Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Austen Gazette Winter 2015

To celebrate Austen's 240th birthday, we are sharing this winter's issue of The Austen Gazette with you. For the love of Jane.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Going to the Ball

In this Bicentenary year of the Battle of Waterloo there has been many military events to mark the occasion, luckily a member of the Jane Austen Society of Ireland also had the good sense to commemorate the social events of 1815 too. Eileen Morgan Brown (secretary of the Irish Byron Society and member of JASI) played hostess for the Duchess of Richmond's Ball in association with Meath County Council and Kells and District Tourism Forum. Held in the wonderful Georgian residence of Mr T. Fitzherbert, Rockfield House, Kells, it was fashioned like a country house ball held in the Regency era. As a member of the Irish Historical Costumers (IHC), I attended in full costume and my friends and I gave a regency dance demonstration accompanied by Jean Carr on Piano. We heard an extract from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Byron and a wonderful oration by Dr. Gerald Morgan entitled “Wellington the man”. The ball was attended by both the British and French ambassadors. The “Red coats” were in attendance too but unlike the poor Duchess of Richmond who’s ball was ruined by the advance of Napoleon and the departure of most of her male guests, including Wellington, to fight at the battle of Waterloo the next day, we ate a hearty meal, drank wine and danced the night away.
Another social event associated with the commemorations of 1815 is the Ball held by Mrs Boehm’s on 21st June 1815 at the East India Club. In attendance was the Prince Regent and the Duke of York however the ball was cut short by the arrival of news of the victory over Napoleon. Mrs Boehm’s dinner party was ruined. Intrigued by this story Eileen who hosted the Duchess of Richmond Ball decided to host another ball - a masquerade ball to honor the unfortunate Mrs Boehm. The venue was the Arts Club in Fitzwilliam Street. My IHC friends and I were again called upon to give a regency dance demonstration, we had a another wonderful evening of music,
delicious food and lively conversation. Both occasions were so enjoyable and a great way to experience a little taste of regency living. The balls I attended had a much better outcome of course than those of the unfortunate Duchess of Richmond and Mrs Boehm, but I love that I got to bring history to life.

Read more HERE about The Duchess of Richmond and Mrs Boehm

By Sinead Ryan Coughlan

Monday, 14 December 2015

Irish Author Writes 'Pride and Prejudice' Sequel

I was delighted when I stumbled upon the Jane Austen society of Ireland, not only a community of like-minded individuals, but in my locality to boot! 
My admiration of Jane Austen goes back a very long way, in truth ‘I cannot fix on the spot, or the hour, or the look or the words that laid the foundation’.  I love all of her work, but my absolute favourite novel is Pride and Prejudice. 
Every time I turned the last page of that timeless classic I was plagued with curiosity about what might have become of my favourite characters. Eventually I determined to create my own continuation of Elizabeth and Darcy's story, purely for my own pleasure. In my naivety I thought such an undertaking was an original idea: I had never heard of fan fiction, or canon, and I knew nothing of the plethora of sequels and variations that are readily available. 
When I began my story my foremost consideration was that I would remain as faithful to the spirit of the original as possible. No fantastical adventures, no explicit sexual encounters, and absolutely no twenty-first century morals or convictions. The language and phrases should be as authentic as possible, and the characters would behave, well, in character.
My original intention was to merely pen a description of Elizabeth and Darcy’s blissfully happy marriage in about 2000 words, but to my chagrin other characters would keep intruding. At last I realised I had several unanticipated sub plots: somehow, I don’t quite know how, my little story had become a full blown novel!
I titled my story Fidelity & Affection and once completed to my satisfaction I put it aside, occasionally reading it and rewriting it as the fancy took me. Eventually, with the encouragement of my family and no expectations whatever I entered it into a national novel writing competition in association with the RTE guide, and to my astonishment it was short-listed into the final five.  The judges were very enthusiastic and complimentary about my story, which encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon, where I have achieved some modest success.
If you are looking for a heartfelt continuation of Pride and Prejudice written in an authentic style by an amateur, though very passionate Jane Austen fan, Fidelity and Affection might just be the sequel for you. 
Yve Turner

Happy Birthday Jane - 240 Years Old!

