Northern Ireland news

Annual MacGill summer school to go-ahead online in October

The MacGill school was established in 1981 in memory of Glenties' writer, Patrick MacGill.
Seamus McKinney

This year’s prestigious 40th MacGill Summer School has been moved to October and will take place online.

The annual July summer school commemorates Glenties’ writer, Patrick MacGill who was known as “The Navvy Poet”. Despite leaving home and formal education at the age of 11, MacGill became one of the most accomplished social commentators of his age.

One of Ireland’s foremost summer schools, the event usually attracts leaders in every aspect of Irish life. Speakers have included serving taoisigh, secretaries of state, politicians from all traditions, artists, journalists and cultural figures. Each year the school selects a topic relevant to Irish life for analysis and discussion.

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Re-named the “MacGill School” for this year, the event will run from October 23 to 26 and will focus on the Covid-19 crisis.

A spokesman for the school said speakers for this year’s event would be confirmed in the coming weeks and months.

The spokesman said school would include “authoritative and eminently qualified contributors”. Among the topics to be discussed would be progress in dealing with coronavirus, its impact on the economy and environment, the role of the EU in restoring moral and this year’s US presidential election.

“McGill School will keep its links with Donegal by including snapshots of the country’s rich cultural life which, as in other parts of Ireland, has helped to sustain people throughout this crisis in very difficult circumstances,” the spokesman said.

He said the MacGill School would remain true to its mission and would provide a forum for “well-informed discussion about the burning issues of our time”.

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