During the 1980s the Philadelphia Ceili Group hosted a cultural evenings series under the title “Oíche Cois Tine”, Gaelic for “Night Beside the Fire”. These events celebrated a wide range of Irish culture: music and dance performances by prominent Irish and Irish-American artists, demonstrations of uniquely Irish musical instruments such as the uilleann pipes, and lectures on topics such as Irish literature, history, travel, and the Irish-American experience. This week we added two new recordings of academic lectures from this series to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection of Villanova University’s Digital Library. These items, freely available for streaming and download, highlight the amazing breadth of materials on Irish history and culture present in the Ceili Group collection and augment in sound the huge array of Irish textual and visual materials in other areas of the Digital Library.
“Irish Songs and Singers of Newfoundland”, 1982.
This lecture from the Spring of 1982 features the renowned folklorist and scholar Dr. Kenneth Goldstein, presenting on his adventures visiting with musicians and archiving Irish folk music in Newfoundland, Canada. Kenny Goldstein was a hugely influential figure in Irish folk music, having collected and published thousands of folksongs across several continents. He was also instrumental to the success of the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s activities in past decades, as attested to in this tribute to him from the 1996 Festival Program.
If you want to hear some incredible stories and some unique takes on some well-known Irish tunes, have a listen to Dr. Goldstein’s fascinating exploration of the music of a lesser-known corner of the Irish diaspora.
“The Importance of Douglas Hyde to the Irish Literary Renaissance”, March 12, 1982.
This lecture from 1982 features an extended discussion by the late Dr. Lester I. Conner, a Professor of English at Chestnut Hill
College from 1962-1990, on the unique contributions of Douglas Hyde to the Gaelic revival of the late-nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. His contributions, according to Dr. Conner, to the reestablishment of the Irish language as a living tongue,
the formation of a de-anglicized Irish identity, Irish nationalism, and especially the Irish literary renaissance, cannot be overestimated. Dr. Conner illuminates the literary world of Douglas Hyde with spark and enthusiasm, and brings to life the voices of famous contemporaries such as Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats in an engaging presentation packed with quotes and anecdotes.
This new addition to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection is also a perfect entry point to the study of Dr. Hyde’s influence in the scores of primary documents available throughout the Digital Library. If you’re interested in exploring further, try this list of documents concerning Douglas Hyde.
Stay tuned for more links to recordings from the Oíche Cois Tine series!