Skip to main content

2014 Press Releases

New chapter for Great Book

28 May 2014

Bibliophiles, art lovers and culture vultures alike are sure to welcome a spine-tingling lineup of Ireland’s leading writers, poets, craftspersons, musicians and photographers at UCC in the coming weeks.

‘Facing Pages: The Art of the Great Book of Ireland’ continues its run at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC, with 11 events scheduled between Thursday, 29th May and Saturday, 12th July.

Intimate lunchtime talks and evening readings by internationally recognised poets and writers are complemented by unique workshops focusing on the creation, care, calligraphy and photography of the Great Book of Ireland. A joint venture by UCC’s Library, School of English and School of Music and Theatre, the closing chapter of the exhibition will feature a colourful ‘musical circus’.

The thread connecting them all? The opportunity for the public to gain unparalleled insight into one of Ireland’s most precious cultural resources – and all for free.

Published in 1991 and acquired by UCC in 2013, The Great Book of Ireland captures a significant moment of Ireland’s cultural production, and features poetic texts from some of Ireland’s leading writers. Through significant works on loan from the Irish Museum of Modern Art as well as UCC’s own art collection, ‘Facing Pages’ places the emphasis on the art of many of the visual artists who contributed to The Great Book, such as Robert Ballagh, Cecily Brennan, Barrie Cooke, Michael Farrell, Eithne Jordan, Louis le Brocquy, Tony O’Malley, and Kathy Prendergast.

The public can partake in the following events at the Glucksman Gallery for free:

Thursday 29th May, 1-2pm: Pádraig Ó Macháin, Professor of Modern Irish at UCC, will present a talk called ‘The Poetry Anthology in Irish tradition’. His research interests include Irish manuscripts and verse, rural unrest in Ireland in the early 19th Century and the literary history of County Waterford.

Thursday 5th June, 6pm: An evening poetry reading by Belfast native Ciarán Carson, the author of numerous collections of poetry, and a winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize amongst many others.

Saturday 7th June, 10am – 4pm: The public can deepen their knowledge of different aspects of The Great Book of Ireland with a masterclass from Paul Curtis, paper conservator at Muckross House, Killarney. ‘Book-binding and BookConservation’ will reveal the work involved in the creation, care and study of the Great Book of Ireland and the intricacies of rare book and paper repairs on early printed books, manuscripts and maps, as well as on leather bindings and vellum documents.

Thursday 12th June, 1pm: A lunchtime talk by photographer John Minihan called ‘Photographing Samuel Beckett’ willcentre on some of the most remarkable photographs ever taken of the writer. Once anapprentice photographer with the Daily Mail, at 21 John became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives. Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men.

Thursday 19th June, 6.30pm: An evening reading by Dublin’s Paula Meehan, who has published five collections of poetry. She has received many awards, including the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, The Butler Literary Award for Poetry and the Denis Devlin Memorial Award.

Saturday 21st June, 10am – 4pm: The public can deepen their knowledge of different aspects of The Great Book of Ireland with this poetry masterclass by Donegal native Matthew Sweeney, the author of multiple collections of poetry for adults and children. Winner of numerous awards, he has previously been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Friday 27th June, 1pm-2pm: The public can drop in to the Glucksman to learn about Denis Brown's calligraphy for The Great Book of Ireland. A film screening and talk will explore the contributions of some of Ireland’s greatest visual artists. Brown pushes the boundaries of calligraphy and letter arts. The roots of his work are in the ancient traditions of manuscript writing, which he explores, in a contemporary and inventive context.

Saturday 28th June, 10am – 4pm: The public can enjoy an in-depth beginners calligraphy workshop by Denis Brown. A Fellow of the UK Society of Scribes & Illuminators and an Honoured Fellow of the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, UK, Brown is a regular contributor to international conferences on calligraphy and conducts workshops for calligraphy guilds worldwide.

(The stunning calligraphy of Denis Brown, taken from his YouTube Channel

Thursday 3rd July, 6pm: An evening poetry reading by the acclaimed Eavan Boland, one of the foremost female voices in Irish literature. Throughout her many collections of poetry, in her prose memoir Object Lessons (1995), and in her work as a noted anthologist and teacher, Boland has honed an appreciation for the ordinary in life.

Thursday 10th July, 6pm: An evening poetry reading by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. Born in Cork, Irish poet, translator, and editor Eiléan is the daughter of a writer and a professor who fought in the Irish War of Independence. She is the author of numerous poetry collections, and winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award amongst others.

Saturday 12th July, 1pm-3pm: A special concert developed by UCC’s School of Music and Theatre brings ‘Facing Pages’ to a close. ‘A Circus on The Great Book of Ireland’ will see musicians perform in the intimate surroundings of the galleries, featuring lively responses to The Great Book from musicians and composers. The title is inspired by John Cage’s An Irish Circus on Finnegan’s Wake.

This exhibition is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s National Programme and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.

For further information, please see

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF