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Greetings to all our members and visitors! Welcome to our website.

Owing to the Covid19 Pandemic the CAI Summer School 2020 has been cancelled.

Eavan Boland - Obituary

The distinguished poet, Eavan Boland, who died on 27th April 2020, was Honorary President of the Classical Association of Ireland for the year 2000. Her Presidential Address took place in the then-Industry Centre UCD Belfield on the evening of Thursday 30th November. She addressed a very enthusiastic audience on the theme of The Living Language. Her concern was with the question of why a language lives and how it dies - if, indeed, it ever does die; and with the issue of translation. Her address began with one poem, Padraig Colum's A Poor Scholar of the Forties; its centre was formed by another poem, her own The Latin Lesson; and it ended with a translation (done by herself at the age of twenty-one) of Horace's ode, O Fons Bandusiae.

The whole address was infused with the poet's love of language - and particularly of the Latin language of which she said: "I don't believe I could ever have been a poet in the way I became one without Latin. I would have been so much poorer as a person without Latin. And yet today we see this beautiful, complicated and central language slipping away, not just from our schools and universities, but from the esteem in which a great language deserves to be held".

Going on to list the "three most magical books of my whole lifetime" she named "my first volume of Yeats's poetry, my first books of Sylvia Plath's poetry and my Arnold's Latin Grammar", and continued, "And among them all, it was probably Arnold's grammar that was most truly the magic carpet for me".

Not only has Ireland lost an outstanding poet with the death of Eavan Boland, but the Classics, and particularly the Latin language, has lost a wonderful champion, who will be sorely missed.
                       atque in perpetuum, soror, ave atque vale

The full text of Eavan Boland's Presidential Address to the Classical Association of Ireland can be found in Classics Ireland Volume 25 (2018).

The CAI Summer School took place in Sligo from 16th-18th August 2019, hosted by our Sligo Branch; further details can be found on the event page here.

The CAI Tour of Cyprus took place from 3rd -13th May, 2019. The tour was based in two centres, 5 nights in Paphos and 5 nights in Limassol.  In antiquity Cyprus consisted of numerous independent kingdoms, centred in cities which were successively adapted to Phoenician, Greek and eventually Roman systems of governance and architectural influence. The same cultural mix continued well into the medieval and later periods.

The Classical Association in Northern Ireland website may be accessed at this link. Please visit their website for interesting news and updates on all things classical in Northern Ireland.

Many thanks to Dr. Selga Medenieks for the Newsletter; Dr. Shane Wallace for the Classical Association Facebook Page; Shane
and Dr. Eoghan Moloney for the Classics Events-in-Ireland Calendar.

Your continued support of the Association is valued and appreciated. As always, we invite your feedback and suggestions.  

Isabella Bolger

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Association will take place at St. Angela’s College, Sligo, on Friday August 16 th, 2019, at 7.00 p.m.

The Secretary notifies members that nominations and motions will be received under the following provisions of the Association’s Rules.

Article 12 – Nominations for CAI Council

The officers and ordinary members of the Council are elected at the Annual General Meeting.  The Council has made nominations under this Article as follows:

Chair: Catherine Ware
Vice-Chair: Helen McVeigh
Secretary: Patrick J. Ryan
Treasurer: Alexander Thein

Members by Election:
1. Geraldine FitzGerald
2. Cosetta Cadau
3. Joan Wright
4. Amber Taylor

Further nominations may be made by any Branch and should be sent to me, by post or e-mail, before Friday 2nd August 2019.  Every such nomination shall state the names of the persons nominated, and shall be signed by their proposers and seconders and certified by the Branch Chairperson or Acting Chairperson.

Article 14 – Special Motions

Any member wishing to propose a Motion (including a proposal for amendment of the Constitution) at the Annual General Meeting should send a signed copy to me before 2nd, 2019. Please note that Motions may be submitted by individual members, rather than by Branches.

Patrick J. Ryan, Secretary.
Contacts: Post: The Orchard Yard, Newport, Co. Tipperary.

