Poet and author Kevin Kiely, the Fulbright Scholar from Dublin, Ireland and resident at Boise State University, presented “Reflections on Contemporary Ireland” in what was a general overview of the state of Ireland today. An older crowd, which was composed of many faculty and community members, as well as students, took in his presentation last week at the JFK Auditorium.
“You’re indulging me wonderfully,” said Kiely of Eastern, as he began his talk. “I have a big passion for the whole university system. It’s a privilege to be in institutions.”
Kiely’s presentation, a complex and in-depth review of Ireland’s past and present situation, also reflected on Ireland’s connection to the United States.
“The president of the United States to us is the king of the world,” said Kiely. “You may not call President Bush the king, but some Irish call him the king.”
Kiely discussed the tension still brewing in Northern Ireland. “How does peace come after a war,” he said. “I don’t know.” He described a “thou shall kill thy neighbor” mentality in the north.
“The key to Northern Ireland is to get people to come in from the outside,” said Kiely. He said that Americans and foreigners coming over to Northern Ireland would benefit the country.
He described Ireland as the “ultimate broken marriage of all broken marriages.”
He said that in a recent Ireland census, there were 176,000 Protestants as opposed to 143,000 Catholics, with the Catholics having a majority in the three major cities. Kiely said that in the past, the people of Ireland thought that the Catholics rising to a majority was not a viable possibility, but that now it is starting to happen.
Kiely made a prediction that a “United Ireland” would eventually occur. “Maybe (the prediction) will be forgotten, maybe it should be forgotten,” said Kiely. “But it is going to happen.”
Speaking of his American experience, Kiely recalled flying over New York City and thinking, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it. I wanted to jump out and parachute into the city.”
“Of course I’m in a love affair with America,” said Kiely. He described his adventures through America, feeling as if he was Mad Max.
Kiely said that the recent technological revolution throughout the last decade benefited the European Union and Ireland greatly.
“Ireland is now the Switzerland of Europe,” said Kiely. “Ireland has become sexy.”
“It isn’t a green shamrock anymore,” he said. “It’s a bloody gold shamrock.”
Before his “Reflections” presentation, Kiely presented Irish poetry and prose to the audience. Many in the audience left for a break in between the events, praising the entertaining value of the poetry.
The event was presented by the departments of history and English, Creative Writing Program and the Centers of Excellence.
Kiely gives lectures and teaches at Boise State. His writings have been anthologized.