Irish ambassador launches anniversary year of Celtic study programme

Decaan Thomas Vaessens en Ierse ambassadeur Brendan Rogers (14 februari 2023)
Dean Thomas Vaessens and Irish Ambassador Brendan Rogers. Photo: © MRBFoto’s

Utrecht University’s Celtic Languages and Culture programme is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Jubilee will be celebrated extensively this year and the festivities were ushered in this month with the visit of the ambassador of Ireland, Brendan Rogers.


Ierse ambassadeur Brendan Rogers krijgt rondleiding door de UB. Foto: © MRBFoto’s
© MRBFoto’s

Ambassador Rogers was welcomed by Director Matthijs van Otegem and Dean Thomas Vaessens. The visit to the Celtic programme and the Faculty of Humanities began in the University Library. Here, Rogers was given a guided tour by subject librarians Arja Firet and Chelsea Crane. Curator Bart Jaski showed a number of facsimiles of medieval Irish manuscripts, such as the famous Book of Kells and the Book of Ballymote, as well as a special Utrecht manuscript from the 15th century and a 17th-century Dutch map that also depicts Ireland.

To conclude, students from the Celtic programme and students of Irish nationality were able to speak to Ambassador Rogers in the Academy Building. Both he and Dean Vaessens underlined the many links connecting the Netherlands and Ireland and the importance of cooperation in the cultural field.

UB-conservator Bart Jaski en Ierse ambassadeur Brendan Rogers. Foto: © MRBFoto’s
© MRBFoto’s


To put words into action, Ambassador Rogers announced that the Irish Embassy will fund the publication of the biography on the first Dutch professor of Celtic Studies, Anton Gerard van Hamel. The biography will include contributions from a dozen scholars, highlighting different aspects of Van Hamel’s life.

The book will be largely based on Van Hamel’s and Maartje Draak’s archives from the University Library and the editing is up to Bart Jaski, Nike Stam, Sanne Jongeleen, and Lars Nooij. Next summer, Ambassador Rogers will present the biography at the International Congress for Celtic Studies.

The Celtic Summer

Another part of the anniversary celebrations is the public day ‘The Celtic Summer’. On Saturday 1 July, a wider audience can learn about Celtology, through medieval-inspired workshops, music, literature, and more.