After an absence of over two years, the Daniel O’Connell School will reconvene over the bank holiday weekend of Friday/Saturday, 22/23 October 2021. The programme on Friday, 22 October, will be held at the Ring of Kerry Hotel, Cahersiveen (at the western end of the town). The programme on Saturday, 23 October, will be held in Derrynane House, Caherdaniel, as usual.

In both places, the School will be held in accordance with public health guidelines. The Government has indicated that these guidelines may be updated as and from Friday, 22 October. The School asks all those who intend to attend to abide by the guidelines.

Those who intend to attend the School (on either or both days), must pre-register. This can be done through our website ( where those registering will be asked to pay an attendance fee of €15 per day. Those who may not have access to online may register by calling 087-3510732.

As numbers attending the School will be restricted due to social distancing requirements, registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Admission to the School is by pre-registration only.

As numbers attending the 2021 School will be restricted due to social distancing requirements, this year we plan to stream the proceedings live from Cahersiveen and Saturday’s lectures in Derrynane will be recorded and will be available for viewing on video on Wednesday 27th October.  Registration will be required to view the proceedings at our website, Please register on or before 5:00 pm on Sunday, 17 October 2021.

For updates on the programme, please refer to the School’s website.

We want to thank those who have supported the School in the past and who continue to encourage us to continue it into the future. We also want to welcome back to the area those of our visitors who live outside South Kerry. We hope that despite our changed circumstances this year, you will enjoy the School.


Friday, 22 October 2021, Ring of Kerry Hotel, Cahersiveen

10.00 am:  Introduction and Welcome:  Professor Maurice Bric, Director of the Daniel O'Connell School.

Opening Address:  The Hon. Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice of Ireland, "Ireland and the Law"

11.00 am Interval

11.30 am: Approaches to Kerry History

Moderator:  June O'Connell, Cahersiveen and Dublin


Professor Nicholas P. Canny, “Approaches to Kerry History”. Professor Canny is Professor Emeritus of History at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and former President of the Royal Irish Academy. He has published several books and articles on Irish history. His most recent, Imagining Ireland’s Pasts has just been published by Oxford University Press.

2.00 pm:  Towards an Irish State

Moderator: Ruth Barrington, Castlecove and Dublin


Dr Thomas Earls FitzGerald has held postdoctoral fellowships from Trinity College Dublin and Concordia University, Montreal. Earlier this year, he published Combatants and Civilians and Revolutionary Ireland 1918 - 1923 as well as a short history of the Irish Labour Party. Earls will speak on “Insurgency and Reprisals in Kerry and Ireland 1920-1921"

Professor Mary McAuliffe is Assistant Professor in Gender Studies at UCD. Her latest publications are We were there; 77 women of the Easter Rising (co-written with Liz Gillis), and Kerry 1916; Histories and Legacies of the Easter Rising on which she was a co-editor. Mary will speak on the history of Cumann na mBan in Kerry and on the part which women played in the establishment of Irish independence.

Owen O'Shea is an Irish Research Council-funded PhD student at UCD, researching politics in Kerry in the decade after the Civil War. He has published several books on Kerry history and politics and his latest book, Ballymacandy: The Story of a Kerry Ambush was published by Merrion Press earlier this year. Owen will speak on “Reporting the Revolution: Newspapers in Kerry 1920-1923".

4.00 pm: Book Launch of A Man of His TimesThe Papers of Robert Fitzgerald, 17th Knight of Kerry, edited by Adrian FitzGerald, Knight of Kerry.

5.00 pm: Con Keating Memorial Park, Cahersiveen

Maurice Fitzgerald and Colleagues, "Tribute to Maurice 'Junior' Murphy".  This will be followed by the unveiling of the ACARD mural at the O'Connell Street entrance to the Car Park.

Saturday, 23 August 2021.  Derrynane House, Caherdaniel

10.00 am: South Kerry: Snapshots from the Past

Moderator: Mary Lyne, Ballinskelligs


Professor Elva Johnston is an Associate Professor of History at University College Dublin.  Elva will speak on the impact of saints - such as Crohan – on the religious and cultural memory of South Kerry.

Dr Nessa O'Connor is Assistant Keeper of Antiquities in the National Museum of Ireland. She will speak about her grandfather, Joseph O’Connor (1877-1957), one of the first Inspectors of Schools to be appointed after 1922. He was also an authority on the folklore and history of South Kerry (especially in the Ballinskelligs area). He also studied under Sir William Orpen and his sketches of South Kerry are of considerable interest. It is on this work, writing and interest that Nessa will speak.

11.00 am Interval

11.30 pm: The Unique Horticultural Legacy of South Kerry

Moderator:  Eleanor Turner, Caherdaniel


Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington National University of Ireland, Galway, will speak on "The Secret History of the Kerry Lily". 

Alan Power, Head Gardiner, Derreen Garden, will speak on “Derreen: Peeling back the Layers”.

James O’Shea, Head Gardener, Derrynane National Historic Park and Chris Maguire, Craft Gardiner, Derrynane National Historic Park will speak about “The Garden Landscape of Derrynane”.

3:00 pm: The Daniel O'Connell Lecture, 2021

Moderator: Professor David McConnell

The lecture will be given by Professor Maurice Bric MRIA, Professor Emeritus of History at UCD and the Director of the Daniel O’Connell School. He will speak on “Daniel O’Connell: Lives and Legacies”

6:30 pm: Gala Concert, Skellig Six18 Distillery, Cahersiveen

"Liberation! The Music of Daniel O'Connell".  As part of the annual Féile at the Skellig Six18 Distillery, Cahersiveen, Gavan Ring will take time out from his role as a leading tenor at this year's Glyndebourne Opera Festival in the UK to lead a gala concert of some of the greatest and most iconic music from the O'Connell era in the auditorium of the Skellig Six 18 Distillery. He will be joined by the cream of Irish musicians including members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, star soprano Nicola Ring and leading pianist Fiachra Garvey. Skellig Six18 Distillery is located on the Western outskirts of Cahersiveen.

Pre-booking for this event is essential and is separate from pre-booking for the School.

See for information about the event and ticketing details.