Saturday 14 November 2020



He's a man who owns several houses,

despite the ideals he espouses.

In one house he cooks,

in another, reads books,

and in one special house he carouses.

© Patrick O'Sullivan 2020

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Hladowski sings O'Sullivan - a collaboration made in Yorkshire...

An update...

The Hladowski sings O'Sullivan project is done - and the album has been released...

I have made this web page as a starting point...

It is a useful link.  It is easy to share.  It works well on phones and mobile devices...

People can follow the links to the obvious places...  Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer...

And the album is also visible everywhere else...  Here it is, collecting on YouTube...

In the present crisis, I am not sure how much more can be done...

But there you are...  We did it...

Sunday 16 August 2020

Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017

Patrick O’Sullivan

Research Note:

Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017

This is the link to the freely available and searchable Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017…

The Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017 can be downloaded here…

Note that downloads are available in three formats…

I have put versions of the note you are reading now here, in the ABOUT section, of that web site.

There is also a version on my blog, at Fiddler’s Dog,

and brief versions in other places, notably Facebook and LinkedIn…

Enough time has now passed, and I think I can now bring to your attention the availability of the Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017 as an online resource.  The Archives are free for anyone to use for scholarly and research purposes. 

Note that we have distorted all email addresses within the archives, so that they cannot be misused.  Most email addresses within the Archive will, in any case, be out of date.  Note that web links, URLs, within the Archive will be old, out of date and unlikely to work.

The Archives of the Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017, make available some twenty years of Irish Diaspora Studies reference and discussion, over an important period in the development of our field.

The Irish Diaspora List project never received any funding of any kind from any source – it was brought together and maintained as a spare time activity, for twenty years, by volunteers, as a service to the scholarly community.  I thank all those volunteers, and all the members of the Irish Diaspora List, for their support and friendship over twenty years.

I thank especially my friend and neighbour, Stephen Sobol, formerly of the University of Leeds, who was my guide and support through all the technological changes described below.

I thank Bill Mulligan, Murray State University, Kentucky, who has long been a support and a friend - and Anthony McNicholas, University of Westminster, who stepped in at a crucial time,

Yet again, I thank Russell Murray, formerly of the University of Bradford, who can never be thanked enough.


Some day, in the right circumstances, I might do a Secret Lecture, on 'The Secret History of the Irish Diaspora List...'

In the meantime...

The Irish Diaspora List, 1997-2017, was the email discussion forum for Irish Diaspora scholars throughout the world.

The Irish Diaspora List arose out of the networks I put in place to bring together, edit, and publish the series, Patrick O’Sullivan, Editor, The Irish World Wide, 6 Volumes, 1992-1997.

That series was created in the era of paper letters (in envelopes), phone calls, faxes – and personal contacts, hunted down, one by one.  My 65 contributors were spread over 4 continents.  And some day I might do the Secret Lecture on 'The Secret History of The Irish World Wide.'  Subtitle:  'What I got wrong.'

In bringing together The Irish World Wide, 6 Volumes, it was clear that, as we opened up and mapped out our research territory, those personal contacts were valued - research conversations developed.  Further and future conversations were mapped in my Introductions to The Irish World Wide volumes.


In the 1990s the use of computers and computerised systems began to take off – the web, databases, catalogues, bibliographies and email.  Of course, the universities were early developers and users of email. 

One development of email was the email 'list', whereby a piece of software has its own email address, and keeps a veritable list of email addresses of members of a group.  An email sent to the software’s address is automatically distributed to every email address, and person, on the list.

I founded the Irish Diaspora List in 1997 - when I had a notional base at the University of Bradford.  The University of Bradford then used the Majordomo software to run its email lists. 

I will leave it to someone else to write the history of Majordomo – it was a sturdy piece of software.  Though – in a pattern that we are all now familiar with – you had to work with the software in order to find out how the software worked.  At one point, I wrote a Guide to Majordomo, so that not everyone had to go through that strange process.

