Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Richard Hayward and "Ulster Sails West"

Some weeks ago BBC Northern Ireland broadcast an excellent biographical documentary, presented by Dan Gordon, about Richard Hayward - actor, singer, writer, folklorist, recording artist - you name it and Hayward did it. His life has been wonderfully captured in Paul Clements' recent book Romancing Ireland, Richard Hayward, 1892–1964. An accompanying exhibition produced by BBC Northern Ireland has been touring local venues, the launch of which I attended at Larne Library earlier this year.

Below is a screenshot from the documentary, a frame from a short film where Hayward guides an American GI stationed in Northern Ireland in the 1940s through the history of the place. It shows Hayward's remarkable attention to detail - the placing of a copy of Rev W.F. Marshall's 1943 book Ulster Sails West in the window of a bookshop. This is one of the most distinctive Ulster book cover designs of the 20th century. None of Haywards image-making was accidental - all was carefully considered for optimum effect. I could go on at length here, but you can take it in for yourself in the YouTube version of the documentary, posted below. Hayward's comfort with Ulster's multiple cultural identities, and his joy for the place, is something which todays generation could learn from.

Richard Hayward 11 5 Ulster Sails West HR HR