Villanova’s Center for Irish Studies celebrates the rich culture and history of Ireland and its diaspora with a compelling lineup of programs each academic year, bringing Irish theatre, film, dance, history, literature and more to Villanova’s campus.

In addition to events help on campus, the Center regularly collaborates on events with local Philadelphia and Delaware Valley Irish-American groups, such as the Consul General of Ireland, the Irish Diaspora Center, the Friendly Sons and Daughters of St. Patrick, the Philadelphia Ceili Group, and the Irish American Business Chamber and Network.  


Heimbold Chair Readings

Each spring, the Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies offers two events. The signature event is an evening reading and talk as part of the Villanova Literary Festival, and it is held in the Presidents’ Lounge in Connelly Center. This event begins with a reception of alongside live Irish music, and then students from the attached English course, “Authors on and off the Page,” introduce the Heimbold Chair. The second Heimbold event is held in the afternoon in the Falvey Library Speakers’ Corner. It features a “Conversation with the Heimbold Chair” and puts the visiting Irish writer in dialogue with other writers, academics and artists. Both events are free and open to the public.


James Joyce and St. Brigid's Birthday

Each year in early February, the Center for Irish Studies gathers at a local pub to honor the birthday (Feb. 2) and works of celebrated Irish author James Joyce and St. Brigid's Day (Feb. 1) and the traditional holiday of Imbolc. The social gathering features readings and songs by students, faculty and the general public, local Irish musicians, performances from the Villanova Irish Dance team, great food and drink, and lots of good craic! It is free and open to the public—all are welcome.


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Every March, the Center celebrates St. Patrick's Day with a host of events featuring music, literature, performances and more. 


Cultural Events and Academic Lectures

The Center regularly hosts Theatre productions and collaborations, film screenings, poetry readings and more cultural events open to the Villanova community and the public. Our Irish Dance Team performs in the annual Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, open to the public. The Center invites renowned Irish hisorians, writers and cultural icons to campus to present on a variety of topics of academic and cultural significance.



The Center is committed to serving as a premier academic resource for the exchange of ideas and information about the Irish diaspora, and thereby hosts academic conferences and symposiums, inaugurated in 2016 when the program was elevated to a Center thanks to a transformational gift from the Connelly Foundation.

Fall 2023

“The Greening of Irish Culture: Sustainability in the Irish Public Sphere,” Villanova University at Monaco’s Princess Grace Irish Library

Fall 2021: “Creative Acts: The Dynamics of Artistic Ireland,” at Monaco’s Princess Grace Irish Library, examined the history, impact and support of the arts in Ireland and the diaspora through the lens of cultural institutions; diversity, inclusion and experience; and politics.

Spring 2021: “The Northern Ireland Peace Process after Brexit,” at Villanova University, brought together key figures from Northern Ireland and the US who have been at the forefront of the peace process, in both research and practice.

Spring 2020: "The Referent of Ireland" at Villanova University was designed to build on fresh work on reference—or how the text refers to a world outside of the text—in order to rethink the aesthetics and politics of nineteenth-century Irish literature.

Fall 2018: “Navigating the Betweens of Irish Studies” was the Mid-Atlantic American Conference for Irish Studies hosted by Villanova University.

Fall 2016: "Who’s/Whose Irish?: Philadelphia Stories from Penn to the Present” was an interdisciplinary conference to explore new directions in scholarship on the Irish in the greater Philadelphia area. Read James Murphy's, PhD, essay about the event in the Irish Edition.



Group picture of University leadership and Irish visitors.
From left, University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD; 2023 Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies Mary O'Donoghue; 19th Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Geraldine Byrne Nason; Acting Director of the Center for Irish Studies Jennifer Joyce, PhD; William and Julia Moulden Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD; and Deputy Consul General Andrew Byrne.

The Center for Irish Studies serves as an invaluable resource for the Irish-American community, particularly in the Philadelphia region, offering top-tier programming. With a vast network both locally and abroad, the Center is a destination for distinguished scholars and speakers. In addition to the annual Heimbold chair, Irish Ambassadors to the US, politicians and others have come to campus for events or to speak with students.

Director: Joseph Lennon, PhD

Administrative Assistant: Kiersten Ludy