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Rural Ireland up for discussion

THE future of rural Ireland is the topic for this year’s Merriman Summer School, which opens in Lisdoonvarna next Wednesday.
Directed by Broadcasting Authority of Ireland chairman, Bob Collins, this year’s event, which runs until Sunday, August 19, will have the usual mixture of discussions, debates, poetry and music.
Thriving at the Crossroads: Rural Ireland in a Globalised World is the theme of the school, which will be addressed by keynote speakers including Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney; Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman, Éamonn Ó Cuiv; Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness and Kevin Whelan of the University of Notre Dame.
Others to take to the podium throughout the festival will be IFA deputy president Eddie Downey, Carmel Fox of Ballyhoura Development and David Meredith of Teagasc. Meanwhile, the Voice of Rural Ireland in the Media will be discussed by journalist John Waters, RTÉ’s Máiréad Ni Nuadháin and Radio Kerry’s Fiona Stack, among others.
A host of sociologists, farmers, geographers, broadcasters and Druid’s Garry Hynes are among the other voices who will provide interesting perspectives on the school’s theme.
There are morning seminars in Irish and English, midday poetry readings from Harry Clifton, Moya Cannon and Stiofán Ó Cadhla and a seaweed safari to Spanish Point. In the evenings, music and dancing will take place in establishments in Lisdoonvarna and Kilfenora.
The school opens in the Pavilion Theatre in Lisdoonvarna next Wednesday evening and is open to everyone.
Tickets for the Merriman Festival can be obtained for single events, full days or for the whole school. Ticket information and an outline of the programme of events are available online at www.merriman.ie.


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