Not that many people are aware of the Irish connections of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who lived for his last years in Dublin, where he was professor of Greek and Latin at University College Dublin, is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery and wrote many of his poems here.
The truth though is that he was quite unhappy here – he was not a natural teacher, felt isolated from his home country and an outsider in the city – and his gloom is reflected in many of the poems written at this time. Nevertheless, this festival celebrates the poet and his life, his poetry, and his diverse interests, particularly in painting, music, philosophy and conservation.
The festival is a week-long event which attracts writers, academics, artists and enthusiastic followers from all over the country and around the world. In addition to scholarly lectures there are events appealing to a wider audience, including art exhibitions, workshops, concerts and social gatherings.
A highlight of the week is the Annual Banquet and presentation of the Hopkins Society Achievement Award. A youth programme, aimed at older teenagers with an interest in English Literature, runs alongside the main festival events.
I feel forced to comment on the festival website – it is, frankly, a bit of a disaster. It’s very difficult to navigate, hard to find information, difficult to get any sense of a calendar of events and not easy to find information about paying for individual events rather than for attendance at the entire festival.
This is a very good festival, recognised for its quality and really should be able to do better at presenting itself to the world.
Information & Map
Most events take place at Newbridge College, with some at the Newbridge Museum of Style. Season tickets are available to buy at the festival website. Entrance to individual events IS also possible, but they cannot be booked online. I assume it’s a pay at the door scenario.