Bard Winter School 2022

3rd to 6th November

Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham, 
Dublin, Ireland

An Experience of Mythic History

We are delighted to be able to hold the Bard School in the site of our very first Bard School in 1995, the iconic Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham. Inspired by Pearse, this will be an experience of Mythic History. This is firstly about using the imagination (Vico’s Fantasia) to imagine how a period was for key elements of the entire society, particularly working with their myths, legends and symbols. And then secondly to imagine how things might have been experienced through a different lens, in this case the myths of the goddesses of Ancient Ireland. 

The 2022 Themes: 

Return of the Goddess and the Easter Rising One Theme for this Winter School is the RETURN OF THE GODDESS. In Myth we know that the Goddess people, the Tuatha de Danaan were defeated by the Sons of Mil and the Battle of Tailtiu. The newly arrived Celts punished them by sending them underground. Here they have remained, perhaps to emerge sometimes as the . For our friend and frequent Presenter John Moriarty, this defeat of the Goddess people by the Celts was a Cultural Disaster. 
A Second Theme is drawn from the Historical period in Irish History in which Patrick Pearse was to play such a prominent role, the Gaelic Revival and the Easter Rising. We will seek. To imagine ourselves in to this period, and seek to understand and indeed feel what it would have been like, Imagining the shared Cultural Experience.  We will then look again at the Period through the lens of the Goddess and again imagine. Only this time imagine how things might have been different.

The Bard Format

The format as always is that we start with the Myths themselves and the time honoured oral tradition. In this case it will be the five Irish Goddesses that we are working with: Brigid, Danu, Macha, the Morrigan and the Cailleach Béara. 

We then will be working to work through in story and myth how these Goddesses might have inspired us to experienced things differently. The participative task then, being to bring the new possibilities to life. The interactive nature of the event is always much appreciated by participants, many of whom return year after year.

The Times and the Venue

The Event runs from 10 am to 4.30 pm each day with a break for a soup and sandwich lunch in the Pearse Museum café. On the Saturday evening there is a Poetry Reading followed by a Feast. This will be held at a nearby Restaurant. The Sunday session is from 10am to 1pm.

What do I need to know.

The Bard School is designed in such a way that it is fine if your knowledge of myth and history is scant. We use the time honoured method of oral storytelling to  bring everyone up to a place of shared understanding. And the fact that there are different levels of knowledge enriches the experience. What is important is a willingness to join in and to use the imagination and to be open to what is invariably a powerful, even transformative experience. 

The Fee and Administrative Details

The fee for the Summer School is e300 (e75 deposit to hold a place). This includes the Feast on the Saturday night , daily Tea/Coffee etc each day and a soup and sandwich lunch. Except on the half day Saturday. The Feast is a much appreciated social evening of food and wine and story, poetry and song ( and often some satire!).

Testimonials from Summer School Participants

A slightly belated but sincere thank you and congratulations to the whole team for a thought-provoking, inspiring and congenial few days on Clare Island. I learned a lot, met some outstandingly bright, entertaining and diverse people, and generally had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The location was fabulous and the dinners and get-togethers were wonderfully generous and convivial. I am still revisiting many memorable moments in my mind. Thank you and best wishes to all.

As usual, the Bard School was an amazing experience.  We even permitted the myth to enter our provincial experiences — allowing some emotion and conflict, which is also true of our current political climate.  I think that made it for a more effective, experience, not just an intellectual exercise.  So, thanks for engaging us in a complex, diverse and emotional experience.  It felt as though we really entered the “power of the myth” — words used as the title of a book by Joseph Campbell (one of my favourite books).

Wow…..that was a wonderfully rich experience! Thank you so much for allowing me to share in this Bard!  Many congratulations for your wonderful holding together this rich journey that Barbara and I have taken.. Also congratulations to the excellent dedication of Emma, Joni, Chaobang and Emmet….great generosity of spirit and academic know how!


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