Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cloch na Rón - between land and sea

Local (ie Irish) readers may have seen the story in the Irish Times this week following on from the public announcement of the generous donation from Tim and Mairead Robinson to NUI Galway. Tim is known for both his beautiful and meticulous maps of the Aran Islands, the Burren and (the one that has served me so well in hillwalks - in stark contrast to the old ordnance survey sheets) Connemara and for his books. Their company, Folding Landscapes, is based in premises on the edge of Roundstone pier and, at times of extreme high tide, is often subject to attempts by the sea to reclaim its right, seeping into the basement workshop but ultimately draining back in defeat (this time).

The workshop and house have now been generously offered to the university as a venue for colloquia and seminars and an ambitious new programme of such events has just been launched which will bring scientists, artists, historians and writers to the village every month for intense academic discussion followed by public lectures and debate in the local community hall. The university's Foundation Office is managing the programme, ably guided by the Dean of Arts, Prof. Kevin Barry. Of course, at present it is still the Robinson's home and only a limited number of events are being hosted there, but the programme is nonetheless fairly extensive.

We're considering the possibility of interviews (audio/video) with some of the presenters prior to, or after each event. More information and links will appear here in the fullness of time.

Of course, this is an extremely generous act on the part of the Robinsons and it has inspired genuine commitment on the part of university staff to reach out and engage with the local community in one of Connemara's loveliest locations.

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