Close icon
Close icon

Faculty of Arts Public Lecture Series 2024

As part of the MIC125 anniversary celebrations, the Faculty of Arts are holding a series of public lectures every Thursday in February - showcasing some of the excellent academics who form part of the Faculty and the various subjects which fascinate them.

Students attending a lecture in a large lecture hall - picture taken from behind the students.

To mark the milestone, the Faculty of Arts are holding a series of free talks for the wider public to showcase the academic excellence and varied research interests of the Faculty;

Time: All lectures 6pm
Venue: T118

1 February - Dr John McDonagh
The Terrible Gift of my Name - Brendan Kennelly, Oliver Cromwell and the Art of Writing Back

8 February - Dr Catherine Swift
The Black Book of Limerick

15 February - Prof. Paul Aplin
Seeing is Believing: Climate Change Down a Very Long Lens

22 February - Dr Rosemary Day
Listen and Learn - Ireland and the Radio

29 February - Dr Daniel Vázquez
The Ethics of Arguing Both Sides of a Question

Register here

Dr John McDonagh
Dr John McDonagh
Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature.

'The Terrible Gift of my Name' - Brendan Kennelly, Oliver Cromwell and the Art of Writing Back

In his Short History of England, GK Chesterton notes that the tragedy of the English conquest of Ireland in the 17th century is that the Irish can never forget it and the English can never remember it. Oliver Cromwell spent a total of only 40 weeks in Ireland (August 1649 - May 1650) and the axiom that truth is the first casualty of war was as applicable in the 17th century as in the 21st. Brendan Kennelly’s Cromwell, published 40 years ago, offers a voice to the Lord Protector to give his side of the story, initiating the process of writing back from history.

The 'Black Book of Limerick'

The Black Book of Limerick is a medieval manuscript still kept in the city and one which, though unfortunately understudied up till now, provides a unique resource for studying urban and colonial Irish history. It contains some 176 individual texts stretching from the pre-Norman period into the later fourteenth century written in an English Anglicana script on calfskin which was possibly prepared in an Irish-speaking context. It provides us with vital insights into the political interactions of Irish kings, Angevin monarchs and English lords in the first hundred year of the Anglo-Norman colony and through it, we can see the importance of diplomacy and local marriages as key instruments of land acquisition. This is an important corrective to the traditional pictures of armoured knights and military conquest derived from external witnesses. As a manuscript produced on the borders of an independent Irish kingdom, it also provides us with insights into the mixed legal environment operating in north Munster (including the English common law courts, vernacular Brehon law and papal judges delegates ) and, most importantly, to the crucial aspect of migrancy at various social levels in and around the city during the thirteenth century. As such it celebrates Limerick’s heritage as a thriving cosmopolitan and mercantile urban centre.

Register here

Dr Catherine Swift
Dr Catherine Swift
Lecturer, Department of History.
Prof. Paul Aplin
Prof. Paul Aplin
Head of Department of Geography.

'Seeing is Believing' Climate Change Down a Very Long Lens

Decades of scientific investigation have not yet succeeded in countering all climate change scepticism, but it can be hard to argue with a perfectly painted picture. Satellite sensors have been capturing images of the Earth for over 50 years, and image analysis can be unambiguous in mapping the rapidly changing nature of the Earth’s surface. Paul Aplin’s lecture presents state-of-the-art, science and technology in the field of remote sensing, showing how advancing instrumentation and novel methodologies shed light on a range of environmental applications. Also expect some spectacular fieldwork visuals, including one lumbering creature’s determined, deadly and devastatingly slow assault on our 4-by-4.

Register here

'Listen and Learn' - Ireland and the Radio

An exploration of the construction of identity in Ireland over the past one hundred years as heard on radio.

As we approach the centenary of broadcasting in Ireland in 2026, this presentation examines the story of the development of radio in Ireland. It asks how radio has affected our understanding of who we are as a nation and as individuals. It explores how radio assisted in the construction of our identity(ies) and how it has reflected reality and dreams over the past century. The talk will draw on archival material and on the personal memories of listeners through the years to illustrate some of the social and cultural changes that occurred from the foundation of the state to the 21st century.

Register here

Dr Rosemary Day
Dr Rosemary Day
Head of Department of Media & Communications Studies.
Dr Daniel Vázquez
Dr Daniel Vázquez
Head of Department of Philosophy.

The Ethics of Arguing Both Sides of a Question

Allowing space to argue for both sides of a difficult question or case often benefits our understanding, belief formation, risk assessment, and decision-making. But is it always morally appropriate to discuss both sides of an issue? Should we always allow equal time to advocate for both sides? Examples like pseudoscientific theories, political filibusters, and vested interests that manufacture doubt suggest not. But where and under what minimal moral principles should we draw the line? Philosophers and scientists have disagreed about the appropriateness and limits of arguing both sides since ancient times. Two ideals seem to clash. On the one hand, discovery and the search for truth require the freedom to assess all possible arguments to maximize the chances of success. On the other hand, sometimes pondering both sides strikes us as morally intolerable, a waste of time or falling into rhetorical traps that harm rather than benefit an investigation.

Register here