Lifelong Learning in the NLI

Adult Learning Courses in conjunction with UCD

Our cultural partnership with UCD Adult Education will continue with another series of learning opportunities in 2018

 NEW Courses starting in January include:

Heaney and Ulster Voices
Tutor: Garrett Fagan

This course offers students the opportunity to gain an indepth understanding of Northern Irish writing including Seamus Heaney, one of Ireland’s greatest poetic voices. The course will explore Seamus Heaney along with other Ulster writers, past and present, including Patrick Kavanagh and Brian Friel. As well as poetry, plays and prose will also be considered. This is intended as an introduction to enjoying these writers at a deeper level than the casual reader.  The course will make use of the resources of the National Library.
The course will take a comparative approach, locating each writer in their own times and cultural context, while at the same time looking at the connections between them and exploring the ways in which they responded to Irish life.
8 Tuesdays, 10.30am – 1.00pm

January 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20     Fee €195

Garrett Fagan has taught at universities in Dublin and at Warwick University in the UK. He has interests in Renaissance literature, legal - literary relations and Anglo Irish writing.

Beckett for Beginners

Tutor: Dr David McKinney
This course examines the life and work of Irish playwright and author Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and seeks to demystify Beckett’s art, which has garnered a reputation as serious and obscure. Students will learn how to appreciate Beckett’s drama, as well as how to make sense of it.  Particularly of interest to the course is the way in which Beckett’s private life, as well as major world events, had a profound impact on his literary career.
Dr David McKinney has taught in the School of English Drama and Film at University College Dublin since 2013, and was awarded his PhD in literature in 2016. His main interests are the drama and fiction of Samuel Beckett, and contemporary Irish fiction

8 Thursdays, 2:00pm – 4:30pm                                       Fee €195
Jan 25, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, Mar 1, 8, 15

Medieval Journeys: Travel and Pilgrimage in the Celtic World

Tutor: Dr Nathan Millin
What was it like to be a medieval pilgrim? Where did they go? What happened on the way? Any journey to a sacred place undoubtedly held a spiritual dimension; Pilgrims bought souvenirs from continental shrines dedicated to familiar Irish saints and visited other religious sites to fulfil vows, for penance or to cure sickness. . Roadside hostels provided rest while entertainment existed in the form of taverns and even the occasional Church-run brothel. This course explores individual pilgrim writings uncovering what motivated Irish people to travel, the routes they followed and their experiences on the road.

8 Wednesdays, 10.30am -1pm                                              Fee €195
Mar 7,14, 21,28, Apr 4,11,18, 25
Dr Nathan Millin holds a PhD in Medieval Irish History with a focus on the religious and social connections between Ireland and the continent. He teaches at UCD in the School of History and School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore.

Places on these courses can be booked through  UCD Adult Education:      01 716 7123

Memoir Writing

The National Library of Ireland works with Irene Graham, founder of The Memoir Writing Club and author of The Memoir Writing Workbook to offer workshops and lectures on memoir writing as part of our ongoing events programme.

 Find out more about the course here.

Bealtaine Festival

The National Library takes part each year in Age and Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival. The Bealtaine Festival takes place in May and celebrates creativity in older people. The NLI hosts Bealtaine events and has also embarked on series of research projects. Man, Woman and Child

Man, Woman and Child was a research and performance project devised and co-ordinated by Michael Fortune and featuring traditional singers, Luke Cheevers, Niamh Parsons, John and Brigid Tunney, Mick Fowler, Jerry O'Reilly, Rosie Stewart, Tim Lyons and Aileen Lambert.

Supported by the Arts Council, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, Age and Opportunity and the NLI, the project was based on the Child Ballad Collection - a collection of traditional songs collected by the American collector Francis J Child in England and Scotland between 1882 and 1898. Although many of the songs or variants of them are sung in the Irish tradition, no comprehensive study and performance of the ballads had been undertaken in Ireland prior to this project. The Child ballad collection is in the library's collection and this project provided the opportunity to bring the ballads from the shelf to the stage.

Follow this link to explore the concerts on the website

As I roved out

 In 2012, the group of traditional singers Jerry O'Reilly, John Tunney, Brigid Tunney, Cilona Ni Shuilleabhain, Brendan Kennedy, Larry Joy and Roisin Gaffney researched material and composed new songs on the theme of travel and emigration. The songs were performed in the library on May 30th as part of the Bealtaine 2012 Festival. The project was facilitated by Aileen Lambert and Michael Fortune in collaboration with the Bealtaine festival, the National Library and the ITMA and supported by the Arts Council. To  read about the project :

Read more about previous projects:

The Magpies Nest

In this project six local historians from County Wexford and artist Michael Fortune worked with the NLI and Age and Opportunity on the research of historical themes of local interest. The project was documented on the Magpies Nest website and features diary entries, images and video footage of the research process. The project culminated in an exhibition at the National Library for the duration of the Bealtaine Festival 2009.

The Wild Bees' Nest

The Wild Bees' Nest was a research and songwriting project involving a group of traditional singers throughout Ireland. Research for the project was carried out in the National Library of Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archive.  The project was conceived and devised by Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert and supported by The Arts Council in conjunction with The Bealtaine Festival and the National Library. Performances of the newly composed songs took place in the NLI during the Bealtaine Festival. The project was documented on The Wild Bees Nest website.  A CD of the songs was launched in May 2012. 

Wild Bees Nest performanceWild Bees Nest performance

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