Up the Republic!

Published in Issue 2 (Summer 1998), News, Volume 6

A.T.Q. Stewart at the opening of the Linen Hall Library’s exhibition, ‘The United Irishmen and the Government of Ireland, 1791-1801’, Belfast, 18 March 1998. (Liz Curtis)

A.T.Q. Stewart at the opening of the Linen Hall Library’s exhibition, ‘The United Irishmen and the Government of Ireland, 1791-1801’, Belfast, 18 March 1998. (Liz Curtis)

The Parnell Summer School will take place from 9-16 August at Avondale House, Rathdrum, County Wicklow. To commemorate both the bicentenary of 1798 and the 150th anniversary of the Young Ireland rising of 1848 the theme will be ‘the republic’. The aim is to place the United Irish and Young Ireland movements in the wider context of Irish and international history. The origins, development and nature of the idea of a republic in Ireland and internationally from the earliest times to the present will be examined. To what extent can the rebellion of 1798 be considered republican? How has the definition of republicanism changed at different times and in different countries? What is the relevance of republicanism for Ireland in the new millennium?
The keynote address will be delivered by Australian historian and republican, John Molony, biographer of both Thomas Davis and Ned Kelly, who will compare the development of republicanism in Ireland and Australia and comment on the current movement towards an Australian republic. Other speakers are listed in ‘Events’, p.4.
Individual sessions will focus on Wicklow in 1798, the republicanism of Wolfe Tone, the role of women, the Ulster Presbyterian contribution and republicanism in France and America. There will be a particular emphasis on the role of song and story in the transmission of political ideas and culture. A major innovation this year is a competition for original historical ballads. Another highlight will be Boul Proota Diggers, a unique presentation in story and music of the individual experience of Ulster Presbyterians during 1798 by the Yarnspinners, a group of storytellers from County Antrim.
But it will not all be work. The School will be at once learned and relaxed. It caters for those with a general interest in Irish history, literature and politics. A varied programme of entertainment has been organised, including guided tours, two major theatre events, ceilí and set dancing. The School will conclude with an ecumenical service at St Saviour’s Church, Rathdrum.
Enquires: Pauric Travers, director, tel: (01) 8376191, fax: (01) 8376197,   e-mail: ptravers@iol.ie; Noel Tierney, press officer, tel: (01) 2887954, fax: 2881060; Máire Tobin, bookings,     tel: (01) 2874124, e-mail: mtobin@indigo.ie.

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