UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies 
William Willes' “The Mock Funeral” (1851) UCD Crest

The Irish in Britain: A Conversation with the Diaspora

The Irish in Britain: A Conversation with the Diaspora
23 November 2009
The Royal Society
Carlton House Terrace

In 2007 we started a conversation with the Irish Diaspora with an event in New York. 1000 people came along and participated in a lively, informative and entertaining debate. Last year we brought the discussion to Dublin and this year we would like to continue that spirit of lively interaction with the Irish in Britain. This special event takes as its premise that lasting transformations within Ireland and of Irish Society, whether political, cultural, social or economic have been shaped and informed by the Irish abroad. This event is about exploring that proposition by looking at three significant issues in our relatively recent past and drawing on the strands arising from that exploration to inform and frame an open floor discussion on the Irish in Britain today and tomorrow.

John Hume / Mary Robinson

The highlight of this year’s event will be the presentation of the inaugural UCD John Hume Medal. This will be presented to an individual of Irish ancestry who has made a significant contribution internationally. This year Dr. Mary Robinson will receive the medal in recognition of her outstanding contribution as President of Ireland and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and for her pioneering work currently on climate change and its effects on international human rights.

Outline Programme
08:30 a.m. Registration

09:00 a.m. Welcome: Hugh Brady, President of UCD

Opening Address:
H.E. Bobby McDonagh, Ambassador of Ireland

09:15 a.m.

Session One: Towards 2016

This session takes as its theme the notion of the Irish abroad as the significant engine of political change. Contributions will look at the influence of the “Irish” cities of Britain and America on the formation of key figures involved in 1916 and the years that followed, the role of the Irish abroad in the formation and sustaining of a republican movement, the relationships between the new state and the Irish abroad and the consequences of the legacies of historic events and their commemoration for the present and future generations.

Participants will include Mary Daly, Diarmaid Ferriter, Michael Kennedy and Bob Schmuhl

Session Chair: Adrian Hardiman

10:30 a.m. Coffee

11:00 a.m.

Session Two: Joyc(e)ity

The theme of this session will be the Diaspora as creative impulse. In particular contributions will explore aspects of the Aesthetic of Exile, Joyce and the contribution of the Irish to “Modernism” and the phenomenon of a diaspora of cultural artefacts.

Participants will include Luca Crispi, Anne Fogarty, Frank McGuinness and Declan Kiberd.

Session Chair:

12:30 a.m. Lunch

2:00 p.m.

Session Three: Ties That Bind

The session will explore cultural branding, identity and social cohesion in Britain and Ireland.  It will take as a starting point two iconic identifiers of “Irishness”, the GAA and Guinness, both of whom celebrate milestone anniversaries in 2009

Participants will include Cormac O’Grada, Gary O’Toole, Paul Rouse and John Treacy

Session Chair: Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh

3:00 p.m. Coffee

3:30 p.m.

Session Four: What does the future hold for Ireland and its Diaspora?

An open floor discussion will be led by a guest panel which will include Garret Fitzgerald, Conor Foley, Rory Godson, Mary Hickman, Barry Maloney and Mary Robinson.

Session Chair: Dermot Gallager

5.00 p.m.

Closing remarks: Hugh Brady

Presentation of the UCD John Hume Medal to Dr. Mary Robinson