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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 61: Style and context -Traditional Irish Harping

    This Scholarcast is an extract from Helen Lawlor’s book, Irish Harping: 1900-2010 (Four Courts Press, 2012). This study provides a musical ethnography and a history of the Irish harp. It gives a socio-cultural and musical analysis of the music and song associated with all Irish harp styles, including traditional style, song to harp accompaniment, art-music style and the early Irish harp revival...
  2. Scholarcast 60: On Development, Waste & Ghosts

    Movements in ecocriticism that call for links to be made with postcolonialism challenge us, here in Ireland and outside of it, to do work that has not come naturally. As critics like Rob Nixon have pointed out, ecocriticism and postcolonialism were, in fact, often at odds with each other as the fields arose, operating at a disconnect. The political work of postcolonialism seemed quite different to that performed by ecocriticism...
  3. Scholarcast 59: Environmental Narratives, Climate Change and Sovereignty Loss

    This episode argues for a politicization of cultural and literary critiques of environmental issues in Ireland. It demonstrates methods through which Irish Studies can enter into a creative correspondence with the growing field of Environmental Humanities scholarship...
  4. Scholarcast 58: Taking the Floor: Dance, Nation and Gender in the Irish Revival

    This lecture explores the process whereby dance was transformed from a practice enjoyed for its own sake into ‘a conscious symbolic act of Irish nationhood during the Revival. Drawing on the work of dance scholars and historians, Barbara O'Connor examines the role of the Gaelic League in developing an‘authentic’ national dance canon that called for an ideal Irish dancing body...
  5. Scholarcast 57: James Joyce, Treeless Hills and the Night of the Big Wind

    The fall of the great forests of Ireland provided James Joyce with a rich literary trope laden with cultural memory and socio-political resonances, which he utilized throughout his works and most fully in Finnegans Wake. The trope taps into a chain of historical events well-rehearsed by nationalist rhetoric - the arrival of the English into Ireland; colonial exploitation of people and resources; fears concerning fertility and famine; the loss of an indigenous culture – and thus it is compatible with Joyce’s innovative utilisation of repeated motifs with multiple textual resonances...
  6. Scholarcast 56: Revival and Visual Art – Harry Clarke's Geneva Window

    The podcast focuses on one of the most elaborate artworks to be made in Ireland in the 1920s, Harry Clarke's Geneva Window. The work, intended for the League of Nations, illustrates extracts from the texts of fifteen Irish writers including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey and Liam O'Flaherty. Clarke's innovative approach to the technique of stained glass and his wide knowledge of ancient and modern art and literature made him one of the most remarkable and versatile visual artists of his generation...
  7. Scholarcast 55: Yeats, Revival and the Temporalities of Modernism

    This lecture puts forward the idea that Yeats's Revivalism lies at the heart of his modernism rather than at the "pre-modernist" periphery of his early career. For Yeats, as for so many of his contemporaries, Revival was not a form of nostalgia, in which the past was cut off from experience; nor was it nostalgia in the sense of longing of a time that never was. Rather it was a deliberate attitude toward time, in which a "backward glance" brought the past into a present moment of critical reflection...
  8. Scholarcast 54: The Revival and the City in James Stephens's Dublin Fiction

    The conventional view of the Revival as thematically rural and anti-modern obscures the role of the city in the formation of a revivalist literary aesthetic, and the extent to which conceptions of urbanity were central to the creation of Irish cultural identity before independence. Examining the infiltration of new notions of urbanism into Irish culture in this era, in particular through the Housing and Town Planning Association of Ireland, this talk looks at the Dublin-based writings of James Stephens to show how revivalist writers were responsive to the peculiarities of Irish urban experience...
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