The Cumann Merriman Summer School 2004

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Orthodoxies and Heresies: The New Ireland and its Sacred Cows

  • Location: Ennistymon, Co. Clare
  • Dates: 21 – 28 August 2004
  • Director: Professor Jim Malone, Trinity College and St. James’s Hospital, Dublin


Saturday 21

Registration at Falls Hotel
19.00 Reception
Opening of School
By Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Sunday 22

12.00 Noon
Clare/Polka Sets and Two-Hand Dances 1
With Johnny Morrissey and Betty Mc Coy
Lecture — Society and Culture in Contemporary Ireland
With Kevin Whelan
Lecture — The Culture and Politics of Health Care Delivery
With Muiris FitzGerald
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Monday 23

Seimineár Gaeilge — An Dá Shaol 1
Le Gearóid Ó Clérigh
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew your Irish 1
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 1
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 2
With Johnny Morrissey and Betty Mc Coy
Lecture — Religion, Culture and the New-Age / Oriental Movements
With Jack Finnegan
Lecture — An tSeanchnámh riamh: Níor athraigh Éire puinn!
Le Alan Titley
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Tuesday 24

Seimineár Gaeilge — An Dá Shaol 2
Le Póilín Ní Chiaráin
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew your Irish 2
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 2
12.00 Noon
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 3
Lecture — Is it true that the Women are worse than the Men?
With Olive Braiden
Seminar — Modern and Complementary approaches to Medicine and Well-Being: To be or not to be that is the question
With Camillus Power & Seamus Lynch
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Wednesday 25

Turas — Guided tour to Kinvara
An evening of music and dancing
With Paddy Cole and his band

Thursday 26

Seimineár Gaeilge — An Dá Shaol 3
Le Andrea Nic Thaidhg
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew your Irish 3
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 3
12.00 Noon
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 4
Lecture — Sport and Society: Participation and Observation
With Mary Davis
Lecture — When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now: Ireland’s Aging Multicultural Economy
With John FitzGerald
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Friday 27

Seimineár Gaeilge — An Dá Shaol 4
Le Seosamh Ó Cuaig
Cathaoirleach: Liam Ó Dochartaigh
a) Renew your Irish 4
Le hEoghan Ó hAnluain
b) Local History 4
12.00 Noon
Sets and Two-Hand Dances 5
Lecture — The Pleasures and Dangers of Orthodoxy
Ciaran Benson
Lecture — The Opal and the Pearl: Joyce in Defence of the Orthodoxy of Humanity
With Mark Patrick Hederman
Club Merriman — Dancing to the Four Courts Céilí Band

Saturday 28

Poetry Reading
Presented by Eoghan Ó hAnluain, Doireann Ní Bhriain et al
Researched by Máire Ní Mhurchú


