25 May 2008

The Lure of Greece

Professor J.V. Luce (left) and Professor John Dillon (right) at the launch of The Lure of of Greece in the Classics Department, Trinity College Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The Seminar Room of the Department of Classics at the top of the Arts Block in Trinity College Dublin was a splendid setting for the Dublin launch of The Lure of Greece on Friday evening (23 May 2008).

The Lure of Greece: Irish Involvement in Greek Culture, Literature, History and Politics, is published by Hinds on behalf of the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies in Athens (IIHSA). The book includes the papers and proceedings of the institute’s conference in the NUI Galway in 2003, and is edited by Professor John V. Luce, Dr Christine Morris, Dr Christina Souyoudzoglou-Haywood.

A wide range of people with an interest in Greece, the classics, archaeology and history, and many people from the Greek community in Ireland were present for the launch of the book – the first major publication of the Irish Institute for Hellenic Studies at Athens – by Dr Luce and Dr Dillon.

The Greek launch of The Lure of Greece took place in Athens earlier this month, when Professor Dillon launched the book on Wednesday 14 May at the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies. On the same evening, Dr Richard Witt, delivered his lecture, ‘Two battered heroes: modern Greece and modern Ireland.’

The Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens was established in 1996. It can be found at 51 Odos Notara, in the Exarchia area of Athens, close to Syntagma. The institute assists students with an interest in learning activities in Greece, and researchers who wish to develop archaeological projects there. It also runs a hostel in its premises in Athens, and organises study tours for third level students from Ireland.

This book is the first to examine the multi-faceted, intimate relationship between Greece and Ireland. Its twelve chapters derive from papers delivered by participants in a Conference organised by the Institute, and held in the National University of Ireland, Galway, in September 2003.

The papers in this volume are very wide-ranging, extending from museums to Marxism, and containing well-documented accounts of personalities as diverse as Sir Richard Church, Henry Browne, William Bedell Stanford and Oscar Wilde. The extensive bibliographies appended to each chapter constitute a valuable and essential resource for further research into the many and varied facets of Irish Philhellenism.

Philhellenism in Ireland had political and military, as well as academic, archaeological and even dilettante characteristics from the 18th century onwards. For example, Sir Richard Church, from Cork, argued for the independence of Greece at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, and was later Commander-in-Chief of the Greek army in the War of Independence. His story and the stories of other Irish Philhellenes are told in my paper, which is the opening chapter of this book.

The contents of the book are:

Patrick Comerford, ‘Sir Richard Church and the Irish Philhellenes in the Greek War of Independence’
Jo Day, ‘Rev. Basil Zula and the Thermopylae Garden at Kilwarlin, Co Down’
William M. Dunlop, ‘K.T. Frost and the Archaeological Museum at The Queen’s University of Belfast’
Peter Gathercole, ‘Aeschylus, the Blaskets and Marxism: interconnecting influences on the writings of George Thomson’
Aideen M. Ireland, ‘A Gentle Luxury: Collectors and collecting in eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland’
John V. Luce, ‘Robert Wood and Homer’
Michael McCarthy, ‘Drawings of Rome and Tivoli in 1750 by Giovanni Battista Borra’
Brian McGing, ‘How to become Higher Commander of the Order of the Phoenix: the academic career of W.B. Stanford, Philhellene’
Christine Morris, ‘An Ardent Lover of Cretan Freedom: J.D. Bourchier, 1850-1920’
Patrick Sammon, ‘Oscar Wilde and Greece’
Andrew Smith, ‘Two Dublin Classicists: Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) and Henry Browne (1853-1941)’
Christina Souyoudzoglou-Haywood, ‘Henry Browne, Greek Archaeology and ‘The Museum Of Ancient History’

The Lure of Greece: Irish Involvement in Greek Culture, Literature, History and Politics (Dublin: Hinds, for the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens ISBN 987-0-952836-6-7, €29); Order form available here.

The Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens is at: http://www.iihsa.ie/welcome.html.

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