Jane Austen was born 240 years ago on December 16th 1775. One of her biographers, Claire Tomalin wrote:
"The winter of 1775 was a hard one. On Nov 11th the naturalist Gilbert White saw that the trees around his Hampshire village of Selborne had lost almost all their leaves. Fifteen miles away in Steventon, the rector's wife was expecting the birth of her seventh child from day to day as the last leaves fell. She was thirty-six and had been married for eleven years. The November days went by and the rains set in, keeping Mrs. Austen's four boys indoors;by the end of the month it was dark in the house at three in the afternoon, and dinner had to be eaten very promptly if they were to do without candles. Still no baby appeared. December came, bringing an epidemic of colds and feverish complaints.

There was a sharp frost, putting ice on the ponds, enough for the boys to go sliding; then on the 16th Gilbert White noted, 'Fog,sun,sweet day.'" This was the day of Jane Austen's birth- a month later than George and Cassandra Austen had expected the baby's arrival.

"The child came in the evening, without much warning. There was no need for a doctor;it was rare to call one for something as routine as childbirth, and the nearest, in Basingstoke, was seven miles away over bad roads. In any case 'everything was soon happily over.' The Austens were pleased to have a second daughter, 'a present plaything for her sister Cassy and a future companion.'

When the children were allowed into their mother's room, they saw that the new baby had a round face, fat cheeks and bright dark eyes. It was agreed that she looked most like her brother Henry, who had been the longest and finest of all the babies so far, so it is safe to assume that Jane was also long and large. Mrs. Austen fed her daughter at the breast, and as she would not dream of going outside the house for at least a month after the birth, the baby enjoyed undivided attention in the first-floor bedroom."
"On April 5th 1776 after a harsh, dark morning, the sun came out. Little Jane was well wrapped in shawls, her mother put on her pelisse and an extra shawl or two for herself, and the Austen family processed up the lane to the church for Jane's formal, public christening." (Jane had been christened at home by her father immediately after her birth.)?
Eileen Collins

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A Rainy Day in Dublin Remembering 'Emma'

“At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”
― Jane AustenEmma
On the rainiest, darkest, Saturday afternoon imaginable, Janeites from all over Ireland, gathered in the fine Oak Room at Buswell's beautiful, Georgian Hotel, to toast Jane Austen on her 230th birthday, and to remember the novel, which, 200 years ago, was all the author could think about.

200 years ago, Jane Austen was on tenterhooks, wondering if readers would take to her latest publication, 'Emma'.  She fear how her heroine would be received; readers might not take to her, like her at all, but she needn't have feared. Emma Woodhouse, and the novel which bore her name, would stand the test of time and still be the subject of discussion some two centuries on.

Professor Darryl Jones, from Trinity College Dublin, said as much himself, when he spoke to a rapt audience in comfy leather armchairs while the wind howled outside.  There is something very relaxing about hearing Austen read in a Welsh accent, and more than one of our members noted that, what with coffee flowing, a Christmas tree sparkling and lively conversation, they  
would have been happy to stay in Buswell's Hotel forever!  And when we finally said our goodbyes, wishing our friends a merry Christmas, and stepping outside into the damp, darkness, it was somehow surprising to find ourselves back in Dublin city in 2015; but finding comfort in the that fact that, as always with Austen, Emma and Knightley were waiting for us at home, on the book shelf, to stir into life once more on the open page.   And so, with a denouement worthy of the author herself, the afternoon came to a happy end; not bad for a rainy day in Dublin.   

