Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School 2016
The third annual Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was held over the weekend of the 27th -29th May 2016. Here is a brief synopsis and some pictures of the events.
Refugees and Strangers: being Irish in Europe 1500-1800
Europe’s mass migration crisis prompted the theme for this year’s Micheal O’Cleirigh Summer School in Rossnowlagh. To Irish people migration is not new. We have been serial migrants for centuries, a theme discussed at the Summer school from May 27th to 29th under the title Refugees and Strangers: Being Irish in Europe 1500 – 1800. This is the third year of the school which was founded to honour the Principal of the Four Masters, Br. Mícheál Ó’Cléirigh, born close to Rossnowlagh in Creevy, near Ballyshannon.
Mícheál, along with many thousands of young people from Donegal and from the rest of Ireland, emigrated after the Flight of the Earls in 1607. School cathaoirleach Brian McAuley said: “We sometimes trace the tradition of emigration from Ireland to the terrible situation in which people found themselves during the Great Famine. “The truth is that throughout history, Ireland has witnessed many migrations. We know that monks ‘brought civilization to Europe’ during the Middle Ages; soldiers (Wild Geese) left Ireland from 1500 onwards to join the great armies of Europe; monks and clerics left Ireland during the same period to found colleges in Europe; and today many young people leave our shores to find work in England, in Australia and in Canada.”
Friday 27th May
Local History Project- Hosted by Dr Kelly Fitzgerald UCD
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald: Céitinn Leabhar an tSeanchais: Literary and Oral Interaction in Irish Folklore (UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics) This was the culmination of work begun at the 2015 Summer School where the reminiscences of people from the locality were recorded and will be stored in the Archive of UCD.
Official Opening of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School
- by Marion Harkin MEP
Marion Harkin opened the 2016 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School. Born in Balintogher, County Sligo she serves as an Independent Member of the European Parliament for the constituency of Midlands North West, previously serving as MEP for the North West Constituency since 2004. Prior to that she served as an Independent TD for the constituency of Sligo Leitrim (2002-07) It is perhaps significant, given the theme of the 2016 Mícheál Ó Cleirigh Summer School that the person opening the school has been active in her work as an MEP in Brussels in seeking help for those most disadvantaged in the European Community whether they be a small farmer or fisherman in the west of Ireland or someone escaping from war or persecution in the Europe of 2016.
In a very powerful speech she reminded everyone of the tragic events unfolding in southern Europe presently and the poor response- too little too late from the various EU member states who are reacting rather tan being proactive in this human crisis.
Kilbarron Castle Model
A scale model of Kilbarron Castle has been re-constructed using the ground plan made by F. W. Lockwood in 1903. The buildings have been interpreted using research into buildings of a similar age and style used in Irish Tower Houses built in Connacht in the 15th Century. The finished model was unveiled by Madeleine Cleary,who traces her ancestry back to Flann O’Clery a cousin of Lughaidh Uí Cleirigh, the last resident of the castle and last Ollamh to the Uí Domhnaills. (O’Donnells)
This model of the castle was the brainchild of Madeleine and has been sponsored entirely by her. It is part of the on-going project by Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group to conserve the ruins of Kilbarron Castle the ancestral home of Mícheál Uí Cléirigh, Cú Coigcríche Uí Cléirigh and Conaire Uí Cléirigh.
The Mícheál Ó’Cléirigh School lectures opened on Friday evening with a talk from Professor John Mc Cafferty, Director of the Micheal O’Cleirigh Institute at UCD. Professor McCafferty reminded his audience how the Franciscan Friars had decided that the Irish “saved civilization”.
The Creevy Mummers were once a familiar sight in the locality on the run up to Christmas each year. Creevy National School decided that they would revive the long tradition but give it a more contemporary look. Although a bit out of season, the youngsters gave the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School attendees a flavour of their superb performance.
Poet Maureen Boyle ‘The Work of Winter’
Maureen Boyle is an award winning poet who teaches creative writing with the Open University. She read a series of evocative poems called ” The work of Winter” in which she imagines Mícheál Ó Cléirigh in Louvain at the end of his life thinking back over it- from his childhood in Kilbarron to his life’s work on the great Irish manuscripts.
Here is a small excerpt of two verses from the poem that reminds Mícheál of his childhood and his home. The complete poem can be found in a book of poetry called “The Yellow Nib” No 7 Spring 2012.
Those nights I would often long for home, for the white nights
and for Kilbarron, when the sky beyond the mountains would
never go completely dark
and I would sleep to the rhythm of the sea and wake to the
smell of oats bubbling
in the porridge pot and the glimpse of chimney sky as I helped
my mother, Honora Ultach,
Check for birds before the lighting of the morning fires.
