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Island Voices returns to the Tower Museum this autumn

15 September 2015

The much anticipated Island Voices series will be making a welcome return to the Tower Museum this month, with the first of three fascinating talks beginning on Thursday September 24th.


The annual series focuses on Irish and Scots cultural heritage, and this year will explore the impact that socio-economic factors such as migration and famine have on language. The events are funded through Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations programme, with support from OFMDFM’s Community Relations Unit.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said this year’s series would provide another fascinating insight into our shared cultural heritage.

“The Island Voices series always enjoys a great following, and this is the fifth series to date. The aim of the series is to explore the fascinating shared cultural heritage of our Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions and focus on the impact of socio-economic factors like migration and famine on our culture, language and customs.

“I would really encourage anyone with an interest in local history and our shared cultural traditions to come along and gain a fresh perspective on what makes our culture so unique.”

This year’s speakers include former BBC producer Laura Spence, who will deliver the first lecture on September 24th. Laura will take a look at the Rhyming Weavers of Ulster, a group of writers who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries and whose poetry shines a light on a time of radicalism, religious piety and cultural development in Ulster.

This will be followed in October 29th with a talk by Dr Patrick Fitzgerald, Lecturer & Development Officer with the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park. Dr Fitzgerald will explore how human migration impacts upon language by focusing on the evolving use of language by trans-Atlantic migrants and shorter internal migrations.

The final lecture in the series will take place on Thursday November 26th, when author and senior lecturer in the Irish language at Ulster University, Dr Fionntán de Brún, will address the subject of the Great Famine and the Irish Language. The talk will look at the impact of the Great Famine focusing on some fascinating eye witness accounts from the time.

The talks run over lunchtime, they’re free, and everyone is welcome to attend but booking is essential due to numbers. Each talk will be hosted in the Tower Museum from 12.30pm – 2pm on each of the respective dates and lunch is provided.

For more information or to book places please contact the Tower Museum on (028) 7137 2411 or email [email protected]

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