The Cumann Merriman Summer School 2003

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Amharc Éireann: Recording Ireland

  • Location: Ennistymon, Co. Clare
  • Sunday 17 – Sunday 24 August 2003
  • Director: Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, University College, Cork


Sunday 17

Registration at Falls Hotel
Opening of School by Brian Farrell
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Monday 18

Seimineár Gaeilge 1
Scáthán na Téarmaíochta
Le Fidelma Ní Ghallchobhair
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew Your Irish 1
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 1
Patronage and Politics: The Fate of Tom Dermody
With Michael Griffin
12.00 Noon
Clare/Polka Sets and Two-Hand Dances 1
With Johnny Morrissey and Betty Mc Coy
Lecture — Nationalism and Faith Healing: the Drama of Brian Friel
With Pat Burke
Lecture — Reporting the North — Telling the truth or blackening the name?
With Susan Mc Kay
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Tuesday 19

Seimineár Gaeilge 2
Caint agus Comhrá: Staidéar ar an Teanga Labhartha
Le Siobhán Ní Laoire
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew Your Irish 2
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 2
Song and Song Collectors in Ireland 1
With Tom Munnelly
12.00 Niin
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 2
Lecture — Memories in Motion: The Irish Dancing Body
With Helena Wulff
Lecture &‐ Trén bhFearann Breac: Turasanna Fionnachtana agus Féiniúlachta i Litríocht Chomhaimseartha na Gaeilge
Le Máirín Nic Eoin
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Wednesday 20

Turas — Guided tour to South-West Clare: Loop Head, Kilbaha, Carrigaholt, Kilkee & Kilrush
Includes lecture — Eugene O’Curry and the local perspective
By Brian Ó Dálaigh
An evening of Clare music
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Thursday 21

Seimineár Gaeilge 3
Ag Greamú Focla
Le Mícheál Ó Conghaile
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew Your Irish 3
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 3
Song and Song Collectors in Ireland 2
With Tom Munnelly
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 3
Lecture — Recording Oral Historiographies: Uncovering Hidden Traditions of The Turnout in 1798
With Guy Beiner
Lecture — Keeping Ireland in the Picture
With Cathal Goan
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Friday 22

Seimineár Gaeilge 4
Na Meáin Ghaeilge: Laincisí is Dúshláin
Le Breandán Delap
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew Your Irish 4
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 4
Bailitheoir Béaloideasa: Tadhg Ó Murchadha in South-West County Clare in the 1940s
Le Patricia Lysaght
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 4
Lecture — Irish Manuscripts: Media and Message
With Cornelius G. Buttimer
Lecture — Talking about Ireland: the Gaze of Strangers
With Ricca Edmondson
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Saturday 23

Seimineár Gaeilge 5
Cá bhfuil bhur dtriall? Logainmneacha na hÉireann
Le Pádraig Ó Cearbhaill
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew your Irish 5
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 5
Aspects of the Material Culture and Food Traditions of County Clare
With Patricia Lysaght
12.00 Noon
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 5
Lecture — Telling Tales: Story Telling and Filmic Form. Reflections on a Creative Practice
With Desmond Bell
E.U., reception for School participants
Host: Peter Doyle
Lecture — The Seanchaí and the Database
With Tim Robinson
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Sunday 24

Poetry Reading
Presented by Eoghan Ó hAnluain, Doireann Ní Bhriain and David Hanly
Researched by Máire Ní Mhurchú


