Eimear Rosato is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Concordia University, working with Professor Gavin Foster from the School of Irish Studies.
Who is your favourite academic?
Hmmm, this is such a hard question, I think it would probably be Laura McAtackney, I have read a bunch of her work and I think she is fantastic. But I saw her present at the Memory Studies Conference a few years ago and I was blown away by her presentation and her very cool general demeanor. She was also extremely kind and generous to graduate students, both with her time and her knowledge.
What are you reading for work and/or for leisure these days?
I am in the middle of writing and editing my proposal so everything I am reading is focusing on Northern Ireland, the Troubles, intergenerational memory and Oral History. Other than my project I don’t really get to read very much, but I am really interested in local histories and singular figures, so I recently read Executed: Tom Williams and the IRA by Jim McVeigh, which is focuses on the story of six IRA men who were sentenced to death in 1942 over the murder of a police officer. Tom Williams is a martyr within the Republican movement and is remembered infamously through ballads. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Crumlin Road gaol, but through a successful campaign, in 2000 his remains were released, and a funeral was held with thousands in attendance. This story of his death, and the infamous campaign to release his remains kept the story of Tom Williams alive throughout Nationalist/ Republican communities in Belfast, one which many young people in West Belfast especially remember. A sad but fascinating part of the history of Belfast.
I also just bought Bill Rolston and Robbie McVeigh’s new book Ireland, Colonialism and the Unfinished Revolution which I am really excited to read. I absolutely love Rolston’s work, I think I have read everything he has ever published.
What podcast do you recommend?
I genuinely only listen to two podcasts. One is ‘My Favourite Murder,’ it was recommended to me by a very good friend as a way to switch off from the pandemic, and it worked — now instead of Covid-related anxiety I just have murder-related anxiety.
The other is ‘Rebel Matters’ by Ainle Ó Cairealláin, he is originally from West Belfast but now lives in Cork, he does a lot of work with Palestinian refugees in the West Bank where he helped set up, run and fund a community gym there. The podcast covers a lot, he talks with different artists, musicians, historians, community activists, housing activists’ Irish language activists and local Irish figures. He is an all-round great leftist and this podcast teaches me so much about the work on the ground in Ireland.
What is your favourite archive or library?
Linen Hall Library in Belfast for sure, they used to do amazing carrot cake and tea! The Northern Ireland Collection there is brilliant and chaotic, I love it.
What book or movie changed your life?
I wish I could say it was one of the greats like Ulysses, War and Peace, or something Shakespeare wrote, but if I am truly honest the real answer is probably something embarrassing like a teen-book. So, I will say the first mystery/ thriller novel I read, “The Bat” by Jo Nesbo. which my Granny lent me. She was obsessed with Jo Nesbo and John Grisham, and we would both read Nesbo’s Harry Hole series, then spend hours talking about our suspicions, me always getting it wrong and her always getting it right. I really cherish those moments.
Do you play music while you work? If so, what?
No, I need complete and utter silence, or I just start to sing along, but while I am trawling through newspapers or archives, I would listen to a lot of traditional Irish music, or Sigur Rós as I really cannot sing along to them.
What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your career/degree?
At the start of my PhD I had severe imposter syndrome, everyone seemed like they had everything together and I didn’t. So advice I pass onto people I know when they start graduate school is that it is ok that you don’t know everything, it is ok to ask people to explain what they meant, no one will think you are stupid, everyone is coming from different backgrounds and specialties. Enjoy this time! Also, buy a standing desk and a SAD lamp haha.
What is your favourite way to de-stress?
I put on music from the 1970s and 80s, personal favourites such as Dolly Parton, ABBA, David Bowie, Elton John, T-Rex, and scream sing around my apartment, which horrifies both my neighbours and dog.