Past Events Programme
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Sep

05

10:30

The Search for Josephine Heffernan - and the Bray Connection

Brian White, Bray Historian & Bray Heads U3A Member

  • 📅Thursday, September 5, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

The search for Josephine began in 2002 after a US Army nurse's ID bracelet, dating from the First World War and bearing the name Josephine G Heffernan, was found by a schoolboy in a field in Rimaucourt in France in 2002, arousing great local interest in its owner and the launch of what turned into a 15-year international search to identify her. Taken up initially by local, then national, media in France and eventually covered in detail in a documentary screened by France2 TV, the search for Josephine led by a circuitous route to contact with Brian, who was instrumental in identifying who this Josephine was, linking the search to members of her family and the return of her lost bracelet to them. Brian's vivid account of the intriguing search for Josephine - and the even more intriguing story of the remarkable, but largely unknown, woman that Josephine turned out to be - unfolds like a well-plotted mystery novel. Without giving away too much in advance about this fascinating story, it can be revealed that it contains a strong Bray connection, travels to far-flung countries of the world, an amazing photographic collection and something of a family tradition of changing names and birth-dates - a story that should definitely not to be missed!

Brian White, a native of Bray and a former Civil Servant with the Revenue Commissioners who retired in 2015, is Chairperson of the Bray Cualann Historical Society. Since 1972 Brian has written a number of Books including The County Wicklow Database 432-2006; The Little Book of Bray and Enniskerry; and The Way to Bray - 150 years of Irish Railways. Brian is also a regular contributor on East Coast Radio and has appered on Track and Trails on RTE TV; Terry Wogan's Ireland with the BBC; Art and Railways in Ireland for Japan 5 TV; Enniskerry Powerstation for the ESB; World War One at Home for BBC Northern Ireland Radio; and of course in France2 TV's documentary on Josephine Heffernan.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Jul

01

10:30

GROUP SUMMER BREAK JULY & AUGUST, RETURNING 5 SEPTEMBER

  • 📅Monday, July 1, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30


Jun

27

10:30

Brian Maguire - A Contrary Viewpoint

Artist Brian Maguire

  • 📅Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Brian Maguire, who is from Bray, is one of Ireland's most acclaimed artists, whose works have been exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally. He studied drawing and painting at the Dun Laoghaire School of Art, and fine art at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin and taught at both schools before being appointed Professor of the Fine Art faculty at NCAD in 2000. He is represented by Kerlin Gallery, Dublin

For much of his life, Brian has engaged with victims of alienation, conflict, poverty, disability, crime and injustice, first in Ireland - north and south - where he worked in particular with prisoners -, as well as in a range of conflict zones around the world, including Brazilian favelas, drug cartel-dominated Juarez in Mexico (known as the most violent city on earth), the civil wars in Sri Lanka and Syria, the migrants drowning in the Mediterranean and, most recently, with many displaced by conflict and drought in South Sudan, which he visited in September at the invitation of Concern.

Brian will be telling us about the way the issues about which he is so passionate have influenced him and his art and how he crafts and uses his art to connect with these largely invisible people and to tell their stories. He describes his art as 'a contrary viewpoint' and has chosen this as the title of his talk.

Photos 1 & 2: Brian at Bentiu Protection of Civilians Camp, South Sudan, where he was invited by Concern last September (credit ConcernWorldwide):

Photo 3: 'The Known Dead 2' depicting drowned migrants on Mediterranean beaches (Courtesy of Fergus McCaffrey Gallery, New York & Tokyo

Photo 4: Brian in his studio with one of his paintings of the devastated city of Aleppo, Syria (credit: The Irish Times)


Jun

20

10:30

Visit to Alfred Cochrane's Woodland Garden at Corke Lodge

  • 📅Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 11:30

Following Alfred's fascinating and entertaining talk to our Bray Heads Group on 16 May and the kind invitation that he issued to members to visit the magical woodland garden which he has developed over many years at his Corke Lodge home, beside Woodbrook House, that visit will be taking place on 20 May at 10.30. Around 35 members have already signed up for this but, for anyone interested who has not yet signed, a few more places are still available and you can either email us via our website (info@thebrayheadsu3a.ie) or add your name to the sign-up sheet at our next meeting on Thursday 13th (when our garden theme will begin with a talk by Dr Matthew Jebb, the lovely Director of the National Botanic Gardens).

Alfred opens his garden to visitors in aid of charities, in particular Our Lady's Hospice and, given what a worthy cause this is, Group members participating in this garden visit who may wish to make a voluntary contribution to this may do so to Léonie when we meet up before the start of the tour, which we will then pass on to the Hospice.

