|'It’s us they’re talking
about' 2003 Issue 6 : Changed Times|
Clonmany, Co. Donegal, 24th – 27th June 2004
is changing before my eyes. This change is a little too fast for me. Now
living in the Sperrins in neighbouring Tyrone, I often feel overwhelmed
by the change. It is no more evident than in the landscape around us. We
must chart these changes if we are to make sense of it all.
Summer schools often have the name of being highbrowed and academic – the McGlinchey strikes the right balance.
There is a growing demand for books dealing seriously with the land, the people and in the cultural history of Ireland going behind and beyond political history. Social history should be concerned not so much with events as with links between these events. This total heritage, these links between these events are superbly dealt with in this publication. It deals with the issues on the ground in the intimacy of a small region – the Inishowen peninsula. A history of Ireland must be based on a study of the relationship between the land and the people.
Des Doherty recalls in great detail what we all take for granted, the coming of electricity. The struggles of the Inishowen shirt industry which will no doubt touch all families is outlined by Sean Tighe, as will Susan Parkes’ article on the education system. These are the type of events that are all linked and rooted in the local experience. John Hume takes change on the wider stage of Europe and he would question our place in that landscape.
This community is concerned first and foremost with its continuity and
as a wholesome society; it does not judge and cannot be judged purely by
This is very ably discussed by Mary Cawley in her essay “The Rural Idyll - Continuity and Change in the Countryside”. The landscape can reveal, represent and symbolise so much : the social, political, economic factors that make the place we live in. This issue of “It’s us they’re talking about”makes us question what is happening to us as a people and as a land.
Having spent some time in Italy this summer, one quickly realises that we cannot compete with the built heritage of the Roman culture and its historical buildings. But what we have in Ireland – our landscape – is what makes us unique and it is this priceless asset which is most under threat.
Underlying the Summer School is a community searching, a community developing and trying to make sense of the change around us. This McGlinchey Summer School publication sets a standard for other areas to follow.