ENNIS man Professor Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, MA, MBA, HDE, DUÉF, PhD was recently appointed Director of the School of Irish Studies at Concordia University Montréal.
This international School—the largest of its kind in North America—has a faculty of twenty professors, lecturers, fellows and tutors, and 1400 students who take its undergraduate and postgraduate courses every year.
Delivering interdisciplinary programmes in Irish language, history, music, geography, film, literature, theatre, and diaspora studies, the School has hosted over a hundred visiting scholars during the past decade, including Fulbright Scholars from the US and Marie Curie Scholars from the European Union.
It is the only School of Irish Studies in the world where research is conducted in four languages: Irish, French, English and Spanish. This synergy is made possible by the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation, the Québec government and Concordia University, who have donated over $14 million to the School since it was founded in 2009.
A multilingual scholar who emigrated to France in 1985, Dr Ó hAllmhuráin grew up in a working class family in the old Turnpike in Ennis—his mother worked in Braids, his father in CIÉ before starting small businesses in the town.
He attended the Boys National School and St. Flannan’s College before going to UCC, Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast, where he was awarded a doctorate in Anthropology in 1990.
He completed his French studies at Université de la Sorbonne and Université de Toulon before relocating to Atlantic Canada in 1991. An award-winning concertina player and uilleann piper, he is a former member of the Kilfenora Céilí Band and a founding director of the Clare ensemble, Dísirt Tóla.
He lectured at the University of San Francisco before being appointed Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
In 2009, he became the inaugural holder of the Johnson Chair in Québec and Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montréal and conducted extensive research on Irish francophone communities in rural Québec.
His work has been published in French and English and presented at academic conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. His documentary film Lost Children of the Carricks that examines the impact of the Great Irish Famine in Québec was chosen to represent Ireland at the international Ethnografilm Festival in Paris in 2022.