Festschrift for Tadhg Foley
Hardy Women and Titanic Struggles Rebecca Pelan 223
Hardy Women and Titanic Struggles Rebecca Pelan I first met Tadhg Foley in Melbourne in July 1990, during the Sixth Irish- Australian conference, at which we were both presenting papers. At the time, I was a postgraduate student and tutor in English at the University of Queensland, and Tadhg was lecturing in English at what was then Uni- versity College Galway (UCG). Professor John A. Murphy was the key- note speaker in 1990, and his public lecture, which was packed to capacity, attracted protestors from Sinn Féin who took to the stage with placards. Undaunted, Professor Murphy proceeded with what seemed at the time to be the most outrageous suggestions concerning a peaceful Ireland of the future, including a proposal that an Ireland truly at ease with its history and identity could not only conceive of, but welcome an Orange Order march to the site of the Battle of the Boyne. In doing so, he provided a salutary lesson for me in how to say things that are unwelcome, and how to stand your ground for something you believe in, even when facing (liter- ally) opposition. Eighteen years is a long enough time – and I don’t know that we’re ready for that march just yet – but I could never have imagined then that so much of what Professor Murphy proposed in relation to the achievement of peace in Northern Ireland would become a reality in my lifetime. On the night of the conference dinner, Tadhg, his close friend Paddy...
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