By Michelle Burrowes

Friday, 30 October 2015

Remembering Emma at 200m


This November, Prof. Darryl Jones from Trinity College Dublin, will give a special lecture for JASI members, on Austen's novel 'Emma', to celebrate the bicentenary anniversary of the book's publication.
After the lecture, followed by questions and discussion, we will adjourn for afternoon tea and enjoy the beautiful Georgian surrounds of Dublin's Buswell's Hotel.  Come out and meet your fellow JASI members and treat yourself to a little pre-Christmas pampering.  Jane would certainly approve! Tickets are very limited and will be distributed on a first come first served basis.  This is an adult only event.  

Please complete the dessert order form  HERE to select from a range of Afternoon Tea options.  We look forward to seeing you there!  

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Austen's Women - The Theatre production Comes to Castleblaney

It is a thrill to welcome DYAD productions stunning 'Austen's Women' to √ćontas Theatre this Saturday evening. Part observational comedy, this masterful one-woman show is a fantastic tribute to much loved writer Jane Austen and of course the wonderful women depicted in her books.Don't miss this opportunity for a wonderful theatrical experience.For tickets call our box office now 042 9753400/401 or book online at www.iontascastleblayney. Saturday 19th Sept, Doors 8:30pm.    Tickets €16/14

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Jo Baker Event - The Video!

We have put together this short video as a memento of our day together earlier in  the year.  Please feel free to like and share!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Austen Gazette (Vol. 6) Out Now!

Cover photo by Pauline Wilmotte
Or Jane Austen Society of Ireland newsletter is out now, with all the latest society news and updates, including information about our next Jane Austen Book Club meeting, a review and photos of the Jo Baker event in Dublin last May, and exciting information for members living in Cork. If you are a member, a copy will have been emailed to you, so check your inbox.

Jo Baker Meets Jane Austen Event

By Mary Kelleher.
A group of eight of us travelled from Cork on May 9th and had a lovely afternoon at the Jane Austen Society of Ireland event in the historic Law Society building in Blackhall Place.  The regency mood was created as soon as we entered the venue by the presence of “militia men”, who were there to greet us in their colourful uniforms – we felt like the Bennet sisters walking into Meryton!
Tim Bullamore, editor of the Austen Gazette gave an Introductory Talk, he was a pleasure to listen to, speaking about obituaries - he really brought this subject to life, and was very captivating.  There was lovely music during the afternoon, creating a feeling throughout of Jane Austen’s era.  We were also served Afternoon tea with delicious scones during the interval and the opportunity to chat with other Austen enthusiasts. 
Jo Baker was fantastic – her love and respect for Jane Austen was clear as she spoke of how she had to justify writing ‘Longbourn’ and the years she spent first thinking about it, then working on it.  She spoke of why she chose the servant’s story, giving the story from their
perspectives and being a parallel to Elizabeth’s story in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Her own family history, some of whom were in service, made her feel there was another story to tell and I think we all felt that her novel is a masterpiece in itself and works well as a companion to Jane Austen’s story and is a delight for all Austen fans.  Jo Baker’s own warmth, generosity with her time and enthusiasm to answer questions endeared her to us all.  
There was also a wonderful hamper for raffle, full of Jane Austen goodies for someone to take home.
A delightful day for Jane Austen fans!

Photos taken by Poul Madsen.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Austen Comes to Mount Juliet

Steeped in heritage, Mount Juliet, in County Kilkenny, is one of Ireland's leading country estates. They pride themselves in their family culture, while at the same time maintaining the high-end service and hospitality for which Mount Juliet is internationally renowned.

This July 23rd, Chapterhouse Theatre Company will perform their wonderful adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice'. This will be a treat not to miss. The hotel is delighted to offer a 10% discount to JASI members. Simply call 056 777 3082 and quote the password. (Email us if you plan to attend and need the code!)   Their online tickets will remain on sale until 5pm on the 23rd July.  They will however have tickets available at the door should people decide at the last minute.

