Kilkenny Archaeological Society has arranged two items of exceptional interest during April.
Next Wednesday – April 9th at 8.00pm in Rothe House we are proud to be able to present Dr Maurice Manning on the subject of Eoin O Duffy and the Fascist Movement in Ireland. Dr Manning has studied the complex personality of O’Duffy and this turbulent period to good effect and his insights are certainly well worth hearing.
Dr Manning, the current Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, spent much of his academic career in the Department of Politics at UCD and is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD. He was a member of the New Ireland Forum and the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. He was at different times Leader of Seanad Éireann and Leader of the Opposition in that House. He is currently Chair of the European Group of National Human Rights Institution and has also been President of the Irish Human Rights Commission. Very few people are more qualified then him to delve into the times, the Irish situation and also to place it in the context of a very disturbed Europe in the mid 20th century.
Controversy is once again at the core of the annual inter-university debate organised on Wednesday 23rd April in Kilkenny Castle at 8.00. Now established as a favourite in our annual calendar, the debate pitches leading authorities from Irish Universities to argue the merits –and demerits – of a historic event and its wider impact on the Irish nation.
This year the motion is The arrival of the Normans was no bad thing!
The competing teams are drawn from TrinityCollege, Dublin in the person of Professor Patrick Geoghegan and Dr Seán O Reilly. Professor Patrick Geoghegan especially will be well known because of his frequent appearances on TV while the pair of them were behind the much talked about Act of Union Parliamentary Debate reconstruction staged in the Former House of Lords (Bank of Ireland) Dublin
Their opponents and opposing the motion are UCC’s Dr Diarmuid Scully and Dr Paul Maccotter from the well regarded School of History there. Dr Paul Maccotter is an historical geographer, who has recently published his fourth book on the medieval diocese of Cloyne; his other publications include “Medieval Ireland: territorial, political and economic divisions”. Dr Diarmuid Scully works on classical and medieval representations of Ireland and Britain, and is writing a book on Gerald of Wales’s writings about Ireland.
As always a contest pitting Munster against Leinster is should to be a close and keenly argued encounter.
The two teams are selected as much for their forensic capacity to demolish the arguments of their opponents as for their deep knowledge of the topic. Last year the debate was a wonderful manifestation of verbal jousting and featured cut and thrust of a high order. This month’s debate in KilkennyCastle (by kind invitation of the OPW) is again likely to prove engaging and entertaining.