Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Evening of Celtic Music

An Evening of Celtic Music
Dennis, Paula and Terry Doyle
at the
Holy Spirit Retreat Center
4316 Lanai Road
Encino, CA 91436

Wednesday, July 16 – 7:30PM
Come early, picnic under the stars

Tickets at the door $15

Monday, June 2, 2008

Essay Queston for Final Exam on June 4 10:30AM

What do you think is the central message of Playboy of the Western World? What ideas, themes, or characters from Irish history and literature do you detect in Playboy? How do these ideas, etc. help Synge further his message?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Essay Test on May 30

Your task in this essay test is to come up with a thesis and support the thesis referencing James Joyce's short stories "Araby" and "The Dead" from the Dubliners collection. Use both stories to support your ideas

Suggested areas covered might be:

-What are the epiphanies in "Araby" and "The Dead"? What led up to these epiphanies? Why do you think they were important for Joyce to emphasize?

-What historical, social, and political factors are evident in the two stories? (Be sure to consult the notes in the back!) Is it important to understand these factors or is the value of the stories independent of them, i.e., is, as Gabriel says, literature above politics?

-reality vs. expectations in both stories,

-the women in Joyce's stories,

-the theme of deadness, stifling conservatism, inaction in the stories.

These are just suggestions. You may use these, or, better, come up with your own ideas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Study Abroad to Ireland Planned for Summer 2009

Transferable Classes Offered:
Humanities 111 Irish History and Literature
English 110 World Literature

Study Abroad Office: AD 145C
818-240-1000 ext.5718

Resentment About the Famine Still Exists in Northern Ireland

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Quiz and Essay Test Schedule

May 9 quiz on chapters 14-17
May 16 essay test
May 19 Mangan, Davis and Moore
May 21 W.B.Yeats, the Irish Literary Renaissance
May 23 P.Pearse
May 26 Memorial Day Holiday - Read Araby and The Dead by the 28th
May 28 James Joyce
May 30 essay test
June 2 Synge and Playboy of the Western World
June 4 Final Exam essay 10:30AM-12

The Irish Potato Famine

In this world of ours, there is no lack of examples of “Man’s Inhumanity to Man”. My ancestors emigrated from Ireland to escape a sad history of poverty, disease and death. Our holocaust was the great Irish Famine, which was responsible for removing over 20% of the population from either starvation or forced immigration. Ireland’s population has never rebounded to its pre-famine days.

In Ireland, they called it “An Gorta Mor”, the“Great Hunger”. In the late 1840’s, Ireland suffered a series of famines due to the loss of their potato crop. The potatoes were attacked by a fungus from America turning the potatoes into inedible poisonous mush.

While the fungal infection was a natural disaster and impossible to combat, events in Ireland many years before the famine, the mindset and the behavior of the English government made this disaster much, much worse and led to the deaths of about 1.5 million people, the emigration of another 1.5 million and about another million unaccounted for.
The roots of this disaster actually started over 2 hundred years earlier. In the late 16th century, English forces put down a rebellion of Irish nobility. This defeat at the Battle of Kinsale lead to the exile of these Irish leaders. The English government confiscated their lands and protestant settlers from Scotland (loyal to the English) were “planted” on the land (like the way that the English later “colonized” the new world). This set the pattern for how England dealt with trouble from Ireland throughout the following centuries. Ireland, because of its proximity to England, would always have a role in internal English politics and had to be considered in English foreign policy. The Irish supported the Catholic King James II over the English parliament’s protestant choice, William of Orange. When James was defeated, Ireland was punished by even more confiscation of land, plantations of outside groups and a series of brutal “penal laws”, denying native Irish Catholics nearly all civil liberties and property. By the start of the 18th century most of the land in Ireland was held by outside Scottish or English settlers, English soldiers (who received land in pay for their service), land speculators and absentee landlords who lived in England, who used Ireland simply as a source of income.