There was one specific problem with the Majordomo software - and, again, it is a problem we have by now all encountered in other areas.  There was no built-in route to the creation of an archive.  But it was obvious from the beginning what the route had to be – there had to be, somewhere, a database with its own email address.  This we created.  Throughout the 20-year history of the Irish Diaspora List there has been, in effect, an extra member, an email address, which collected every message sent to the List and stored it in my back-up database.

I was thus able to preserve the Archives of the Irish Diaspora List.  Through many vicissitudes, which included changes of policy within large organisations, and major computer crashes within large organisations. 


In 2004 I moved the Irish Diaspora list to Jiscmail, the UK’s academic Listserv.  In Jiscmail parlance, I became the 'owner' of the Irish Diaspora.  Which I thought was funny then, and still think is funny now.

In 2011, we were able – with the help of the technicians at Jiscmail – to integrate the various incarnations of the Irish Diaspora List, including the rescued material from Majordomo, in to one database, within Jiscmail.  So, from 2011 onwards, the entire archive, from that 1997 beginning, was preserved within Jiscmail, in the familiar Listserv format.  And, of course, messages continued to accumulate, within Jiscmail, and in my back-ups, as Irish Diaspora Studies discussion continued.

In May 2012 I withdrew from the day to day management of the Irish Diaspora List – I simply had to find a better work/life balance.  Bill Mulligan, in Kentucky, and Anthony McNicholas, in Westminster, wanted to keep the Irish Diaspora list going. They became 'co-owners' of the Irish Diaspora List at Jiscmail.  But I remained interested, of course, and involved, in the background.

In 2013 we made copies of the Archive of the Irish Diaspora List, as it was at that point.  We made that material available to the various web archiving projects that were then active.  Copies of the Archives of the Irish Diaspora List were put on discs, with other research material, and copies of those discs were lodged with the Archives of the Irish in Britain, London Metropolitan University, the Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh.

By 2017 Bill Mulligan and Anthony McNicholas felt that the Irish Diaspora List had become moribund, and it should be wound up.  I stepped in to negotiate with Jiscmail – specifically to make sure that an up to date version of the Archives would be preserved.

Without going into a lot of detail, the Archive, as presented to us by Jiscmail, needed a bit more rescuing.  And it is that rescue, incorporating all the incarnations of the Irish Diaspora List that is preserved at…

It is proposed to place up to date versions on disc with the Archives of the Irish in Britain, London Metropolitan University, the Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh.

The end of the Irish Diaspora List was sad, in many ways.  The study of Diaspora has entered an interesting phase.  But the email 'list' is certainly in decline.  That being said, none of the replacements really work - they do not promote organised discussion.  And there is that recurring problem of the archive.

At its height, the Irish Diaspora List had, at most, a few hundred members.  At its end it had just 212 members – one of those members was, of course, my back-up database with its own email address.  Further discussion of the membership, and the use made of the Irish Diaspora List, I can leave to the Secret Lecture.  But I think it is possible to argue that those few hundred members represented a significant proportion of the number of people in the world with a genuine, scholarly, interest in the study of the Irish Diaspora.



The Archive of the Irish Diaspora List is self-referencing and self-historicising.  Every time there was a development – such as all the changes outlined above – a message would be sent to the List, and that message is archived.  So, if more detail is needed about the history of the Irish Diaspora List that detail is preserved in the Archive.

But here are a few thoughts on the management of the list.

In the background I had a number of standard emails, text ready to send, designed to deal with recurring issues, attacks or critiques – and the detail of all that can be left to the Secret Lecture.  This, from 1997, was the standard email sent to all new members of the Irish Diaspora list…


The Irish-Diaspora list

The Irish-Diaspora list is an email discussion forum, dedicated to the

scholarly study of the Irish Diaspora, and its social, economic,

linguistic, cultural and political causes and consequences.


The Irish-Diaspora list is hosted, as a service to world-wide Irish

Diaspora scholarly community, by the Irish Diaspora Research Unit,

Department of Interdisciplinary Human Studies, University of Bradford, England.

The Irish-Diaspora list is run by a small team of volunteers, led by

Patrick O'Sullivan, Head of the Irish Diaspora Research Unit


The list is a moderated list.  The ethos of the list is scholarly.  We

think we need to stress this - at the risk of sounding prim and

ivory-tower-ish - because we feel there are already places on the Web

and the Internet to support, for example, Irish family and social

networks or discussions of current political debates and crises.  And we

ourselves follow those discussions with concern and interest.


