Inaugural Irish Studies Program Conference Attracts Hundreds
There was more green than usual on campus Friday, March 16, and it’s not because spring came early. Hundreds came out to attend the first-ever St. John Fisher College Irish Studies Program Conference, which marked the official launch of the College’s new Irish Studies Program, set to begin this fall.
“Ireland Today: History and Heritage in an Ever-Changing World” featured a morning chock-full of sessions centered around Irish ancestry, heritage, history, and Rochester’s sister-city relationship with Waterford, Ireland.
A variety of speakers from the College tackled several topics and included faculty and staff members, along with alumni and students. There was also a special video greeting all the way from Limerick, Ireland, sent by a group of Fisher students who are currently in the study-abroad program at the University of Limerick.
The conference also included a private luncheon, where over 50 attendees had an opportunity to hear from the afternoon keynote speakers first. The Right Honorable Alex Maskey, member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly, and former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ireland, along with former Congressman James Walsh, currently Government Affairs Counselor, K&L Gates LLP, made brief remarks at the luncheon, before speaking to a crowd of 100, presenting their keynote address, “Celtic Tiger Redux.” They spoke about the ongoing peace process and the ways in which Irish-Americans can foster continued economic and cultural ties with the Irish.
President Bain welcomes luncheon attendees.
Former Congressman James Walsh delivers his keynote.
The Right Honourable Alex Maskey.
“I was very happy that the conference went so well, especially since it was a showcase of all the various aspects relating to Irish Studies which the program will focus on,” said Dr. Timothy Madigan, assistant professor of Philosophy, and Director, Irish Studies Program. “I was particularly glad that the students currently studying abroad in Limerick were able to send their greetings, and I hope it will inspire many more of our students to consider spending a semester in Ireland.”
The day ended in a celebratory way, with about 60 attendees at the closing reception, which featured entertainment by the Dady Brothers, the popular and local Irish music duo.
Luncheon attendees mingle before the remarks.
A group from an Irish-Gaelic class at McQuaid Jesuit High School helped perform a Gaelic blessing over lunch.
The Dady Brothers perform at the closing reception.