As for the property that remained in Catholic native Irish hands, the penal laws required that their land should be divided equally between the children upon the death of the owner. This resulted in smaller and smaller parcels of land being passed on from generation to generation.

By far, though, most of the Irish were left landless, as tenant farmers. They raised what little food they could on small squalid plots, barely feeding their families and burdened with paying rent for the privilege.

The most unfortunate people, though, were the spalpeens or day laborers, working other peoples rented land for bare sustenance.

Into this mix, came the potato plant, introduced from the new world reportedly by Sir Walter Raleigh a favorite of Queen Elizabeth. The good thing about the potato was that it is a nutritious food, together with milk and butter, provided most vitamins that a family would need. The diet was filling, if not balanced and the Irish learned to make a lot of different dishes from the potato. It was easy to grow and it didn’t take much space to grow. With land at a premium and small parcels the rule, and rents high, you might just barely be able to feed your family with a patch of ground about the size of 2 classrooms. If you raise a pig on the side from the scraps, you could use that to pay the annual rent to the landlord. You could expect 2 crops a year, one in late spring and then one in the fall. The fall crop was the largest and it would have to be big enough to keep a family fed through the cold winter months. The disadvantage of the potato was that it is a delicate crop, the victim of several types of disease, easily damaged by bad weather, and subject to frequent failures. Potatoes wouldn’t keep also. You couldn’t store potatoes year to year, like you could corn or other grains.

We know now about the danger of relying on a single delicate crop, but at the time it seemed like a blessing. Despite the extreme poverty of the Irish people, the potato provided a decent diet for the first time in many years. With the introduction of a relatively nutritious food, and the relative peace in the early 1800’s, infant mortality improved, and the Irish population boomed to an estimated 8 million people. (Now it is about 4.5 million).

The first word about any trouble with the potato came in spring 1845 when there was news of a “potato blight” in the United States. There was fear that it would cross the ocean when there were reports of a similar blight in Belgium and on the Isle of Wight off England. Soon, reports from all over Ireland mentioned signs of distress with the potato. At first, government officials thought that the problem was local and exaggerated, especially since most potatoes appeared okay when first taken out of the ground. But after a few days of storage became piles of black putrid decaying mush. We know now that the disease was spread by airborne spores, which would attack wet spots on the potato leaves and skin and rapidly destroy a family’s entire annual supply in a few days.

As the year moved on, it became apparent that the failure of the crop was nearly universal in Ireland and that there was going to be general starvation if something wasn’t done. The Prime Minister at the time was Sir Robert Peel. He was no friend to the Irish, but was an efficient and capable statesman, and concluded that the Irish diet had to be supplemented by grain, but this was complicated to do. Corn was an important staple in the English economy, protected by high tariffs. If the government were to buy large quantities of corn in England, it would drive up the price for English consumers; on the other hand, certain tariff laws would need to be repealed if he were to bring in grain from somewhere else. This was not popular with English farmers, who relied on the protectionist tariffs to keep their profits regular. His efforts to repeal the “Corn Laws” nearly got him removed from office, but they were repealed and he was able to order a quantity of maize or “Indian corn” from the United States. They believed that the maize might not interfere so much with the English corn market, since there was already a market for it. Unfortunately, he would have needed to order at least 30 times the amount he bought to cover the need in Ireland.

Peel and his Secretary of the treasury, a man by the name of Charles Trevelyan believed in a philosophy of economics called laissez faire, a belief in government non-interference in private enterprise, commerce. Property rights also trumped all other rights. Peel and Trevelyan planned to use the corn not to feed the Irish directly, but to balance out the market and to force the price of corn low in Ireland so that it might be purchased by the Irish and sold by English vendors. The market, thus adjusted would make sure everyone was taken care of.

