Please note, with restrictions currently in place this event may be cancelled or postponed; or its venue may be temporarily closed to the public. Check with the event organiser or venue for most up-to-date information.


Linen Hall strums up a hit with new online programme featuring Northern Ireland’s top guitarists.

Thin Lizzy original guitarist Eric Bell, Newtownards Axe Man Ricky Warwick from Black Star Riders, the irreverent Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers, and Andy Cairns from Therapy? are all in the line up for a new workshop series, Guitar Heroes, starting Monday 10 May.

Also in May Linen Hall asks, ‘who was St John Ervine (1883-1971)?’  This multi-talented Ulster writer, dramatist, feminist and socialist is rediscovered on 12 May, and on 19 May Professor Feargal Cochrane reviews the NI peace process in light of Brexit. Plus all of our popular reading groups continue.

May event schedule: 

Guitar Heroes
Starts Monday 10 May at 7pm
Online ZOOM programme 

The Linen Hall Library’s Making the Future project is launching one of its most ambitious online programmes since lockdown began. Some of Northern Ireland’s best-loved guitarists are invited to chat intimately about their musical influences, how growing up in NI shaped their musical styles and the impact their music has had on their own and countless generations over the years. Featuring Thin Lizzy original guitarist Eric Bell, Newtownards Axe Man Ricky Warwick from Black Star Riders, the irreverent Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers, and Andy Cairns from the internationally acclaimed trio Therapy?. BBC presenter Ralph McLean will ask the probing questions.

Northern Ireland Political Collection Series
An Alternative Ulster? Political Loyalism: 1973-1987 with Tony Novosel
Monday 10 May at 7pm
Online ZOOM event 

At a time of great uncertainty for loyalism and Northern Ireland, it is worth examining an alternative political path loyalism and Northern Ireland could have taken, a path that may have prevented many of the problems facing both today. Tony Novosel is Senior Lecturer Emeritus of History at the University of Pittsburgh.

‘St John Ervine: who did he think he was?’
With Norman Vance
Wednesday 12 May at 7pm
Online ZOOM event 

St John Ervine (1883-1971) was the best-known Ulster writer in the inter-war years.  Helped and befriended by Yeats and H.G. Wells, and most of all by George Bernard Shaw, he was born in Ballymacarrett to parents who were deaf and dumb, lived for most of his adult life in London and Devon and died in Sussex.  But just who was he?  A man of the theatre, he played many parts, in England, in Ireland and in North America, as dramatist, theatre manager and drama critic.  He was also a novelist, biographer and newspaper columnist, a broadcaster and controversialist, a socialist, a feminist and an Irish nationalist who ended up as a maverick Ulster unionist and English conservative. Norman Vance is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Intellectual History at the University of Sussex.

Reading Caroline Blackwood, with Dr Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Monday 17 May at 7pm
Broadcast on Linen Hall’s Facebook and YouTube channels

Dr Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado, Visiting Scholar in the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast, will present a talk on ‘Reading Caroline Blackwood.’ This lecture will cover the work of Lady Caroline Blackwood (1931-1996), a Booker Prize-shortlisted Irish author. Blackwood was born into the Ulster aristocracy at Clandeboye House in County Down, Northern Ireland. Her father was the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava and her mother was one of the Golden Guinness Girls. She began her writing career as a journalist before transitioning to literary fiction. Dr Sherratt-Bado will discuss Caroline Blackwood as a creative genius in her own right, who deserves to stand as a Northern counterpart to her contemporary Edna O'Brien.

Book Launch
Northern Ireland: the Fragile Peace
With Professor Feargal Cochrane
Wednesday 19 May at 7pm
Online ZOOM event 

After two decades of relative peace following the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the Brexit referendum in 2016 reopened the Northern Ireland question. In this thoughtful and engaging book, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Christopher Ewart Biggs Memorial Prize on its original release, Feargal Cochrane considers the region’s troubled history from the struggle for Irish independence in the nineteenth century to the present.

Linen Hall Reading Group
Thursday 27 May at 1pm
Online ZOOM event 

The Linen Hall's popular reading group meets via ZOOM. May’s title for discussion is 1921 by Morgan Llewelyn. To attend the virtual group, please email

Club Leabhar - Irish Language Reading Group
Saturday 29 May at 11am - 12 noon
Online ZOOM event 

Speak Irish? Or want to brush up on your skills? Take part in our free Irish book club.

May’s title is: Ceo Bruithne by Colin Ryan (available through An Ceathrú Póilí in An Chultúrlann amongst other places). To register email:

The Linen Hall Library is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please keep an eye on our website and social networks for updated information. 

The Linen Hall Library’s social network channels can be found at: TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube. 

 For more information about the Linen Hall Library go to:

Mon, 17 May 2021 7:00 - 8:00pm
Wed, 19 May 2021 7:00 - 8:00pm
Thu, 27 May 2021 1:00 - 2:00pm
Sat, 29 May 2021 11:00am - 12:00pm

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