21st Australasian Irish Studies Conference

21st Australasian Irish Studies Conference

The Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates recently co-sponsored the 21st Australasian Irish Studies Conference between the 18th and 20th of June 2015, part of the programme of the Irish Studies Association of Australian and New Zealand (ISAANZ). The conference was held at Maynooth University under the general title of ‘Ireland’s Others: Diversity in History and Culture’ and was opened by the President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan. The conference attracted over 50 papers in addition to four keynote lectures.

Those giving keynote lectures included Margaret Kelleher on ‘Rites and Rights: The literary politics of diaspora’, Keith Jeffery on ‘Reclaiming Gallipoli from the Australians’ and Guy Beiner on ‘Forgetting Ireland’s Others: Diversity and Irish Memories’. A high point of the conference was the dinner at Carton House, immediately preceded by the fourth of the keynote lectures, the Centre’s Director Terence Dooley speaking on ‘”Is everything we love gone forever?” The Irish Big House and the War of Independence’. The keynote lectures were acclaimed as exceptional in their presentation and insights and there was a general consensus that all the papers given at the conference were of very good quality.

In addition the conference provided the venue for readings by the novelists Sara Baume and Evelyn Condon and a premiere of a film “All Politics is Local’ based on an ethnographic study of electoral politics in South-West Cork, the latter followed by a stimulating panel discussion the following morning.

Two roundtable sessions on Commemoration involving a team of speakers from Northern Ireland were made possible by funding from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Delegates to the conference were given a pleasant and relaxed opportunity to meet each other the evening preceding the conference at a reception hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Ruth Adler, at the Australian official residence at Killiney.