But what is missing is a forum which hosts scholarly discussion of the

Irish Diaspora, and is able to support theoretical, methodological and

comparative perspectives - this forum is provided by the Irish-Diaspora



Irish-Diaspora list members can post recent book reviews they

have written, fragments of work in progress, brief discussion papers,

and reports on conference papers - thus we envisage something that would

be of special help to the more isolated Irish Diaspora scholar.

Occasionally material is taken from the Irish-Diaspora list and given

wider circulation by being placed on the Irish Diaspora Studies Web site…


Membership of the Irish-Diaspora list tends to expand through

introduction and invitation.  In the first instance contact Patrick O'Sullivan…


As can be seen that standard introductory email offered some hopes and dreams - and dealt with a number of predictable issues, issues that will be familiar to all scholars of the Irish Diaspora.  And that standard email would, again and again, be quoted – often behind the scenes – as the Irish Diaspora List lived through all the political developments and crises of those twenty years, 1997 to 2017.

As can be seen, the List was a ‘moderated list’ – every message to the List was inspected and approved by one of our team of moderators, before that message was distributed.  We are now all too familiar with consequences in discussion forums where that does not happen.  Our guide to global culture’s current strange mix of orality and literacy remains as it always was, Walter Ong, and the versions of Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, from 1982 onwards.  It was Walter Ong who gave us the mantra, ‘the inherent contumaciousness of texts’.  All I can say now is that some of the cleverest people I know had to be, secretly, saved from themselves.  Often.

So, in the background, in running a forum like the Irish Diaspora List there are two rules…

1.  Bad conversation drives out good.  Self-evidently.

2.  The beast must be fed.  Enough new material must enter the discussion forum to keep the members interested.  Interested, but not overwhelmed.

For me, this was easy.  I had alerts in place.  I had put alerts in place, using the technological developments outlined above, to bring together the series, Patrick O’Sullivan, Editor, The Irish World Wide, 6 Volumes, 1992-1997.  I added further alerts.  I continued to map, catalogue, and seize hold of developments in the study of the Irish Diaspora – and part of the fun of the Irish Diaspora List for me was that it was easy enough to share observations, references and texts with members of the List.  And it was really wonderful to watch our field develop – and to see filled, by much good work, those aching gaps in The Irish World Wide series.

Of course, all my alerts are still in place, and I am still mapping developments in the study of the Irish Diaspora.

The study of the Irish Diaspora is now in a decent enough state.  It could be in a better state – which is something I had hoped to explore further in my new role as Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, London Metropolitan University.  We shall see.


Patrick O'Sullivan

August 16 2020

Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, London Metropolitan University

Patrick O'Sullivan's Whole Life Blog


Personal Fax 0044 (0) 709 236 9050


Sunday 2 August 2020

Hladowski sings O'Sullivan - COMPLETE

Hladowski sings O'Sullivan - COMPLETE

It turns out that there is a technical term for what we have been doing...

It is called an 'incremental album'.  We have released our 9 singles, one by one, in no special order.  Simply, when we had a track ready to slot into the technology, we sent it off...

All 9 tracks are now visible...
This is
Hladowski sings O'Sullivan
On Spotify

on YouTube

And on everything else - wherever you find your music it will be there...

Next, we must create the album, which means negotiating an entirely new set of technological hurdles.

Do we think of the album as a gig, with a set list - a plan to protect the performers, and carry the audience?

Or do we think of the album as a 'journey'?  Or as a guided meditation...?

And here is how you can help. 

Print out the album's 'harlequin cover' - attached...

Carefully, with a pair of scissors (not supplied) cut out the 9 small squares.

Listen to the 9 tracks, and re-arrange the tracks, to make an album - using the 9 squares as an aide memoire.

Then tell me what to do - just give me instructions and advice.  You can, if you like, photograph the 9 squares in your chosen sequence.

Note that on some music sites you can create playlists and shuffle playlists.

