Summer School Picture Gallery 2014-2018

annals & earlswebsite

The 2018 Summer School was held on the weekend of Friday 11th May until Sunday 13th May
The theme was ” Annals and Earls, Annála agus Iarlaí ” it  explored how the Annals of the Four Masters treated the events of the Nine Years War – the Flight of the Earls and he end of Gaelic hegemony in Ulster. 

Friday 11th May Local Interest Events

7.00pm Primary Schools Art Competition – Prize-giving

20180510_214242A record number of primary schools within the area took part in this years Summer School Art Competition . Prizes were awarded in four categories. The theme for the 2018 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was “Lords & Ladies” and as well as prizes for first, second and third places a number of pupils in each category received a small prize along with the customary highly commended certificates.  

The Categories were: Junior Infants and Senior Infants (A4 size)-First Class and Second Class (A4 size) -Third Class and Fourth Class (A4 size)- Fifth Class and Sixth Class (A3 size


View of the winning entries in each category




Presentation of Prizes with Fr Vincent Galloghly assisted by Dearbhla Kelly and Geraldine Thomas

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7.45pm Performance by Cór Craobhaigh-


Cór Craobhaigh

In 1987 Angela Currid established a junior choir, Cór Craobhaigh. Cór Craobhaigh has been performing locally and nationally for thirty years. The group has provided hundreds of local children with an introduction to music and contributes hugely to the musical fabric of the locality. Their performance at the 2018 Summer School was excellent.

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8.15pm- The Annals- an overview

Dr John Mc CaffertyJohn Mc Cafferty gave a short talk explaining to everyone what the “Annals of the Four Masters” were and the way the books were constructed and how this was a very radical  development in the early 17th Century. He also remarked that only that this work was undertaken the loss to Irish history would be on the same scale as the loss of material in the Four Courts in 1922 were to family records, as subsequently many of the source manuscripts that they used were lost in the upheavals in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Professor John Mc Cafferty is the Director of the Mícheál Uí Cléirigh Institute University College Dublin.

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John McCafferty introducing the Annals



9.15pm “Modern Annals”


Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon


Maura Finnegan with Sinead Keogh introducing the Modern Annals Event.


The group of Transitional Year students with their Modern Annals project

This is the project carried out by the transitional year students of Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon. The project involved each student recording their activities and interests over a period of their lives. One student studied the history of Manorhamilton writing it in script whilst others investigated the recycling of rubbish culminating in their making and designing their “junk wear”   The projects were presented by Sinead Keogh.

Saturday 12th May- Family History Morni

11.00am Clan Ui Chléirigh Gathering-

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Welcoming all O’Clerys, Clerys, Clearys, Clarys, Clark(e)s and Clerk(e)s. The surname derives from the personal name Cléireach meaning a scribe or clerk who was the grandson of King Guaire of Connacht members of the Hy Fiachrach Aidhne tribe.

This ancient Connacht tribe originally came from the area of north east of Kilmacduagh (Co Galway) but were dispersed to many parts of Ireland in the 13th Century.

There was a brief introduction by Fergus Cleary on the origins of the clan and where it dispersed to in the 13th Century,

Madeleine Cleary told the story of the Kilbarron branch of this ancient clan and in particular that of her ancestor Flann O’Clery.

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Musicians James Mc Namee and Henry Pearce entertaining the assembled group at the Uí Cléirigh Gathering

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Those who attended the Clann Uí Chléirigh “Gathering”

12.00 – Genealogy Links by Frank McHugh2018 O Cleary Saturday - 068

Many of us at school were taught history as an academic subject where we learned about the great occasions in history, wars, battles, invasions and those who were emperors, kings or statesmen. But what of the ordinary folk, our ancestors – who were they and how did the events of history affect their lives?

Frank McHugh told those in attendance that the first step in finding out about your family’s past is to talk to elderly relatives, show them pictures of family (if you have them) and get as much first hand information as possible.

He also gave advice and tips on which websites to visit where the information is free.