Guy Beiner
Guy is a Government of Ireland Research Fellow at the Department of Modern History in Trinity College Dublin. He is a graduate of Tel Aviv University in Israel and has a PhD in Modern Irish History from University College Dublin. His main areas of interest relate to historical issues of remembrance and forgetting.
Desmond Bell
Desmond was born in Derry and spent a lot of his youth in Donegal. He is currently Professor of Photography and Film at Napier University Edinburgh. His documentary film Rotha Mór an tSaoil won the 1999 Irish Film and Television Academy award for best Irish documentary.
Pat Burke
Pat teaches at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra where he is currently Director of MA in Theatre Studies. His PhD was on Friel, and he has published and lectured extensively on modern Irish drama and Shakespeare on film. He is also a theatre director and adjudicator.
Neil Buttimer
Niall Buttimer lectures in the Department of Modern Irish, UCC. He has researched and published on medieval and pre-Famine Gaelic Ireland, as well as contemporary cultural policy.
Breandán Delap
Iriseoir agus léirmheastóir is ea Breandán, an chéad eagarthóir a bhí ar Foinse. Ag obair anois mar Chlár Eagarthóir le Nuacht TG4.
Ricca Edmondson
Ricca is senior lecturer in political science and sociology at NUI Galway, and director of the Centre for Intercultural Studies. She was educated in Lancaster and Oxford and worked previously at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.
Brian Farrell
Broadcaster and political commentator. Emeritus Professor of Politics, University College Dublin.
Cathal Goan
Cathal is a native of Belfast. He joined Raidió Teilifís Éireann in 1979 where he held positions as Archivist, Radio Producer, Television Producer, and Editor of Irish Language Programming, before being appointed first Ceannasaí of Teilifís na Gaeilge, now TG4, in 1994. Appointed Director of Television, RTÉ in 2000. Currently, Managing Director RTÉ Television.
Michael Griffin
Michael is a graduate of NUI Galway and the University of Oxford and has spent the past year at the University of Notre Dame, where he has been completing a book on Oliver Goldsmith.
David Hanly
Broadcaster, journalist, novelist, columnist. Presents the weekly poetry programme The Enchanted Way on RTÉ Radio. Working on Morning Ireland for over 20 years. His TV profiles Hanly’s People won a Jacob’s award. A friend of Cumann Merriman from the beginning.
Patricia Lysaght
Associate Professor in the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin. She is President of the International Commission for Ethnological Food Research, an elected member of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy for Swedish Folk Culture, Uppsala, Sweden, and co-editor of Folklore for The Folklore Society, London.
Susan Mc Kay
Northern editor of the Sunday Tribune. Winner of several awards for her journalism. Author of two acclaimed books, Sophia’s Story (1998) and Northern Protestants, An Unsettled People (2000). Born in Derry, currently lives in County Dublin.
Betty Mc Coy
Betty is a long established dance teacher who has played a central role in the revival and popularity of set dancing.
Johnny Morrissey
Dance master. Well-known teacher and participant in set dancing and a concertina player.
Tom Munnelly
Tom is a Dubliner who has been a professional collector of song and traditional lore for most of four decades. A collector and archivist with the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin, he specialises in English language song in Irish oral tradition. Based fulltime in Clare since 1978, he has also worked with and on the folk traditions of most of the thirty-two counties.
Máirín Nic Eoin
Léachtóir i Roinn na Gaeilge, Coláiste Phádraig, Droim Conrach. Is í údar na leabhar An Litríocht Réigiúnach (1982), Eoghan Ó Tuairisc: Beatha agus Saothar (1988), agus B’Ait Leo Bean: Gnéithe den Idé-eolaíocht Inscne i dTraidisiún Liteartha na Gaeilge (1998).
Doireann Ní Bhriain
Arts consultant and broadcaster and regular contributor to Merriman poetry readings.
Fidelma Ní Ghallchobhair
Rúnaí an Choiste Téarmaíochta.
Siobhán Ní Laoire
Ollamh Cúnta i Scoil an Léinn Cheiltigh, Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath. Tá spéis faoi leith aici sa tsochtheangeolaíocht.
Máire Ní Mhurchú
Joint compiler with Diarmuid Breathnach of the acclaimed Beathaisnéis series, recognised by NUI Maynooth with the degree of D. Litt. Celt in 2002. She has researched numerous Merriman poetry sessions.
Pádraig Ó Cearbhaill
Taighdeoir logainmneacha, agus amhránaí traidisiúnta.
Mícheál Ó Conghaile
Born in Inis Treabhair, Conamara. He founded the Irish publishing house, Cló Iar-Chonnachta in 1985. His published works include Conamara agus Árainn 1880 – 1980 (1988), An Fear a Phléasc (1997), Sna Fir, (2000) and An Fear Nach nDéanann Gáire (2001). Received both a Hennessy and IACI Butler Literary Award in 1997.
Brian Ó Dálaigh
A history graduate of University College Dublin and National University of Ireland, Maynooth, with special interest in the archaeology, history and topography of the County Clare. Among his publications are Ennis in the Eighteenth Century (1995) and a substantial article on Brian Merriman in County Clare Studies (2000).
Liam Ó Dochartaigh
Director International Education, University of Limerick. Stiúrthóir ar Scoileanna Geimhridh Chumann Merriman, 1998 – 2003.
Diarmuid Ó Giolláin
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Folklore and Ethnology, University College Cork, and author of Locating Irish Folklore — Tradition, Modernity, Identity (2000). Tá leabhar ar an mbéaloideas á scríobh aige as Gaeilge faoi láthair.
Eoghan Ó hAnluain
Senior Lecturer in Irish, University College Dublin. Directed Merriman Summer School 1992, and 24 Winter Schools (1969 – 1992).
Tim Robinson
Worked as a visual artist in Vienna and London before starting to write and moving to the Aran Islands in 1972. His books include Stones of Aran, My Time in Space, and Tales and Imaginings. He now lives in Roundstone.
Helena Wulff
Helena has a PhD in social anthropology from Stockholm University where she is a senior lecturer. Author of Ballet across Borders: Career and Culture in the World of Dancers (Berg, 1998). She is currently engaged in a study of dance in Ireland and questions of memory, modernity and place.

