1916 Centenary and Brian Friel to feature at MacGill

36th Patrick MacGill Summer School and Arts Week

1916 Centenary and Brian Friel to feature at MacGill
Gerry Reynolds editorial@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

This year's MacGill Summer School will start a day early, with Saturday devoted to honouring playwright Brian Friel who passed away last October.

As well as the life of the internationally acclaimed playwright, this year’s event will focus on Ireland in 2016, look back on how Ireland has evolved over the last century and look forward to what the future could or should be..

The MacGill School was founded in Glenties in 1981 to celebrate the memory of Patrick MacGill. He wrote of social conditions in Donegal, the plight of migrant workers in Britain and the Great War, in which he fought as a soldier of the London Irish Rifles.

The French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault will officially open the Summer School at the usual time of 8pm on Sunday in the Highlands Hotel in Glenties and Micheál Martin TD, Leader of Fianna Fáil, will deliver the 16th Annual John Hume Lecture at 8.30pm.

The celebration of Friel on Saturday (see story below for programme), continues on Sunday, with a visit to a visit to The Laurels home of the McLoone sisters (the Mundy sisters of Dancing at Lughnasa) and actor Stephen Rea reading Friel's A Man's World at 12 noon.

Back at the Highlands Hotel, there will be more readings, a musical interlood and, at 4.30pm, a special screening of the documentary Brial Friel, produced by Noel Pearson and directed by Sinead O'Brien.

Sunday's proceedings draw to a close with the Friel Play, Making History.

From Monday morning, the school returns to its traditional talks, debates and discussions on current events, politics, health, the economy, education and the arts.

More than 50 contributors, including An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, from diverse areas in Ireland and abroad will look to the future and put forward their views on the changes needed to adapt to the demands of a changing society and the current turbulent international environment.

Referring to this year's Centenary of the Easter Rising and the week's programme, Dr Joe Mulholland, Director of MacGill Summer School, said, “I think we honoured the men and women of 1916 very well. Now it is time to get back to the country we have today and the problems that we have 100 years on.

“Since the recession, MacGill has been planning for the future. We are working for better governance. That is what we are about and that is what we have built our reputation on,” he added.

Taoiseach to speak

An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD, will deliver an address at 5.30pm on Monday, during a session on The Future of Politics and Governance.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan will be among a number of experts taking part in a panel discussion international terrorism at 4pm on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, at 8.30pm, Irish Farmers Association President Joe Healy will be one of the panelists talking about on climate change.

Friday morning's debate, on Rural Development features with Tony Hanway, CEO Virgin Media, and Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht among the speakers.

In addition to the talks and debates, the school features many concerts, tours and other cultural events.

For the full programme, visit www.macgillsummerschool.com

Webcasts of each session from the MacGill Summer School 2016 can be accessed at www.donegalcoco.ie by clicking on the Quick Link button for the MacGill Webcasting.

* Our picture shows: A scene from the Abbey Theatre's original staging of Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa in 1990