Born in Belfast to Fermanagh parents, Frank McHugh has a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. He is currently a Director of the Fermanagh Genealogy Centre and also works as a freelance Researcher and Genealogist.


Saturday Afternoon – Summer School Events

2.00pm -

Opening of the Summer School by Professor Emeritus Pádraig Ó Riain


padraig speaking

Padraig Ó Riain giving the opening address

Professor Emeritus Padraig Ó Riain agreed to step in at short notice to step in due to the cancellation of one of the speakers to open the 2018 Summer School. In his address he told us about the Annals and their importance to our modern understanding of Irish history.

3.00pm -O’Neill & O’Donnell & the war in the west by James O’Neill UCC



James O’Neill whose book “The Nine Years War 1593-1602″ was published in 2017, was unable to attend the weekend due to personal reasons. However James kindly sent his presentation along to the Summer School and it was delivered by Professor John Mc Cafferty.

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Professor John McCafferty

John McCafferty is Director of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute, a partnership between University College Dublin and the Irish Franciscans. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University and has taught in UCD, where he took his first two degrees, since 1994. He has published  on the histories of both Protestant and Catholic Churches in early modern Ireland. He has spoken in the 2014 School on The Franciscans in Exile At the 2015 School on Why the Irish Saints mattered so much to the Irish Franciscans the and at the  2016 Summer School on Wanderers How the Friars decided that the Irish “Saved Civilisationjames o'Neills book


The very interesting aspect of James O’Neill’s research was that both contemporary Irish and English accounts of the war underplayed the sophistication of both Hugh O’Neill’s forces in central Ulster and those of  Aodh Ruaidh O’Donnell’s forces in west Ulster and North Connacht. The English explained their defeats in the field by the excuse that their opponents used unfair and ungentlemanly tactics. Whilst the Irish accounts principally that of Lughaidh O’Clery and written some years afterwards extoll the simplicity of the Gaelic forces against the overwhelming might and modern armaments of the English forces. Nothing could be further from the truth! Both armies employed modern 17th Century battlefield tactics. 

4.00pm- The O’Donnells in Hapsburg Vienna- The saviours of an Empire? by Dagmar O’Riain Raedel UCC

Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel
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. She has a special interest in art and architecture, both medieval and modern and, particularly, in the buildings of Cork. In the last few years she has researched the legacy of the architectural family of Hills which contributed many noteworthy buildings to Cork.

 During her presentation, Dagmar O’Riain Raedel talked about the Austrian O’Donnells and how they saved the Hapsburg Empire. It’s a very fascinating story but one small incident can be revealed It happened on February 18, 1853,when the Emperor Franz Joseph was taking a stroll in the palace gardens in Vienna. A disgruntled former Hussar and Hungarian nationalist called János Libényi attacked the Emperor wielding a knife. Count Maximilian Karl Lamoral O’Donnell (a direct descendant of Major General Henry O’Donnell of Newport) stepped between the two helped by one Joseph Ettenreich, a butcher by profession both managing to disarm the assailant.
Franz Joseph rewarded both men and remained on the Austro- Hungarian throne until he died in 1916. The Empire did not survive the First World War and broke up into many of the independent nations of Austria Hungary Czechoslovakia Yugoslavia and the re created country of Poland in central Europe.


Contemporary illustration of the assassination attempt on the life of Franz Joseph


Dr Dagmar Ó Riain Raedel giving her talk on the O’ Donnells in the Hapsburg Empire







5.30 Keynote Address:

Roisin Dubh-The story of Ireland or a Franciscan led astray?

by Cathal Goan Director General RTÉ 2003-2010

Cathal Goan

Cathal Goan

Was Róisín Dubh truly a song about Ireland or was it about a friar’s love for a woman! The question will be raised by former RTE Director General Cathal Goan as the  keynote speaker at the Micheal O’Cleirigh Summer School in May.

