South Kerry to honour life of Daniel O'Connell

Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell

Kevin Hughes

BASED both in Cahersiveen and Derrynane, a special summer school will celebrate the life and times of Daniel O'Connell who is inherently linked to the two south Kerry towns.

The Daniel O'Connell School will be held this Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, and kicks off in Cahersiveen Library, near to where O'Connell was born, before moving to O'Connell's own home, Derrynane House, on Saturday.

A series of lectures will deal with the historical aspects of O'Connell's career and their relevance for modern Ireland. Chairperson of the School, Mary O'Connor, said the school is a revival of an initiative held in the 1980s and 1990s: "With the assistance of The Gathering we are going to revive it in the two places most associated with him, Cahersiveen, where he was born, and Derrynane, where he lived," Mary stated. "O'Connell was a great man and we want to remind others of that fact and to invite them to take part in our programme," the Derrynane woman added.

The Academic Director of the School is Cahersiveen-born Maurice Bric, a professor of history in UCD.

"We have put together a good panel of lecturers and our aim was to invite lecturers not only to discuss O'Connell but to relate the main themes of his public career to the Ireland of 2013," he stated.

Lecturers include Professor Gearoid O'Tuathaigh who will discuss 'O'Connell the Reformer' and former Tanaiste, Michael McDowell, who will talk about reform in Ireland today. Professor John A Murphy, Margaret MacCurtain, Noel Whelan of The Irish Times, Joe Little from RTÉ, and Barry Andrews from GOAL will also speak.

Local historian and vice-chairperson of the school, Junior Murphy, said that other events include a talk by renowned Kerry footballer, Jerome O'Shea, who has just written a book about growing up in the South Kerry of the 1950s and 1960s.

Former parish priest and current Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean, will also be attending on Friday for the Daniel O'Connell Mass at 7.30pm and Coir Chuil Aodha will be performing at the Derrynane Hotel on Saturday night as well as at a special Mass Sunday morning.

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