Taking place in New Ross, Co Wexford, from September 8-10, the summer school will include more than 30 guest speakers from the worlds of politics, the media, and entertainment, with the forthcoming US presidential election set to feature prominently.
The theme is ‘A festival of Irish and American history, politics, and culture’, and is run in association with the John F Kennedy Trust New Ross and Wexford County Council.
Summer school director Noel Whelan said the festival is taking place “at an extraordinary political times in Ireland and the United States”, with much to discuss and debate.
“We have gathered an impressive line-up of speakers from both sides of the Atlantic to do just that.”
US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley will officially open the Kennedy Summer School on the evening of September 8 and it will be followed by a reflection on playwright Eugene O’Neill, whose family heritage can be traced to New Ross, with a keynote lecture by Professor Robert Downing, a leading authority on O’Neill’s work.
In 1963, President John F Kennedy stood in the yard of his ancestral home in New Ross and drank a cup of tea with his Irish cousin Mary Ryan. In honour of this event, celebrity chef Edward Hayden will host a tea party in Dunganstown at the Kennedy Homestead on September 9.
Later that evening, Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will be interviewed as this year’s Kennedy Summer School focus interview under the title ‘On a Personal and Policing Journey’.
This will be followed by the Edward M Kennedy Lecture, hosted by the guest of honour, the former governor of Maryland and Democratic presidential contender, Martin O’Malley.
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will also speak at this gathering.
The Saturday programme features Tadd Devine, chief strategist for Bernie Sanders, who will tell the story of the spectacular campaign for the Democratic Party nomination which only recently ended, having run Hillary Clinton close.
Larry Donnelly, political commentator and law lecturer at NUI Galway, and Kevin Cullen, columnist with the
will all discuss the US political landscape.
The summer school will close with a special screening of the Oscar best picture-winning movie,
, the true story of the Boston Globe investigation into clerical sexual abuse and a decades-long cover-up.
A number of Fleadh Cheoil events and luncheons will also take place, with other guests including Anne Doyle, Charlie Bird, Tony Bates, and more.