Celebrating Maurice Craig in his hometown of Belfast

Last Thursday, 8 March, our MD Seán, Alice and I headed for the M1 and the lovely city of Belfast. Having had our very first Northern Irish launch in January of this year, in Derry, it was our pleasure to be back in the North, and in a new city. Maurice Craig was born in Belfast in 1919 and although he lived most of his life in Dublin and various towns in England, he was a very proud Ulsterman. This was evident as the event was hosted by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, of which Maurice was founding Vice-President.
Maurice Craig
Held in the magnificent Clifton House, the night saw all facets of Maurice's long and varied life celebrated. Not only did we have our two publications with Maurice available, Dublin 1660-1860 and Poems, but we also had available Photographs and Mausolea Hibernica which Maurice wrote in association with his son Michael. Michael and his sister Catherine used the wonderful settings of Clifton House to showcase 'The Museum of Maurice' which consisted of articles of his many hobbies and travelling adventures.
Part of 'The Museum of Maurice', his infamous dog-hair jumper
Primrose Wilson of the UAHS opened the night speaking wonderfully about her fond memories of Maurice before handing over to Michael Craig. Michael evoked memories of his father throughout his childhood in Belfast and early years studying in Queens University. He made the crowd laugh as he recalled one of Maurice's rows with publishers who insisted on provinces being listed in his books by alphabet to which Maurice would insist on their being listed in order of importance: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught - with myself and Alice being proud Ulsterwomen, we would of course have to agree with Maurice! Michael praised his father for instilling in him and his sister Catherine a love of language, travelling, and an eye for noticing unusual aspects of life. Although Maurice was renowned for being particular about grammar and his beloved architecture, declaring in margins of notes something to be 'NBG' which Michael has always presumed meant 'No Bloody Good', Michael ended by raising a toast to his father, who to all those present is 'Still Bloody Good'. 
Michael Craig addresses the gathering
Professor Andrew Carpenter followed Michael by speaking passionately on Maurice's love for Belfast, his unrivalled prose and poetry skills, and his love of language. Having worked on Poems with Maurice before his passing, Andrew then read his favourite poem entitled 'Merrion Square: A Descriptive Poem', which can be accessed on our YouTube page.


A truly wonderful, celebratory night was held for Maurice and we were delighted to play a part in it. Thanks to the marvellous Primrose for all her help; for more photos of the event, see our Facebook page and the selection below.

Caroline

Alice manning the book stand
Part of 'The Museum of Maurice'




Enjoying the lovely food
Primrose addressing the gathering