He will examine if the 16th-century song Róisín Dubh – Black Rose – is truly a metaphor for Ireland or a song of a Franciscan led astray by a woman’s beauty.

The song has references to friars out on the brine and to the Erne, which passes through the County Donegal town of Ballyshannon, close to where Franciscan Brother Micheal O’Cleirigh was born at Creevy.

Cathal Goan speaking


8.00pm School Dinner in the Sandhouse Hotel



Sunday 13th May

9.00 am Aifreann as Gaeilge- Friary Chapel




4. Friary Pic

10.00 am – School Tour – Donegal Castle- Lough Eske & Barnesmore Gap


Lough Eske

 The tour left from the Friary front carpark travelling to Donegal town, visiting the castle and seeing the models of Kilbarron Castle and Kilbarron Church both important landmarks in the life of Mícheál Uí Cléirigh. The tour  continued around Lough Eske seeing the many historic landmarks in the vicinity. Travelling to Barnesmore Gap the group  stopped for tea , coffee and scones at  Biddy O’Barnes. Afterwards returning to Rossnowlagh. Here are some pictures of the trip……………..

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The doorway in the Jacobean annex of Donegal Castle believed to have been taken from the ruins of the nearby Franciscan Friary

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At Donegal Castle



Bus tour group


The fourth Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was held on the weekend 12th-14th May 2017 


Some pictures from the Weekend

Friday 12th May


2017 Summer School Official Opening

Mary Daly

Dr. Mary Daly UCD

by Dr Mary Daly- President of  the Royal Irish Academy. Professor of Modern Irish History U.C.D.

When elected as President of the Royal Irish Academy in 2014 she was the first woman to be elected to that position in the Academy’s 230 year history. Professor Mary Daly was educated at University College Dublin (BA, MA) and Nuffield College Oxford (D. Phil.). During her academic career at UCD she also held visiting positions at Harvard Boston College and EUI Florence.






Alison Forrestal

Dr Alison Forrestal

First Address -

Europe of the Regions -

The Europe that Br. Mícheál Uí Cléirigh and the Irish Friars encountered after 1607.

By Dr. Alison Forrestal N.U.I. Galway

Dr Forrestal is a Lecturer in the Department of History at NUI Galway. Her interests lie in early modern European history. She has a particular interest in ecclesiastical and religious history of the 17th Century.



The Sheerin Family

The Sheerin Family

Saturday 13th May


Second Address-


Dr. Mark-Empey

Traders, tricksters and tearaways:

the Irish in Europe in the 17th Century

by Dr. Mark Empey N.U.I. Galway.

Dr. Mark Empey is a lecturer in early modern British and Irish history at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His research has focused on political and religious British and Irish history in the past.
He completed his PhD at University College Dublin (UCD) in 2009; with a thesis examined peripheral governments in the early Stuart period by comparing the policies Sir Thomas Wentworth pursued as king’s representative in the Council of the North (Yorkshire) and in Ireland.


Third Address


Deaglán De Bréadún


The potential fallout in Political & Constitutional terms

by Deaglán De Breadún, journalist,author & broadcaster.

Deaglán de Bréadún is a former award-winning journalist for the  Irish Times. He held a number of positions including Northern Editor, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Irish Language Editor and most recently Political Correspondent.


Fourth Address

Irish Culture today on a global & European stage.

Alan Titley

Dt Alan Titley

by Dr Alan Titley U.C.C.

Alan Titley is a novelist, story writer, playwright and scholar. He has also written and presented documentary films on literary and historical subjects, and has been writing a weekly column for The Irish Times on current and cultural affairs since 2003.

He was born and raised in the city of Cork, where he studied to be a primary school teacher. His work took him to Nigeria where he taught during the Biafran War. While there he travelled extensively across West Africa through both jungle and desert. He returned and taught deaf children in Dublin while studying for an evening degree at University College Dublin.



