Ireland program kick-off

By on March 29, 2006

University College Cork visited Quinnipiac. Not physically, but in a figurative sense.

Seven-Time All-Ireland champion button accordion recording artist, John Whelan, performed in the Mancheski Seminar Room on March 22 to publicize the new affiliation between Quinnipiac University and University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland.

“It will be the first time that Quinnipiac will be affiliated with UCC,” said English professor Robert Smart, who spoke about UCC and the entire collaboration between the two universities. “UC Cork is one of the better universities in Europe and we hope our students will get a good education in a beautiful part of the world for no more money than they are paying here.”

Smart, who has been at UCC before, expresses a lot of pride in this establishment. “UCC is very beautiful and it is located in the second largest city in Ireland,” Smart said. “The city offers a lot for students: movies, art galleries, shopping, good train connections to the rest of Ireland and airports that connect you to Europe.”

Smart also said that students will have an easier time with the university’s study abroad program due to this new affiliation with UC Cork. “We are entering into an official affiliation,” Smart said. “Our students are given preference when they want to study abroad. If our students choose UCC, it’s easier to do it through us.” Smart also said that studying in Ireland would be cheaper for students than the current program because UCC pays for their airfare as well as offering the same tuition, room and board as Quinnipiac University.

The concert was set up to publicize the affiliation. John Whelan, who performed, has released fourteen albums since 1973. According to, he released his first album “Pride of Wexford” at the age of fourteen. He formed his own band in 1997 which has performed at different venues and events including the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Whelan has made musical appearances on American television shows such as Sex and the City and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Whelan also made credited appearances in the films “Gods and Generals” and “Ride with the Devil” and has performed on Broadway in the original “Riverdance”.

John Whelan played two 45-minute sets. The first set was a solo performance. The second set was set up as a traditional Irish session with local session players. Students were encouraged to bring traditional Irish instruments and join in the fun.

The concert is not the only project that is coming out of this new affiliation with UCC. Prof. Smart would like to see more projects between the two universities.

“One of the things they have that is quite remarkable is a large research library that has a lot of original documents in Irish history,” Smart said. “We’d like to digitalize them and add them to ours.” Smart also said that the school is finishing up digitizing documents of the history of the Irish Famine and they are being added as e-texts.

Who knows what other wonderful events and projects will come out of this new affiliation. Irish Eyes truly are smiling on a bright and glorious future between these two universities.


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