Fairfield Faculty Perform at the Irish Festival

Submitted by William Abbott on June 29, 2011

On June 19, Fairfield faculty members Drs. Robert Epstein (English), Bill Abbott (History), Marion White (English), and Kevin Cassidy (Politics), presented Irish poetry and music at the 23rd annual Fairfield County Irish Festival, hosted by Fairfield University.  These professors, all of whom teach in the University’s Irish Studies Program, were part of the Festival’s Cultural pavilion, which featured many outstanding musical and dance ensembles.

Dr. Epstein led off the Fairfield faculty presentation with a recitation from the ancient Celtic saga “Exile of the Sons of Uislu.” Dr. Abbott then sang “’Tis the Last Rose of Summer,” one of Thomas Moore’s poems from the early 1800s, set to music. Professor Marion White followed with 4 poems by the feminist writer Nula Ni Dhomhnaill, including:

  • Hag”
  • “The Green Eyes”
  • “Poem for Melissa”
  • “Pharaoh’s Daughter”

Dr. Cassidy brought the presentation up to the present with 3 poems by the inspiring Seamus Heaney, including his famous appeal to “hope against history.” Dr. Abbott finished off the presentation by singing the rousing “Minstrel Boy,” with the audience joining in. Later on, Professors White and Abbott helped form a team for a good-natured round of “Irish Jeopardy,” acing many of the art and history questions, and finishing second out of the three teams competing.

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