Douglas Hyde Conference to focus on Ireland’s rural heritage

Speakers will reflect on contribution to arts of north midlands region

The theme of this year's one-day Douglas Hyde Conference is 'The Unsaved Harvest: Rural Ireland's Cultural Heritage' and it takes place in Ballaghaderreen Co Roscommon next Friday, July 18th.

Speakers will include poet, playwright, broadcaster and Aosdána member Vincent Woods, writer Brian Leyden, as well as poet,novelist and Aosdána member Hugh Maxton, also known as WJ McCormack Prof of Literature at Goldsmith College University of London.

He will speak on 'The North Midlands, Ireland's Literary Garden.'

Art historian and former head of collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Catherine Marshall, will give a talk about artists James Coleman and Brian O'Doherty/Patrick Ireland, both of who were born near Ballaghaderreen.


Mr Woods and Mr Leyden will speak on ‘Good People and Old Beliefs, Folklore and Tradition from Roscommon and Leitrim’.

A much anticipated talk will be on 'Is is something in the water? Ballaghaderreen's remarkable cultural legacy', by local writer and historian Margaret Garvey.

Seán Hanily of St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin will speak on 'The Musical and Mythological Culture of Roscommon, An Inspiration for Preservation' while poet Jane Clarke and singer Noel O'Grady will read from The Roscommon Anthology, published last year by county natives Michael and John O'Dea.

Dr Charles Travis of Trinity College will speak on 'Literary Landscape, Roscommon and Beyond.'

Proceedings will conclude on Friday afternoon with a discussion involving most speakers on ‘A Case of Life or Death: Reinvigorating Local Economies through Cultural Tourism.’

The conference convenor and chairman is poet and teacher Michael O'Dea, who has also been director of the Rathmines Festival and Festival under the Clock in Dublin

Organised by Roscommon County Council this year, the Hyde Conference takes place at the Western Development Commission headquarters in Ballaghaderreen.

Further details at

Those who wish to make a weekend of it can take the Lake and Legend site tour beginning at noon on Saturday at the Square in Ballaghaderreen.

They may also be interested in the unique International Turf Throwing Championship at the town's fairgreen on Sunday at 4pm.

All would-be earth movers and shakers welcome.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times