The problem with this plan, hatched in London, was that it bore no resemblance to the reality in Ireland, especially in those remote areas in the west of Ireland where the famine was the worst. Ireland had been degraded and so mistreated by England, that parts of the country couldn’t access markets and weren’t even using currency, as they were in a barter economy (trading a pig for rent, for example). There was no way for Ireland to reasonably respond to market forces. Things that made perfect sense in England would not work in Ireland. Furthermore, the English officials were morally opposed to simply give away the grain to starving people; no, they had to work for currency to be used to purchase the grain by doing make-work road building or workhouse projects. Since roads weren’t suppose to give any undue advantage to any particular landowner, crazy roads to nowhere were built, still to be seen today in Ireland.

Furthermore, some of the funding for the program was supposed to come from local landlords, most of which were in bad straights themselves. The most ironic thing about this period of time was that, while people were starving, Ireland was producing enough food to feed itself, but the English landlords had to export food out of the country to meet their own debts and expenses. Food production actually rose during the famine years.

The Indian corn also proved to be another problem. It was harder than regular English corn and required an extra milling to make flour. Once again the places that were struck the most with the crop failure, had relied mostly on the potato, so they didn’t have the infrastructure to even grind the grain. Once people had the grain, they couldn’t grind it finely enough to put it to use. Eating poorly ground grain caused dysentery in people already weak from hunger. The harbors near those places weren’t large enough to accommodate the ships carrying the grain.

Soon all depots for food distribution, workhouses and other accommodations for starving people were overwhelmed.

At about this time, there was a change in government in London. Because of the unpopularity of the repeal of the corn tariff in England, Peel was removed as prime minister and replaced by Lord John Russell. Russell came into power in time for the second annual total failure of the potato crop in 1846. Russell, however, was even more committed to a laissez faire than was Peel. He advocated no additional help for Ireland. Trevelyan, remaining as Treasury secretary believed that famine was brought on by God and that the Irish should simply deal with it themselves. They both believed that market forces and free trade would solve the problem. Instead, we started to see the first massive numbers deaths from starvation in October of ’46.

At first, most deaths came from wasting diseases due to malnutrition: typhus, relapsing fever, dysentery from eating badly prepared corn, seaweed, simply any plant or animal available, scurvy and dropsy. At the peak of the famine in 1847, many deaths were from outright starvation. They still refer to that year as “Black ‘47”.

Tenant farmers, held back as long that they could from eating their livestock. They needed to use that livestock, (possibly a pig) to barter for their rent. As bad as these thatched huts were, wet, cold, dirt floors, one room, smoky, the livestock living with the family, it was particularly horrible to be evicted from these shabby homes and all your belongings put out on the road. The process of eviction happened to thousands of families during this period; people were reduced to living in ditches, starving, no shelter, and no work. Your old cottage was “tumbled” i.e. intentionally destroyed and the roof torn off by the landlord’s agent and the sheriff. The rights of property were absolute, so the landlord could evict you with little notice and for no reason, if they wished, even if you could pay the rent. Some landlords “shoveled- out” i.e. paid for passage oversees for entire groups of tenants on boats bound for the new world called coffin ships. Many landlords took advantage of the famine to clear their land of all tenants to open up the land for grazing cattle or sheep. This was the Marketplace responding to the emergency.

With the government doing little, outside groups responded to the famine. The Quakers set up soup kitchens. There were donations from England, more from overseas from Irish Americans, the Ottoman Empire, and even American Indians. Some religious groups offered soup to people who converted to their particular sect. People scorned those who “took the soup” and changed their religion. They called them the “soupers”…

People were desperate to get out; laws prevented easy emigration to England after the first years of the famine. After a while, none of the ports in North America wanted to take the ships full of sick and dying people. Immigration to Canada was originally easier and cheaper than to the USA because ships bearing timber from Canada could return to North America with hopeless Irish. Canada had their own problem with quarantine centers with ships full of sick people. A small island in the St.Lawrence Seaway called Grosse Isle was the site of over 11 thousand deaths due to ship-born wasting diseases and starvation, because Canadian authorities could not allow them to land in nearby Quebec City.

