Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador studies



At the recent AGM of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS) held at York University Toronto, John Maher, accounting and finance lecturer at SETU, was unanimously re-elected by the international delegates as Treasurer of the ICCS for a further two years. The ICCS is an international scholarly body which promotes the study of Canada in the humanities and social sciences. Its membership includes national associations in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Each year, it awards research bursaries to enable postgraduate scholars to travel to Canada and undertake research at universities and research agencies there. It also publishes an academic journal in partnership with the University of Toronto Press and facilitates collaboration between Canadian Studies scholars worldwide. Its patron is the Governor General of Canada, and it is a body corporate and a charity established under Canadian law. The affiliated organisation here is the Association of Canadian Studies in Ireland (ACSI), an all-island body whose current president is geographer Dr Niall Majury (QUB).

SETU hosts the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador studies at the Luke Wadding Library under the curatorship of Kieran Cronin. He also serves as the webmaster for ACSI. John and Kieran are currently exploring the marking of 75th anniversary of the entry of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Canadian Confederation on the one hand, and the declaration of a republic here in Ireland on the other.


Pictured above ICCS executive for 2023-24: Prof Kerstin Knopf (University Bremen) Prof Jane Koustas (Brock University) and John Maher (SETU)


Waterford and it’s surrounding hinterland have a unique connection with the Newfoundland and Labrador region in Canada. Migration from the South East to this region can be traced back to pre-famine times. From the 18th century onwards thousands of people left Ireland to work on the cod fishing industry, initially staying for a fishing season or two at a time before returning to their homelands in Ireland. Over time this migration became more permanent and people set up homes and roots in this challenging but lucrative environment.

The tales of adventure are recounted by Donncha Rua Mac Conmara (1715-1810) in his poem Eachtra Giolla an Amaráin (The adventures of an unfortunate man). The following documentary ‘The Forgotten Irish’ gives a fascinating insight into the diaspora in Newfoundland and Labrador.


The Newfoundland and Labrador Studies Room

The Newfoundland and Labrador Studies Room was officially opened in the Luke Wadding Library in June 2014 by Professor Robin Elliott a faculty member at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the then Craig Dobbin Professor of Canadian Studies at University College Dublin.

To mark the event, Professor Elliott delivered a lecture entitled ‘Some Reflections on the Musical Heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador’.

Traditionally SETU Waterford Libraries has played a key role in maintaining and strengthening links between the two communities. Going forward, this designated Newfoundland and Labrador Studies room (LB32), equipped with mounted shelving and other display facilities will facilitate access to primary and secondary specialised Newfoundland and Labrador materials. The ultimate goal would be the development of a module in Newfoundland and Labrador Studies at SETU.

Newfoundland Fiddle Music in the 21st Century
Bridget O Connell
Bridget O’Connell PhD, a lecturer and fiddle teacher based at SETU has recently published a book entitled ‘Newfoundland Fiddle Music in the 21st Century’.

This collection provides insight to the backgrounds, geographical locations, and musical preferences of the individual players, and how music-making and the role and status of Newfoundland fiddlers have evolved over time. The tunes included here vary from original compositions and revival collectors’ treasures, to reinterpreted versions of timeless Irish, Scottish, and French tunes. Together, they form a part of the modern-day Newfoundland fiddling tradition.This book will delight fiddle players and any musician who wishes to further enhance their repertoire and technique, or simply learn more about the island of Newfoundland and its music. The connections between Waterford and Newfoundland are very strong and Waterford people have a natural curiosity about Newfoundland.

Dr Felicity Kelliher, Dobbin Atlantic Scholar 2019

Project: Developing a rural social enterprise education and research framework – Ireland’s Southeast and Newfoundland are primarily rural and benefit from a strategic approach to rural community engagement. Working with colleagues at Memorial University Newfoundland, our objective is to develop a rural social enterprise education and research framework in pursuit of sustainable community development. Social enterprise is an embedded voluntary organisation who applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in the financial, social and environmental well-being in its rural community.

Short bio: Dr Felicity Kelliher is a Senior Lecturer in Management and co-chair of the RIKON Research Centre at the School of Business, SETU Waterford Campus. Her research focuses on rural small business learning and management capability development.

Rural Routes Podcast, Harris Centre, Memorial University Newfoundland.

S3E7 – Rural Innovation in Ireland

A growing population, opportunities in a variety of industries and sectors, focus on experience and food, and a drive to find new and better ways of doing just about anything? If you think this describes a trendy metropolis, think again. Rural Ireland is creating a range of innovative rural development strategies that bring together residents, industry, civil sector and academic institutions on projects that range from implementation of broadband internet access, to agro-tourism, to intellectual capital vouchers. In this episode of Rural Routes you’ll hear from Dr. Felicity Kelliher at the SETU Waterford Campus on rural innovation in Ireland.

Click here: http://ruralroutespodcasts.com/?p=2207


Rural Spark Podcast

How the Irish do it: Rural innovation on the Emerald Isle

Helen Murphy, a rural newspaper editor and entrepreneur spoke with Dr. Felicity Kelliher to learn about how Ireland fosters rural innovation. Dr Kelliher is a co-chair of the RIKON research group from the South East of Ireland that explores and nurtures growth for small businesses.

Click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/246454/1337608

Ktaqamkuk Across The Water Thar Muir – published by the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies

The Forgotten Irish – Radharc Documentary RTÉ (1981)


‘The Forgotten Irish’ is a community of Irish people living over two thousand miles from Ireland in Newfoundland, Canada, whose ancestors left their home country six generations ago. Radharc looks at a colony of Irish people for whom time has stood still.
They speak with Irish accents, use Gaelic phrases, sing Irish songs, use old Irish farming techniques and gut fish the way their ancestors did in the 18th century. Aidan O’Hara encounters this community of sixth generation Irish in Cape Shore, Newfoundland, Canada.


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