Highlights of the 2016 programme

In true Carleton tradition the Summer School intends to cast its net wide in this, its 25th year.

We begin on Sunday 31st July with a taste of a contemporary of Carleton. We recall a figure who also profoundly influenced views of Irishness. For the while of that evening in the hallowed walls of St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher, let us remember Tom Moore and his Melodies, selected and presented by Gemma Prince, soprano and harpist. Diane Whittaker, the cathedral organist, who performed so memorably last year in the opening event will join us again in what promises to be a very popular concert.

The official opening of the Summer School takes place at Corick House Hotel on the following morning when a number of figures from the early days of the festival will, we hope, honour the event with their presence.  This year we welcome back Owen Dudley Edwards, Honorary Director of the Summer School, whose keynote address on ‘Carleton and the 1916 Rising’ should certainly have us sitting up and taking note.

The afternoon sessions are designed to continue, broadly, the theme of recollecting and commemorating: Archbishop Michael Jackson considers the idea of ‘Commemoration’; and Tess Maginess considers Seamus Heaney’s indebtedness to William Carleton.  Frank McHugh’s diligent researches have led him to consider Carleton’s wedding ceremony which took place in the murky world of darkest Rathmines.

After all that intellectual activity, the needs of the spirit will be satisfied by an evening of swing and brass in the Valley Hotel, Fivemiletown: the Murley Brass Ensemble and the Swing Gals sound like the ideal combination.

On the Tuesday morning Carleton School alumnus Seamas Mac Annaidh considers the rich topic of Carleton’s dialect, followed by Michael Fisher who explores the twists and turns in the saga of the writer’s attempts to secure a state pension.

The Battle of the Somme will be considered by journalist, commentator and historian Kevin Myers in what will be undoubtedly a major presentation of the Summer School. The speaker has agreed to join the panel which will convene next day (Wednesday) to discuss the value of recalling events such as the Somme and so many other happenings in this ‘Decade of Commemoration’.

No gathering of Carletonians would be complete without a reading (just short of a dramatisation) of an actual Carleton text.  This year Liam Foley has turned his attention to ‘Larry McFarland’s Wake’ – the product being presented by the Carleton Players, renowned throughout Ireland for their versatility and expertise [enough, Ed.]

Tuesday evening.  A new departure combines music and the art of cookery: the Bloomfield String Quartet perform in advance of a demonstration by Norah Brown, of Grange Lodge, Dungannon. ‘Homemade Food with Traditional Produce’