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PJ Matthews

Welcome to Scholarcast

UCDscholarcast is a Digital Humanities project dedicated to the dissemination of academic research in the field of Irish Studies and adjacent disciplines through podcasting. Our specially commissioned podcasts by leading scholars, writers and artists are recorded in studio to ensure a high quality listening experience.

These open access podcasts are aimed at a wide academic audience of scholars, graduate students, undergraduates and interested members of the public. The objective is to broaden the impact of academic scholarship.

Each Scholarcast is accompanied by a downloadable PDF transcript to facilitate citation in written academic work.

To date UCDscholarcast has produced academic podcasts in the following subject areas: literature, history, music, archaeology, popular culture, film, media studies, classics.

PJ Mathews is Director of UCDscholarcast and lectures in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD.


Derek Hand

Series 13: Dublin, One City One Book 2015 - The Barrytown Trilogy

Roddy Doyle is perhaps the single most successful novelist of this period, gaining an audience far beyond the environs of Dublin’s Northside where most of his writing is set. Along with the emergence of rock group U2, Doyle represents a brash generational shift, a confident certitude in his generation’s worth and ability. His literary focus is not exactly the urban world; rather it is the suburban world.

Catherine Wilsdon & Giulia Bruna

Series 12: Modalities of Revival

In Irish Studies, the term Irish Revival broadly defines the cultural nationalist movement which thrived in Ireland from the late nineteenth-century up until the establishment of the Irish Free State. It refers to the pre-Independence period when powerful narratives of de-colonization and cultural reaffirmation mobilized communities both locally and internationally. These lectures explore the historic, cultural and and artistic ramifications of the Revival.

Malcolm Sen

Series 11: Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities

This series hopes to produce some of the conceptual pathways that might bridge the narrative of climate change offered by climate scientists and economists, and the humanities’ deep engagement with the idea of narrative as something that allows conceptual leaps, produces historical, cultural and somatic effects.

Paula Meehan

Series 10: The Ireland Chair of Poetry Lectures

In this series holders of the Ireland Chair of Poetry deliver keynote lectures. Every three years a poet of honour and distinction is chosen to represent the Chair as Ireland's Professor of Poetry. The Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust was set up in 1998 and is jointly held between Queen's University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

If Ever You go

Series 9: Dublin: One City, One Book Lectures 2014

These lectures offers a series of reflections on poems from this anthology. Each of the four speakers has chosen a particular theme and explores it in relation to a group of poems, reflecting on the richness and variety of these texts. These talks remind us of the important role that Dublin has played in the work of Irish poets over the centuries.

Emilie Pine

Series 8: The Irish Memory Studies Research Network Lectures: 'Gender and Commemoration'

The past is a foreign country and we must explore it; from the commemoration of historic events to the newly visible histories of modern institutions, the remembrance of things past is embedded in the spaces of the Irish rural and urban landscapes. And this is not a new phenomenon – the backward glance has always been an integral element of how Ireland is imagined and framed.

North Bank lighthouse, Dublin Port

Series 7: The Literatures and Cultures of the Irish Sea

This series hosts eight lectures by major scholars on literary and cultural transactions across the Irish Sea, and which focus on the Irish Sea as an 'inner waterway' of the British and Irish Isles.

Sean O'Brien

Series 6: The UCD / Notre Dame Lectures

Contributors include: Robert Schmuhl.

PJ Matthews

Series 5: Reflections on Irish Music

In this series some of the major participants in the Irish folk music revival, as well as a number of the leading scholars in the field reflect on developments in Irish music over the course of the twentieth century. Contributors include: Paul Brady.

John Brannigan

Series 4: Reconceiving the British Isles: The Literature of the Archipelago

This series brings together some of the major scholars in the cultural study of modern conceptions of the British Isles, and connections between their constituent parts. Contributors include: Edna Longley, Julian Wolfreys, Alice Entwistle, Claire Connolly, Nick Groom, Michael Gardiner, John Brannigan.

