September 2017 - Global Irish Diaspora Congress report

Members of Clans of Ireland participated in the Global Irish Diaspora Congress held on the 15th to 19th August  at University College Dublin, which had been organised by the UCD Global Irish Diaspora Committee, including Prof. Tadhg O'Keeffe  Professor of Archaeology at University College Dublin. Professor O'Keeffe, who had addressed the Clans of Ireland Conference in 2017.

The conference examined the histories, culture, heritages and identities of Irish people living beyond the shores of Ireland. This was clearly a very important event, so that for Clans of Ireland to have representatives in attendance  was exceedingly worthwhile.

Maura O'Gara O'Riordan and Máire Ní Chearbhaill represented the O'Gara Clan, Michael Egan represented the Egan Clan and Joe Mannion represented the Mannion Clan and all represented Clans of Ireland.

The Congress had an attendance of approximately two-hundred-fifty delegates including, academics, independent scholars, artists, practitioners in the field of the Diaspora. The Ambassador of Australia, the Ambassador of Argentina and representatives from the Brazilian Embassy.

There was productive networking amongst organisations and leaders from throughout the World and it was generally agreed that Irish studies are enjoying a period of prosperity globally, due to the centenary of 1916.

Prof O'Keeffe, who had originally initiated the idea of  the Congress, described how he had come to develop his curiosity about what it is to be Irish, leading from his professional interest in the global study of archaeology.

There was much discussion on the definition of the term 'Diaspora' , with a variety of viewpoints coming to light. It was agreed that Irishness can not be viewed as a singular identity and that it should be appreciated that it is more eclectic than we may have hitherto understood. It is calculated that there 75,000,000 throughout the world who claim to be Irish and that these members of the global Irish Diaspora  consider themselves increasingly multi-ethnic.

Prof Liam Kennedy of the Clinton Institute for American Studies at UCD described the results of a survey which he had been involved with in Chicago and that it is noteworthy that the term 'Irish Diaspora' is seen as a positive term that is now replacing the negative term of  'emigran't. He commented that Irish ethnicity is increasingly a matter of pride rather than need, as there are fewer Irish migrants in evidence in Irish American communities.

It was decided at the Roundtable that the next Global Irish Diaspora Congress will take place in 2019. It is our hope that Clans of Ireland will again be represented at this next event.