All roads lead to Galway for landmark Centenary event

Major national conference at NUI Galway with leading Irish and international speakers is centrepiece of The Centenary Conversations – a three day programme of talks, debates, exhibitions and performances

Leading speakers from Ireland and around the globe will gather in Galway from the 10th to the 12th of November to participate in The Centenary Conversations, a major initiative of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. Details of the three-day Conference and Fringe programme were announced today (Friday 14th October) by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD.

The centrepiece of the event is a major national conference, which is free to the public, titled ‘1916-2016 The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty’.  Hosted by NUI Galway and featuring a host of internationally-renowned academics, historians and special guests, the conference will explore and debate some of the most important issues and challenges facing us today.  The conference will be opened by An Taoiseach  and participants will include Minister Humphreys, Professor Roy Foster (University of Oxford), Professor Philip Pettit (Princeton University), Professor Louise Richardson (University of Oxford), Professor Clair Wills (Princeton University) and Professor Brendan O’Leary (University of Pennsylvania), as well as academics from across the entire third level sector in Ireland.

Speaking at the announcement of The Centenary Conversations, Galway An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “One of our greatest national talents is storytelling, which we do through literature, drama, poetry and other art forms.  Most of all we do it through conversations, in large groups and small.  This year we are re-living the experience of 1916 through historical analysis but also through the power of the arts in storytelling.  The National Conference in Galway will facilitate the exchange of views and opinions about the past, and how our understanding of the past can help us shape the future.  The wide-ranging events around the conference will extend and enlarge the conversation, bring in new audiences and perspectives – and will make this a great event not just for Galway but for the entire country.”

Minister Heather Humphreys said: “2016 has been an extraordinary year for Ireland and for Irish people. As we come to the end of our year of reflection and remembrance, it is time for us to look to the future and explore ways in which we can build on the positive experience of our centenary year. Public participation and engagement, not just in the events of the Centenary Programme, but also in the discussions around our complex history, have been a hallmark of our approach to this year. Therefore, I am particularly pleased that admission to the National Conference is free and I would encourage everyone to attend, participate and enjoy this unique and exciting event.”

Minster for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD said: “The participation and engagement by thousands of students, teachers and academics, in every education institution in the country, played a huge part in the success of this year’s Centenary Programme.  Creating opportunities and access for everyone to discover, learn and debate our shared history and what it means to be Irish today speaks to the value and importance of education in all our lives.”

In addition to the National Conference, a specially curated Fringe programme of talks, exhibitions, performances and special events will take place in NUI Galway and in venues across the city.

Highlights of the fringe programme include:

  • Ceann Comhairle, Hector Ó hEochagáin will convene a special sitting of the 2116 Parliament, where ten guest speakers will deliver a five minute motion to the Assembly, after which questions may be taken from the floor.
  • Look beyond the headlines and seek out the complicated and sometimes inconvenient truth in The Experts Bite Back, where experts fact-checks claims by politicians and the media on recent controversial issues and in a mission to get to the truth of the matter.
  • Award-winning 16 x 16 Next Generation artist Sian Ní Mhuirí presents 16 and Rising, the story of a secret revolutionary organisation of women and men who gather in a basement to plan an insurrection that will transform the city, and challenge the survival of the 32nd Dáil.
  • Host of the popular Hedge School series, Tommy Graham comes to Galway with the History Ireland Hedge School: All Changed, Changed Utterly … from 1916 to Brexit. A discussion with a difference, and considerable good humour!

Details of The Centenary Conversations, Galway and the full 1916 – 2016 The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty Conference Programme as well as registration details are available now at www.ireland2016.gov.ie

Admission to the National Conference is free but registration is essential.



Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

Web Design & Development by Fusio

Vision One Civil Service