John V. Kelleher Lecture

John KelleherThe John V. Kelleher Lecture commemorates Harvard’s first professor of Irish Studies. John Kelleher was a distinguished scholar and legendary teacher in many areas, from the early heroic sagas to James Joyce; from the medieval annals and kinglists to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and beyond. A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts and a graduate of Dartmouth College, he came to Harvard as a Junior Fellow in 1940, and except for his years of service in Washington during the Second World War, remained at Harvard until his retirement in 1986. He died in January 2004. In inviting our Kelleher Lecturers, we seek out the finest scholars in the world of Celtic studies, speakers whose range and depth is worthy of John Kelleher’s legacy. Seamus Heaney delivered the inaugural Kelleher Lecture in 2004, and subsequent lecturers have included Damian McManus, Patrick Sims-Williams, Katharine Simms, William Gillies and Ann Parry Owen.


Given the ongoing restrictions on travel and large indoor gatherings occasioned by the COVID pandemic, and given Harvard’s decision that all teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will be conducted remotely in Fall 2020, we announce regretfully that the 17th John V. Kelleher Memorial Lecture and the 40th Annual Harvard Celtic Colloquium will not take place on October 8—11, 2020 as originally planned.

We are most grateful to Professor Ruairí Ó hUiginn for agreeing to deliver the 17th John V. Kelleher Lecture on October 7, 2021. The 40th Harvard Celtic Colloquium will be held on October 8—10, 2021, and a call for papers will be issued early in 2021.



Ruairí Ó hUiginn

School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Ancestors, Gods and Genealogies

Thursday, October 7th, 2021, 5:00 pm
Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Reception to follow, all are welcome

Map to the Harvard Faculty Club

This event is open to members and invited guests of the Department of Celtic  Languages and Literatures. The public is invited to attend if space is available.