Robert Welch obituary

My friend and teacher Robert Welch, who has died of cancer aged 65, was a writer, critic and academic. Bob was an energetic and busy man who not only produced a wealth of diverse publications – poems, plays and novels, as well as critical works and essays – but was an effective administrator at the University of Ulster, serving for long periods as head of the English department and dean of arts.

He was educated in his native Cork and at Leeds University, where he first worked, before moving to Ulster as professor of English in 1984. He always had the ability to think big and was especially committed to the dissemination of Irish culture to a wider audience. His major advantage, one that he employed to great effect, was that he was a fluent Irish speaker who also had an abundant knowledge of literature in English.

In the 1980s and 90s, Bob was
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