Ciarán Benson
Professor of Psychology at UCD, author of The Cultural Psychology of Self, former chairperson of the Arts Council.
Olive Braiden
Chairperson of the Arts Council, Director of the Rape Crisis Centre for 10 years, member of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, appointed a Human Rights Commissioner in 2000.
Noel Crowley
Co. Librarian in Clare since 1975, Chairman of Clasp Press, Clare Local Studies Project and Ennis Sculpture Initiative, former member of the Arts Council.
Mary Davis
National Director of Special Olympics Ireland, CEO of the 2003 World Special Olympics, ESB / REHAB Person of the Year 2003, conferred with honorary doctorates from NUI, DCU and UL 2003/2004.
Brian Farrell
Broadcaster and political commentator. Emeritus Professor of Politics, UCD.
Jack Finnegan
Psychotherapist, priest, writer and lecturer on contemporary spirituality at Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin.
John FitzGerald
ESRI Research Professor, published in a number of fields, member of the Group of Economic Advisors to the President of the European Commission, member of National Economic and Social Council, and Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation.
Muiris FitzGerald
Professor of Medicine at UCD / St Vincent’s Hospital, Dean of Medicine, UCD. Commentator on health service policy and former chairperson of Comhairle na nOspidéal.
Mark Patrick
Hederman Benedictine, Glenstal Abbey, a philosopher and monk. Editor and author of many books including Kissing the Dark (Veritas) and Tarot: Talisman or Taboo?
Seamus Lynch
Accupunturist, zerobalancer and yoga teacher. Former architect, actor and theatre director.
Betty Mc Coy
Long established dance teacher who has played a central role in the revival and popularity of set dancing.
Frances Madigan
Primary school teacher and local historian from Ennistymon. Completed an M.A. thesis on her great grandfather, Patrick Madigan, a Kilfenora stonecutter.
Jim Malone
Robert Boyle Professor of Medical Physics at Trinity College / St. James’s Hospital, Dublin.
Diarmuid Martin
Recently succeeded as Archbishop of Dublin following his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop in May 2003. Has held senior diplomatic Vatican Offices.
Johnny Morrissey
Dance master. Well-known teacher and participant in set dancing and a concertina player.
Doireann Ní Bhriain
Arts consultant and broadcaster and regular contributor to Merriman poetry readings.
Póilín Ní Chiaráin
Craoltóir, iriseoir atá lonnaithe i mBéal Feirste, colúnaí de chuid Foinse
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.
Andrea Nic Thaidhg
Bhí ina Léachtóir le Gearmáinis in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Maigh Nuad. Spéis ar leith aici sna haistriúcháin ón nGearmáinis.
Pat Nugent
Lecturer in Historical and Cultural Geography / Modern Irish Language in The Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool.
Gearóid Ó Clérigh
File, aistritheoir, taidhleoir. Tréimhsí caite aige i Meiriceá, san Isiltír, sa Liobáin, sa Spáinn, sa Bheilg, san Eilbhéis.
Seosamh Ó Cuaig
Iriseoir, craoltóir, trodaí ar son cearta sibhialta sa Ghaeltacht; baint aige le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta ar feadh i bhfad agus toghadh ina chomhairleoir contae é i mbliana.
Liam Ó Dochartaigh
Stiúrthóir ar Scoileanna Geimhridh Chumann Merriman, 1998 – 2004. Cathaoirleach, Cumann Merriman, Stiúrthóir an Oideachais Idirnáisiúnta, Ollscoil Luimnigh.
Eoghan Ó hAnluain
Senior Lecturer in Irish, UCD. Directed Merriman Summer School 1992, and 24 Winter Schools (1969 – 1992).
Camillus Power
Consultant/Director of Pain Clinic, at Tallaght Hospital and Lecturer in Anaesthetics at TCD.
Alan Titley
Ceann Roinn na Gaeilge, Coláiste Phádraig, Droim Conrach. Scríbhneoir bisiúil, colúnaí ar an Irish Times agus gach earnáil saothraithe aige — gearrscéalaíocht, úrscéalaíocht, drámaíocht, filíocht, aistriúchán, léirmheastóireacht.
Kevin Whelan
Smurfit Director, Keough-Notre Dame Centre Dublin, one of Ireland’s best known and widely published historians.

Press release

The 37th annual Merriman Summer School will be held in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, from the 21st to the 28th August 2004. This year’s theme takes up the challenges and contradictions facing the new Ireland in coming to grips with itself and where it has come from. While this is a big and a serious topic, it will be treated with a light touch: something that is a hallmark of Merriman Schools.

The Director, Professor Jim Malone of Trinity College and of St James’s Hospital in Dublin has provided a packed programme well suited to visitors and locals alike. There is a terrific line up of notable speakers who will address many aspects of the new Ireland, its sacred cows, and its inevitable orthodoxies and heresies. The fields they will cover include healthcare, economics, sport, religion, culture, personal lifestyles, complementary medicine and many other aspects of the day-to-day life of the people.


The host of excellent speakers will be led off by the newly appointed Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who will open the School. Others include Professor Muiris Fitz Gerald, who will discuss the culture and politics of healthcare delivery; surely relevant in Ennis. Mary Davis of Special Olympics fame will consider our changing attitudes to sport. Camillus Power, Director of the Pain Clinic at Tallaght Hospital, will lead a seminar on Complimenatery Medicine with Seamus Lynch, a practitioner. Olive Braiden will tell us if it is really true that the women are worse than the men. John Fitz Gerald of the ESRI will discuss the changes in population structure. Mark Patrick Hederman from Glenstall will tell us how he feels James Joyce got it right for humanity.

A relaxing School

All of this is embedded in a holiday atmosphere. Professor Malone, who is from Clarecastle, says: We are very conscious that most people coming to the school are on their holidays, and we take care to design the programme so that those attending will have a good time. A day trip to Kinvara is included, and on Wednesday there will be an evening concert of music and dance with Paddy Cole and his Band. Tickets for this event are available in many outlets in County Clare. Information about where these outlets are is available from +353 (0)87 226 1889

This is Merriman’s 20th year to have Set Dancing on its programme twice every day. At noon there will be a workshop taken by Betty Mc Coy and Johnny Morrissey. In the evening we have a new experiment with the co-operation of the Falls Hotel: there will be set dancing, singing and traditional music in the bar of the hotel to which all are welcome. Professor Malone added: Merriman is a very welcoming organisation, and we invite all to come along for a day, an evening, or for as much of the week as they can manage.