Archaeological Tour of Bulgaria May 2016

One of the highlights of the programme of the Classical Association of Ireland is the biennial tour of a country of classical interest under the inspired (and inspiring) leadership of Joan Wright and Andrew Smith.

This year's tour was to one of the less familiar parts of the Greco-Roman world. We know it as Bulgaria but to the ancients it had a variety of names: Thrace, Moesia, Mesembria. It was the land of Orpheus and was associated with some of the great names of antiquity: Philip of Macedon, his son Alexander the Great, the Roman poet Ovid, the emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Diocletian. It was occupied by a succession of invaders: Celts, Thracians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgars and, for many centuries, the Ottomans. All of these peoples have left their mark on the country.

Our trip began and ended in Sophia and took in quite a large slice of the country. What we experienced was a beautiful country with stunning scenery, a wonderful variety of archaeologcal sites and a friendly and welcoming people.

Our local guide was Julien. He, Joan and Andrew had put together a programme that included some of the most interesting sites and museums but also gave us great insights into contemporary Bulgarian society. Julien was a mine of information and his theories about Thracian culture sparked some lively discussion! In addition to this, he was unfailingly kind and helpful. When we recall that we stayed in nine different hotels over the fortnight and, for various reasons, used four different buses., it was a very challenging assignment for Julien.

Sophia (Roman Serdica) has one metro line in operation and another is planned (Dublin please note!). The excavations revealed extensive remains from the Roman period, very well preserved and displayed. Sophia also boasts the most amazing collection of Thracian gold in its archaeological museum. Plovdiv is Bulgaria's second city and quite different to Sophia. It gets its name from Alexander's father Philip but it is the Romans who have left extensive remains. We were entertained that evening by local singers and dancers. On our way to Ivaylograd, we had a tough climb up Perperikon, a strange jumble of massive boulders. It is claimed that Alexander came here seeking to know what the future held for him.We were now working our way towards the Black Sea. On the way, we stopped at the wonderful Roman Villa Armira where we were lucky to have an outstanding guide. On then to Nesebar, beautifully situated on a promontory on the Black Sea and once called Mesembria, Nesebar has many fine Orthodox churches.

Over the next few days, we encountered some fascinating examples of Thracian burial mounds. The one at Pomerie is quite extraordinary and gave rise to lively discussion. Later, we met other tombs at Kazanluk and Shipka.

Although not often available in Ireland, Bulgaria produces lots of wine,some of it very good and very reasonably priced. We had a number of visits to wine producers, large and small, built into the programme.

On then to Varna with its museum and Roman baths. Not far from Varna, we had a very pleasant meal on the shore of the Black Sea, (two of our party even took the plunge!). Our route now took us westward towards Velik Tarnovo but on the way we stopped for a picnic below the Madara horseman, a stone carving high up on the rock face. In the same area were the lovely mosaics at Devnya from Martianopolis, the complex Trajan built for his sister.

On then to Nikopolis ad Istrum and a steep climb up the imposing Tsarevets fortress. Later in the evening we enjoyed a sound and light show. The end of our tour was not far off but there were still some treats in store. First was Stara Zagora with its museum, Roman theatre and mosaic. Another surprise was the importance of rosewater to the Bulgarian economy. Bulgaria is the largest producer of rosewater in the world. We had seen on our travels acres and acres of roses and were given an interesting tour of a rosewater distillery in Karlovo, followed by our last hotel in Hisaria (a town built by the emperor Diocletian) and our last meal all together, enlivened by local musicians playing traditional instruments.

We have been fortunate enough to have experienced Bulgaria, past and present. It is a fascinating country with a wealth of treasures, many of them waiting to be discovered. It remains to record our thanks to Joan and Andrew for all they did both before and during the tour to make it so memorable.

Brian Farley

This calendar is the work of Dr. Eoghan Moloney NUIM and Dr. Shane Wallace TCD.

They have worked together to create a new resource for all interested in Classics in Ireland and this can be found at (click the banner above). It provides the community with a live list of events hosted by the all University depts., societies, and associations each semester. Please support and visit their website.
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