It was in 1849 when my great-great grandparents, Francis and Ann Doyle brought their children Margaret, Thomas and Patrick from County Wicklow through the port of Cork to America through the port of Baltimore, Maryland. Patrick was my great grandfather. They ended up in Williamstown, PA, north of Harrisburg, where Francis worked in the coalmines. They had 5 more children in the new world before Francis died at age 49.

The famine changed Ireland forever. Besides losing an estimated 25% of the population, entire districts were cleared of people. The famine cut the heart out of the Irish language, Gaelic, as most of the victims were Gaelic speakers. English continues to be the dominant language of Ireland despite government efforts to keep Gaelic alive. Religious expression became much more strict and puritanical and Victorian. Pregnancy outside of marriage could be an economic disaster. People delayed marriage later and later, until the parents died and the oldest son inherited the farm. You ended up with many marriages consisting of late middle age (rather old men) men and very young women. Emigration became a fact of life for all the rest of the children in a typical Irish family, as there were few prospects for them at home. Those who did emigrate formed a ready-made group of people who really hated the English, who knew that Ireland, which was supposed to be part of the United Kingdom, i.e. an important part of the England state, had been abandoned and mistreated grievously. The Irish concluded that there was no way England could be trusted again to support Irish interests unless forced to. Soon, the Irish Republican Brotherhood was started in New York, which lead to more rebellion in Ireland and eventual home rule and separation from England in early the next century. Some have said that bitterness from these oppressive events led Ireland to sit out World War II as a neutral state while England was under attack from Germany.
I’ll end now with a few verses from an old song about the famine:

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young girl calling
Micheal they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyn's corn
So the young might see the morn.
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mr.Doyle in the Glendale News Press

Mr.Doyle recently presented a speech for the city-sponsored "Week of Remembrance" held at the Glendale Public Library on April 21. He spoke about the Irish Potato Famine in context with other important examples of man's inhumanity to man.

link to the article

Monday, April 14, 2008

Special Event at the Glendale Public Library on 4/21/08 @ 6PM

Mr.Doyle will be speaking briefly about the Great Irish Famine of 1845-49.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Padraigin Clancy at GCC

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mr.Doyle's Music Schedule this Spring

March 17, 2008 -St.Patrick's Party with Innisfree at The Auld Dubliner Pub, Tustin, CA 3PM to Midnight.
June 21-22, 2008 -Great American Irish Fair and Music Festival, Irvine, CA
July 18-20, 2008 -Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, Berea County Fairgrounds,

More information HERE .

Monday, March 3, 2008

4th Annual Irish Cultural Festival at Loyola Marymount University (4 Events)


Event #1: An Evening of Traditional Irish Music.

When: March 14, 2008 @ 8 PM

Where: Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall 1000

An evening of traditional irish music by a talented group of musicians:
Kira Ott, Fiddle; Patrick Darcy, Uilleann Pipes; Frank Simpson, Flute & Whistles; Jimmy Murphy, Guitar

Event #2: A Reading by celebrated Irish poet Eamon Grennan.

When: March 27, 2008 @ 4:30 PM

Where: McIntosh Center, University Hall 3999

Eamon Grennan’s books of poetry include What Light There Is and Other Poems, Wildly for Days, What Light There Is, As If It Matters, So It Goes, Still Life with Waterfall, Renvyle Winter, and The Quick of It. Grennan has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Event #3: In The Name of The Father (1993) starring Daniel Day Lewis
Screening and Discusssion

When :April 5, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Where: Mayer Theater, Communication Arts Building

In The Name of The Father (1993) was directed by Jim Sheridan and written by Gerry Conlon (autobiographical book Proved Innocent), Terry George, and Jim Sheridan. The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite. It is about the story of Gerry Conlon, purported ringleader of the Guildford Four, a group of three Irishmen and one English woman wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford, England, that left five people dead. Conlon's father Guiseppe was subsequently imprisoned along with six other Conlon relatives who became known as the Maguire Seven.

