Thursday 21 November 2019

My cultural life: Margaret Kelleher, MoLI

Margaret Kelleher
Margaret Kelleher
Derry Girls

Margaret Kelleher is Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin and chair of the board of the Irish Film Institute. Her books include the award-winning The Maamtrasna Murders, published last year. She is UCD's academic lead on the creation of MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland), located in Newman House, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. A proud Mallow woman, Margaret is an enthusiastic member of the Bogtrotters Walking Club.

Painting: Lady Writing A Letter...


My favourite painting is Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter, with her Maid, partly because a card of that painting is sitting on my desk, sent to me the other day by my dear friend Margaret MacCurtain. It's in the Beit collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. I love its mystery - what is the maid thinking? - and also the richness of detail and mood.

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Documentary: The Camino Voyage

My favourite genre is documentary and recent favourites were the The Camino Voyage, with the late Danny Sheehy, and the fascinating Three Identical Strangers, about a set of American triplets. I intend to catch the Syrian film For Sama.

TV: Derry Girls

Derry Girls

For me it has to be Derry Girls: I'm promising myself another watch of series two this week. And, as a Cork woman, my favourite character is Sister Michael, played by the wonderful Siobhan McSweeney. I remember thinking, just before the second series began, 'please let it be as good as season one' and then the first episode played, and it was even better.

Design: MoLI

For the last six years, I've worked with colleagues in UCD and the National Library of Ireland on the Museum of Literature Ireland, which opened to the public on Culture Night. Scott Tallon Walker architects have cleverly redesigned the Aula Max to accommodate a modern museum with universal access to the adjoining Georgian houses. Clad in glass with copper filigree, it's a dramatic structure that offers stunning views of Iveagh Gardens.

Book: Elsewhere


My best summer read this year was Rosita Boland's Elsewhere. The subtitle says it all: 'One Woman, One Rucksack, One Lifetime of Travel'. Her accounts of bus travel in Pakistan and a ship journey through Antarctica are totally gripping, and she beautifully combines tales from nine different travel journeys with more personal reflections.

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