2016 Speakers

BioPhotoMiriam (1)Miriam Mulrennan

Miriam Mulrennan is a culture and education management professional with a breadth of experience across a diverse range of sectors. Having worked in Live Music, Venue Management and Marketing in Dublin and London, she returned to Ireland in 2000 where for 4 years she was manager (Finance and Operations) of the representative body for the film and television sector – Screen Producers Ireland. In 2011 Mulrennan moved to the midlands where she set up the company Athlone Art and Heritage Ltd on behalf of Athlone Town Council. As manager she developed the strategic, operational, and commercial aspects of the organisation, and subsequently project-managed the set-up of three large scale capital infrastructural projects in Athlone town from conception to ‘open-for-business’. These were Athlone Castle, Luan Gallery and Abbey Road Artists Studios. In 2013 Mulrennan took up the position of Westmeath County Arts Offi cer, with responsibility for development ofall arts forms across the county.

 Dr Brian HanleyQuillBH

Dr Brian Hanley is a native of limerick and has written on Irish Republicanism.

He has lectured at leading Universities in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The IRA, Irish republicanism, Labour and radicalism, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Revolution and Civil War, the far right in Ireland, the Blueshirts, Race and the Irish in America, the Northern Ireland conflict and its social, cultural and political impact on southern Ireland. Other publications the Atlas of the Irish Revolution, 1916 rising in Galway and Liam Mellows. Is author of “The IRA: a Documentary history” and Co-Author of ‘The Lost Revolution, ’The story of the official IRA and the Workers Party.’

Mary Gallagher, MA, MPA

ScannedImage-1Mary Gallagher is the author of 16 Lives; Éamonn Ceannt, which was published by O’Brien Press in October 2014.   The biography charts the life of the man who, during Easter week 1916, was Commandant of the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and a signatory to the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Ceannt’s severely depleted battalion held the strategic South Dublin Union until ordered to surrender. He was executed by firing squad on 8 May 1916.

Mary Gallagher is a grand niece of Eamonn Ceannt.

She was born in Dublin and studied in University College Dublin (UCD) where she graduated with a BA in Economics and History (1975).  She was subsequently awarded a Master’s degree in Public Administration (1985), also from UCD, and a National Diploma in Business Studies (Business Strategy) (1993) from the Irish Management Institute.

Following a public service career spanning nearly forty years in the Industrial Development Authority, Enterprise Ireland and the National Sports Campus Development Authority, Mary returned to UCD where she completed a National Certificate in Genealogy and Family History (2007), followed an MA in Modern Irish History (2011).  Her dissertation was on the Irish National Aid & Volunteer Dependents’ Fund (August 1916 to July 1919).


Dr. Martin Manserghmartin mansergh

Dr. Martin Mansergh is Vice-Chair of the Government-appointed Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. Between 2002 and 2011, he served as a Senator, TD (for Tipperary South), then as Minister of State for the OPW, Finance and the Arts.  He was a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Body till 2008, and the Council of State during President Mary McAleese’s second term between 2004 and 2011. Former diplomat, then political advisor to Taoisigh Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds, and Bertie Ahern, he was a back-channel then negotiator during the peace process. Author of The Legacy of History for making peace in Ireland, and co-winner of the 1994 Tipperary Peace Prize. Kevin Rafter published a biography in 2002.  Between 2002 and 2006, he was a columnist first with the Sunday Business Post, and the Irish Times. He is currently a monthly columnist with the Irish Catholic, and is a member of the board of History Ireland. He is son of the Irish and Commonwealth historian Nicholas Mansergh, and obtained a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and a doctorate at Oxford University. He is married to Elizabeth, with four daughters and one son, and eight grandchildren.


Larry McCluskey

Larry McCluskey, M.Ed., A native of Co Longford, and was one of the early advisors and friend to the Goldsmith Literary Festival. He has contributed on a number of occasions to the festival. He is a former CEO of Co. Monaghan VEC. He was also secretary of Guild of Irish drama adjudicators. Larry is involved in theatre (director, actor, Drumlin Players), is a former board member of The Arts Council and Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Next, “A while with Seamus Heaney” reading at EdFringe. He is the current chairman of Cootehill Celtic GAA Club. Larry has also broadcast on Sunday miscellany.

John Spillane

cropped john spillaneJohn Spillane is a musician, songwriter, performer, recording artist, storyteller, poet, dreamer – a canvass filled with color and brilliance. His music transports

 the listener; his live performance captivates the audience. In a world filled with strife and upheaval, a time-out with John Spillane is enough to ease the load a bit on anyone lucky enough to bask in his light. The man and his music are pure magic. John is a native of Cork, the County he lovingly describes as “the centre of the universe”, and it has been a huge creative influence on him. Vocally, he is quite unique with an almost sean nós-like element in his singing and he is said to have a voice “full of honesty, commitment and sensitivity”.



Oliver HegartyOliver Hegarty

Oliver Hegarty is currently employed as Head of Department of Humanities in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). He formerly lectured in AIT at degree and master’s level, covering a range of subject areas including Leadership and Management, Research, Counselling & Psychotherapy, and Consulting Skills. Prior to beginning his career as a full-time Lecturer, Oliver worked for over 15 years as a Clinical Psychologist in Ireland and the UK. Oliver also worked for five years as a Management Development consultant for Ernst & Young in London, followed by 5 years working as a self-employed consultant helping clients in Ireland, UK, central Europe, and other countries.

Noel MonahanNoel-Monahan

Noel Monahan has published extensively and his work has been translated into: French, Italian, Romanian and Russian. A selection of his poems, translated by Emmanuel Malherbet, “Celui Qui Porte Un Vea & Autres Poemes” will be published in France by Alidades later this year. Noel is part of a team of translators of the Irish poet: Seán Ó Ríordáin. The book, Selected Poems by Seán Ó Ríordáin, was published by Yale University and Cló-Iar Chonnacht in 2014. Noel’s sixth collection: “Where The Wind Sleeps, New & Selected Poems” was published by Salmon Poetry in May. Noel Monahan will read from his sixth collection in the Irish Embassy in Rome in June 2014 and in autumn he will read in a number of universities in the USA.

Ann Fitzgerald Portraits-2 (1)

Ann Fitzgerald

Ann Fitzgerald writes a weekly column for the Farming Independent and is author of A Year on our Farm. Published in 2013, it chronicles the seasonal comings and goings on the commercial beef farm in Ballacolla, Co. Laois run by her husband Robin Talbot, who is an award winning farmer. They live with their two daughters Sarah (12) and Ruth (8) and Robin’s mum, Pam.

A native of Co. Limerick, Ann previously worked as Livestock Editor with the Farming Independent, as Point-to-Point correspondent with the Irish Independent and has written on a broad range of agricultural and equestrian topics in a variety of publications.

She holds a degree in Natural Sciences (Geography) from Trinity College Dublin.





Tom Reid - Glasson Golf Club Athlone

Tom Reid – Glasson Golf Club Athlone

Tom Reid

Tom Reid, is Managing Director and Proprietor of Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club.  Tom converted his former Period Residence and farm in 1993 – Glasson Country House is now one of Irelands Premier Wedding Venues and is surrounded by an 18 Hole Championship Golf Course designed by Christy O Connor Jnr.