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Festschrift for Tadhg Foley

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Maureen O'Connor

This Festschrift for Professor Tadhg Foley of the National University of Ireland, Galway, who retired in 2009, gathers together international contributors in the fields of poetry, politics and academia to honour this great man’s life and work. Professor Foley has not only been central in the development of Irish Studies and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies in Ireland and in the United States, but he has also enjoyed a long career as convivial host in his thatched cottage in Salthill, Galway. He remains one of the most popular and beloved figures in Irish academia. Among the eminent scholars included in the volume are Terry Eagleton, Robert Young, Penny Boumelha, David Lloyd, Luke Gibbons, Joep Leerssen and Maud Ellmann. The book is further enriched by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Louis de Paor, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael D. Higgins and Tom Duddy. This collection is a rare and distinctive gathering of true and resonant voices, offering a unique portrait of late twentieth-century Irish literary and academic culture and its interplay with the United States.

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From Bruff to the Balkans: James David Bourchier Michael Foley 121

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From Bruff to the Balkans: James David Bourchier Michael Foley When the County Limerick born journalist, James David Bourchier (1850– 1920) died in Sofia Bulgaria in 1920 one leading Bulgarian newspaper declared on its front page: ‘Our Bourchier is dead’. When news of his death became widely known in Sofia a crowd gathered outside the Grand Hotel Bulgarie, where his two rooms had been the nearest thing to permanent home for the previous thirty years. It was an indication of his standing in his adopted country that his funeral service took place at the Alexander Nevski Memorial Church, a stunning monument of neo-Byzantine architecture that commemorates the Russian soldiers who died in the fight for Bulgarian freedom in 1877. According to the British Ambassador, Sir Arthur Peel, he lay in state and the King laid a wreath. Sir Arthur reported that the funeral service was carried out according to the Orthodox rite. The Ambassador also reported to the Foreign Office in London that the crowds who attended were so great that many people, including other ambassadors, were unable to gain entry.1 Crowds lined the route through the city, as the cortege made its way to Rila Monastery high in the Rhodope Mountains. King Boris personally granted Bourchier’s wish to be buried at Rila monastery. Rila is a mysterious place, situated in a mountain valley, sur- rounded by forests and high peaks that remain snow covered for much of the year. The monastery is one of the most beautiful in Bulgaria,...

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