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28/05/18 Importance of culture to be explored at Diaspora conference

Donegal Diasp conf

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive Donegal County Council and Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle looking forward to hosing major international Donegal Diaspora conference in Lough Eske Castle on Friday 8th June.


The need for a better understanding of the role and importance of culture, music and language and our desire to belong to a place, in the context of engaging and connecting with our diaspora, will be discussed in Donegal next month at a major international conference in Lough Eske Castle on Friday 8th June.


“Culture and the importance of belonging to place” is the title for the Donegal Irish Diaspora Project’s 2018 conference and a host of national and international speakers has been lined up to deliver what promises to be an interesting and informative series of talks and discussions.


Among the topics covered on the day will be ‘The Great Wheel of Life: Ireland, Scotland and America’ in a talk by Brian Lambkin, founding Director of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park.


Frank Shovlin who is Professor of Literature at the University of Liverpool will discuss ‘Donegal Writers at home and away 1850-2000,” while ‘Songs of the Donegal Diaspora’ will be the subject of the talk from Inishowen native Grace Toland, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.


Gortahork native Lillis Ó Laoire is senior lecturer in Irish, Folklore and Celtic Civilisation in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway and his case study in cultural change and adaptation from Donegal will focus on ‘Migratory Songs.’


Meanwhile city archivist for Boston, John McColgan who has traced his ancestry back to Inishowen will cover the role of ‘Boston’s Donegal diaspora in American politics.’

The conference has become an important event in the county’s calendar as part of an overall strategy to actively engage with Donegal’s diaspora.


“Donegal County Council has been implementing its Diaspora initiative for over ten years and a key element we have identified over this period is the feeling and importance that our diaspora attach to belonging to their home county and the importance they place on continuing that contact,” said Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle.


According to Seamus Neely, Chief Executive, Donegal County Council the ongoing engagement with our diaspora is hugely important in terms of its potential economic benefits for a county like Donegal.


“Earlier this year during Local Enterprise Week we heard Kingsley Aikins speak of the huge, untapped potential that exists within the Irish diaspora and the power of the diaspora in terms of inward investment.


“Kingsley is a renowned international speaker on diaspora and what countries around the world are doing in this regard. It was interesting to hear him suggest that the glue to making things really happen is networking and building networks.


“In Donegal we have been working extremely hard at doing this with events like our Tip O’Neill Diaspora Awards and a series of recent trade missions to America. Our conference on June 8th is another opportunity for people here to network, to meet and get to understand the needs and desires of our diaspora and I really hope people will make the most of the opportunity and of the incredible line up of speakers we have.”


Bookings for the conference that runs from 9am until 4pm on Friday June 8th are now being taken on Local Enterprise Office, Donegal’s website, where a copy of the brochure for the day can also be downloaded –


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