Event #4: When Hope and History Rhymed: Screening & Discussion

When: Tuesday April 8, 2008 @ 8:00 PM

Where: Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall 1000, Loyola Marymount University

Admission: FREE

This film examines how a society that has experienced 25 years of violence can move toward reconciliation. Kelly Candaele, Producer, took fifteen students from California State University, Chico to Northern Ireland to shoot this film. In the course of their time there they interviewed British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, Loyalist paramilitaries, the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Ireland, and many other community leaders and regular citizens.

Sponsored by the Irish Studies Program, the Marymount Institute,
the Department of English, the School of Film and Television,
the Department of Modern Languages, & the European Studies Program

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Schedule of Class Quizes and In-Class Essays

The Schedule of Class Quizes and In-Class Essays is available at HERE

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Tain, or, the Brown Bull of Cooley

Part One: Ailill and Medb

Ailill and Medb, king and queen in Connacht, lay abed in their chamber at the fort in Cruachan. Feeling smug after his recent conjugal endeavours,

Ailill said to her: ‘It’s true what they say, love, “all is well for the wife of a wealthy man.”’

‘You might be right there, husband, but why is it you had that thought in your mind?’ she replied, and to which question he replied in turn,‘I was only just thinking how much better off you are now, compared to before you wed me.’

‘Hold on now, you, I was fine enough and wealthy enough before I ever saw the face of you ! ’she retorted haughtily.

‘I don’t know about that.’ Ailill said, his temper roused. ‘I never heard your wealth mentioned much at all before I chose to marry you ! I know you had your woman’s things, but all I ever heard of you was when your neighbours came raiding and stealing away what you lacked the power to hold, and that’s the attraction you found in me: the strength of me and my men to protect what you had left.’

‘You conveniently choose to forget that the High King of Ireland, Eochaid Feidlech the Steadfast, was my father, and I the highest and haughtiest of six sisters; outdoing them in combat and battle.’ Medb climbed from the bed, turning on her husband. ‘I had fifteen hundred men-at-arms in my court, all of them the sons of exiles, and again the same number of native freeborn men. For every paid soldier I had ten more men, and nine more for each of them, and eight more, and seven, and six, five four, three, two and one. And, I’ll have you to remember, that was only our ordinary household. ‘My father gave me a whole province to rule: this one, Cruachan! Men came from Leinster and Ulster to woo me and to take me back with them. But I refused, for I asked more of a husband than any Irish woman before me asked: the absence of fear and jealousy and meanness. If I married a man who was mean our union would be wrong, because I am so giving and full of grace. It would be an insult if I were more generous than my husband, but not so if we were equal in this aspect. If my husband was a timid man that would also make the union wrong, for I thrive on all sorts of mischief. It is therefore also an insult if a wife to be more spirited than her husband, but not if we two were equally spirited. And if I married a jealous man that would be wrong; as you knew and still know I have never had one man without another waiting by the bed.

‘That is how I ended up with you, Ailill. You are not greedy or jealous or sluggish. Do you remember what I brought to you when we were promised: outfitting for a dozen men, a chariot worth one and twenty bondsmaids, the width of your face in red gold and the weight of your left arm in light gold. If anyone causes you shame or upset or trouble then compensation will be mine to seek, for if anything you are a kept man.’

‘I am by no means a ‘kept man’, Medb,’ Ailill shouted back to her. ‘I have two brothers who are kings, Coirpre and Finn in Temair and Leinster. They rule there only because they are older and I let them, not because they are better men. I never heard in all of the places in Ireland where a woman ruled a province, except this one; that is why I came and took the kingship here, in succession to my mother Mata Muiresc, Magach’s daughter. I thought, “who better for my queen than you, a daughter of the High King of Ireland?”’

‘It still remains, oh husband of mine,’ Medb gloated, ‘that my fortune is greater than yours.’

‘And that most definitely is not true. No-one has more property or jewels or precious things than I have.’ Ailill sat back on the furs, his arms crossed.

