Wednesday, February 19

Book Cover

Georgetown University Global Irish Studies and the Department of History, in association with the American Writers Museum, proudly hosted

“Why History Still Matters: Language, Law, and the Maamtrasna Murders.”

A lecture by Prof. Margaret Kelleher, Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin, on the subject of her award-winning recent book, a study of the continuing legacy of a travesty of justice and the impact of language change in nineteenth-century Ireland.

From the cover of Prof. Kelleher’s book: Kelleher takes the Maamtrasna case – one that is notorious for its failure to provide interpretation and translation services for monoglot Irish speakers – and examines broader sociolinguistic issues. Uncovering archival materials not previously consulted, this work illuminates a story that has proven to be much richer, `messier’, and a more intricate social narrative than previous commentators have recognized.The Maamtrasna Murders moves Maamtrasna’s violation of human rights from a local to a global stage. While the wrongful execution of monolingual Myles Joyce would prove to be the best-known feature of the case, the complex significance of language-use in an isolated region mirrors the dynamics that continue to influence the fates of monolingual and bilingual people today.