Juliana Adelman I always seem to find myself going to the theatre around Christmas. This year I am taking my son to see White Christmas at the Grand Canal Theatre and hoping that family friendly means suitable for 4 year olds…The series After Life: the strange science of decay on BBC4 (Tues 9pm) has caught my eye. They leave a house to rot and see what happens, rather like the ‘future archaeology’ thought experiment that inspired The World Without Us. Having at last received our historical boardgames in the post I can say that Buccaneer is simple and would do nicely to fill the food/wine coma period after Christmas dinner. Escape from Colditz, however, may take us the rest of the month to figure out how to play. I am hoping it will be worth it. Finally, I’m intrigued by the Victorian Christmas festivities in Wicklow Gaol which includes a replica Victorian streetscape and a storyteller.
Lisa Marie Griffith December always feels like one long wait and preparation until the 24th of December when you can put your feet up and forget about work but I have just started a new job in the National Print Museum and have a lot to do between now and Christmas! At the moment I am doing some research on museum and library studies, a module I am teaching for the first time. I am eagerly waiting the arrival of a few books from Amazon on the subject including Sharon MacDonald’s A companion to Museum Studies which has been recommended as a good broad basic text on the subject and Timothy Ambrose, Museum Basics which looks at care, preservation and museum heritage. I am also teaching Folklore for the first time and had fun last week introducing my students to Folklore through the UCD Department of Folklore website which is not only a great introduction to the collection they house (including interviews and photographs which they enjoyed listening to), it’s a great introduction to the topic in general. The above picture is a nineteenth century depiction of some Wren Boys on the 26 December. I am doing some research for my class coming up to Christmas. Did you now they were also apparently called ‘mummers’? If anyone has any recommendations for good basic books on Museum and Library studies or Folklore studies please add them below.
Tina Morin This month I’ll be frantically writing chapters while also trying to get ready for Christmas. For the former, I’m drinking a lot of coffee and tying myself to my desk. For the latter, I’m planning to hit the Belfast Christmas Continental Market and the Christmas Craft Fair at Belfast’s George’s Market for some unique Christmas gifts for family and friends. In that same vein, I’d love to stop by Avoca’s new food market and cafe in Monkstown, Co. Dublin – not just to treat myself to lunch, mind, but also to pick up a few goodies to bring home with me to my family in New Hampshire. I brought my mom an Avoca Christmas pudding one year, and it went down a treat (and was wrapped so nicely as well!). Once that’s sorted, I might treat myself to a few things on my own list, including Claire Connolly’s recently published monograph A Cultural History of the Irish Novel and PD James’ novel Death Comes to Pemberley, a murder mystery sequel to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Kevin O’Sullivan Yes, yes, I know. I’m waaay behind on this. But have you seen The Killing? For those in search of life after The Wire, and with a penchant for Wallander and all things dark, moody and Scandinavian, series 2 is now showing on BBC 4. We’re still only halfway through the first in our house, but it’s something special. I’m sure you’ve seen our historians’ Christmas gift list but if you’d like to add something for that sports fan in your life, the trailers for the Senna DVD release, made up of documentary footage and archive interviews from the Brazilian’s Formula 1 career, look superb. Finally, the obligatory book recommendation: I’ve been reading Larry McMurtry’s 1985 novel, Lonesome Dove, set in the nineteenth century American West. Cowboys, cattle, and a slice of the brutality of life on the frontier. Superb.