Thursday, July 04, 2019

THAT perennial of this month’s teenagers’  trial – Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ – will be looked at in a far more favourable light next month when Monasterevin celebrates the works of this pillar of Victorian poetry with a dedicated festival over the last weekend in July.

Over the weekend of July 25-27 the town will host the 31st annual Hopkins Festival to celebrate the short life of a Catholic convert poet whose dedication to Jesuit humility meant he wasn’t published until 30 years after his death in 1889.

Hopkins spent the last five years in Dublin battling what we would now know as depression, and the only joy he seemed to have in this period was his visits to the Cassidy family in Monasterevin House.

The celebrations begin at 4pm on Friday, July 25 with an art exhibition entitled ‘Artists for Peace’ in the Mercy Convent on Drogheda Street, which runs throughout the Festival weekend.

That evening the Baronial Hall of Moore Abbey will ring out to the tones of tenor Dominic McGorian, accompanied by the piano of Count John McCormack from 8pm with a selection of classical, modern and traditional songs.

Local people and committee members at the launch of Hopkins Festival Progamme in Monasterevin
Photos: Jimmy Fullam

On the Saturday morning , again in Moore Abbey, lecture by academics and poets will explore Hopkins’ relationships and influences with TS Eliot and John Milton, before continuing in the afternoon in Monasterevin House – now the Presentation Convent – where appropriately the work of Hopkins as a poet of theology will be explored.

When  Hopkins   stayed  at  Monasterevin  House, which  is now  the  Presentation  Order  Generalate, he  was a   guest  of   the  Casssidy  family  and  it  becomes  the  venue   at  3pm on Saturday afternoon when  James  Harpur  will  read  some  of  his poetry.

James  will  be  followed   at  4.15pm  at  the same   venue  for the  very  popular “My  Favourite   Hopkins Poem”  event  when  members  of  the  audience  are  invited  to   recite  their  choice  of  the poet’s  work.

Ticket range from €5 for a single lecture, to €30 for the entire weekend, whilst entry to the art exhibition is free.

“Much  work   goes  into  the  organising  of this  event  each  year  and  the  festival   would  not  be  possible without  the  generosity  of  the  sponsors: Schlötter Ireland DAC, Kildare  County  Council  and  Mason  Hayes  and  Curran,” Hopkins  Committee  Chairman,  Richard  O’Rourke  said  this  week.

“The  art  exhibition  has  proven  to be a  tremendous  success  and  it  is  thanks  to  the  hard  work  of  Sr. Ann Scully that  this  has  happened. The  event  has  attracted an  array  of  artists from  near  and  far who  are  very  talented  and  who have   diverse and  varied  skills  which   adds  to  the wonderful  range  of  work  on  display,” he added.

He  went  on  to  say  that  it  would  be  very  difficult  to  put  on  the   Hopkins  Summer  Festival  if  it  was  not  for the  generosity  and  good  will  of  the   Presentation  Order,  the  Sisters  in  Moore  Abbey, the Sisters of Mercy and  Monasterevin  Community  Centre.

“We  are  spoiled  in  Monasterevan  to  have  four  such  wonderful  venues and  our  thanks  and  appreciation  is  very  real  and  genuine for  the   help  and  assistance  extended  to  us by  so  many  people  and  organisations.”


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By finian coughlan
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