1916 as represented in Irish literature will also be presented to Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, on Wed 2 March 2016, 7pm in Birmingham Irish Centre, Digbeth. Thanks to Anne Scott (no relation to Nigel, above, but it’s fair to say that they are both Great Scotts) for co-ordination.
Deirdre will also speak on the myth-making around the Easter Rising, at States of Independence at De Montfort University in Leicester, on Sat 12 March. 

Nottingham Irish Studies Group has skills, will travel.
If you would like one of the above talks, or something similar, for your group, get in touch:
Requests and suggestions welcome.


Film introductions

Room, the film of Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel, was recently shown at Nottingham Broadway. Deirdre O’Byrne (NISG Chair) who teaches Irish literature at Loughborough University, gave a 5-minute introduction to the Silver Screenings at 10.15am and 1.30pm on Thurs 21 Jan 2016.
John Ford’s The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was shown on 17 March at Broadway, and Deirdre gave a brief introduction tracing its iconic status since its release in 1952, as reflected in Irish literature, eg in Martin McDonagh’s play A Skull in Connemara, and poetry by Maura Dooley and Bernard O’Donoghue.

Current activities of Nottingham Irish Studies Group:
We attended training sessions on 19 Jan in Birmingham, provided by Irish in Britain. In the morning, we got advice on applying for ESP (Emigrant Support Programme) funding, and in the afternoon had a fascinating and useful discussion on suicide awareness in the Irish community.

We had a busy Spring planning our participation in the annual Irish festival – which of course included a colourful procession in Nottingham city centre on Thursday 17 March, Patrick’s Day. NISG provided a storyteller and an artist to work with a number of local schools; the chosen theme this year was the story of Queen Maeve of Connacht and the Brown Bull of Cooley. The children made props and simple costumes to wear in the procession, based on the old legend.


We’re here all year….

Irish culture is not just for St Patrick’s Day.
We are here all year round.
Join us on our facebook page, and on our forum, where we connect with other Irish groups in the East Midlands region.

Other News / Nuacht Eile

NISG are proud to have received many invitations from groups and organisations to participate in events in both Ireland and Britain over the past few years. As you’ll see if you click on the ‘Archive’ buttons above left, we’ve worked in Britain with Beeston Library, Beeston Poets, Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, Bromley House LibraryCrawley Irish Festival, Curve Theatre (Leicester), Five Leaves Bookshop, Loughborough University,  Mansfield and Dukeries Irish Association, Nottingham St Patrick’s Festival and Parade, St Anthony’s School (Solihull) and Stanza Poetry Group.

In Ireland we’ve worked with Courthouse Arts Centre (Tinahely, Co Wicklow), Tullow & Carlow Libraries,  History Festival of Ireland, and The International Pan-Celtic Festival

If you have ideas/suggestions/requests for events, email 

History of the Irish in Nottingham

Click on the link ‘Irishnottingham‘ to read Patrick Murphy’s article:
Irish Settlement in Nottingham in the early Nineteenth Century
Published in Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire, health vol xcviii, buy 1994


(PDF requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Facebook ~ leathanach / page & grúpa / group

Tá ainm Gaeilge againn: Grúpa Nottingham don Léann Éireannach.
NISG has its own page on Facebook: Irish Studies Group.
Please click on the link and ‘Like’.

We set up and administer Facebook group East Midlands Irish Forum, shop which has members around Britain and Ireland. Join us there to find or post Irish-related news and activities.

For those interested in the Irish language, we regret to say that our Rang Gaeilge (Irish language class) has now ceased due to low /irregular attendance. If you would like a list of useful internet sites, or some free Irish language worksheets, email us on