Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever)
Ireland has had a long and diverse history. It stretches from the early bronze and iron ages, the arrival of Christianity and the 'Golden Age' (500-800 AD) that produced the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, and the great Viking period, to the long and painful association with England, starting in 1171, the subsequent struggle between Protestant and Catholic, colonial settler and native Irishman, and the fight for independence. All this has produced in the Irish and Ireland an unparalleled richness of history, culture and custom.
The Irish bards, poets and writers - famed for their great wit, wry humour, and unique perspective - have added a strong dimension to that richness. Most of their works have been documented in printed books, some of which are on display in the exhibition.
Visitors to Ireland have also left their mark; documenting their impressions of the social, religious and political customs of people they encountered. Most have been seduced by the beauty of the countryside. Accounts of the people however have varied widely, fluctuating with the political fortunes of Ireland itself. Yet, whether it is a 16th century travel book or a poem from a modern anthology, what emerges is a great pride about being Irish and living in Ireland. This sentiment is distinctive, attractive, and refreshing.
The aim of Éire á Móradh: Singing the Praises of Ireland is to celebrate the Irish and Ireland. By utilizing books and manuscripts from Special Collections, and books from private collections, a broad overview is achieved. The range is enormous: from the Book of Kells and Book of Durrow to significant 'modern' Irish writers such as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Seán O'Faoláin. This is an important first display; there will be more. The exhibition runs to the 31st July 2008.
Importantly, the exhibition also highlights the recently established Eamon Cleary Chair of Irish Studies at Otago University, held by Professor Peter Kuch. Thanks go to him and his colleague, Dr Rory Sweetman.
- 432 AD Arrival of St. Patrick
- 800 Ireland attacked by Viking Norsemen
- 916 Vikings established settlements at Dublin.
- 1002 Brian Boru wins recognition as king of all Ireland
- 1166-1175 Reign of Rory O'Connor, Last native High King of Ireland
- 1366 Statutes of Kilkenny forbade Irish/English marriages and preventing English to use Irish language, custom or laws.
- 1529-36 Henry VIII made his great breach with Rome, and set himself up as head of the Church in England.
- 1541 Henry VIII declares himself king of Ireland.
- 1607 Flight of the Earls
- 1609 'Plantation' of Ulster begins
- 1629-34 Geoffrey Keating, History of Ireland
- 1649 Execution of Charles I; Battles at Drogheda and Wexford
- 1690 Battle of Boyne
- 1724 Jonathan Swift, Drapier's Letters
- 1778 First Catholic Relief Act
- 1789 Charlotte Brooke, Reliques of Ancient Irish Poetry
- 1791 Wolf Tone and others found United Irishmen
- 1800 Act of Union
- 1808-34 Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies
- 1840 Founding of O'Connell's National Repeal Association
- 1845 Beginning of the Great Famine
- 1870 Gladstone's first Irish Land Act
- 1882 Foundation of Gaelic League
- 1889 W.B. Yeats, The Wanderings of Oisin
- 1916 Easter Rising
- 1919-21 Anglo-Irish ('Black-and-Tan') War
- 1922 James Joyce, Ulysses
- 1920 Partition
- 1937 New, effectively republican, Irish constitution
- 1939-45 Irish neutrality during World War II
- 1955 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
- 1967 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association founded
- 1972 'Bloody Sunday' riots in Derry
- 1973 Eire joins Common Market