Monasterevin gets set for Gerard Manley Hopkins festival this weekend

Two days of music, lectures and poetry

Leader reporter


Leader reporter


Monasterevin gets set for Gerard Manley Hopkins festival this weekend

The Monasterevin Hopkins Festival organising committee

A full and varied programme of events will take place this Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, in Monasterevin as the 2019 Monasterevin Hopkins Society summer festival takes place.

Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins came to Ireland as a professor of classics at University College Dublin in 1884.

For the next five years, until his death in 1889, he was a frequent visitor to the Cassidy family of Monasterevin House, visiting the town on at least seven different occasions. The hospitable townspeople and its “delicious bog air” became “one of the props and struts of my existence”, he wrote.

Opening concert

The first event of the weekend is a concert with Dominic McGorian, tenor, accompanied on piano by Jillian Saunders, which will take place at 8pm on Friday evening in Moore Abbey Baronial Hall.

Dominic will sing a varied programme, including classical, modern and Irish traditional songs.

Art exhibition

Also opening on Friday, at 4pm in the Mercy Convent on Drogheda Street, is a free art exhibition. Artists for Peace will include works by national and local artists, and is curated by Sr Ann Scully and the Mercy Convent.

Saturday lectures

A full programme of lectures will take place on Saturday in Moore Abbey.

At 10am, poet James Harpur will lecture on Tom and Gerard: The Inverse Lives of TS Eliot and GM Hopkins.

In this talk, poet James Harpur will explore the similarities and differences between two of the greatest spiritual poets of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both Eliot and Hopkins were outsiders, converting to faiths different from those in which they were reared, and both suffered from illness, physical and mental.

At 11.30am, actor Lance Pierson will lecture on Hopkins and Milton.

Hopkins admired Milton enormously, but it is not always realised how far he was influenced by him. The lecture explores four major areas where Hopkins looked to Milton as a mentor.

At 2pm, Jo O’Donovan RSM will lecture on Hopkins — The Poet of Theology at Monasterevin House on Main Street, followed by a poetry reading by James Harpur.

At 4.15pm, all who wish to do so are invited to read a Hopkins poem.

The two-day festival is sponsored by William Carmody, Mason Hayes and Curran, Moore Abbey and Muiriosa Foundation Monasterevin, the Presentation Generalate, Monasterevin, and Kildare County Council, and is under the patronage of Schlotter Ireland.


Various ticket packages are available. Tickets including entry to all events are €30. The concert is €15.

Attending the full Saturday programme will cost €20. Alternatively, lectures are €5 each or three for €15. The afternoon poetry reading is €5.

For more information, visit

Call for papers 2020

The Monasterevin Hopkins Society is always interested in promoting scholarship in Hopkins and all things Hopkinsian. The committee invite persons interested in presenting a paper at its festival to make contact through its website.