Primary Schools Art Competition- Prize-giving


Over 800 pupils from local Schools in  Counties Donegal, Leitrim & Fermanagh submitted artwork in four age categories.


getting rady for the prize giving

Waiting in anticipation

Summer School Craft Events

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Proinsias Mag Fhionnghaile

Irish Traditional Costumes -

A talk and demonstration of what was typical Gaelic dress for people in 17th Century Ireland was given by Proinsias Mag Fhionnghaille

Proinsias Mag Fhionnghaile is a writer, historian and tour guide from Ballyshannon. He has received the nominal letters C.I.O.M from Clans of Ireland for his years of work and research in the field of Irish history, in particular surname research and the study of traditional Irish clothing. He is also the historian for the McGinley clan and is the Curator of Ballyshannon & District Museum.


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Ann O’Clery demonstrating her calligraphy

The Art of Calligraphy and the Annals

A demonstration and talk of the materials and methods used by the annalists who worked on the “Annála Riochta na hÉirinn”

by Ann Uí Clery

Ann O’Clery is a watercolour painter and calligrapher, has a degree in Architecture from UCD and a Diploma in Calligraphy from CLAS (Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society). She is a member of CLAS and Peannairi (Association of Irish Calligraphers) and is Past President of the Water Colour Society of Ireland. Her paintings are in collections in Europe, Australia and US.  She has recently undertaken a study of the script of Michael O’Cleirigh.


The Art of Medieval Book Binding

A demonstration of the materials and methods used by medieval bookbinders was held by Tim Stampton.

Tim Stampton

Tim Stampton using his bookbinding device

Tim Stampton is an artist and illustrator working from his studios in Malin, County Donegal, Ireland. He creates handmade prints from his wood engravings and woodcuts and also produces watercolour illustrations. In 1989, he moved to Ireland with the Irish artist Ros Harvey. Together established Ballagh Studio in Malin by converting old farm buildings. Ballagh Studio now includes personal studios, a printmaking workshop, a framing facility and a showroom that is open to the public.
His prints have been exhibited internationally, including shows in Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and the UK. He has illustrated a number of commercially published books (see below for a selection). He has also published several hand-printed, limited-edition books on Irish folklore under his own press, Apple & Wave.


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History Ireland Debate

Panellists were John Mc Cafferty, Mark Empey & Alan Titley, Deaglán De Bréadún.

Moderated by Tommy Graham, Editor of History Ireland magazine.

Tommy Graham, editor and founder of History Ireland magazine and Historical Walking Tours of Dublin, is a native of nearby Ballyshannon and will moderate his second History Ireland debate in conjunction with the Mícheál Uí Cléirigh Summer School.

Keynote Address

John McCafferty

Dr John McCafferty

From Donegal to Purgatory (and back)

Europe Lough Derg & the Irish Franciscans

by Dr John McCafferty UCD

 John McCafferty is Director of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute, a partnership between University College Dublin and the Irish Franciscans. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University and has taught in UCD, where he took his first two degrees, since 1994. He has published  on the histories of both Protestant and Catholic Churches in early modern Ireland.



School Dinner in the Sandhouse Hotel,Rossnowlagh


Musical Evening – Bel Canto- Erdini

Sunday 14th May

Tour of the Four Masters Historical sites

Four Masters Memorial Mullinaleck Bridge


Mullinaleck Bridge on the River Drowes

on the bridgeThe monumentCIMG5095on the bridge 2

 Ballyhanna Graveyard Ballyshannon


Looking at the plaque in Ballyhanna

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Jim McIntyre Tour Guide for the trip

People were being buried at Ballyhanna, in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, from at least the 12th century. They were laid to rest to the east and south of a small, mortared stone church, which, at the time, stood on the banks of the Erne River, close to the strategic fording-point of Atha Seanaig, a short distance downstream from the low, tumbling rapids known as Cathleen’s Fall. For several hundred years, as the artefacts discovered tell us, people continued to bury their dead at Ballyhanna, with men, women and children being interred in the small graveyard. We do not know when the weary tradition of carrying the dead along the riverbank to that place ended. It is clear, however, that the church and graveyard did ultimately fall into ruin and disuse, and that over the centuries that followed all local memory of the site faded. We cannot be certain whether the church or the burial ground was still in use by the 17th century, when it is recorded in a land audit—the Enniskillen Inquisition. The lack of artefacts from this time suggests that it was not. In any case, Ballyhanna’s fate of becoming forgotten was sealed by the loss of so many souls in Ballyshannon during the Famine through death and emigration, as the last memories of a church at Ballyhanna were spirited away across oceans and into mass graves—that is, until it was rediscovered in June 2003.

