THE theme for this year’s Merriman Summer School is Ireland, North and South – two societies growing apart?
The school takes place in Lisdoonvarna from August 14 – 18 and will take a close look at politics, society and culture in the two Irelands over the past 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement.
It is directed this year by Andy Pollak of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin is to deliver the opening lecture on Wednesday, August 14 at 8.30pm.
The event will close on Sunday, August 18 following speakers MEP Marian Harkin and East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long at 11am. This event will be followed by a special Burren brunch featuring local growers, producers and chefs.
During the course of the five days, over 30 speakers and performers, including Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Richard Clarke, former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sir Ken Bloomfield, director of the Irish School of Ecumenics Geraldine Smyth and cultural critic Edna Longley, will address those gathered.
There is also special round table discussion with young politicians from North and South on Saturday, August 17.
Cultural highlights include an evening of poetry with Nobel Laureate and patron of the summer school, Seamus Heaney and his friend and fellow poet, Michael Longley, on Friday, August 16 at 8.30pm. Midday readings will also be delivered by poets Leanne O’Sullivan and Gearóid Mac Lochlainn and a concertina recital will be held with Jack Talty and Cormac O Beaglaoich. Singing and dancing takes place at Club Merriman each evening.
There is no need to pre-register for the school, which is open to everyone, and although people may register for the full school they are also welcome to attend individual events. Those coming for a few days are strongly advised to book accommodation in advance.
Full details of the programme are available on www.merriman.ie or on 086 3820671 during office hours.