Directions to Corke Lodge from Bray:

- From the big roundabout on the northern end of the town and Little Bray, continue north on the old road to Shankill,

- Pass the large gates of Woodbrook House on the right shortly after and take the first turn on the right almost immediately after this, which has a signpost to Mullen's auctioneers

- Corke Lodge is the first house on the left, close to the road and painted yellow (as shown in the photo above), but as parking nearby is very limited, continue on to the end of the road where there is a large carpark at Mullen's and park there - it is not too far

- We will gather our group together here at 10.20, Léonie will collect voluntary contributions there, and we will then walk back up the road to begin the tour at 10.30.

The route of the tour follows a winding path past some rare old trees and newer ones which Alfred has planted, with some grassy clearings and old stone architecture rescued from Glendalough House. There are quite a few benches and chairs for any who may wish to rest from time to time. Appropriate footwear is recommended. We hope for a lovely day for the visit but, should it be wet - or if it has been recently, the garden will still be beautiful, but cover up with good rainwear and maybe an umbrella.


Jun

13

10:30

The extraordinary world of plants

Dr Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens

  • 📅Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Dr Jebb will demonstrate how the botanical kingdom governs all life on earth and manipulates us humans, yet we scarcely give them a second thought. This is an error Matthew hopes to correct!


May

30

10:30

A 400 million year history of climate change revealed from fossil plants

Prof. Jennifer McElwain, currently the 1711 Chair of Botany at School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin and Head of Botany within the School

  • 📅Thursday, May 30, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In her talk, Jenny McElwain will discuss what we can learn from fossil plants which will help us to address the challenges of climate change today. Human carbon use during the next century will lead to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (pCO2) that have been unprecedented for the past 50–100+ million years according to fossil plant studies. The paleobotanical record of plants offers key insights into vegetation responses to past global change, including suitable analogs for Earth's climatic future. This talk will bring the audience on a journey of past climates and past atmospheric composition over the past 400 million years as revealed by fossil plants. Possible innovative solutions for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere using plant science, geochemistry and Mount Etna will be discussed!

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


May

23

10:00

Tour of Glendalough's Historic Monastic Site: Starting at the Visitor Centre there at 10 a.m.

Group Member, Mary Kelly

  • 📅Thursday, May 23, 2019
  • 🕥10:00 - 12:30
  • 🏟Glendalough Visitor Centre(map)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TOUR WILL NEED TO BE LIMITED TO 40 PARTICIPANTS SO SIGN-UP WILL BE ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS AND THAT IT WILL START AT 10 A.M AT THE VISITOR CENTRE THERE. IF TRANSPORT IS IS PROBLEM WE MAY BE ABLE TO ARRANGE FOR SOME LIFTS.

Bray Heads U3A member, Mary Kelly, who has worked as a tour guide at Glendalough since 2001, has very kindly offered to lead a two-hour Group tour for our members of this renowned heritage site and its visitor centre on Thursday 23 May, starting at 10 a.m. Even if you have visited Glendalough many times before, as most of us will have done, Mary's tour will be unique and should not be missed. You are guaranteed to learn things about the site that you never heard before.

Beginning at the Visitor Centre, Mary will give a brief introduction to the history and function of the church settlement of Glendalough in the medieval period and refer to the restoration work carried out by the Board of Works in the 1870s. It will also be possible to see there the excellent exhibition on medieval Glendalough and the audio-visual show on early monasteries in Ireland. That should take about 30 minutes, following which she will bring the group on a guided tour of the main site, Gateway, Round Tower, Cathedral, St. Kevin’s Church and discuss the ‘corporate role’ of the site within the context of the Glendalough Valley. Then for those ready for more (and others who may prefer to depart at this stage can do so), Mary will lead the group on a 20-minute along the Green Road to St Saviour’s Priory where the ‘new’ approach to twelfth-century monastic life can be seen. Altogether, the full outdoor part of the tour will take around 90 minutes and the whole visit around 2 hours.

Please note the following charges:

There is a charge of €4 per car for the car park at the Visitor Centre. The charge is refunded when an admission ticket to the Visitor Centre is purchased.

There is a ticket charge for the Visitor Centre of €4 per person at the group/senior rate but, with the refund for parking, no further payment is needed here so the total charge for the visit is €4 per person.

Apart from her role as a guide Glendalough, Mary - who Mary holds an MA from UCD - is a writer who co-edited, with Linda Doran and Charles Doherty, Glendalough: City of God (2011); and, with Charles Doherty, Music and the Stars: Mathematics in Medieval Ireland (2013), the latter reflecting Mary's fascination with, and extensive knowledge of, medieval maths and the philosophy surrounding it, which she likes to say makes her a real wow at a party!