This is the last uploaded track on YouTube...
Stephanie Hladowski sings Barbara, Remember...

Patrick O'Sullivan

Friday 19 June 2020

Hladowski sings O'Sullivan - endgame

My musicians and I have decided not to worry about things we cannot now do, and have decided to bring the Hladowski sings O'Sullivan project to a conclusion.

So, ride the design and the technology...  The design says 3 x 3...

It is a matter of picking songs where we have a good vocal in place, and the final mix is not too problematic.

8 tracks have been released.  We will release one more track, making 9 - and we will call that an 'album'.  And I will write the 'sleeve' notes.

It is a nice selection, and I am happy with it - two songs for theatre, one song translation, some explorations of tradition, some songs for specific performers, some tune first, some words first, some old, some new.

Some Irish songs.

And one of my wedding songs.

The 8 tracks are visible on YouTube...

...and on every other possible outlet - Spotify, iTunes, Amazon...  Everything.

This is Spotify...

This is kkbox - Taiwan and Japan...

The song 'Irish Night' might especially interest - I have put some notes on the YouTube version.

It is a song from our 1987 stage play - and is, genuinely, a report on interviews in St Louise Hostel, Medway Street, London SW1, in 1987. 

May the Winds (The Holyhead Song) is the song for our Holyhead Project.  Which, if I can get some funding, I am hoping to put together later this year...

Thursday 4 June 2020

Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies...

Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies...
Colleagues who know the Irish Diaspora Studies parts of my life will know that I am not a career academic - I am a freelance writer and researcher.  But my kind of writer needs to maintain friendly and supportive relations with academia.  And I do.

Many thanks to those who have noticed that I have taken on a new role, as Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, London Metropolitan University...

And have sent me good wishes...

I had hoped that, by now, we would be looking back at my first lecture as Visiting Professor - it would very likely have been a Digital Humanities approach to a critical historiography of the Irish Emigrant Letter, something fairly straightforward.  And I would, maybe, have my first seminar groups in place.  But, as we all know, the virus crisis intervened.

I am now in lockdown in my home in Yorkshire.  Words like 'visiting' and 'gathering' have, for the time being, dropped out of use.

Some background, below...

A fond farewell to the Glucksman Ireland House, New York University...
As you know, I have in recent years had a long distance scholarly relationship with the Glucksman Ireland House, New York University.  Long distance but rather lovely.

In a report to Ireland House I said...

'It is not that I do not love you
But your house is so far away...'

(Confucius, Analects IX 30 - Arthur Waley's translation)

For a number of reasons - and health has been one reason - I have, in recent years not been as active as I would have liked, or as active as I should have been, in Irish Diaspora projects and within academia in these islands.  But I have made efforts.  Thus, I attended two major conferences in Ireland, the Global Irish Diaspora Congress, Dublin, August 2017, and the American Conference for Irish Studies, ACIS, Cork, June, 2018.  At both conferences I was able to confer with my NYU colleagues and other old friends.  And I attended a celebration of the career of Joe Lee at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, in April 2019.  A fascinating socio-cultural experience - Dublin does these things well.

A warm embrace from London Metropolitan University...
Towards the  end of last year, 2019, conversations took place with London Metropolitan University - and I became their Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies.  I am grateful to London Metropolitan University for this interest and support - I especially thank Don MacRaild, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, and Lynn Dobbs, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of London Metropolitan University.   London Metropolitan University is the kind of university I believe in.  When the news was announced we received a lovely message of encouragement from President Higgins, and Áras an Uachtaráin - in fact, we had to ask him to tone it down a bit.  Too ebullient.

And so to London, the city where I last worked, many decades ago, as a young community worker, probation officer, and social worker, specialising in drug misuse.  I have long had a friendly relationship with London Metropolitan University, staff and students, past and present.  I have often visited the Archives of the Irish in Britain, London Metropolitan University - recently to discuss the final destination of my own archives, and my large research library.  In the longer term there might be synergy between the Archives of the Irish in Britain, at London Metropolitan University, and the Archives of Irish America, at New York University.

