Ok, ok, so I know I said that my post yesterday afternoon was our history-related something for the weekend, but can I just add one more thing? Here’s a challenge for you: in what other university in Ireland – nay, Europe – nay, the world – could I sit in my office on a Friday afternoon with the window open, 29 degrees outside, and have a Grizzly Bear soundcheck – one that’s taking place just a few hundred metres from our building – be the soundtrack to an hour of emailing and workshop organising? And then, when it’s cooled down for the evening (just a little), where else could I go and meet my colleague Sarah-Anne Buckley and listen to a great gig, in a giant tent, while still within view of my office window? Not too many places, if you will permit me to hazard a guess.
A frivolous post, you say? Not history-related, you cry? (You’re definitely wrong on the second count – see this week’s interview about the Herosongs series and the connections it makes between history and music.) Well, let me tell you something. I’ve lived and worked in Galway for a little over ten months now and this, for me, is exactly what this city is all about. It’s a university that’s woven into the fabric of its locale, where the lines between the three-week Galway Arts Festival and the boundaries of academia are blurred. It’s also a place that knows its history, as our strong connections to the local community and to the history of this region testify. See the Landed Estates project, for example, or talk to the students who take the local history module on our MA. Either that or drop in to Charlie Byrne’s or Kenny’s on a Saturday afternoon and spy any one of us or our undergrads rooting through shelves of books, searching for that elusive bargain.
(Disclaimer: I’m also a bit of a Grizzly Bear fan, of course. My third time, and third city, seeing them. Great stuff.)
– Kevin O’Sullivan