Conference to Focus on Alterative Visions of Ireland Before 1916

Oct 26 2016 Posted: 16:06 IST

As part of NUI Galway’s 1916 commemoration programme, ‘A Nation Rising’, the University will host a public conference entitled ‘Before 1916: Robert Lynd and Visions of Ireland to Come’. Organised by NUI Galway’s Gender ARC Research Network and the Moore Institute, the event will take place on Friday, 4 November in the Hardiman Research Building.

Through a programme of lively guest lectures, music and dramatic performances, the conference will explore alternative visions of Ireland before the 1916 Rising, as expressed by five “Voices of the New Ireland” selected by the writer and critic Robert Lynd in his 1919 book Ireland a Nation. The five very well-known voices at the time chosen by Lynd were: Easter Rising leader Patrick Pearse; historian Alice Stopford Green; writer and artist George Russell (AE); essayist, constitutionalist nationalist, and women's rights advocate Tom Kettle; and sculptor and poet Dora Sigerson.

Conference organiser, Professor Niamh Reilly of NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology explains the idea behind the conference: “Many are familiar with the role of Patrick Pearse and the vision of Ireland he strove to achieve, but most are less aware that in the years before 1916, Pearse’s vision was one among many nationalist visions that competed for Ireland’s hearts and minds at the time. This conference uses Robert Lynd's writings to recall and learn from some of the lively debates and passionate champions of Ireland's independence before the Rising.”    

Keynote speakers includes: historian and political analyst Dr Margaret O’Callaghan of Queens University Belfast, who will talk about ‘Alice Green, Roger Casement and the politics of Irish history before the Rising’; and Professor Bryan Fanning from UCD whose talk is titled, ‘Patrick Pearse’s Ghost Frequencies’. Professor Fanning’s new book, Irish Adventures in Nation-Building, will also be launched at the conference along with the Lynd Exhibit: Writings In The Library, organised by Mary Clancy, researcher and curator and Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian.

Music from the time period will also feature and will be performed by musicians Garry O’Briain, Jack Talty, Caitleen Courtney and singer Alice Hegarty, coordinated by Mary McPartlan, Director of NUI Galway’s Arts in Action Programme. There will be dramatic readings of the writings of Robert Lynd and his “five voices” by students of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, coordinated by Dr Miriam Haughton.

The afternoon will conclude with a lively roundtable discussion chaired by Margaret O’Callaghan on the legacy and significance of Lynd and his “five voices” with contributions from NUI Galway’s: Dr Anne Byrne on George Russell (AE); Mary Clancy on Alice Stopford Green; Dr Miriam Haughton on Patrick Pearse; Dr Muireann O’Cinneide on Dora Sigerson; and Professor Niamh Reilly on Tom Kettle.

The conference is free and open to the public but places are limited. To reserve a place at the conference contact Gillian Browne or 091 492297. Registration will begin at 9am with the programme commencing at 9.30am. For more information see:


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