Press release

The idea of “Recording Ireland” may be understood in a generous way: in the imaginative representations of artists, in the less subjective work of journalists, historians and ethnographers, or in between as in the hybrid forms of travel writers and essayists. Such “recordings”, generated from within Ireland and from outside, are the subject of discussion for the Merriman Summer School 2003.

Speakers at the School

The School will be opened by Professor Brian Farrell, who as distinguished broadcaster and academic has himself spent many years recording Ireland. Treatments of local topics include Michael Griffin on Tom Darmody, the 18th century poète maudit and dissolute Clareman, Tom Munnelly on song and song collectors (being an eminent one himself), Patricia Lysaght both on aspects of the traditional culture of Clare and on an important recorder of it, and Brian Ó Dálaigh on the great Clare scholar Eugene O’Curry.

Art forms that address the Irish and imaginatively record aspects of their experience are the subjects for Pat Burke, speaking on Brian Friel’s plays, for Helena Wulff, examining dance in Ireland, for Máirín Nic Eoin, looking at contemporary literature in Irish, for Desmond Bell, addressing aspects of the making of films of which he himself is an award-winning exponent, and for the Reacaireacht, the poetry reading selected by Máire Ní Mhurchú and presented by Eoghan Ó hAnluain, Doireann Ní Bhriain and David Hanly.

Irish manuscripts, the longest continuous records of Ireland spanning almost a millennium and a half and works both of the literary and historical imagination, are the subject for Neil Buttimer, while Tim Robinson deals with another voluminous source of native historical knowledge and imagination in the words of the seanchaí. Such knowledge is an aspect of Guy Beiner’s treatment of the oral traditions of 1798, a major source for the history “from below” of the events of that tumultuous year. Ricca Edmondson deals with those outsiders who recorded Ireland using the methods of the social sciences, scholars such as Arensberg and Kimball whose pioneering anthropological study (the recent Clasp Press re-edition of which she co-edited) was carried out in Clare in the 1930s. Eminent journalists give us their perspectives on recording Ireland in the media, Susan Mc Kay on reporting the North, Cathal Goan — whose recent appointment as Director General of RTÉ will give particular interest to his views — on the role of television in putting Ireland in the picture and Brendán Delap on the Irish-language media.

The Irish language

Ireland is recorded in its two native languages. The Irish language is the source of most of our placenames, and these are the subject of Pádraig Ó Cearbhaill’s talk. As a spoken language, a record of a changing Ireland in itself, the Irish language is discussed by Siobhán Ní Laoire. Fidelma Ní Ghallchobhair deals with another aspect of the living language: the need to create new terms in order to to represent changing realities. Mícheál Ó Conghaile treats the living language from a more literary perspective, and plays his own part in recording Ireland as a major Irish-language publishers. And each morning, Eoghan Ó hAnluain will conduct a language class for those who wish to renew their Irish.

E.U. Reception

Mr Peter Doyle will host an EU Reception for the participants. A full day guided tour will take the participants to South-West Clare — to Loop Head, Kilbaha, Carrigaholt, Kilkee and Kilrush. The usual dancing classes will be an integral part of the school with Johnny Morrissey and Betty Mc Coy in charge, and a céilí will be held each night to the music of the Four Courts Céilí Band. There will also be an evening devoted to Clare music.