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A celebration of the 18th century Irish poet Brian Merriman and all aspects of Irish Language and culture.


Guest Speakers at the 2006 Merriman Summer School

This page lists the speakers and lecturers who attended the 2006 Summer School and provides short biogs for each of them.

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Speakers and Lecturers for 2006

Cumann Merriman would like to thank all those who participated in the Summer School. In 2006, contributers included:

Bob Collins
Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland since August 2005. Former Director‑General of RTÉ. Director of two Merriman Summer Schools in the early eighties and of the Bicentenary Summer School in 2005.
Patricia Coughlan
Professor of English at University College Cork. Publications include Spenser and Ireland (editor) and Modernism and Ireland: the Poets of the 1930s (co‑editor, with Alex Davis).
Brendan Dunford
Co‑founder of Burrenbeo. Presently managing the European funded LIFE project, ‘Farming for Conservation in the Burren’.
Neal Garnham
Senior lecturer in History at the University of Ulster. Researches and teaches in the areas of sport and crime in Ireland. Author of Association Football and Society in Pre‑partition Ireland (Belfast, 2004).
Luke Gibbons
Keough Family Chair in Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame. Recent books: Gaelic Gothic: Race, Colonialism and Irish Culture (2004); Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics and the Colonial Sublime 1750–1850 (2003. Contributing editor to The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing. Former member of the Board of Trustees of the International James Joyce Foundation.
Michael Griffin
Michael is from Shannon. Teaches English Studies at the University of Limerick. Graduate of NUI‑Galway and Oxford. Before returning to work in Limerick in 2003 he taught at Southern Illinois University and University of Notre Dame. Has published widely on Irish writing in English in the eighteenth century.
Niamh Hourigan
Writer and academic based at the Department of Sociology, University College Cork. Her recent book, Escaping the Global Village: Media, Language and Protest (2003, 2004) received a positive international critical response. Frequent contributor to print and broadcast media including Questions and Answers.
Biddy Jenkinson
Writes for enjoyment and hopes never to depress, frighten, torment or wrench the heart of a reader. Her latest collection of poems, Oíche Bhealtaine was published last year by Coiscéim. At present she is preparing a collection of detective stories, featuring Pádraig Ua Duinnín as hero.
Seán Kelly
Served as President of the GAA from 2003 to 2006. Educated at Tralee CBS, St. Brendan’s in Killarney, St. Patricks College of Education in Dublin and UCD, he worked as a teacher since the 1970s. He has been responsible for much innovation in the Association, notably rule changes and the introduction of the Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cup competitions. His Presidency also saw the opening up of Croke Park to rugby and soccer. In July 2006, Kelly was appointed Chairman of the new Irish Institute of Sport.
Aifric Mac Aodha
Aifric is working on her first poetry collection at the moment. Her poems have been published in several magazines, including Poetry Ireland, Innti and Bliainiris. She has won many prizes for her poetry and was recently awarded an Arts Council endowment.
Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin
A creative musician and writer, based in An Spidéal, Conamara. A former primary school teacher. An RTÉ television and radio presenter until 2000. Founder of Futa Fata. Now divides his time between music composition, production and publication and television drama creation and scriptwriting. His thirteen part TV comedy drama in Irish for young people Aifric is being filmed in Conamara this summer.
Mathúin Mac Fheorais
A native of Ballykett, Kilrush, Co. Clare. Trained as a National School Teacher at St Patrick’s Dumcondra and is a retired inspector of National Schools. Has published several essays on Clare history and the history of the GAA. Currently preparing a book, The Clare Fenians in Context.
John Mc Auliffe
John’s first book, A Better Life (Gallery) was shortlisted for a Forward Prize for Best First Collection in Ireland and the UK in 2003. He grew up in Listowel. Now teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester and directs the Poetry Now festival in Dun Laoghaire.
Dónal Mc Anallen
Has published a number of historical articles, lectured on Sabbatarianism and the GAA in Ulster, at the inaugural conference of Sports History Ireland in 2005. Has worked as freelance in both print and broadcast media. Former Editor of High Ball magazine. Currently national Secretary of Comhairle Ardoideachais, the Higher Education Council of the GAA.
Daniel Mc Carthy
Managing director of Boru Cultural Enterprises, a consultancy service in historical planning and exhibition development. Author of Ireland’s Banner County and The Book of Clare. Has contributed a chapter on Citizen Cusack and Clare’s Gaelic Games to the forthcoming book Clare History & Society, being published by Geography Publications.
Betty Mc Coy
Long‑established dance teacher who has played a central role in the revival and popularity of set dancing.
Br. Seán Mc Namara
Author of The Man from Carron, a survey of the career of Michael Cusack. Former teacher at Ennis CBS. Has lectured widely on Michael Cusack.
Johnny Morrissey
Dance master. Well‑known set dancing teacher and participant; also a concertina player.
Fidelma Mullane
Geographer from Clare. Holds an MA in vernacular architecture from NUI,Galway. Trained as a planner at University of Paris‑Sorbonne. Currently working as specialist and conservation consultant in vernacular architecture. Board Member of the Galway Arts Festival.
John A. Murphy
Emeritus Professor of Irish History at University College Cork. Independent member of Seanad Éireann, 1977 to 1983, and 1987 to 1992. Publications include Ireland in the 20th Century and The College. Has recently been the subject of a festschrift, History and the Public Sphere: Essays in honour of John A. Murphy.
