2009 All-Ireland Humanist Summer School

Location: Carlingford Heritage Centre, Co. Louth
When: Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd August 2009
Jointly hosted by: Belfast Humanist Group, Humanist Association of Northern Ireland and Humanist Association of Ireland.


The annual all-Ireland summer school in Carlingford – number 7! – should contain all the ingredients which make it a success: the participation of those who attend, the venue, the craic, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, and excellent speakers. This year’s theme is of importance to us all – human rights.Humanism is an ethical aproach to life without religion. It aims at the fullest possible development of every human being, and therefore human rights are fundamental to its philosophy. Arguably, indeed, Humanism is the basis of human rights. They certainly share many of the same principles. For example, autonomy underlies human rights and is also a basic feature of Humanism as a life stance. Again, freedom of thought is both a basic human right and an underlying principle of Humanism. Humanists have been in the forefront of campaigns to extend rights – to women, to children, to gays and other minorities and individuals. Humanists promote all of the positive caring and sharing values that civilised society has developed over the centuries through the lessons of human experience and the power of human reason.

We have Justin Keating to introduce the proceedings and then four very good speakers. We hope the talks, conversations and issues at the summer school will be sufficiently absorbing for one weekend.


Progamme of Events

Friday 21st

20.00 Informal Gathering – Carlingford Arms

Saturday 22nd

09.15 Registration
10:00 Introduction and Welcome: JUSTIN KEATING
11:15 Q and A
11:30 Tea and Coffee; sale of books, CDs, DVDs
12:45 Q and A
13:00 Lunch Forage in the locality – the Four Seasons and other cafes are all nearby
14:30 Slieve Foy ramble, historical tour, music
19:30 Dinner: Four Seasons Hotel (paid in advance)

Sunday 23rd

10:00 Goranka Gudelj & Yasaman Molazadeh
10:45 Q and A
11:00 Tea and coffee
12:15 Q and A
12:30 Plenary
13:15 Close

Profiles of Speakers

Justin Keating
President of HAI, Emeritus Professor of veterinary medicine, writer, former TD and government minister

William Crawley
BBC Journalist and broadcaster,
Presenter of Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence and The Book Programme

Goranka Gudelj
Outreach worker for the Council for Ex-Muslims

Yasaman Molazadeh

Heads the Legal Team for One Law for All

Roar Johnsen
President of the Norwegian Humanist Association, Vice-President of the IHEU
See interview at http://www.iheu.org/node/2583

Ronan McCrea
Irish Human Rights lawyer,
currently lecturing at LSE


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]
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]

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.