May

16

10:30

The Cochranes of Woodbrook House and Beirut

Alfred Cochrane

  • 📅Thursday, May 16, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In this interesting talk, Alfred Cochrane will tell the story of his colourful Cochrane family, who rose to prominence in Victorian Ireland as co-owners of the the Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C) soft drinks company, founded in 1868, which invented ginger ale and Club soda and went on to become one of most successful export companies in these islands. Their huge business success won them a Baronetcy title and the funds to purchase Woodbrook House on the northern outskirts of Bray as well as a substantial home at 45 Kildare Street, Dublin. Members of the family were active in Bray life, serving as Bray Town Commissioners and involved in cultural and sporting activities here, creating an opera house and cricket and golf clubs in the grounds of Woodbrook . Alfred's father, Sir Desmond Cochrane, extended the family connection to the Lebanon when he married a daughter of the notable Sursock family there in 1946 but the family retained close connections with Ireland and both Alfred's father and his brother Marc served as Honorary Consuls General of Ireland in Lebanon for many years.

Alfred himself was born in Beirut, studied architecture in Rome, and practiced in Ireland, Italy, the UK and Lebanon, mainly on urban renewal and restoration projects. He now paints, writes and gardens at his historic home, Corke Lodge beside Woodbrook House.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


May

09

10:30

Visit to 1 Martello Terrace - Childhood Home of James Joyce, 1887-1891

Liz McManus

  • 📅Thursday, May 9, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30

Our fellow-Group member, Liz McManus, has very kindly extended an invitation to Bray Heads U3A members to visit her home at 1 Martello Terrace - a childhood home of James Joyce from 1887 to 1891. Of the many houses in which the Joyce family lived when young James was growing up, this was the home he was happiest in and it featured in his first semi-autobiographical novel,The Portrait of The Artist and a Young Man. In addition to being able to see some of the rooms where the Joyces lived, Liz has invited writer David Butler, a former Education Officer at the James Joyce Centre, to read for us the famous Christmas Dinner scene from that work, which recounts in only slightly fictionalised form a bitter political row that broke out among Joyce family members over that dinner, and which took place in Liz's ground-floor front room.

The tour of the house will begin at 10.30 and last approximately 45 minutes. Around 30 can be accommodated at a time. If more members than this would like to visit the house, Liz has offered to arrange a second tour at around 11.30. Very generously, she is also offering us tea and biscuits.

To help Liz plan the visit/s, we would be grateful if members who are interested in participating would register ASAP, either by responding to this email or signing up on the sheet which will be at the desk at our meeting next Thursday, 2 May.

Some further details sent by email.

Photos:

1. James Joyce, aged 6, when he lived at 1 Martello Terrace

2. Number 1, Martello Terrace on Bray Seafront, today


May

02

10:30

Beyond Harry Clarke: The Story of Stained Glass in Ireland

Finola Finlay

Stained glass re-appeared in Ireland in the 1840s after hundreds of years of absence. Why and how did this happen? Is there such a thing as a distinctively Irish artistic tradition and iconography? How do we learn to really look at church windows again?

Finola grew up in Bray but now lives in West Cork with her husband Robert Harris where they produce the popular weekly blog "Roaringwater Journal".

Having whetted our appetites to explore further the wonderful world of Irish stained glass, Finola has generously shared these reference points to aid in our research.

IRISH STAINED GLASS RESOURCES •gloine.ie - Church of Ireland Stained Glass •harryclarke.net - for confirmed Harry Clarke work, not HC Studios •heritagemaps.ie - Based on the Gazetteer of Irish Stained Glass (out of print) •roaringwaterjournal.com, by Finola Finlay and Robert Harris •Instagram: Irish Stained Glass, by David Caron •Gazetteer of Irish Stained Glass - next edition, 2020 •Richard King by Ruth Sheehy due out this year •National Gallery for book selection WHERE TO GO •Harry Clarke: Terenure CC; Carrickmacross CC; Honan Chapel at UCC; Castletownshend C of I; Ballinrobe CC; Hugh Lane; National Gallery •Richard King: Peter and Paul CC, Athlone •Geddes: St Anne’s C of I Dawson Street •Evie Hone: Manresa Centre Clontarf; Blackrock CC; Greystones CC •Túr Gloine: Loughrea Cathedral •Mid/Late 20th Century Artists: Galway Cathedral •Murphy Devitt: Newbridge College; Mayfield CC (Cork) •George Walsh: Irish Martyrs CC (Naas): Dominican Church Tallaght; Dublinia; Cammillus Nursing Centre Killucan; Eyeries CC

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Apr

25

10:30

Climate Change - Background, Consequences and What We Can Do

A Bray Heads U3A Group Discussion led by members Richard Webb, Jane Grimson & Siobhán Quigley

  • 📅Thursday, April 25, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

This Group meeeting has been added to our programme of events following a query raised recently by member Siobhán Quigley about whether our Bray Heads U3A Group may be able to do anything practical ourselves in relation to climate change - as many young people are trying to do -, which generated significant interest among members. The dual purpose of the meeting - which will be quite different from our usual ones in that it is to be a participatory discussion or brainstorming session, not a standard lecure - is:

- firstly to set out the facts about climate change and the sort of global and national measures that need to be taken to stop it becoming a calamity; and

- secondly to brainstorm what we as individuals, and collectively as a Group and community, can do about this ourselves (and there are things that we can do!) and to try to pull this together into an action plan or checklist.

