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Island Voices lecture series set for autumn return

08 September 2022
Derry City and Strabane District Council’s popular autumn lecture series – ‘Island Voices’ – returns later this month with a series of lunchtime talks exploring the portrayal of the natural world within the Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions.  
The series features three speakers who will explore how the languages of Irish and Ulster-Scots providing us with a unique understanding of the physical world; through our placenames, our names for living things and the vocabulary of long forgotten traditions. The series invites us to reflect on how our indigenous languages can help to rebuild the lost relationship between us and nature.
The first talk in the series Down to Earth: The Irish language and Ecological Survival
takes place at the Tower museum on Thursday 22 September at 1pm, and features Professor Michael Cronin from Trinity College Dublin. The speaker will outline his conviction that the Irish language and the accumulated environmental wisdom contained within it, is vital to creating a sustainable future for all the inhabitants of the island.
The second talk in the series, Listen to the Landspeak: The Lost Wisdom of the Land
takes place at the Guildhall on Wednesday 26 October and features Manchán Magan author of Thirty-Two Words for Field and Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature. In this talk the speaker will explore the hidden insights that the Irish language offers us into the landscape, heritage and psyche of Ireland.
The third and final talk in the series - Ulster-Scots Literature and the Natural World - features Dr. David Gray from Dalarna university in Sweden. In this talk, the speaker will explore Ulster-Scots verse literature, focusing on the writing of Ulster-Scots poets from the eighteenth and nineteenth century and exploring the portrayal of the natural world within their work. The talk will pay homage to the flora and fauna which make up the unique natural landscapes of Ulster and which proved to be inspirational for Ulster-Scots writers during this period.  
Speaking ahead of the programme, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said: “The Island Voices series is always extremely popular offering an opportunity to hear from some of the leading academics in the areas of linguistics, history and culture. This year the focus is on the natural world and will be a very timely reflection given the current focus on climate and environmental issues, so I would really recommend going along.”
Pól Ó Frighil, Policy Officer (Irish Language) at Derry City and Strabane District Council who organises the event added: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome audiences back to the Tower museum and the Guildhall for this year’s Island Voices programme. The Island Voices series is now in its twelfth year and it continues to be very popular with audiences. We expect demand for places to be high this year so we would encourage people to book their places at the lectures early.”
All talks in the series are free but booking is essential. To book your place please contact the Tower Museum, T:(028) 7137 2411 or email [email protected]
Further information: Pól Ó Frighil, Policy Officer (Irish Language), Derry City and Strabane District Council, [email protected]
The Island Voices series is funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations Programme.