Celtic Junction Arts Review

Issue 24, Imbolc 2024

Archiving and Articulating Celtic Heritage
A quarterly publication of CJAC's Education Program

Samuel Beckett
School-age Beckett

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” sums up effectively the bleakly hilarious worldview of the celebrated Irish playwright, poet, novelist, and Nobel Laureate, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). Steadily gaining international fame following the production of his milestone absurdist drama Waiting for Godot in Paris in 1953, his Irish southern Protestant roots derive from a comfortable upbringing in Foxrock in Dublin that was complicated by a difficult and fraught emotional relationship with his mother, May Beckett. Both Mary McCormick and I explore these Irish roots and, particularly, the epiphany that partly assisted Beckett to understand and frame this familial difficulty when Carl Jung gave a lecture at London’s Tavistock clinic in October, 1935. This is the third in a series of articles on ‘Carl Jung and the Irish Writer.’

Our friend Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, CEO of the world-famous Irish language agency Gael Linn, regular international contributor to our Arts Review, and a popular teacher in Celtic Junction’s annual Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeilge/Irish Language Weekend (since 2022), gives a celebratory account of the Oireachtas na Samhna/The Halloween Festival devoted to the Irish language. Beginning in 1897 in Dublin’s Rotunda, it is today the “Mecca na nGael” which has grown in recent years to such a substantial size that only the Irish National Event Centre (INEC) in Killarney has been the usual venue for the approximate ten thousand attendees. “Lasting five days it offers academic presentations, award ceremonies, comedy, dance, debate, information and launch events, literature, music, running, sketches, singing, radio and TV,” he writes. “The glue that holds it all together and happily so is the Irish language.”

Laura Ostertag at a panel on Simone Tery

I’m delighted to welcome a new author, Laura Ostertag, to the Arts Review. Her article translates passages from French journalist, Simone Téry (1897-1967) whose book The Island of Bards (1925) presented the main authors of the Irish Literary Renaissance to a French reading public. Laura is interested in the literary heritage of Téry and her family and the wider links between Ireland and France. Excerpts are offered from Téry’s memorable portrait of George ‘A.E.’ Russell whom she met in the 1920s when he was the universal sage holding court as editor of The Irish Statesman in Plunkett House in Dublin’s Merrion Square and, particularly, at his weekly Sunday night salon in Rathgar.

Adrienne O'Shea graduation 2024
Adrienne O’Shea at her graduation in Limerick

Adrienne O’Shea returns to the Arts Review with an insightful meditation on her family legacy and personal involvement over fifteen years with the Celtic Junction. “Through the incredible power of the broader community around CJAC I’ve been raised learning music, dance, and the Irish culture for the last 15 years, and as a result I have had the opportunity to share the beauty of this place with people from around the world,” she asserts. “Participating in performance and production on and offsite with CJAC, teaching both music and dance, and being part of the inaugural Youth Advisory Committee for CJAC has given me so much experience.” Her article traces her participation in numerous festivals such as ‘Know Your Roots’ and ‘TradFest’ as she becomes a representative for Celtic Junction and a confident ambassador for Irish culture. 

The Celtic Junction Arts Review continues to celebrate the many connections and memories animating the local, national, and international heritage of Irish culture.

Patrick O’Donnell – Editor, contributing writer, and founder of the Celtic Junction Arts Review; founder and co-director of the annual Irish Arts Week; and, Director of Education of CJAC’s education program.

Carillon RoseMeadows – Digital Curator and contributing writer of the Celtic Junction Arts Review, and architect of the Celtic Junction Arts Center’s web presence.