In the first part of the meeting, there will be two brief presentations by our members Richard Webb and Jane Grimson, with Richard talking about the causes and effects of climate change and the evidence which supports what is happening; and Jane drawing on her work with Mary Robinson's Foundation on climate justice, which is fundamentally about addressing that fact that those who being worst affected by climate change have done the least to cause it – whether it is people in developing countries or our grandchildren. As regards the facts, it is now virtually impossible to refute - as some have tried to do for decades - that climate change is a major threat to our planet as it is already happening, so we are not talking about an abstract danger in some remote areas of the globe or in some far-off future age, but much more immediately and locally - in the lifetime of our children and grandchildren and here in Ireland, starting in coastal areas like ours.

In the second part of the meeting - and this is really the most important part - we will be seeking ideas from members participating in the meeting about specific actions which we as individuals and collectively as a Group and can do, in our daily lives, as members of a community, and as citizens in terms of direct and indirect measures to tackle climate change. Our intention will be to list the ideas suggested as we go along, with the aim of producing an agreed checklist of possible actions that we can take. Is there anything that we could do, for example, in terms of lobbying candidates in the upcoming local elections and the government? And making our homes and personal travel more energy efficient? Planting trees? Eating less meat, using less plastic, reducing food waste and food packaging? Should we be trying to encourage braoder community action? Talking to local shops and busineses? Anything useful we can do via mainstream and social media? Should we could take inspiration from the recent children’s protests and consider some action on the streets? What about joining the international movement of grandparents for climate action? And would members like to join a sub-Group to work further on this?

We hope that as many members as possible will join us for this event and we much look forward to hearing your ideas about what we as individuals, a Group and a community can do right now that could make a difference, if only a small one.

Richard Webb is a former scientist with the British Antarctic Survey; Past President of the Irish Landscape Institute; an environmental consultant; a former MSc lecturer on Sustainable Development at DIT, who is currently an environmental representative on the Wicklow Public Participation Network and the Wicklow Environmental Network.

Amongst many other things, Jane Grimson is a former Professor of Computer Science and Vice-Provost of Trinity College Dublin and currently a Pro-Chancellor of the university. She is a Trustee of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice.

Siobhán is a retired geography teacher.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Apr

18

10:30

What Happened to the Palestinians in 1948: Myth and Reality

Dr Conor McCarthy

  • 📅Thursday, April 18, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Many myths still surround the moment of the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948: that 'the land was empty', that the Palestinians 'just ran away', that Israel's forces, desperately outnumbered, beat off six Arab armies. Conor's talk will seek to draw on modern scholarship to right the record and offer a more even-handed account of that founding moment of 'independence' for Israel and of the 'Nakba' (catastrophe')for the Palestinians.

Conor McCarthy teaches English at Maynooth University. He's the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said (2010). Conor is a founder-member of both the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Academics for Palestine.


Apr

11

10:30

Exhibition Tour & Workshop: 'Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again', Bank of Ireland Cultural & Heritage Centre, Westmoreland Street, Dublin

At the kind invitation of the organisers, Bray Heads U3A Group members will be visiting the lovely exhibition ‘Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again' for a guided tour and workshop on 11 April at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre opposite Trinity College, starting at 11 a.m. Our party will be divided into two groups, one starting with the exhibition followed by the workshop and the other doing this in reverse order, with the tour and workshop taking around 90 minutes in total. For anyone who has not yet visited this exhibition, this is a great opportunity to do so and there are a small number of places still available for interested members who have not yet signed up for it.

Sophie Doyle from the national Library, who has organised this visit for us, tells us that she will be leading the workshop, while her colleague Kathryn, will be conducting the exhibition tours. Sophie has worked with us to come up with some Heaney works which we hope Group memers participating in the workshop will enjoy and these will include:

- a poem recalling Heaney's childhood: Mossbawn: Sunlight

- one of his bog poem: Bogland

- a Wicklow poem: Exposure

- the iconic lines that speak of times 'when hope and history rhyme' from The Cure at Troy; and

- some of the poet's Nobel Prize for Literature speech.

The exhibition - which is a partner project between the National Library of Ireland, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Bank of Ireland - celebrates the life and work of one of Ireland’s greatest writers - our late, beloved, 'national poet' and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013). Featuring, in part, sophisticated, interactive, audio-visual technology, the exhibition also includes original manuscripts, letters, unpublished works, diary entries, and photographs, along with a number of personal objects, such as the desk at which Seamus Heaney wrote in the family’s attic home in Sandymount; a lamp, which once belonged to WB Yeats; and a portrait by Louis le Brocquy, are included in the exhibition.