See HERE for tickets.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Rest In Peace ~ Jane Austen

“On Thursday, 17 July, Cassandra (Austen)  went into the town (Winchester) on some errand for her sister (Jane) and found, on returning, that she had had an attack of faintness. It passed off slightly, but soon returned, and she suffered greatly, crying out, ‘God, grant me patience, Pray for me oh Pray for me!’ 
Cassandra asked her if there was anything she wanted. She replied that she wanted nothing but death. 
Mr. Lyford came and was able somewhat to relieve her, but by 7 p.m, she was unconscious and lay perfectly still save for a slight movement of her head with each breath.

Cassandra sat by her
for six hours, with a pillow on her lap to support Jane’s head which was nearly off the bed. Then, for two and a half hours, Mary (James Austen’s wife) relieved her. Cassandra came back at 3.30 a.m and an hour later, on Friday, 18 July, Jane Austen died in her sister’s arms”  (Marghanita Laski)
Jane Austen was buried in Winchester Cathedral, in the north aisle, on the following Thursday morning, 24 July.
The burial date recorded in the cathedral Burial Register is incorrect: it is given as two days before she actually died!
Eileen Collins

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Pride and Prejudice - Open Air Theatre

Don't miss an outdoor theatre production of 'Pride and Prejudice' this summer at Malahide Castle, County Dublin, on 24th July, 7:30 pm.  A 15% discount is available for JASI members, so get in touch if you want to go and I will email you the discount code!  For full details, see:

Rathmullan House, in beautiful Donegal, is offering JASI members a 3 for 2 offer when buying tickets for their out door, afternoon, 'Pride and Prejudice' theatre event on Sunday 26th July at 3pm. See their website for details:

For a full list of Irish shows, see this previous link:

Monday, 11 May 2015

Emma On Stage - Dublin

Not to be missed - a chance to see Austen's novel 'Emma' performed live on stage in this its bicentenary year. Only this week, at the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, Dublin.
 13th May - 16th May
Show time: 
 Weds: €12 Thurs-Sat: €16/€14

Emma Woodhouse is Jane Austen's most maddening, endearing heroine. Clever and effervescent, young Emma is also a bit too accustomed to having her own way, although only her friend Mr. Knightley seems to notice. 200 years after its publication, Emma continues to delight, both as a coming-of-age tale and a lively satire of Austen's elegant and quirky characters. This sparkling adaptation features a spectacle of Regency dance, revelry, and romance that will welcome audiences into Austen's witty, captivating world. Directed by Brian Molloy.

JASI members have been offered a concession ticket price, so please get in touch if you are a member and would like to attend this production. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

McCalling all Austen Fans!

The lovely people at the International Literature Festival Dublin, have once again agreed to offer JASI members a concession price for their Alexander McCall Smith talk on Thursday 21st May at 8pm in The Main Space, Smock Alley, Dublin.

 His adaptation of 'Emma' has just been published in paperback, so I know that many of you will be keen to hear him speak and attend the book-signing afterwards. Here is the blurb: 'It’s 15 years since The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency introduced the world to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s leading (in fact, only) female PI.

Since then her creator, Alexander McCall Smith, has become one of the UK’s best-loved authors, selling over 20 million books, launching several successful new series (including Scotland Street), and becoming perhaps the second most famous resident of Edinburgh’s New Town (where JK Rowling also lives). In this special event, McCall Smith comes to Dublin to talk about the characters and themes that have won him millions of readers all over the world.' Tickets cost €12 but for JASI members are €10.

You will find the concession code on the most recent issue of The Austen Gazette.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Want to Win an Austen Hamper of Delights?

Some lucky person will take home this impressive Austen Hamper at the end of our literary event at the Law Society this May, consisting of incomparable novels, by Austen and others, Deirdre Le Faye's renowned collection of Austen's letters, plus a beautiful annotated edition of 'Persuasion'.

The hamper also boasts the latest adaptations of Austen's classics, by the likes of Joanna Trollope and  P.D. James ; as well as a Jane Austen mug, a delicious bottle of wine and box of chocolates.  You certainly will feel pampered with this prize.