And that then was the start of it. Medb dressed and flew outside, ordering all her possessions to be brought together in one place. Ailill followed and did likewise, and on two hills of Cruachan there rose two mountains: buckets, tubs and iron pots, jugs and wash-pails and vessels with handles. Finger-rings, bracelets, thumb-rings and other things of gold. Cloth of purple, blue, black, green and yellow, plain grey and many-coloured, yellow-brown, checked and striped. Herds of sheep were assembled, the rams also, and all were found to be equal in number and size. The horses were taken together, and the pigs and boars, and cattle. All these were matched and measured and noted and found to be identical.

The king and queen fumed across the tumult of beasts at each other.

It was when the bulls were brought to the twin mounds that the scales tipped in Ailill’s favour, for he had a bull, which had been a calf of one of Medb’s cows, and Finnbennach was his name, the White-horned. The beast had refused to be led by a woman and had joined Ailill’s herd, and Medb had no equal to this bull, and her spirit fell as if she hadn’t a penny as she realised that Ailill had the better of her. In desperation she called for Mac Roth, her messenger, and she asked if in his travels he had ever seen a bull in Ireland the match for Finnbennach.

‘I know where to find a bull the master of that one!’ he exclaimed. ‘In Ulster, in the place Cuailnge or Cooley, in Daire mac Fiachna’s house. He has the bull called Donn Cuailnge, the Brown Bull of Cuailnge.’

‘You will get me that bull,’ordered Medb. ‘Go to Daire and ask him to lend me the beast for twelve months. After that he can have him back along with fifty yearling heifers in payment for the loan. And tell him this, too: if he comes himself with the bull I’ll give him a portion of the Plain of Ai the equal to his own lands, and a chariot worth seven times three bondsmaids, and my own friendly thighs on top of that.’

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Irish Play "Poor Beast in the Rain" Playing in Hollywood

Poor Beast in the Rain
Matrix Theatre
7657 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood
8pm Thursdays-Saturday, 3PM Sundays
Ends March 16th

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

James Joyce's The Dead in the Los Angeles Area

James Joyce's The Dead
-based on James Joyce's short story from the Dubliners
Open Fist Theatre Company
6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
8PM Fridays and Saturday, 3 PM Sundays. Ends March 22 $25
(323) 882-6912

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome to Irish History & Literature

Humanities 111

Your Professors:

John Queen
ext:5459 office:SR 359
Dennis Doyle
ext. 5343 office:LB 203

The Course of Irish History, Moody & Martin, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, Boulder, Colorado
The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse, Thomas Kinsella, Ed.,Oxford University Press, New York
The Playboy of the Western World and Two Other Irish Plays, intro by W.A.Armstrong, J.M.Synge, W.B.Yeats, Sean O’Casey, Penguin Books, London
Dubliners, James Joyce, Penguin Books, London
Humanities 111 Course Syllabus: available HERE as a free download, or available as a bound copy in the bookstore.

Catalog Description:
Irish History, Literature, and Culture from the Beginning to the Present 3 Units

Humanities 111 is a broad-based, interdisciplinary course that covers the entire history of Ireland: its mythology, folklore, art, music, literature, and major political events. The course also focuses on the impact of Irish culture on England, Europe, Spain, Canada, and the United States through the centuries. Through assigned readings, discussions, and writing, the students gain critical insights into the causes and consequences of Ireland's turbulent history and struggle for independence as well as its literary and sociopolitical contributions to world culture and civilization.
Lecture 3 hours. Recommended preparation: Eligibility for English 101.
Transfer credit: CSU, UC, USC

Registration and drops:
It is your responsibility to see that you are officially registered or dropped from a class. If you stop coming to class without dropping officially, you may fail this class. You may also be dropped by the teacher for excessive absences.

You cannot pass if you miss too many classes, fail the tests or fail to complete the written assignments. We expect you to show that you are serious about the class by having your textbooks, being respectful of the learning environment, and showing up to every class (no matter how late you were out the previous night) unless you are seriously ill. Make arrangements with the instructor before class time if you need to leave early or miss class time for any reason. The instructors follow the official college policy concerning cheating and plagiarism.