Bray Heads U3A members who have signed up to participate in this visit should arrive at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre in the old House of Parliament building on Westmoreland Street opposite the front gate of Trinity College no later than 10.50 a.m.and meet up with the group in the lobby.

The DART scheduled to depart Bray station at 9.55 (or Greystones a bit earlier than this or later at other stations on the route) should get participants to the venue on time and some of us will be taking that. An ealier train departing Bray at 9.45 may suit some who would like to move at a more leisurely pace. A direct and pleasant walking route to it from Pearse Station, Westland Row is through the grounds of TCD to the venue, crossing the street after exiting the station, heading right there, then left around the corner onto Pearse Street, through the College gate there, then right shortly after that past some college buildings through the playing fields, front square and the main gate and crossing the road there to the BoI Cultural Centre.

Our Meetings Co-ordinator, Leonie, will be assisting with the co-ordination of the visit and will be on hand at the venue to help sort us into groups.


Apr

04

10:30

The Confidence Trick/Bridges to the Future

Professor Ian Robertson

  • 📅Thursday, April 4, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In his intriguing and entertaining talk to the Bray Heads U3A Group on 4 April, eminent clinical psychologist, cognitive neuroscientist, TCD Professor Ian Robertson, described current times as 'the Age of the Mind', with scientific research now confirming the extent to which we can control the direction and quality of our lives through choices that we make and with confidence, as compared with the previous Ages of the Gods, Physics and Biology respectively, where mankind believed that their lives were largely pre-determined by deities, the laws of physics or our genes, the result being a fatalistic approach to life, belief that one's future was not in one's own control. The good news which Professor Robinson reported was the evidence that confidence that we can control and better our lives through the choices can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For further information about this talk and the research supporting Professor Robertson's arguments, a copy of his presentaton can be accessed via the link below.

In addition to the credentials mentioned above, Professor Robertson, who is originally from Scotland, is the Founding Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, and a member and occasional acting chairman of the Wellcome Trust Neuroscience Committee; Co-Director of Global Brain Health Institute created by him/TCD and the University of California at San Francisco, which is the recipient of major sponsorship by Atlantic Philanthropies for studying ageing-realted conditions; leader of the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) programme and also the TCIN-GlaxoSmithKlein Neurodegeneration Programme. The first psychologist in Ireland to be elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy, he is a visiting Professor at University College London and a visiting scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, Toronto. . A former regular science contributor to the London Times, he was also a columnist for the British Medical Journal, and his multiply-translated popular science books include 'Mind Sculpture', 'The Mind's Eye', 'The Winner Effect' and 'The Stress Test' and he is currently working on another, 'The Confidence Trick'.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Mar

21

10:30

The Origin of Our World: Where Do We Fit In?

Christopher Stillman, Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Geology, Trinity College, Dublin, Volcanologist and Environmental Scientist

  • 📅Thursday, March 21, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Our planet is unique in the solar system because it hosts living beings, among which our species - Homo sapiens – exists. The planet is about 4.5 billion years old, (a billion is a thousand million) and extremely primitive life began on Earth about 3.7 billion years ago. Our Human species did not arrive until about 2 million years ago, so we have been in existence for a mere tiny fraction of the history of life on our planet.

Professor Stillman is a graduate of Leeds University. His doctoral research was on volcanic rocks in what was then Rhodesia, following which he worked with the Geological Survey of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, for six years. After this, he began his long and distinguished association with Trinity College Dublin, beginning with a lectureship in the Geology Department and for some years he was Head of TCD's Environmental Science Laboratory. Since retirement, Professor Stillman has been closely following the effects of climate change, a process which has occurred time and again in the World’s history.


Mar

07

10:30

An Inevitable Failure? Russia's experiment with Democracy and the Rise of Vladimir Putin

Judith Devlin, Professor Emeritus of Russian History, University College Dublin

  • 📅Thursday, March 7, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Professor Judith Devlin's topical and fascinating talk on 7 March focused on post-Soviet Russia up to the current Putin era, outlining earlier developments and trends which shaped it. She discussed how Russia ended the twentieth century as it started it - with an unexpected but ultimately failed experiment in democracy and how, after more than a quarter of a century since the collapse of Soviet communism, authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin is the route which Russia has adopted.