But especially exciting is that it will contain no less than two recent publications, signed by the author themselves: Jo Baker's 'Longbourn', and Lisa Pliscou's 'Young Jane Austen' . Now that is exciting!
The hamper will be raffled off at the 'Austen Meets Jo Baker' event at the Law Society, Dublin, on May 9th.  See the link on the right for details.  Tickets will go on sale on the day.
Good luck to all who enter!

 * The final choice of books / wine/ chocolate etc. contained in the final hamper may differ slightly from those in the image published here - but will be fabulous!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Jane Austen Event that Cannot be Missed!

* Please note: The Jane Austen Society of Ireland Committee has deemed that this is an adults-only event.  More family orientated events will take place over the coming months.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Secret Jane Austen Book Club: 'Emma'

Have you been longing to discuss Austen's novels with other Janeites?  Well now is your chance.  Join our society* and receive your invite.

Some of our members are meeting up in a lovely, secret, Georgian location, in the centre of Dublin on Monday, 9th March, to discuss Austen's novel 'Emma', which was published 200 years ago this year.

Please get in touch if you would like to attend and we will furnish instructions!  It begins at 8pm, and will most likely go on until 10pm.  Don't forget to bring your novel, if you like and it would be wonderful if everyone had, as Frank Churchill would say, 'one very interesting thing to say ' about the book.

It is just a casual thing; a chance for us to meet and to discuss one of Austen's most flawed-heroines.  Like or loath her, Emma will certainly give us much food for debate, as will Mr Knightley, Frank Churchill and even old Mr Woodhouse.

See you there!

* JASI annual membership is €10

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Maytime in Dublin, celebrating Jane Austen.

* Please note: The Jane Austen Society of Ireland Committee has deemed that this is an adults-only event.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Jane Austen Meets Jo Baker

* Please note: The Jane Austen Society of Ireland Committee has deemed that this is an adults-only event.  More family orientated events will take place over the coming months.
Tickets on sale NOW
Click HERE

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Chapterhouse Open-Air Theatre Productions, Summer 2015

Chapterhouse Open-Air Theatre Productions is returning to Ireland with an adaptation of  'Pride and Prejudice', which tours the length and breath of the country.  Now you will have no excuse not to go!  Our members had so much fun over the last couple of years, enjoying Austen out of doors, that we urge you to gather together friends and family, young and old, to experience this sensual delight.

Remember, JASI members usually can secure tickets at a reduced rate, so get in touch with us closer to the time, before booking, to obtain a discount booking code.   In the meantime, get your hands on a nice picnic basket and fancy wellies... so you will be ready for all eventualities.  See below for details


  • Tickets for the Malahide Castle have a 15% discount for JASI members, so remember to email us for the discount code.
  • Rathmullan House is also offering a 3 for 2 ticket deal for members, so get in touch before you buy to avail of this great offer in a beautiful part of Ireland.  

Enlarge Here

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Irish Jane Austen Fans Step Out in Style

What fun we had at our JASI Winter Event at The Law Society, Dublin.  In case some of you missed it, here is a little photographic summary of the day that we had.

Click to Enlarge

Click to play

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 - The Year of 'Emma'

Before she began the novel, Austen wrote of Emma, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.'  That was two hundred years ago and since then, the novel has become one of Austen's most popular.  
This year is the bicentenary of the publication of the book, and we will be remembering Emma, and following our heroine as she comes to face the fact that she is not the masterful match-maker that she thinks herself to be.  We will see her make a fool of herself over Frank Churchill, and worst of all, we will see her belittle the harmless Miss Bates in front of friends  - badly done Emma!

Of course there is the hypochondriac father to enjoy, along with the self-confirmed, old bachelor, Mr Knightley, who needs an opinionated beauty to shake him up a little.  Let us not forget the despicable Mr Elton, whom we love to hate, nor the horrid Mrs Elton, whose desire to turn the elegant Jane Fairfax into a common governess, would not be out of place in a Bronte novel. 

So here's to 2015 - The Year of Emma.  I have a feeling it is going to be a great one!
Michelle Burrowes
JASI President.