The Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland (FMRSI) was established in September 2007 by Dr Ann Buckley, Trinity College Dublin; and Dr Carrie Griffin, then a member of the Department of English, University College Cork, and now based at the University of Limerick. Ann and Carrie (who conceived of the forum at their first ever meeting!) agreed that, despite the wealth and scope of Medieval and Renaissance studies, there still lacked a common point of contact for dialogue and fellowship amongst scholars and teachers who are located here in  Ireland and, in particular, for those who may be on the fringes of large academic departments or centres and those who work independently of an institution.

It was out of these concerns that FMRSI was born. FMRSI is intended to act as a resource for teachers, researchers and students of early and Early Modern literature, language, history, and culture; who are on this island; to bring people together in the spirit of community and collaboration. Through this, our new website, we hope to promote Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland and enhance the profile of our activities – and those of our members – and to enhance it both nationally and internationally. We intend to highlight activities and events (colloquia and conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures and talks, exhibitions, concerts, launches, etc.) through our website, bringing these to the wider public notice and encouraging the involvement of interested parties outside of the “academy.”

We hope, too, to both promote our individual members, and encourage them to actively participate in the life of FMRSI. Each member will have an individual profile page, which can be amended and updated by the Forum co-ordinators as required. We hope that the profile pages may be useful for anyone looking for Medieval and Renaissance specialists in Ireland, for scholars to interact with one another, and for increasing contact and co-operation across institutional, disciplinary, and other divides. The entire site is also searchable by keyword. For example, “carrie” and “profile” will bring up the member profile page for Dr Carrie Griffin, as well as anywhere else her name occurs here.

To a great extent, and to ensure that the Forum remains relevant and up-to-date, we are dependent on your contribution of information about forthcoming events; as well as calls for papers, funding announcement, notices, and research networking.

Part of our website will be a discussion forum, encouraging dialogue and communication between members and prospective participants. We also plan to have an online database of teaching and learning resources, to which members will also be invited to contribute. Additionally, FMRSI is in process of establishing an online  peer-reviewed electronic journal (Oenach: JFMRSI) and associated reviews (Oenach: The JFMRSI Reviews), building on Forum online discussion.

Generally, we hope that FMRSI will prove not only to be a valuable resource but a useful touchstone, encouraging links, fostering dialogue and, ultimately, facilitating collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches. We envisage, ultimately, an “Irish Kalamazoo,” and with it the expansion of horizons and the recognition of opportunities.

Since September 2007, FMRSI has been lucky to have the input of three more co-ordinators:
Emer Purcell – website administratrix (from autumn 2009) – University College Cork;
Dr Juliet O’Brien – website designer and builder, and administratrix (until summer 2009) – CMRS, TCD / University College Dublin (2008-09) then University of British Columbia (from July 2009); and
Dr Eilish Fisher, then at NUI Maynooth, who was responsible for looking after membership details (until August 2008).

We hope to be in a position to invite a steering committee to oversee the work of the Forum’s online Journal very shortly.

While the group’s co-ordinators are based at certain specific institutions, we are keen to emphasize that this is a virtual scholarly community transcending the physical confines of institutional affiliation.

We welcome you again to the Forum, and we look forward to future conversation and collaboration!