Irish Literature

The Democracy of Storytelling



Irish countryside

This minor offers students the opportunity to concentrate on the literature of Ireland while gaining an understanding of its historical, cultural, and literary contexts. The program offers a variety of courses that give students an understanding of some of the trends and leading figures of Irish literature. Courses on Ireland’s Literary Revival, Contemporary Literature and Politics, and on major figures like William Butler Yeats explore key moments in Irish literary history, as well as the ways in which Irish literature impacted national identity and wider literary trends. 


The Democracy of Storytelling

Ireland’s literary history is filled with giants: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker, Seamus Heaney, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats.

Le Moyne’s own Irish literary history is filled with some whoppers itself, courtesy of the Irish Literature Program, which has brought to campus novelist and essayist Anne Enright (winner of the prestigious Booker Prize) and novelist Colm Toibin (winner of the Irish PEN Award) and poet Paul Muldoon (winner of the Pulitzer Prize).

This year, it is Colum McCann, Oscar nominee and winner of the National Book Award.

“We are very excited to have Colum here. It is a rare opportunity and I think our students will really enjoy what he has to share,” said Dr. Kate Costello-Sullivan, director of the Irish Literature program at Le Moyne.

McCann discussed his latest novel, TransAtlantic, which tells the stories of the first transatlantic fliers and of Frederick Douglass’ visit to Ireland in the nineteenth century. McCann will also sat down with students to talk about the craft of writing, and about the power of story-telling.

“I believe in the democracy of story-telling,” McCann has said. “I love the fact that our stories can cross all sorts of borders and boundaries. I feel humbled by the notion that I’m even a small part of the literary experience. I grew up in a house, in a city, in a country shaped by books. I don’t know of a greater privilege than being allowed to tell a story, or to listen to a story. They’re the only thing we have that can trump life itself.”

Events Scheduled tor 2012-2013  

Traditional Irish Music - 9/6/2012

Traditional Irish Music from 4 - 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6 in the Dolphin Den

Warm up with Ennis, a traditional Irish music group

This event is free and open to the public.

Le Moyne at the Syracuse Irish Festival - 9/8/2012


Syracuse Irish Festival, Clinton Square, Downtown Syracuse, East-end Platform, Saturday, September 8. Le Moyne has a table again this year to promote Irish programming at Le Moyne and support the Festival's Cultural Village. The Le Moyne Traditional Music Stage will showcase traditional Irish music groups from the US and Ireland. 

Le Moyne College Hedge School mini lectures:

12:15 p.m.: Kate Costello-Sullivan on John Banville's “The Sea”
2 p.m.: Orlando Ocampo on "Borges and Ireland"

Samhain - 10/23/2012

Le Moyne commemorates this ancient Celtic festival celebrating the end of harvest and warning of the coming of winter with readings from medieval Irish texts, a bonfire and traditional harvest fare. Sponsored by the Irish literature program.  

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 7 – 9 p.m.iIn front of Dablon Hall (Rain location: James Commons, Campus Center)

Eoghan Corry: "The Three Reincarnations of Ireland" -  10/25/2012

Eoghan Corry will be speaking on "The Three Reincarnations of Ireland."

He served for 10 years as features and literary editor of the Irish Press, one of Ireland's most influential daily newspapers. He is currently a travel writer, author, columnist and commentator on politics and popular culture on Irish TV radio.

Free and open to the public. 

 Irish Music Session - 3/13/2013

Entertainment by the Irish Music Session. Free and open to the public.  Wednesday, 3/13/2013 from 7:00 – 8:30 at the Campus Pub

Robert Baines: How to Read James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” - 3/12/2013

After completing Ulysses in 1922, James Joyce spent the next 17 years working on the novel that would be his last, “Finnegans Wake.” Rather than enjoying the fame of its illustrious predecessor, Joyce’s final work is best known for being “unreadable.” Naturally, this presents something of a problem for those brave/foolhardy enough to wish to read it. This lecture will explore the supposed “unreadability” of “Finnegans Wake” by examining the merits of seven different strategies for reading that infamous novel.  Tuesday, March 12, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. in the Reilley Room, Reilly Hall

Anne Enright Reading -  4/19/2013

Booker prize-winning author of The Gathering, Enright also won the 1991 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the 2001 Encore Award and the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year. Free. W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts at 6:30 PM.  Cosponsored by gender and women's studies and the creative writing program, with support from the dean's office of arts and sciences and the Lecture Committee.

 Annual Bloomsday Celebration - 6/15/2013

Le Moyne College will host the area’s 20th annual Bloomsday celebration on Saturday, June 16, beginning at noon.  Readings will be from the SJJC and Irish program.  Saturday, June 15 – 10:00 – 10:00 p.m. in Grewen Auditorium