Celebrating Maeve Binchy, born #OTD in Dalkey, 1938
"I had a very happy childhood, which is unsuitable if you are going to be an Irish writer"
It didn't hold her back though, her books were translated into 37 languages and sold 40 million+ copies worldwide https://t.co/75ZbvI9pmghttps://t.co/aM5MW7wjBW
How wonderful to see a big jump in entries for the Mary Elmes Prize. It is so heartening to see a new generation learn the story of the Corkwoman who saved lives in two wars.
Look at this stunning portrait from Grace Wolfe. 👏👏
Some lockdown reading suggestion coming up for all you Wild Gees out there trapped indoors! First up is 'A Ghost in the Throat' from Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire is an Irish keen or lament that's been described as the greatest poem of the 18th century. And none of the Wild Gees had heard of it. It wasn't on the curriculum when we were at school. The poem was composed by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill after her husband Art's murder. It is a wail of grief, but it's also thirsty af - possibly why they didn't teach it! "what a hearty bed-mate you'd be, what a man to share a saddle with, what a man to spark a child with".
Perhaps the most surprising thing in A Ghost in the Throat is that the author first encountered the Caoineadh at school. The book is her attempt to unearth Eibhlín Dubh's own story, too often told only in relation to the men in her life - her dead husband and her nephew Daniel O'Connell. "How swiftly the academic gaze places her in the masculine shadow" she says. Sadly true of so many women in history. The book sets out to redress that while translating the Caoineadh and finding parallels with her own life. "Literature composed by women was shared not in books but in female bodies, living repositories of poetry and song" Doireann Ní Ghríofa calls this a 'female text'.
It's likely that the poem was passed down as part of the Irish oral tradition. Thanks to Nóra Ní Shíndile, a professional keener or bean caoinadh, the Caoineadh was later transcribed.
Here's a lovely interview with Doireann and Rickoshea on Shelf Analysis where she talks about the adventure of uncovering Eibhlín Dubh's story and recommends so many books that our TBR pile may topple over and crush us at some point.
The Wild Gees are passionate about open access to all of the stories of our heritage. September is #WikiLovesMonuments month - a chance to add your images of historic and prehistoric sites to the Wikimedia commons. This means they can be used to illustrate articles. There aren't many #SheelaNaGigs on the map so let's get adding!
We'll be uploading all the images from our #WildGees trip to the drive, running from 1 - 30th September. If you've visited heritage sites over the summer, or are planning any trips this month, we encourage you to do the same - and you might even win an auld prize
Wiki Loves Monuments 2020 is now open! UPLOAD HERE! From churches to bridges, canal locks to market halls, every red dot on our interactive map is a piece of Ireland’s built heritage that needs a photograph, which means we need your help. Entry into the 2020 competition runs from 1 to 30 September...
Quite a few of you here and on Twitter have complimented us on our name. It was born as a reaction to a particularly un-gee-ish day, and generally having a pain in the hole with Sligo's favourite and most asshole-y son. Usually we're all about the womxn, but it's impossible to visit Sligo and not run into Yeats. We're big poetry fans but in the age of #MeToo We Need to Talk About William