The 5th McGlinchey Summer School
5th - 7th July 2002
General Press Release June 2002
|Exhibition Press Release June 2002|
In the "Last of the Name" Charles McGlinchey tells many stories which demonstrate the power of borders and divisions - real or imaginary - in the lives of the people of Clonmany. He tells us of the Clonmany girl who many years ago was seized and abducted by men from Kinnagoe or Buncrana. Her father secretly visited her, but had to head off quickly when he discovered that his new 'in-laws' were returning. He ran from them in great fear until he crossed the stream that divides the parish of Buncrana from the parish of Clonmany. "As soon as he got across and into his own parish he turned to face them and put his trust in God and the Tearman (monastic sanctuary) of Cluain Maine (Clonmany), and fell to them with a cudgel of a stick he had and killed them as they came forward to him. The people that were killed were buried at that spot, and it was always called Sruthan na gCorp (the Stream of the Corpses)".
The relationship between borders, boundaries and divisions and the
lives and deaths of the people in this story is quite stark.
Another remarkable feature of McGlinchey's story of a border skirmish
is the practice of fuadach, i.e. the abduction of women. To a great
extent, fuadach succeeded because women felt constrained by the boundary
between the domestic and the public spheres. So real were the effects
of this constraint that women were prevented from leaving their abductors
and going back to a home which was often only a few miles away.
Border conflicts on both a global and a provincial scale will also be discussed at this year's Summer School, with particular focus on World War II.
The fact of our near neighbours being at war has had a significant influence on our own local history. Richard Doherty, the Derry historian and author, will illustrate and discuss the effects of World War II on Derry and the north-west.
Professor Eunan O'Halpin will look at some of the intrigues of war and division when he addresses the question of British black propaganda in Ireland in the Second World War years. This appears to have been waged both through Ireland and through America as part of the British war effort.
Col. Brian O'Reilly's talk will highlight the role of Forts Dunree and Leenan in guarding our boundaries at the entrance to the Swilly. The strategic importance of Dunree and Leenan, among other things, will be indicated in the course of his subsequent field trip to both Forts.
To manys the intrepid Inishowener, a border exists to be flouted, and
never more so than when war and conflict cause shortages. Many of us
brought up in the border counties know of attempts to breach regulations
with a bit of smuggling during the emergency years, with most of our
friends and neighbours taking to it like it was second nature!
Second World War of course posed problems for the Irish State on several
fronts, not least of all by causing fuel shortages.
In conclusion, in this year's McGlinchey Summer School we hope to explore, both in serious detail and with wit and levity, the distinctive influence of Borders Boundaries and Divisions on the culture and imagination of those who live with them. The people of the northwest will recognise the traces of that influence as well as any, and maybe better than most.
So as we head into this weekend of talk we could perhaps leave the last word to Derry's Seamus Deane, in his poem The Broken Border: