Scoil na Gaeilge Annual Conference at NUI Galway

Monday, 8 October 2007

Scoil na Gaeilge's annual conference will take place 12-13 October to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the foundation of St. Anthony's Franciscan College, Louvain. The conference will be opened on Friday afternoon (Oct 12) by Senator Ronan Mullen and will discuss the contribution the Louvain friars made to Irish literature, history and hagiography. There will be eleven lectures in all.

The keynote speakers include Fearghus Ó Fearghail (Mater Dei) who will discuss the importance of the Irish translation of the New Testament (1602); Angharad Price (University of Bangor) whose topic is the literary productions of Welsh Catholic exiles on the continent; and Martin Stone (Leuven) who will assess the Louvain friars' contribution to the study of Scotistc philosophy on the continent. The other speakers include Pádraig A. Breatnach, Marie-Louise Coolahan, Charlie Dillon, Mícheál Mac Craith, Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Tadhg Ó Dúshlaine, Marie Ó Tuathaigh and Salvador Ryan.

Marie Ó Tuathaigh's talk on the adventures of Mary Stuart O' Donnell, the daughter the Earl of Tyrconnell never saw, should be particularly interesting, involving as it does a potent cocktail of religion, politics and cross-dressing. The conference will close with a showing of Antaine Ó Donnaíle's highly acclaimed documentary, Na hIarlaí san Eoraip.

To coincide with the conference The James Hardiman Library is mounting an exhibition of books and manuscripts associated with Louvain. Pride of place will go to Duanaire Finn and the Book of the O' Conor Don, two manuscripts which were commissioned for Sorley McDonnell, a captain in the Tyrone Regiment of the Spanish army under the command of his second cousin John O' Neill, a son of the great Hugh O' Neill.

Scoil na Gaeilge's Professor Micheál Mac Craith said, "Duanaire Finn is the most important anthology of Ossianic ballads that we have, while the the Book of the O'Conor Don contains over three hundred and fifty poems, most of them relating to contemporary events. Captain Sorley was buried in the cloister of St. Anthony's College and the Duanaire came into the possession of the Franciscans. The fate of the other manuscript was unknown until it came into the possession of the great antiquarian, Charles O' Conor of Belanagare in the 18th century. This is the first time that Captain's Sorley's most treasured possessions will have been together in nearly 400 years, a major coup that Scoil na Gaeilge and NUI Galway are delighted to have brought about."

ENDS

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