Abbey Assaroe & Abbey Mill

carved door stone (from Abbey) set into the graveyard wall

Carved stone probably from a doorway built into the graveyard wall as a stepping stone


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.


Banner for the 2016 Summer School

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

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 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.

Marion Harkins speech

Marion Harkins speaking at the opening of the Summer School

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)

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View of Kilbarron castle model

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.

Professor John Mc Cafferty

Professor John McCafferty


 The Talks………………

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”.




2016 O Cleirigh Summer School Friday - 402Creevy Mummers

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.


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Enjoying the performance

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Maureen Boyle reading her poem ” The work of Winter”


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
of Donegal
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.

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Senan Brennan & Claire Gallagher

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Rossa Ó Snodaigh


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)



Dr Declan Downey

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

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Dr Patrick Fitzgerald

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”

Where is my picture

Where is my picture?

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.



assembled for art winners

Proud parents and families assembled for art winners


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Cliodna Cussen,

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

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Tommy Graham facilitating the Hedge School

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 panellists

The panellists in discussion.

 The Lucius & Kathleen Emerson Memorial Lecture


Anthony Begley

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.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Marion Lyons

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

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Listening attentively to the Keynote Lecture





 2016 last O Cleary weekend - 070As 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


bus tour 1A 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.

  • Magherabeg Monastery 2

    Magherabeg Monastery

    donegal fran 1

    Ruins of Donegal Franciscan Friary

Donegal castle tour

Start of the Tour of Donegal Castle

The Full Programme of Events for the 2016 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School

2016 Summer School Programme




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 Friday 15th May 2015


7.00 p.m. Opening by Minister of State Joe McHugh – Ó Cléirigh Hall



Professor John McCafferty speaking at the opening lecture.

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.

Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel

 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


L-R Brian MacAmhlaigh, Padraig UíRiain, Mícheál MacCraith

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 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:

Helen Meehan

Helen Meehan

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

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Some of the people who attended the talk on Flan O’Clery

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Madeleine Cleary

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……………….


The group that participated in the Ecological & Historic Walk to Kilbarron Castle


Ruth explaining about the medicinal properties of Lichens


At Kilbarron Castle


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……………………………….


The ruins of Kilbarron Church



At the dedication of the Childrens graveyard.




Image of the plaque dedicated on Saturday 16th May


Molly Reynolds saying a few words at the dedication of the childrens’ graveyard










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

Padraig O Riain

Dr. Pádraig Ó Riain is Emeritus Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College, Cork




At the Saints of South Donegal lecture- Maureen Finnegan speaking about Br Pascal Williamson.


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.


Ruins of the Franciscan Friary in Donegal

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Group standing on Mullinaleck Bridge the boundary between Ulster & Connacht an site of the “Four Masters” Memorial


Mullinaleck Bridge



Group being given a presentation on the history of Bundoran and Tullaghan




Harpist playing at the reception by the Bundoran Historic Society


Enjoying the Harp playing


Listening to the welcome by the Bundoran Historic Group






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.

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banner mocThe 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.

admiring the artwork

Admiring the Art work

art competotion winners

Display boards with winning Art work















Awarding the Prizes for the Art Competition



Speakers at 2014 school

Speakers at the Summer School





Brian MacAmhlaigh introducing Bernadette Cunningham- the Keynote Speaker

Bernadette Cunningham

Bernadette Cunningham