We were a perching house, set in the very edge of things,
the castle walls contiguous
with the cliff precipitous, seeming set one day to tumble into
the waves below.
It was never silent since the sea was always speaking: shushing
us on quiet nights,
thundering in storm, sending spumes of white waves nipping
at the castle’s ankles
like terriers and sometimes showering us with foam.
Traditional music from the local area.
Senan Brennan, pictured here with fiddle player Clare Gallagher entertained with a selection of musical pieces from the local area. They were joined by guest Bóhrain player Rossa Ó Snodaigh.
Saturday 28th May
Irish Integration into the Continental Nobilities, c.1600-c.1900 (Consciousness of Origin & Cosmopolitanism)
On Saturday morning Dr. Declan Downey, lecturer at the School of History and Archives, UCD, talked on Irish Integration into the Continental Nobilities, c.1600-c.1900 (Consciousness of Origin & Cosmopolitanism) relating how the Irish found themselves in prominent positions in the Royal Courts of Europe.
Patterns of Irish Migration 1690-1820
Later in the morning Dr Patrick Fitzgerald QUB gave a talk about Emigration from the Northwest of Ireland including the counties of Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone in the 18th century in a talk titled Patterns of Irish Migration 1690-1820
Schools Art Competition 2016- “Leaving Home”
The primary school art competition has become a very popular and exciting part of the summer school. It provides an opportunity for the young people in the area to take part in the school’s activities. The subject of this years competition was “Leaving Home” which evoked a very diverse series of images from the pupils who took part in the competition. The work of the pupils was displayed in the Franciscan Friary Hall, Rossnowlagh, during the weekend. Prizes were awarded to those successful in the four categories. First, Second & Third places with a number in each were awarded Highly Commended Certificates.
Gael Thar Lear san 18ú Aois
Don chéad uair a Bhí an Scoil Samhraidh gné seisiún as Gaeilge, an teanga ina tháirgtear Mhichíl Uí Chléirigh Annála na gCeithre Máistrí. Bhí dealbhóir Cliodna Cussen labhairt faoi a “Gael Thar Lear san 18ú Aois”
For the first time the Summer School featured a session in Gaeilge, the language in which Mícheál Ó Cléirigh produced the Annals of the Four Masters. Sculptor Cliodna Cussen, spoke about The Gaels abroad in the 18th Century
Refugees Today – History Ireland Hedge School Panel Discussion
On Saturday afternoon there was a Hedge School with a panel discussion hosted by Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland. He invited the audience to discuss Ireland’s current response to emigration and immigration within the European Union.
The Lucius & Kathleen Emerson Memorial Lecture
The school this year remembered in a special way the major contribution to local history of the late Lucius and Kathleen Emerson. The introduction to the lecture was given by local historian and close friend of the Emersons, Anthony Begley who reminded everyone about the great contribution the Emerson’s gave to local history and to the Donegal Historical Society.
Dr. Marion Lyons, co-author of works on early Irish migrants in Europe, gave the keynote address on how the Irish found themselves as strangers in Europe but also became citizens. Dr Lyons is a professor of History at NUI Maynooth or Maynooth University
SCHOOL DINNER & ENTERTAINMENT
As in previous years, there was a conference dinner, known as the School Dinner and musical evening at the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, on Saturday evening, 28th May. Here are some pictures of the evening.
Sunday 29th May
A tour on Sunday 29th visited sites associated with the Four Masters in or around Donegal town.These included the site of Magherabeg Monastery, Franciscan Friary along the quay in Donegal town and were given a guided tour of Donegal Castle the premier castle of the O’Donnells.
The Full Programme of Events for the 2016 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School
Friday 15th May 2015
7.00 p.m. Opening by Minister of State Joe McHugh – Ó Cléirigh Hall
7.30 First Session:
‘Favourers, intercessors and patrons: why the Irish saints mattered so much to the Irish Franciscans’ Dr. John McCafferty, Director of the Mícheál Ó’Cléirigh Institute in University College Dublin – set out the theme for the school.
8.30 ‘Dark Daughter’ – by Soinbhe Lally
Local author Soinbhe Lally’s play on Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh is produced by Christian Carbin and directed by Arantxa Lopez.
10.00 School Club – Sandhouse Hotel Following the play the ‘School Club’ was held in the Sandhouse hotel where participants met and discussed the evenings events with those who were attending the Summer School.
Saturday 16th May 2015- Ó Cléirigh Hall
10.00 Second Session:
From Tír Conaill to Bavaria: the extraordinary career of Muiredach mac Robartaig’
by Dr Dagmar Ó Riain Raedel UCC.
