- Nótaí na nEagarthóirí:Editors' Notes
Poet Mary O'Malley has lately been turning her attentions to a memoir, tentatively titled "The X-Ray School," and we open this issue with an extract from that work in progress. "In every house," she begins, "someone is always looking out the window. In our house, I was the one. "What she saw, looking out, was the raw landscape of Connemara: the shaping power of place itself is easy to discern in these pages, as O'Malley recalls a childhood in the 1950s and 1960s filled both with nearby discoveries and with her growing sense of a larger world. In this memoir, the child's interiority is tempered by a capacity to feel the elemental—in the water of a holy well, in the mystery of magnetism, and in sparks flying from a blacksmith's forge. Now living in the Moycullen Gaeltacht, Mary O'Malley is the author of six books of poetry, the most recent of which is A Perfect V (2006).
In this election year, we have grown well used to the idea of the media "framing" a political discussion by setting out the parameters of discourse. Dr. Michael de Nie here guides us through the ways in which these processes operated in the British newspaper press around the time of Gladstone's first Home Rule bill. In examining the coverage of some sixty newspapers—provincial and lesser-known press outlets, as well as on such familiar organs as the Times—de Nie finds that, while Liberal and Conservative perspectives differed enormously, the shape of their discussion was set in 1885 and 1886. For the next thirty years, the press would look on this debate in terms of Ireland's readiness for self government, the reaction of the Northern Protestant community, and the stakes for the empire itself. Michael de Nie's 2004 book The Eternal Paddy: The British Press and Irish Identity, 1798–1882 won the ACIS James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Books in History and the Social Sciences. [End Page 5]
Recently retired from Alfred University, where he taught both English and classical guitar, Ben Howard is a poet whose work displays a striking catholicity of subject matter. In the nine new poems presented here, Howard ranges from meditations on absence in "The Empty Mirror," to a witty riff on "The Little Drummer Boy," to moments of mindfulness in the American Midwest. We also find two excerpts from Howard's suite of poems, "The Glad Creators" an appreciative rendering of the luminaries who constituted bohemian Dublin in the 1950s. Regardless of subject, the poems are informed by a contemplative spirit—a Zen consciousness is always near—as well as by a sense of gratitude and a ready good humor. Ben Howard's five collections of poetry include Mid century (1997) and Dark Pool (2004), both from Salmon Press; in 1996, he published The Pressed Melodeon: Essays on Modern Irish Writing.
The 1990 election of Mary Robinson as president of Ireland was one of those rare events that actually lived up to the hyperbole of contemporary journalism: most would agree that her presidency truly was both historic and transformative. A central element of Robinson's reinvention of the presidency was her attentiveness to the power of symbolism, a trait she shares with her longtime friend, the poet Eavan Boland. As Molly O'Hagan Hardy observes, each woman found herself working from within to subvert and to re-imagine a constricting document: for Robinson, the inherited marginalization of women in Bunnreacht na hÉireann, the Irish Constitution, and for Boland, the masculinist canon-setting project of the Field Day Anthology. While neither woman could be said to have forsaken political activism, each recognized that social change cannot be effected by law alone. Molly O' Hagan Hardy's articles have appeared in the Mailer Review and in Studies in European Cinema.
Over the course of the latter nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, the literary stature of Thomas Moore, "The Irish Minstrel" (1779–1852), suffered a precipitous drop—though in recent decades his importance has been recognized with renewed appreciation, and Moore's place in the Irish canon now...