PJ Matthews

Series 3: Scholars off the Page

In this series we invite leading academics to read extracts from their recently published work. Contributors include: Declan Kiberd, Diarmaid Ferriter, Diane Negra, Nick Daly, Aude Doody.

Ian Russel

Series 2: Archaeologies of Art: Papers from the Sixth World Archaeological Congress

In this series a number of distinguished archaeologists consider relationships between archaeology and art. Based on papers given at the Sixth World Archaeological Congress held at University College Dublin in 2008. Contributors include: Ian Russell, Douglass Bailey, Blaze O'Connor, Kevin O'Dwyer, Andrew Cochrane.

PJ Matthews

Series 1: The Art of Popular Culture

This inaugural Scholarcast series features eight talks on aspects of Irish popular culture from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Contributors include: Frank McGuinness, Bill Whelan, Paige Reynolds, Clair Wills, Anne Fogarty, Eddie Holt, Elaine Sisson & P.J. Mathews.



  1. Scholarcast 51: 'The IFSC as a Way of Organizing Nature': Neoliberal Ecology and Irish Literature

    In this episode Sharae Deckard analyses the unprecedented commoditization of new ecological commons under neoliberal capitalism and reflects on the importance of environmental humanities approaches to historicize conceptions of environment and configurations of environment...
  2. Scholarcast 50: The Van

    The Van, the final novel in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy, explores the physical, psychological and social impact of unemployment on the protagonist, Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. Having been laid off from his job as a plasterer, Jimmy struggles to find a new role for himself within the family that is not connected to being the breadwinner. As his relationships with his wife, children and friends are tested, he falls into anxiety and depression...
  3. Scholarcast 49: Silence and Solitude - The absence of intimacy in Roddy Doyle's The Snapper

    In spite of the linguistic license that defines Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper, the characters maintain crucial silences throughout in relation to meaningful issues. This episode examines the system of self-imposed censorship that operates among the female characters in particular and how it leads to isolation and an absence of true intimacy...
  4. Scholarcast 48: Everybody Speaks: Utopia and Polyphony in The Commitments

    Fredric Jameson proposes that a “utopia” is a political idea that hopes to transcend, or exist outside, politics, but that must, inevitably, begin inside politics – at “the moment of the suspension of the political,” the political must inevitably return. This holds true for the utopian imagined community – a “Dublin soul band” – proposed and tested in Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments. If the imagined community represented by the band is haunted by the inevitable return of the political, the novel nonetheless embodies a utopia of speech – a Bakhtinian polyphony in which no one voice is figured as the privileged arbiter of meaning...
  5. Scholarcast 47: The Barrytown Trilogy: An Introduction to Roddy Doyle's Dublin

    What has become known as the Barrytown trilogy: The Commitments (1988), The Snapper (1990) and The Van (1991), have become iconic in Irish culture. Centred on one family, the Rabbittes, Roddy Doyle makes reference to current events like the 1990 Soccer World Cup, and in dealing with the issues of teenage pregnancy and unemployment captures the mood of a nation requiring something light and entertaining amid the economic and cultural gloom of the late 1980s...
  6. Scholarcast 46: Children & the Irish Cultural Revival

    The Irish cultural revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bolstered calls for increased or outright political independence for Ireland by emphasising the uniqueness of Irish culture and by extension its separate nationhood. At a time when societies in the western world increasingly saw children as a national resource, many Irish nationalists recognised that children had an important role to play in the revival and promotion of indigenous Irish culture at both a practical and a symbolic level....
  7. Scholarcast 45: Salmon Leap

    In this episode, Eamonn Ryan deliberates on the collective leap which individuals and nation states need to make for a sustainable, habitable future. He argues that individuals cannot be faced with moral choices about the environment on a daily basis. Instead, he indicates that it is through sound governance that environmental habits are nurtured effectively...
  8. Series 11: Irish Studies and the Environmental Humanities

    Every reader and scholar of Irish literature is familiar with its extensive genealogy of nature writing, and a ‘sense of place’ found across a great variety of texts. While not unique to Ireland such a rich heritage has produced some of the most enduring and exciting literary and cultural criticisms...
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