Wednesday 18 September 2019

Fr Walter Forde remembered at Byrne Perry Summer School

Sheila Fitzpatrick and Patrick Brown.
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Patrick Brown.

By Fintan Lambe

The late Fr Walter Forde was very much in the thoughts of all who attended the 21st annual Byrne Perry Summer School in Gorey Civic Centre at the weekend.

Fr Forde, who was the founder, chairman, and driving force behind the history-focused summer school, passed away on June 6 last. He had already prepared his chairman's address, which traditionally opened the school each year, and it was delivered on Friday by Cllr Malcolm Byrne. There followed a minute's silence.

There was a huge turnout in Gorey Library on Friday for the official opening, while around 40 people attended the talks and field trip on Saturday, with around 30 in attendance on Sunday.

Many tributes were paid to Fr Forde throughout the weekend, with Summer School Director, Dr Conor McNamara, closing the school on Sunday with a moving tribute to Fr Forde on Sunday afternoon.

This year's theme was 'Glorious Forever? Regional perspectives on the 1916 Rising,' and the opening address was delivered on Friday evening by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The Gordon Wilson Memorial Lecture on the theme of 'Conflicted attitudes towards the Easter Rising, then and now' was then given by Dr Martin Manseragh.

Saturday morning's talks in Gorey Adult Learning Centre looked at regional perspectives on the Rebellion and the contribution of women fighters to the 1916 Rebellion. Saturday afternoon's field trip covered sites associated with the Rising in Enniscorthy, concluding on the historic Vinegar Hill, followed by the Summer School dinner in The Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy.

On Sunday morning, the History Ireland Hedge School discussed '1916: Well planned revolt or violent fiasco?'

The Byrne Perry Summer School is sponsored by Wexford County Council, and is run in association with the Council, History Ireland, and the Keough-Naughton Institute, Notre Dame Centre, Dublin. Other sponsors include Gorey Municipal District, Funges of Gorey, and Gorey Credit Union.

No decision has yet been made on the future of the school.

Wexford People

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