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Scholars discuss Irish language role

Ninneman, Peter | Friday, September 30, 2005

Six distinguished scholars will present a conference on the Irish language’s role in academia today in the Hesburgh Auditorium.

“Why Irish?”- a forum hosted by the Department of Irish Language and Literature – will bring together internationally renowned scholars from the fields of comparative literature, medieval studies, linguistics, contemporary literature, cultural studies and Indo-European poetics. The scholars will discuss how the language has benefited their research and the role it plays in their discipline.

“It focuses attention on the role, function and contributions of Irish language and literature in the North American university system,” said Professor Brian Ó Conchubhair, a Fellow of the Keough Institute for Irish Studies.

Judging from registration for the all-day event, attendance is expected to be strong. Ó Conchubhair attributes his optimism for student turnout to the rising number of students taking Irish or Irish Studies as a minor at Notre Dame.

Given that the conference is on a class day, Ó Conchubhair said students are welcome to come and go all day as their class schedule permits.

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. with a lecture by Éamon Ó Cuív, who was appointed Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in July 2002. Ó Cuív is responsible for ensuring European recognition of the Irish language. He also introduces legislation that mandates the names of places in Irish-speaking districts appear on road signs in Irish only.

Ó Cuív is expected to make an announcement that will “garnish considerable press coverage,” Ó Conchubhair said.

The all-day conference will include two breaks and will conclude at 4:30 p.m. with a reception in the Great Hall at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.

Registration for the conference is free and can be completed at the Keough Institute’s Web site.