Lectures include “The Christmas Truce and the Great War” and “Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History.” Photo by: National Library of Ireland

Celebrated Irish authors Don Mullan and Mary Kelly to lecture at Quinnipiac University


Lectures include “The Christmas Truce and the Great War” and “Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History.” Photo by: National Library of Ireland

In the coming months, Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University will host lectures by renowned Irish author and humanitarian Don Mullan, as well as history professor and author Mary Kelly.

Quinnipiac University is home to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of visual art and artifacts of the Great Hunger, as well as Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, which aims to foster understanding of the Great Hunger through lectures, conferences and courses.

On September 24, renowned Irish author Don Mullan will discuss “The Christmas Truce and the Great War,” which examines a series of unofficial ceasefires during World War I that took place along the Western Front during Christmas of 1914.

The lecture is being co-sponsored by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

At age 15, Mullan was a witness of Bloody Sunday – a gruesome turning point in the Northern Ireland Troubles, where British soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry in 1972, killing fourteen protesters and bystanders in plain sight of the public and media.

The event profoundly influenced the course of his life, and his book “Eyewitness Bloody Sunday” is credited with changing the course of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

In a recent press release, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute Christine Kinealy said of Mullan:

“His compassion took my breath away. Almost 20 years later, I am still in awe of Don’s kindness, energy and determination. He is a man who has changed history, yet he remains unchanged in his selflessness and vision.” The two met in 1995 while working together on a Great Hunger project.

“I am delighted that Don will be visiting Quinnipiac in this centenary of the start of the Great War.”

Mullan helped to establish the first annual Famine Walk commemorating those lost in the Great Hunger, he’s the director of Dublin-based human rights organization Action from Ireland, and has written several books and produced several films and documentaries.

Movie titles include An Unreliable Witness (2004) and Bloody Sunday (2002), which won Best Picture at the Sundance Film Festival as well as the Berlin Film Festival.

The lecture will be at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 24, on Quinnipiac University’s Mount Carmel Campus (in the Center for Communications and Engineering, Room 218). It is free and open to the public.

Additionally, one week later on October 2, author and history professor at Franklin Pierce University Mary Kelly will lead a lecture at Quinnipiac University’s Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at 5:30 pm.

A graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway and Syracuse University in New York, she will be discussing her new book, “Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History.”

Kelly conducts research on Great Hunger remembrance, the Boston Irish in the mid-19th century, as well as a variety of topics related to Irish-American politics, religion and intellectual history. She also teaches widely in American cultural, ethnic, intellectual, immigrant and gender history.

She is author of the 2005 book “The Shamrock and the Lily: The New York Irish and the Creation of Transatlantic Identity” as well. Copies of her books will be available for purchase at the lecture.

Works by many noted contemporary Irish artists are featured in Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, including Rowan Gillespie, John Behan and Jack B. Yeats.

Kelly’s lecture is free as well, but registration if required. To register, email ighm@quinnipiac.edu.


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