The 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

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


Getting ready for the 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

Proinsias 2

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.


Calligraphy 1

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.


History ireland 1

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

Jim 1

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


Abbey wall 2Abbey wall



Tea & Scones in the Abbey Mill


  A Summer School for remembering, for learning, for enjoyment.  We remember a great local man, Mícheál Ó Cléirigh.  We learn from scholars about his story and his times.  We begin to understand what this means for us today.  And we enjoy ourselves.  We travel to local historic sites.  We visit Mícheál’s birthplace.  We walk the beautiful Rossnowlagh beach.  We  talk late into the evening in the local hostelries. Welcome to the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School.

Micheál Ó Cléirigh

3. SignaturePageMícheál Ó Cléirigh, historian, antiquarian, scribe and scholar and lay brother of the Franciscan Order, was born in the vicinity of Kilbarron Castle the Ó’Cléirigh ancestral home near Creevy, on the shores of Donegal Bay. He was born about 1590 to a family distinguished by scholarship. His older brother, Maolmhuire (Fr Bernadine) was ordained in Salamanca, Spain, later moving to Louvain, Belgium in 1619 and Michael joined him a few years later. As a lay brother Michael was able to concentrate on historical research and transcription rather than on priestly duties.  In 1626 he was dispatched by a fellow Donegal man, Hugh Ward to Ireland to collect the lives of the Irish saints.  This he did.  But he also did more. For 10 years, Michael travelled the length and breadth of Ireland gathering the ancient manuscripts and histories wherever he could find them.  He and his collaborators transcribed the material into Annála Ríochta na hÉireann (the Annals of the Four Masters). They left us with an incomparable record of the history of Ireland.

The Micheál Ó Cléirigh School Partnership

The Mícheál Ó Cléirigh School has been set up by a partnership of:

♦ Local people from Ballyshannon / Creevy / Rossnowlagh in Co. Donegal with a mission to preserve the memory of a great local hero.
-        ♦The Franciscan Friars who established a Friary on Donegal Bay 1474 and played such  an important part in Irish writing and scholarship from their monasteries in Ireland and Louvain.
-        ♦The Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute at University College Dublin repository of an unparalleled archive of  historical documents and the centre of voluminous research on Irish medieval history since its inception in the year 2000.

The Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School At Rossnowlagh

4. Friary Pic

The inaugural programme of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh School took place on Saturday 17th May, 2014. The main events were held in the Ó’Cléirigh Hall beside the Franciscan Friary at Rossnowlagh, close by the birthplace of Mícheál Ó Cléirigh on lands originally belonging to the Ó Cléirigh clan, prior to 1610. The venue was an appropriate one, as it was built by the Franciscan Friars who returned to Donegal  in 1946. They were, of course, influenced by the association of the area with some of the renowned members of their Irish fraternity, such as  Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, John Colgan and Hugh Ward.

The Second Mícheál Ó Cléirigh School took place at Rossnowlagh on the weekend of 15th  – 17th May, 2015.

The Third Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was held over the weekend of Friday 27th May to Sunday 29th May 2016.

The Fourth Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School was held over the weekend of Friday 12th May to Sunday 14th May 2017,