2008 All Ireland Humanist Summer School

Location: Carlingford Heritage Centre, Co. Louth
When: Friday 29th, Saturday 30th, Sunday 31st August 2008
Jointly hosted by: Belfast Humanist Group, Humanist Association of Northern Ireland and Humanist Association of Ireland.

Humanism in the Global Village

Humanism has been for many years an international movement. However, most groups had small beginnings arising from the needs of the local or national community. This is true in Ireland, North and South, where religious denominations claiming moral superiority over the population had been the norm. Those who professed no religion, ipso facto, were deemed immoral and without ethics, and were therefore disregarded.

The world wide nature of Humanism has made the voice of Humanists louder and more confident; the voice of international Humanism, the International and Ethical Union is heard at UN level. The growth of the ‘global village’ means that Humanists can now share their actions, difficulties and aspirations world wide.

The All-Ireland Humanist Summer School is pleased that representatives with knowledge and experience of the wider world and those from ‘home’ will be sharing their experiences this year. One of India’s famous leaders, Jawaharlal (Pandit) Nehru (1889-1964), wrote ‘Nor am I greatly interested in life after death. I find the problems of this life sufficiently absorbing to fill my mind.” We hope the talks, conversations and issues at the summer school will be sufficiently absorbing for one weekend.

Programme of Events

Speaker Profiles

Carlingford Heritage Centre


Application Information


Progamme of Events

Friday 29th August

20.00 Informal Gathering Four Seasons Hotel in reserved area!

A casual meeting up at 8pm onwards in the Four Seasons bar, where there will be an area set aside for us. This is a change to see if there’s more of a group atmosphere, and no karaoke.




Registration 9.15-9.45 (No coffee at this stage!)



10am welcome by this year’s Chair, Les Reid, and Introduction by HAI President, Justin Keating


10.30am Kevin Annett

Is Healing Possible? Genocide in Canada and its Legacy Today.


11.15am Q and A


11.30am Coffee and Biscuits (everyone is welcome to bring goodies, homemade or otherwise to contribute)

Sale of books (read or otherwise), CDs. DVDs etc. Bring along any that are lurking on your shelves to donate


12noon John Woods Climate Change: Threat or opportunity?

12.45pm Q and A


1-2pm Lunch. Forage in the locality – the Four Seasons and other cafes are all nearby


2-3pm Workshops.

* All-inclusive Humanism Tao Kiang

* The evolution of morality Brian McClinton

3pm ramble up Slieve Foy, or round the village


7.30pm Dinner in the Four Seasons. This is paid in advance (30 euros), includes service charge but drinks are individual choice and to be paid for at the time.

Song, poems, tall tales and general good fun till later.



10am Diana Brown

How religion interacts with politics and Human rights.


As this will be a longer session we won’t give a fixed time as yet. There will be time for Q and A though, followed by tea and coffee etc. Plenary at 12.30pm and finishing up round 1pm.

Profiles of Speakers

President of HAI, Emeritus Professor of veterinary medicine, writer, former TD and government minister
Director, Friends of the Earth, Northern Ireland
Diana was on the board of Population Concern (recently renamed Interact Worldwide); also a co-founder of the World Population Foundation. She was IHEU’s UN NGO Representative in Geneva for two years and has also edited the International Humanist News.

Kevin is a Canadian writer and former minister of the United Church of Canada. He has authored two books about Canadian aboriginals: Love and Death in the Valley and Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust.
Les Reid, Chairman, Belfast Humanist Group

Carlingford Heritage Centre

According to Irish legend, the giant Finn MacCool roamed the land around Carlingford, and on his last day he gathered a large piece of earth and threw it out to sea. He then lay to rest and ended his life as the mountain Slieve Foy, which rises behind the seaside town. The shape of his body can be seen in the shape of the mountain. And the earth he threw? Naturally, it became the Isle of Man.

Carlingford, a beautiful medieval town located 65 miles from Dublin and 55 miles from Belfast, nestles between Slieve Foy, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. It has more ancient buildings than any similar sized town in Ireland, and one of them – right at the foot of the mountain – is the Heritage Centre. This former place of worship is now a secular venue and therefore a perfect setting for a Humanist gathering.


Accommodation must be booked separately. Carlingford has several hotels including the new Four Seasons, The Park and McKevitts and well as Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

Carlingford is a very popular spot for visitors and tourists. The best places to stay fill up quickly, so please make sure to book your accommodation as soon as possible!

Carlingford Tourist Office, Co Louth, Tel. 00353 (0)42 937 3033. Email [email protected] www.carlingford.ie

You can find a list accommodation links here.


To attend the summer school please book by sending your contact information together with payment to any of the following

Humanist Association of Ireland
Ann James, Rose Cottage, Coach Rd, Balrothery, Balbriggan,
Co. Dublin, Tel: 00 353 87 9817861
[email protected]

Humanist Association of NI
Alan Watson, 34 The Cutts, Derriaghy, Belfast BT17 9HN
Tel: 028 9062 0427
[email protected]

Belfast Humanist Group
Patricia Bartlett, 7 Coates Gardens, Carrickfergus BT38 7XA
Tel. 028 9336 4221
[email protected]
[email protected]

Events must be paid for in advance.

Full weekend: €45/£36
Saturday events only: €30/£24
Sunday events only: €15/£12

Concession rate for unwaged: half above rates.

Dinner on Saturday €30/£24

Note: Coffee and Tea are provided during in the morning, but lunch is not included. Carlingford offers a number of venues that do lunches and attendees are free to join others at any one of these or make their own arrangements.



You can view pictures of summer school here.