Róisín Ní Ghairbhí
Originally from Rathkeale, Co. Limerick. Has completed a Ph.D at NUI, Galway on the bilingual writers Michael Hartnett and Eoghan Ó Tuairisc. Has taught at University College Dublin and the University of Limerick. Currently researching the career of Pádraig Mac Piarais as well as the Gaelic Revival in County Limerick.
Máire Ní Neachtain
Lecturer in Irish in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Former Cathaoirleach of Cumann Merriman and directed the 1999 Summer School.
Brian Ó Conchubhair
Assistant Professor in the new Department of Irish Language and Literature and a Fellow of the Keough Institute, University of Notre Dame. Also taught at the Catholic University at Lubeliski, Poland, and at Boston College. Research interests include the Irish Literary Revival, 19th and 20th‑century writers and the Irish language in America.
Brendán Ó Cathaoir
Historian and journalist, with deep Clare roots. Was awarded a D.Litt degree by the National University of Ireland in 2004 on the basis of his published work, which includes a biography of John Blake Dillon, and Famine Diary — expanded from his Irish Times column.
Brian Ó Dálaigh
Clare historian. Publications include: Ennis in the Eighteenth Century (1995) and essays on Merriman in County Clare Studies (2000). He has edited: Corporation Book of Ennis (1990); The Strangers Gaze: Travels in County Clare: 1534–1950; and co‑edited Irish Townlands (1998) and Irish Villages (2003).
Liam Ó Dochartaigh
Current Chairman of Cumann Merriman. Director International Education, University of Limerick. Stiúrthóir of Cumann Merriman Winter Schools between 1998 to 2006.
Eoghan Ó hAnluain
Senior Lecturer in Irish in University College Dublin up to retirement. He directed 24 Winter Schools, was Secretary of Cumann Merriman in its early years and Cathaoirleach from 1992 to 1997.
Pádraig Ó hIrghile
Held many government ministries before becoming European Commissioner for Social Affairs in 1973. President of Ireland 1976 to 1990. Associated with Cumann Merriman since its 1968 Summer School. Patron of the Cumann since 1976 as successor to Presidents Éamon de Valera and Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh.
Daithí Ó hÓgáin
Associate Professor of Folklore, UCD. Originally from Bruff, Co. Limerick but based in Bray, Co. Wicklow for many years. Ireland’s leading folklore scholar, author of over forty books including works of analysis of folklore, literature, and history, seven collections of poetry and three collections of short stories. Most recent work is The Lore of Ireland (2006), an encyclopædia of Irish traditional narrative.
Máirtín Ó Murchú
Senior professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; among his publications are East Perthshire Gaelic (1989) and Cumann Buan‑Choimeádta na Gaeilge (2001).
Barry O’Brien
Originally trained as an army officer and a graduate of NUI Galway. Has worked as Head of Promotion and Industrial Liaison with the NCEA in the development of the higher education system. Former member of the HEA. Has an active interest in all sports, especially Rugby, Soccer and Gaelic Games.
Patrick J. O’Connor
Human geographer at the University of Limerick. Author of fourteen books, including four volumes of poetry and the prize‑winning Exploring Limerick’s Past and People Make Places.
Bernard O’Donoghue
Fellow in English at Wadham College, Oxford. Has written five major poetry collections: Poaching Rights (1987); The Weakness (1991); Gunpowder (1995), which won the Whitbread Prize for poetry; Here Nor There (1999) and; Outliving (2003), as well as contributed to numerous editions of The Anthology of Oxford Poetry.
Tina O’Toole
Lecturer in English at the University of Limerick. Edited and compiled The Dictionary of Munster Women Writers 1800–2000 (2005), and co‑authored (with Linda Connolly) Documenting Irish Feminisms (2005).
Joe Power
Teaches history and geography at Kilrush Community School. Has written several books including The GAA in Clarecastle (1987) and A History of Clare Castle and its environs (2004). Has also edited An Ennis Miscellany (1990) and published several articles in local historical journals such as The Other Clare and Dal gCais.
Frank Shovlin
Teaches at the Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. Published The Irish Literary Periodical 1923–1958 (2003). Contributor to Oxford’s forthcoming multi‑volume History of the Irish Book. Has published a number of short stories. Currently researching a book on James Joyce and the Literary Revival.
Alan Titley
Scholar, Irish Times columnist, novelist, literary historian, dramatist. Winner of many writing awards, Amach, 2004, the story for young teenagers which won the Bisto Prize in 2004, is an example of his versatility. Recently appointed Professor of Modern Irish in University College Cork.
Kevin Whelan
Michael J. Smurfit Director of the Keough‑Naughton Notre Dame Centre in Dublin. Has published fifteen books and almost one hundred articles. Among his books are The Tree of Liberty (1996); the multiple award winning Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape (1997) and; 1798: A bicentenary perspective (2003).
Balloonatics Theatre Company
Founded by Cambridge students for the Joyce Centenary in 1982, twenty‑three years and two Edinburgh Fringe First Awards later, the Balloonatics Theatre Company’s performance of Cyclops is a raucous tale of pints and prejudice in a Dublin pub. Revived for the Bloomsday centenary celebrations in Dublin during 2004, where it was acclaimed from the rafters, this is an uproarious comic re‑enactment by seasoned actors of Joyce’s celebrated clash between nationalism, colonialism, cosmopolitanism and drink.
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
The voice of gaelic games, Micheál was born in Dún Síon, near Daingean Uí Chúis, County Kerry. He began his broadcasting career when when he won a commentary competition, as Gaeilge, in Croke Park in 1949. He took up that profession full time in 1982 as sport and current affairs correspondent for Raidió na Gaeltachta. He is currently to be heard on RTÉ Radio 1.

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