Arts and Cultural Events

Matters French

Matters French: an online exhibition . Discover cultural connections between Ireland and France. Curated by Patrick O’Donovan, UCC.

Matters French plots connections between Ireland and France from the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion at the end of the twelfth century to the present day. The Old Norman French that William the Conqueror brought to England after 1066 became part of the political and cultural environment of this island a century later — at just the point where Anglo-Norman had become embedded as a literary and administrative medium in England, where the conquering Normans had become proficient in English, and where several of the varieties of medieval French were on the threshold of a period of extraordinary literary innovation. The effects of the arrival of the Anglo-Normans and of Henry II in Ireland were to be as momentous as they were far-reaching; for one thing, it meant that the Irish language came much more closely into contact with French and with English. The interactions that resulted — variously linguistic, literary, intellectual, confessional, political — endure to this day, nearly a century after Irish independence. These interconnected traditions are richly represented in UCC Library’s collections and the exhibition draws on over fifty rare items in Irish, French and English, including a range of manuscript materials, early printed books and printed ephemera. Queen’s College, Cork was established in 1845, more than half a millennium after the Anglo-Norman conquest, and the intervening centuries witnessed contacts with France and with French that straddled religious and political divisions. Thus, Irish scholars and intellectuals took refuge in Paris and Louvain, where Irish-language materials could be printed and where French was to become a medium of antiquarian and historical research that took Ireland as its object. Conversely, the arrival in Ireland of Huguenot exiles created new French- speaking communities, so connecting the island with French humanist writing and publishing, and, in particular, of course, with French-language Protestant thinking. More than a century later, titles in French continued to be printed in Cork, and at decisive moments in the quest for independence the politics of post-Revolutionary France was to be a highly potent — and highly contested — reference- point. The exhibition includes an early manuscript of Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, a sermon on St Brigid from 1620 delivered by David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory, a translation of Nicolas Caussin’s The Holy Court printed in Cork, and several major works of Wolfe Tone.

Category: Arts and Cultural Events:
Time: As per Boole Library's opening hours.
Location: Q floor, Boole Library
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Prof. Patrick O'Donovan
021 490 2887

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