- Nótaí na nEagarthóirí:Editors’ Notes
We open this issue with a reflection from the poet and critic Eamonn Wall, as he muses on the centennial of the Easter Rising that has been so widely marked in the year past. There are, he ruminates, many ways of remembering: the written record, of course, and the public commemorations that crowded the calendar both in Ireland and abroad, and also the witness of fiction and poetry. But we first learn our history at home, Wall says, and so at the center of his reflections he places the unspooling conversations he heard as a boy in Wexford, when his aunts gathered to play cards. “I understand why they had no need of history books,” he recalls, as his relatives “belonged to the continuum of events from 1916 that embraced, enclosed, and often infuriated them.” Eamonn Wall is the author of Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions (2011). His most recent poetry collection is Junction City: New and Selected Poems (2015).
More than half a year after the shock of the Brexit vote in the UK, the full ramifications of the referendum still give rise to unending debate and speculation. Outside of the United Kingdom itself, nowhere will the impact of Brexit be felt more keenly than in Ireland. Last autumn, New Hibernia Review invited a panel of historians and political scientists, from both sides of the Atlantic, to share their thoughts on this unprecedented vote, recorded here in a far-ranging conversation that we hope will spur still more reflection. Dr. Mary C. Murphy, whose many publications on Ireland and the EU include Northern Ireland and the European Union: The Dynamics of a Changing Relationship (2014), notes at the outset that the EU enjoys wide popularity in Ireland. Across the Irish Sea, however, the reality was clearly different: Dr. Neal Jesse, who is European Studies advisory editor for this journal, reminds us of how fractured the United Kingdom truly is when its various regions are compared to one another. The historian Dr. Timothy McMahon (the president-elect of the American Conference for Irish Studies) notes, too, that the “Leave” camp has at times shown a remarkable tone-deafness to the realities of Anglo-Irish relations. Dr. Gillian O’Brien likewise [End Page 5] wonders about the outcomes of a new sort of border, whether “hard” or “soft,” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and concedes that she sees little reason for optimism. Gillian O’Brien’s publications and research interests focus on transatlantic Irish nationalism and Anglo-Irish relations. The roundtable concludes with an expansive discussion about what Brexit means for the very idea of the nation-state. As Dr. Timothy White, a widely published scholar whose Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland will appear in 2017, observes, the abstract notion of sovereignty has always ignored “the messy realities of national and international politics.”
It comes as no surprise, looking at the poet Eleanor Hooker’s website (http://eleanorhooker.com/), to find an image of boats at anchor—for images of water fill her suite of new poems presented here. Indeed, Hooker’s poems seem to suggest that we are not merely drawn to water, but that we are water in some fundamental way, which is why we want to return to it, to go back to our origins—as in ”Ablution,” where she writes, “On my father’s side / I am part fish. / When I am dead, / return me to water.” Her poems speak of elemental pulls like the tide (an attraction spoken of in the title of her 2016 collection from Dedalus Press, A Tug of Blue)—but also toward story and memory and to light. In the closing poem, she asks a friend what light tastes like, and hears, “like champagne, it tastes like champagne.” Eleanor Hooker lives and writes from her home in North Tipperary.
Not since the days of the Literary Revival has a play entered the Irish dramatic canon so quickly as Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats, which premiered in 1998. Dr. Joseph Lennon explores a connection to the Revival that may not be obvious: Carr’s artistry as a lyrical...