Part of the programme will take place in the stimulating setting of the Outdoor Museum of the Ulster-American Folk Park. The rest will be in the warmth of the library of the Centre for Migration Studies. The aim is to give members of the public a friendly opportunity to meet and mix with experts on some of the less well-known aspects of 'exile' in Irish literature.
Peter Carr is the celebrated author of Portavo, who narrowly missed being awarded the 2006 Wolfson Prize - the biggest history prize in the UK, awarded annually to the most scholarly and accessible work of history published in the calendar year. Previous winners have included Roy Jenkins, Eric Hobsbawm, Norman Stone, Antonia Fraser, Quentin Skinner and Simon Schama. No book on an Irish theme has won the prize since 1980.
Portavo (parts I and II) follows the fortunes of a single Irish townland (near Bangor, County Down) from 400,000,000 years ago to the present, adroitly interweaving its geography, geology, history, archaeology, folklore and traditions. It also tells the story of the townland's long-time owners, the enigmatic Ker family, who arrived in Ireland as fugitives from justice in the wake of the murder of Rizzio, favourite of Mary Queen of Scots, rose to become one of the richest landowning families in Ireland, then spectacularly collapsed, amidst suicide, incest, alcoholism and madness. Portavo II received rave reviews upon its publication in November 2005. Peter Carr will talk about how a single townland yielded such a rich history and focus in particular on Portavo's migration story.
John Moulden is a leading authority on the Irish song tradition. He spoke and sang at the Fourth Autumn School in 2003 and since then he has completed his doctoral thesis at the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Change at the National University of Ireland, Galway on 'The Printed Ballad in Ireland: a guide to the popular printing of songs in Ireland, 1760-1920'. As before he will lead the walk through the outdoor museum, talking about his research and performing some of the new songs that he has discovered, including 'Monk McClamont's Farewell to Articlave'.
SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 2006
(CMS Library at Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh)
Tea / Coffee on arrival
11:00 Welcome (CMS Library)
11.05 Peter Carr, 'The Migration Story of Portavo'
Chair: Sir Peter Froggatt
12.30 Lunch (Visitor Centre)
1.30 John Moulden, 'The Local Voice in Traditional and Popularly Printed Songs'(Ship Gallery and Outdoor Museum)
3.00 Afternoon Tea (Library)
3.15 Brian Lambkin, Emigration from North-west Ulster: Remembering the Exmouth, 1847'
3.45 Book Launch: A Famine Link: The 'Hannah' - South Armagh to Ontario, Kevin Murphy and Una Walsh, Mullaghbane Community Association, 2006