Dr Dagmar Ó Riain Raedel Dr Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel has been a member of the Department of History, University College Cork with a special research interest in Medieval History. She has lectured and published widely on the connections between Ireland and Europe from 600 to the 19th century.
11.30 Third Session
Having a good chat about the finer historic points of view are l-r Bian MacAmhlaigh, Chairperson of the Scoil Samraidh Mhíchíl UíCléirigh, Dr Padraig Uí Riain, keynote speaker and Dr Mícheál MacCraith who gave a talk on Louvain hagiography and Roman art: links between two Irish Franciscan continental colleges. by Dr Mícheál Mac Craith Dr. Mac Craith o.f.m.is guardian of St. Isidore’s in Rome and emeritus Professor of Irish at University College, Galway.Link to Mícheál MacCraith Interview Saturday 16th May, Ó Cléirigh Hall, Rosnowlagh.
12.30 Fourth Session:
The Plantation in Donegal and Bishop George Montgomery by Helen Meehan Helen Meehan is a former President of the Donegal Historical Society and was born in Frosses Co Donegal Helen is a retired primary School teacher and in n 2012 was awarded an Honorary Masters Degree by National University of Ireland, Galway in recognition of her work in the genealogy, folklore and local history of County Donegal.
Fringe Events Saturday 16th May
Life and times of Flan O’Clery- Sandhouse Hotel
Pictured here is Madeleine Cleary giving the talk on the life and times of Flan O,Clery who was a cousin of Lughaidh UíCléirigh, author of the “Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill”. The talk was the culmination of extensive research into the story of Flan Ó Clery whose tombstone is one of the oldest in the Abbey Assaroe graveyard outside Ballyshannon
3.00 Ecological and Historic walk to Kilbarron Castle
led by Ruth Cleary.
Everyone met at the Creevy Pier Car park where the walk was led by Ruth Cleary. Ruth Cleary had recently completed an Ecological report on the ruins of Kilbarron castle-part pf the recently completed Conservation Report on the castle. She is very familiar with the flora & fauna of the area.
Some pictures of the event……………….
4.00 Visit to the ruins of Kilbarron Church
A dedication of a plaque to remember the children buried in the vicinity of the ruins took place.
Some pictures from the event……………………………….
3.15 Workshop in Hall: The Story of “Dark Daughter” and Lugaidh Ó Cléirigh.
A number of people including the author of “Dark Daughter” Soinbhe Lally discussed the historic background to the events portrayed in the play seen on the previous night.
4.00 A Panel discussion was held in the hall after seeing a short film on The coming of the Franciscans to Rossnowlagh in 1952
5.30 Fifth Session: Keynote Address
The Br. Pascal Williamson Memorial Lecture
The Saints of South Donegal
by Dr. Pádraig Ó Riain
Dr. Pádraig Ó Riain is Emeritus Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College, Cork
20.00 School Dinner – The dinner was held in the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh.
21.00 Musical Interlude – Sandhouse Hotel A delightful pot-pourri of music and presentations in the ‘School Club’ performed by local artists.
21.30 School Club – Sandhouse Hotel An opportunity for participants to meet the speakers and others to discuss the issues that arise in the school.
Sunday 17th May 2015
09.00 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Memorial Mass was held in the Friary Chapel. An tAthair Mícheál MacCraith said Mass as Gaeilge.
Tour of Four Masters Sites in Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Tullaghan and Donegal town
Pictures from the Sunday morning bus tour led by Jim McIntyre
The tour left from the Rossnowlagh Friary. The tour visited the ruins of the Franciscan Friary in Donegal town. Then travelled southwards to Ballyshannon onwards to Kinlough stopping at the memorial to the Four Masters erected on Mullinaleck Bridge. Then to Tullaghan where the Bundoran Historic Society hosted a reception and the group will saw the ruins beside the Drowes reputed to be the site where the Annals were written by Br Mícheál and his collaborators.
12.00 Display of Primary School Projects and Prize-giving
The display and awarding of prizes to Primary School pupils took place on Sunday 17th May. The theme of the competition this year was “Saints and Scholars” and the interest and participation among all the schools in the locality has been a great success. Taking part are Primary schools from three counties Donegal, Leitrim and Fermanagh.
The inaugural Summer School was held on Saturday 17th May 2014 at the Mícheál Uí Cléirigh Hall at Rossnowlagh. The day long event had talks in the morning and a field trip to the ruins of Kilbarron Castle in the afternoon. There was also a Schools Art Competition and a School’s Dinner in the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh. Here are some pictures of the day long event.