TCD seminar to examine Irish legacy of Easter Rising

Speakers include Dr Chris McGimpsey, Prof Alan MacInnes, Íte Ní Chionnaith, Prof Eunan O’Halpin, Bishop Michael Burrows and Mary Harris

TCD’s Science Gallery will  host a bilingual seminar on Monday evening which will discuss the Irish language in the context of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Titled Cad is brí le "Saor agus Gaelach" in 2016 or  What Does "Gaelic and Free" Mean in 2016, the topic was inspired by the words spoken by P.H. Pearse at O'Donovan Rossa's graveside during which he imagined an Ireland "Not free merely, but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well"

The seminar will examine whether the understanding of freedom shared by many in the Irish language movement in 1916 are appropriate to contemporary contexts and whether political sovereignty is necessary in the conservation and promotion of language?

Other themes to be explored include what unionists with an interest in the Irish language take from the connection made between Pearse's stated aims of Ireland being both “Gaelic and Free”.


The accommodation of linguistic diversity in these islands which did not achieve political sovereignty will also be examined.

Speakers include Dr Chris McGimpsey, former Belfast City Councillor and member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP); Professor of Contemporary Irish History at TCD Eunan O’Halpin; Professor Alan MacInnes of the University of Strathclyde; former president of Conradh na Gaeilge and lecturer Íte Ní Chionnaith; Right Reverend Michael Burrows, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory and Mary Harris, senior lecturer in the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Hosted by Trinity College's Irish-Language Office and Conradh na Gaeilge Dublin, the event will also be broadcast live on YouTube.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s event, Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, said:  “This series of seminars “Plé ’16” will provide occasion for much public reflection in relation to the importance of the revival of Irish in the context of the Easter Rising 1916 and its upcoming centenary.

“Our Irish Language Office looks forward to the internationally-based seminar on 23 November inspiring fresh thinking on the concepts of “freedom” and “Gaelic” in the national discourse inspired by the commemorations.”

Cad is brí le “Saor agus Gaelach” in 2016? Takes place at TCD’s Science Gallery, Dublin 2, at 7.00pm on Monday, 23 November 2015.