In the first months of this year, 2020, I had several meetings in London, rebuilding networks and rebuilding friendships, beginning to put structures and funding in place.  Looking at matters Irish in London and in England, within academia and outside.  Looking at ways to be useful.  I can see the problems, I can see solutions.  But, again, obviously the virus crisis intervened - at the time of writing, May 2020, structures and funding are not in place.

Visit, Gather, Hug...
How we will go from here is not clear.  But we are all saying that. 

I have reached an age, and a stage, where I have to be careful about health and energy levels.  And we should all be saying that.  I will add that the easiest way for me to safeguard my health is to severely ration the amount of time I spend sitting at a computer.

As you will have gathered I was going to approach the new role in London, within London Metropolitan University, quite humbly, cautiously - it is a new role for me, and I wanted to be useful.  However my approach to key issues within Irish Diaspora Studies is...  I will not say, speculative - I will say, meditative.  And I would have liked, for example, to bring together a seminar group, to explore the issues, in a meditative sort of way.

I remain sure that our approach remains useful in the world - interdisciplinary, world-wide, comparative.  And is even more useful in a world that needs a better understanding of the ways in which evidence is constructed and policy developed.  I was looking forward to developing a guest speaker programme - indeed had already reached out to friends.  Visit the Visiting Professor. 

I am a fan of a certain rough and tumble approach to comparative Diaspora Studies - it is welcoming, it makes sense, especially in London - and already lining up were colleagues who study the Cabo Verde diaspora and the Armenian diaspora.

As I say, I was going to start cautiously, with a sensible lecture on the Irish Emigrant Letter.  But maybe I am being too sensible.  Could I go on, wildly, to give an entire week to our Holyhead Project?  And an entire term to our Doneraile Project?  Why not?

So, in lockdown in my home in Yorkshire, I am still writing my notes, tidying my bibliographies, mapping the research, collecting my thoughts.  Writing new songs, of course.  Visit, gather, hug.  We will.

Patrick O'Sullivan

May 30 2020

Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, London Metropolitan University
Patrick O'Sullivan's Whole Life Blog
Personal Fax 0044 (0) 709 236 9050

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Hladowski sings O'Sullivan

My collaboration with Yorkshire folk singer Stephanie Hladowski is now becoming more visible...

Last year we started to put a structure in place.  Because...  I am not going to find a better interpreter of my work...

And now...

3 tracks have been released, and you can now see the shape of this project coming together...

Stephanie Hladowski

Stephanie Hladowski
Apple Music and iTunes

Stephanie Hladowski

And so on...  Visible on a total of 38 music outlets - wherever and however you listen to music, or download music, it will be there....

Stephanie Hladowski's Polish heritage is acknowledged by our choice of typeface for the covers.

The distinctive cover designs are by Andrew Milne...

The typeface is by Brendan Ciecko - it is called Secesja, and is based on Young Poland/Art Nouveau styles of the early twentieth century.

The easiest way to get a feel for the sound and the look is to go to the 3 tracks visible on YouTube...

Papa Joachim Paris
One of my song translations...

The Crumble Song
One of my wedding songs...

Safe Harbour
One of my extended metaphors...

More will follow...

Patrick O'Sullivan
February 2020

Thursday 13 February 2020

Funding Applications: O'Sullivan's Rules

I find myself, once again, mentioning these rules, in negotiations and in informal conversations.  And find I am getting quoted, but never cited...

People ask me if I have in mind the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.  Not really - for one thing there are 285 Rules of Acquisition.  I make do with 3.

I quite like the First Rule of Acquisition - but I have broken it...

O'Sullivan's Rules belong in a different universe...

So, here they are...

Funding Applications:  O'Sullivan's 3 Rules

You should apply for money to do only things that you really want to do...

The other 2 rules have to do with proportionality...

There must be some sort of proportionality between the amount of work needed to get hold of the money and the amount of money achieved...

There must be some sort of proportionality between the amount of money achieved and the amount of management work the money requires thereafter...

The interesting thing about these 3 rules is that they are broken all the time.

And I will leave you to reflect on the times you have broken O'Sullivan's Rules - and why you broke them...

Patrick O'Sullivan