After studying in Dublin, Paris and Oxford, Professor Devlin spent a decade in the Department of Foreign Affairs, working on European political integration, before being sent to Paris (the Ecole Nationale d'Administration) and then Moscow, where she served as Gorbachev's perestroika got underway. This gave Judith the chance to observe the elite revolution of the late 1980s and of the early 1990s. As a result, Judith moved back to academic life and since then, her work has focused on Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. She is currently writing a book on Stalin.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Feb

21

10:30

Antarctica, Alaska and the Arctic: the amazing worlds of higher latitudes

Bray Heads U3A Members Jane & Bill Grimson

  • 📅Thursday, February 21, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30

Following our retirements, top of our list of places to visit and inspired by Irish explorers Tom Crean and Ernest Shackleton, was the great white continent of Antarctica. Next was Alaska, at the other extreme of the globe, which we visited in 2016 and then finally in 2017, we fulfilled a long held dream of cruising the Norwegian fiords and sailing around the North Cape. We were inspired to put these three places at the top of our list for many reasons but chief among them in the case of Antarctica was undoubtedly the amazing story of Shackleton’s famous expedition and escape from what seemed an impossible position. The extraordinary story of how USA bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867 for $7.2 million, not appreciating its enormous natural wealth intrigued us. Finally, we had long been drawn by the beautiful images of the Norwegian fiords. All three places share the fact that they are in the higher latitudes, enjoy sub-zero temperatures for most of the year and not surprisingly are very sparsely populated. Equally, however, they are very different. Our talk will be a mixture of travelogue, scheduled and unscheduled dips in the freezing ocean, history and culture.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Feb

14

10:30

Brigid's 'I Love Drawing' Class

Brigid O'Brien

  • 📅Thursday, February 14, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30

On 14 February, our Bray Heads U3A member, artist Brigid O'Brien, led an informal class attended by around 30 members - the first of our Group's meetings featuring a hands-on activity rather than our usual Talk. Brigid's approach to drawing is that everyone can do it, that it should be fun, and that the best practice is always to have a small pad and pen/pencil on hand and to make a habit of roughly sketching simple objects and scenes around us, from the breakfast table on. The drawing task she then set focused on the hand - reminding us of its key importance in almost every aspect of our lives - with a fruit or vegetable held in it. With this class deemed to have been stimulating, encouraging and enjoyable by who those who participated in it, Brigid was asked to lead a follow-up one, which she has very kindly agreed to do.


Feb

07

10:30

J.S.Bach and His Music

Tim Thurston, writer, broadcaster and lecturer, best known for his wonderful Lyric FM programme "Gloria"

  • 📅Thursday, February 7, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In his inimitable style, Tim shared his life-long passion for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, covering the life-story and works of this extraordinary composer and outlining his enormous influence on music of many sorts, playing a number of pieces from his glorious musical repetoire.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Jan

24

10:30

The Holocaust - a Second-Generation Perspective

Oliver Sears

  • 📅Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In his moving talk on 24 January, Oliver Sears told the story of his mother, Monika - a surivivor of the Holocaust (seen as a young girl in photo 1 and with Oliver in Dublin in June 2018 in photo 2). She was born in Łódź, Poland in 1939 just before World War 2 began, her father was arrested and shot by the Nazis within a month of the German invasion and Monika and her mother Krysia went on the run in Nazi occupied Poland. They survived the Warsaw ghetto, and managed to escape from a train destined for Treblinka, making their way eventually to London, where she grew up and where Oliver and his two brothers were born. Relating her story from a Second Generation perspective, Oliver illustrated his talk with a video and slides of 'Objects of Love', which link the generations. In the form of a letter to her first grandchild, Monika wrote a short book about her wartime childhood and life entitled 'From my war to your peace, love Nonna', recounting a child's understanding of identity, loyalty and love, copies of which were purchased by Group members, with proceeds going to the Hertzog Centre of Near Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Studies, TCD.

London born Oliver Sears runs his fine art gallery in an elegant Georgian building in the centre of Dublin. He presents a contemporary exhibition programme including Irish and international artists. After more than twenty-five years experience as an art dealer, while making frequent visits to New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Basel and Miami primarily Oliver has also built his own art collection. He has lived in Ireland for over 30 years and currently lives in Dublin with his Irish wife. He is a former Board member of the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland and is a frequent contributor to radio programmes and newspapers.


Jan

10

10:30

The GAA in Irish Society - Past to Present

Mark Duncan

Mark's talk to the Bray Heads Group on 10 January profiled the role which the GAA - the country's most significant sporting, cultural and social organisation - has played in Irish life since the foundation of the Irish State and Partition, charting the ways in which it has adapted to changing social, economic and political circumstances. Examining also the contemporary GAA, Mark provided an assessment of its current standing and issues that now challenge its positioning within Irish society.

Mark Duncan is a historian, research consultant and a founder of the InQuest Research Group. A former Director of the GAA Oral History Project based at Boston College-Ireland, he has authored several books on major areas of Irish history and public policy. He is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book 'The GAA: A People's History' (2009) and 'The GAA, County by County' (2011) and was a central figure in the development of the GAA Museum at Croke Park. Among other projects, he is currently a Director and Content Editor of the Government-funded and RTÉ-supported online project for the decade of Centenaries, Century Ireland (website: www.rte.ie/centuryireland) and, linked to that, he has recently appeared in RTE documentaries on the historic 1918 Election and Ireland After the Rising. Mark lives in Bray.


