We are pleased to bring you the announcement of our final keynote speaker for Temporal Discombobulations. Dr Tracey Fahey will be presenting ‘Wildgoose Lodge was a cursed story’: Revoicing vernacular narratives 1816-2016.
Tracy is Head of Department in Fine Art and Head of Centre of Postgraduate Studies in Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD). In 2013 she established the LSAD research centre ACADEMY where she also acts as principal investigator. Her primary research area is the Gothic, with special reference to the visual arts. She has chapters on this subject in New Directions in 21st-Century Gothic: The Gothic Compass (Routledge) and The Gothic and the Everyday Gothic: Living Gothic (Palgrave) with others forthcoming in four other edited collections. She has also published on medical Gothic, contemporary art, transgressive art and a/r/tography. In 2010 she founded the art collaborative, Gothicise, who work on site-specific projects that interrogate the relationship between site and narrative, including Remembering Wildgoose Lodge (2013-2016). Her fiction has been published in thirteen US and UK anthologies to date, and her first short story collection, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre, will be released in July 2016.
Her talk looks at a case study of folk Gothic that investigates contemporary local memories of a traumatic historical event. This event, the burning of Wildgoose Lodge in Co. Louth in 1816, later retold with embellishment by William Carleton in his Gothic short story of 1830, ‘Confessions of a Reformed Ribbonman’ (later retitled ‘Wildgoose Lodge’ in 18331).
This gruesome story tells of the destruction of the Lodge and the burning of the Lynch family within it by local agrarian rebels. Due to the bloody and dangerous nature of the story – the burning alive of eight people, and the execution of eighteen more – the original story became too dangerous to discuss in the region, and Carleton’s tale became a cypher, a coded way of discussing that which was too terrible to speak about. It also meant that due to this public silence, distinct variants of the story have survived in local families for two hundred years. This talk considers memories of trauma as part of a valuable body of knowledge still held in community memory. It looks at these stories for evidence of the persistence of the past in the present, and analyses how these unofficial narratives can both warp perceptions of time, and reject any notions of neat resolution.