The Daniel O’Connell Summer School will be held in Cahersiveen and Derrynane on Friday/Saturday, 26/27 August next.
Cahersiveen-born Professor Maurice Bric who is the Director of the School said that “unlike some of the other Summer Schools, the Daniel O’Connell School does not have a specific theme. Instead, we offer a mix of lectures on local, county national and international history. Of course, we will also have a section on the life and times of O’Connell himself and how he continues to influence the Ireland in which we live to-day. I am sure that Mary MacAleese will also refer to this in her keynote”.
“Mrs. MacAleese will be giving the annual Daniel O’Connell Lecture. This year however, it will be in the format of an interview. Frank Lewis from Radio Kerry will be the moderator and I expect the interview will be wide-ranging. Mrs. MacAleese has a long-standing interest in O’Connell and of course, is a frequent visitor to South Kerry. We will also allow time for questions from the audience so I am looking forward to what I know will be an interesting and lively session”.
“We will also hear a lecture from Professor Rhona Richman Keneally from Concordia University in Montreal. For a number of years now, Rhona has being doing work on the impact of rural electrification on the design of Irish homes, especially in rural Ireland. She will talk about this and in particular, how the installation of new cookers affected what we eat, the role of domestic science teachers, the role of organisations like the Irish Countrywomens’ Association and so forth on what was the beginning of a new time in the social history of Ireland”.
“We will also have a section on the life of O’Connell himself including a lecture on the way he was treated by the press at the time. This lecture will be given by John Horgan. John is from Tralee and was the first president of the Press Council and in hisd time, of course, a distinguished journalist and politician. Maureen Murphy will talk about a visit which a remarkable lady called Askenath Nicholson made to South Kerry in 1847 at the height of the famine. Her account is not only very detailed but remarkable for the descriptions of Iveragh at that time”.
“Another highlight is a discussion about people from South Kerry who took part in 1916. This will be led by the relatives of some of the principals who took part in the rebellion including Dermot Lynch, son of Fionán Lynch, Brigid Laffan – or Brigid Burns as we knew her growing up in Cahersiveen – and Mick Clifford who will be known to many people from his journalism and from his appearances on television. Junior Murphy will also talk about these men and women.”
“On Saturday, we will have a number of lectures in Derrynane House itself, home of Daniel O’Connell, including a section on local history, including one on the placenames of South Kerry which will be given by Breandán Ó Cíobháin and another on Tomás Rua, the great poet of South Kerry whose songs and poems continue to inspire and entertain”.
Mary O’Connor of Derrynane who is Chairperson of the Organising Committee said that in Derrynane House, “there will be a section on the cycling tradition in South Kerry. Cycling was always very strong in this part of Kerry and we will be glad to welcome Paul Rouse from UCD and the Irish Examiner to talk about this. Jane Urquhart will also talk about her recent novel, The Night Stages, which is based on the Rás Tailteann. Jane is one of Canada’s leading novelists and a long-time visitor to South Kerry”.
She also stressed that “the School in both Cahersiveen and Derrynane is very much a County Kerry event and our local committees have been hard at work over the past several months. The School is a great community event and we are grateful for the support which we get from our local communities. We will have a good mixture of lectures that draws on the general and the local and it will be of interest to anybody who is interested in the rich history and culture not only of Kerry but of Ireland as a whole”.”.
Junior Murphy of Cahersiveen who oversees the arrangements in Cahersiveen added that “while the School will offer a number of lectures of historical interest, it will also host an event in the Con Keating GAA grounds in Cahersiveen at which the former intercounty footballer, Jack O’Shea, will speak about his career as a footballer. The bishop of Kerry will also celebrate a Mass in remembrance of O’Connell in Caherdaniel Church on Sunday morning, the 28th of August.” He also added that the School has its own web-site and all the details of the School are posted there on www.o’connellsummerschool.com. He said that “everybody is welcome and if last year’s event is anything to go by, everybody will enjoy it”.
The Daniel O’Connell Summer School was originally set up during the 1980s when it was directed by Professor Maurice O’Connell and Tom Barrington. It was revived in 2013. It is organised by a local committee including Mary O’Connor (Derrynane) and Junior Murphy (Cahersiveen). Professor Maurice Bric is the Academic Director. He is a native of Cahersiveen and teaches history at University College Dublin. The panel of speakers includes people from the area as well as historians and writers of Kerry and Ireland.
For further information, please contact Mary O’Connor at 087-280-5702 or Junior Murphy at 066-947-2518.