Dec

13

10:30

The Bray Heads U3A First Christmas Celebration

TBD

  • 📅Thursday, December 13, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

On 13 December, Bray Heads U3A Group members celebrated the first 4 months of our new Group's activities and our first Christmas together, with communal carol-singing, some solo performances, storytelling, poetry and seasonal readings by the Golf Club fireside, organised by Léonie - our Meetings Co-ordinator.


Nov

29

10:30

The Good Friday Agreement 20 Years On

David Donoghue

  • 📅Thursday, November 29, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Irish Ambassador David Donoghue retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs in September 2017, following a distinguished diplomatic career in which he served in a number of key positions at home and abroad, including Director General of Irish Aid, Political Director and Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Germany, Austria and the United Nations in New York.

At a number of stages in his career, he also worked on issues relating to Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations. He was involved in the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and, in his capacity of Irish head of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast from 1995-99, in the negotiations which led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Twenty years after the signature of the Good Friday Agreement, David will describe the long journey leading to its negotiation and present his perspective on the operation and impact of the Agreement which, he argues - remains one of the few examples of successful conflict resolution in the world today, despite all the current difficulties.


Nov

15

10:30

Tracing Our Ancestors: An Overview of Online Geneaology Records for Ireland

Tony O'Hara

  • 📅Thursday, November 15, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Tony's informative talk covered the major records available on line for genealogical research and how to access the various sites and archives, helping those starting out their research to quickly access the most important and relevant records.

Tony O’Hara is a recently retired IT Professional with a passionate interest in genealogy. He studied genealogy in UCD under Sean Murphy and qualified in 2012. He is an active member of the Genealogical Society of Ireland and is a director with responsibility for the lecture series which occurs on a monthly basis. He previously worked in the IT business in the field of civil engineering and computer aided design (CAD) and geographic information systems (GIS) and was president of IRLOGI (Irish Organization of Geographic Information) for a 2 year period. He has acted as a genealogy adviser in the National Library and has liaised with many organisations on behalf on GSI.

A graduate of DIT Bolton Street in the early seventies he worked with Dublin County Council until the late eighties when he moved over to the private sector and the IT business.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Nov

01

10:30

The EU, Brexit and Beyond

Catherine Day

  • 📅Thursday, November 1, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Catherine Day born in Mount Merrion, Dublin is a former Secretary-General of the European Commission.

Appointed in November 2005 she served two terms with President Jose Manuel Barroso and continued with his successor, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker until she retired in September 2015. She is the first woman to hold the post of Secretary General of the European Commission.

In her talk, Catherine Day spoke about key moments in the development of the EU from enlargement to the East to the Euro crisis and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. With 36 years experience of working in Brussels she recounted, from her insider perspective, the politics, the compromises, the highs and lows that she experienced during her long and distinguished career in the EU, especially during her ten years as Secretary General of the European Commission, when she was involved in all the major issues facing the EU and one of very few officials present when Prime Ministers met and when key negotiations went down to the wire.


Oct

25

10:30

Windows on Interesting Times: A Half-Century in the Turbulent Middle East - Discussion & Book-Signing

Michael Jansen, Middle East Analyst & Correspondent for The Irish Times; author of 'Windows on Interesting Times'

In her talk to The Bray Heads Group and the lively discussion which followed it, Michael Jansen drew on her experiences living in, and reporting on, the Middle East for over 50 years, presenting eyewitness accounts of a number of historical events and figures that have shaped, defined - and so often racked - the region, referencing in particular events in Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprus, Egypt and Syria.

Originally from the US, Michael Jansen came to study in the Beirut, Lebanon, in 1961 and soon after began her long and distinguished career as a journalist covering the region. She is the author of a number of books on the region, the most recent being 'Windows on Interesting Times', launched in Dublin the day before Michael's talk to the Group, copies of which she signed after her talk.

An Interesting commentary by Michael on how Ireland is perceived in the Middle East, which appeared in the 'Irishwoman's Diary' column of The Irish Times on Monday 22 October, can re viewed via the link above.


Oct

18

10:30

Who in their Right Mind would want to Read Joyce's Ulysses?

Dr Séamus Cannon is an educator who in retirement indulges his interests in Joyce, Local History and furniture making. Former Director of the Blackrock Education Centre, Dublin.

