After an absence of two years, the Daniel O’Connell School will reconvene over the bank holiday weekend, 22/23 October 2021, in Cahersiveen/Derrynane.

“We are very much looking forward to meeting again,” said Mary O’Connor, the Chairperson of the Organising Committee. “We will be meeting under the Government’s guidelines for public health and we hope that everybody will enjoy the programme. As is always the case, the programme is varied and there is something in it for everybody”.

The School will be opened by the outgoing Chief Justice, Frank Clarke, who will speak on “Ireland and the Law”. He will be followed by the former president of the Royal Irish Academy, Nicholas Canny”.

“Professor Canny has just published this great book called Imagining Ireland’s Pasts”, said Professor Maurice Bric, the Director of the School. “It is about how Irish historians have written about Irish history. As Professor Canny has used a lot of material from Kerry, I am looking forward to what he has to say and to see how Kerry influenced the writing and presentation of Irish history”.

There will also be a session on how the War of Independence and the Civil War unfolded in Kerry. As part of this, Professor Mary McAuliffe will talk about the role of Cumann na mBan while Owen O’Shea will look at how newspapers influenced public opinion. On Friday afternoon, the Knight of Kerry, Adrian FitzGerald will also launch a book about one of his predecessors who did much to shape the development of South Kerry.

In the Con Keating Park in Cahersiveen, Maurice Fitzgerald and some of his colleagues from the GAA will remember Maurice “Junior” Murphy who died last June. “We miss Junior every day”, said Maurice Bric. “Our School could not have got off the ground without him. He was also involved in many other aspects of life in South Kerry and we will meet in his beloved “The Field” to remember him”.

On Saturday, the School will host a session devoted to South Kerry’s rich horticultural heritage. The Head Gardeners in Derreen and Derrynane will talk about their work and its interest for the thousands of people who visit South Kerry every year to view their gardens.

This year, the annual Daniel O’Connell Lecture will be delivered by Maurice Bric. “I will be speaking about O’Connell’s “Lives and Legacies”, Maurice said. “O’Connell was a very complicated individual. I will try to explore this in my lecture and give a sense of how he influenced life not just in Ireland but in other parts of the world”.

This year, pre-registry for the School is essential. Booking can be made at For those who do not have access to online, they can call 087-3510732.

“We will also be live-streaming the lectures”, Mary O’Connor said. “Even before the pandemic, we had been looking at this as a way of linking the School with the wider community, including those who live overseas. We are glad that we are doing this year. Of course, for those who prefer to visit in person, there is always a welcome. But again, I would ask them to pre-register as the number of places will be restricted”.