Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, the celebrated Irish poet, will give this year’s Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture at Saint Mary’s University, on Friday, March 2, 2018, at 7 pm in the McNally Theatre Auditorium.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is one of Ireland’s foremost contemporary literary figures. She writes her poetry exclusively in Irish, but she had garnered international recognition and acclaim through translations, including into English by Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and other major Irish poets. Ní Dhomhnaill was the Ireland Chair of Poetry from 2001 to 2004 and has held positions as visiting professor and writer-in-residence at Boston College, Villanova University, and the University of Notre Dame.

For Ní Dhomhnaill, "Irish is a language of beauty, historical significance, ancient roots and an immense propensity for poetic expression through its everyday use." At Saint Mary’s University, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill will talk about her decision to choose Irish as her medium of literary expression, and will read a selection of her poems in the original Irish and in English translation.

In her poetry, Ní Dhomhnaill draws extensively on the richness of the Irish folk and literary traditions. She mines the potential of that older material to discuss contemporary issues of identity and sexuality and to explore psychological and emotional stages including grief, loss and trauma, from a feminist perspective. She has spoken about her mission in helping "recover … the voice of the Irish woman."

About the Cyril Byrne Lecture

Since 2007, the annual Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture has honoured the contribution of Dr. Cyril J. Byrne, who passed away in 2006, to the Faculty of Arts and interdisciplinarity at Saint Mary’s University. Previous guest lecturers include renowned authors, Colm Tóibín, Alistair MacLeod, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Emma Donoghue, and Wayne Johnston. The evening also features music and a post-lecture reception.

In accepting the invitation to give the 2018 Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill fondly recalls her one previous visit to Halifax in 1990, when Cyril Byrne hosted her poetry reading at Saint Mary’s University.

As in previous years, this year’s Cyril Byrne Memorial Lecture welcomes members of the public to a memorable evening of conversation and conviviality.