Ulysses is 'Ireland's most popular unread book' and one of the most influencing, inspiring, intriguing and infamous novels in world literary history - many want to read it but are daunted by its complexity, and cast it aside. In his hugely entertaining, informative and accessible presentation to The Bray Heads U3A group, recounting colourful stories about its author, history, themes, characters, language and humour, and with recorded readings and songs from the book, Seamus Cannon encouraged members who have not yet read it or who have given up on it to read Ulysses for enjoyment and for the extraordinary way in which Joyce captures the human spirit in a wonderful celebration of Dublin.

A member of the Friends of Joyce Tower Society and volunteer at the Joyce Museum at the Martello Tower in Sandycove, Dublin, Seamus Cannon delivers a course in Reading Ulysses for readers who wish to deepen their appreciation of the work or for those who dare to read Ulysses for the first time! (see link )

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Oct

04

10:30

Women and Politics in Ireland Since 1918

Prof Yvonne Galligan

  • 📅Thursday, October 4, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Yvonne Galligan is an Irish political scientist, currently at Queen's University Belfast. She is a Professor of Comparative Politics, Founding Director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics and Director of University Gender Initiative, Queen’s University Belfast.

Her interesting and informative talk, marking the centenary of women in Ireland (and the rest of the British Isles) first being permitted to vote in elections and to stand as candidates in them, outlined and analysed women's representation in Irish politics, in an international context, from 1918 to the present. Graphically documenting the trajectory of women's political activity, and changes in the social perceptions of women's role and status in society, over the last 100 years, Yvonne's talk highlighted various landmarks in the advancement of women in Irish life and politics, as well as some key setbacks, noting some significant of areas of progess towards gender equality - and others where more wore work is needed.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Sep

20

10:30

Plants, Potions and Snails - The Central Role of Nature's Pharmacy in Modern Medicine

Dr Helen Sheridan, Associate Professor Pharmacy, TCD

  • 📅Thursday, September 20, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

In a fascinating and very well-received talk, Dr Helen Sheridan set out the background to the use of natural medicines by humans from earliest Neanderthal man to modern times, travelling from archaeological remains in the Shanidar caves in Iraq, through the poisoning of Socrates by hemlock in ancient Greece, the opium wars of the 19th century which led onto the discovery of morphine and the creation of heroin, and on to the present day. She went on to describe the role of key natural medicines such as aspirin derived from the willow tree; lead anticancer agents derived from Taxus or Elm species; the Madagascan periwinkle in the treatment of cancer; potent painkiller Prialt discovered from a family of marine cone snails; and the challenges associated with the development of the anticancer drug Yondelis, derived from a marine organism in tiny concentrations. Highlighting the fact that 80% of the world's population still use complex traditional medicines, she emphasised the importance of the role of these countries and communities in healthcare and their potential as sources of new medicines. Her talk concluded with a brief account of her own interesting work in the development and testing of a medicine drawn from nature to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Dr Sheridan is a lecturer and Director of Research in Natural Product Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. Helen carries out original research in the use and development of new medicines from natural sources. She has brought the new natural medicine to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease which she has helped to develop to Phase 1 human clinical trials and is continuing her work on this. Helen serves on the Traditional medicine sub-committee of the Irish Health products Regulatory Authority (HPRA; 2000 To date), is a founder member of the Sino-European GP-TCM Research Association, is on the Board of the International Natural Product Foundation, a pan global organization working toward the development of new medicines. Helen's research has been funded Nationally by Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, EU-FP7, The Wellcome Trust and Venture Capital Investment.

A Speaker's Presentation exists for this Event: click here


Sep

06

10:30

Inaugural Meeting of The Bray Heads U3A Group & Talk on 400 Years of Kilruddery as the Home of the Brabazons

Fionnuala Ardee of Killruddery House

  • 📅Thursday, September 6, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Marking the occasion of the official launch of The Bray Heads U3A Group and the 400th anniversary this year of the Brabazon family at the Killruddery estate, Fionnuala Ardee gave a fascinating talk about the history of the Brabazon family, of which she is a member, the historic house which is her home and the estate where she serves as CEO and CFO.


Jun

21

10:30

Open Preview of The Bray Heads U3A Group

  • 📅Thursday, June 21, 2018
  • 🕥10:30 - 12:30
  • 🏟Bray Golf Club(map)

Isolde Moylan, Team Co-ordinator and Eamon Geraghty, Bray Golf Club President welcomed participants to the event. Sam O'Brien-Olinger from Age Action Ireland, provided information about the U3A movement and AAI's role in promoting and supporting U3A groups in Ireland.

Linda Uhlemann from the Bray U3A Group (Fassaroe) and Donal Denham from the Dun Laoghaire-Killiney-Dalkey U3A Group shared their experiences of creating and running their branch of the U3A.

Each of the Bray Heads U3A Co-ordinating Team members introduced themselves and their work. Highlights from the Talks programme 2018/19 were revealed.

Large numbers of enthusiastic participants attended the Preview and brought the number of registered members up to full Group capacity level..





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