TITLE - 25 JUNE - 1 SEPTEMBER: SUMMER BREAK
Leader -

Fri, 25/06/2021 from 00:00 - 00:00 in


TITLE - COVID19: update on vaccines and therapeutics
Leader - Professor Luke O'Neill, TCD

Thu, 24/06/2021 from 11:00 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Following his lively and informative talk to our Group in November 2020, there have been many developments related to the COVD pandemic. Luke has agreed to return and give us an update on COVID focusing in particular on vaccines and therapeutics.
TITLE - The Middle East: An Introduction to its Lands, People, History and Complexities
Leader - Former Ambassador, Isolde Moylan

Thu, 10/06/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Anytime that the Middle East features in the news media, the story almost always relates either to wars, uprisings, tyranny, terrorism, religious extremism or threats to the west, or else to the vast oil-wealth of some of its countries and people. Having spent nearly eight years living, working and travelling in the region, retired Ambassador, Isolde Moylan, has witnessed and chronicled many of these conflicts and problems first hand. In this talk, however, she will be delving in behind the news headlines, the terrible press which the region attracts, and the stereotypes which abound about it, to reveal a more multi-dimensional picture of these fascinating lands, peoples and cultures, and the main historical, economic and external factors which impact so heavily on it. Isolde - who is from Bray, and who was a founding member of our Bray Heads U3A Group and its first Team Leader - was an Irish diplomat for over 40 years, focusing mainly on political and international development issues. In addition to posts abroad in Washington DC, at the UN in New York, in Rome; Brussels; and Boston as Consul General, she served as Ambassador to Tanzania (1996-2000); as Ireland’s first resident Representative to the Palestinian Authority (2000-2002); as Asia Political Director (2005-2010); and as Ambassador to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Sudan and the Arab League, based in Cairo (2010-2015). In retirement since mid-2015, she speaks and writes on the Middle East; she is a Board member of the Friends of Bethlehem University; a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation; an Archives Reviewer for the Department of Foreign Affairs; and she also enjoys being a member of Bray Choral Society.
TITLE - The Ancestral Stomping Grounds 3
Leader - The Ancestral Stomping Grounds 3

Wed, 02/06/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

Our final trip this season to The Ancestral Stomping Grounds will be guided by Finola Finlay – Chocolate Box Barbara McAllister – The Story of Love and Emigration Brian White – Patrick Short and the SS Isolda Fourth Speaker – TBC Wednesday, 2nd June at 10.30 See you then! On behalf of the U3A Team I would like to offer our sincere thanks to all of the Speakers throughout this series for their generosity of spirit in sharing some of the fascinating and intriguing stories of their family histories. They have led us all around the world – through jungles, across oceans on sailing ships, to beautiful houses and into domestic detail that hold the key to entire chapters of our own history. It has been an enthralling journey. Thank you!
TITLE - 'The Devil's Chaplain': The Life and Times of Charles Darwin
Leader - Dr Peter Boyle, Fellow Emeritus, TCD

Thu, 27/05/2021 from 10:30 - 12:00 in Zoom Online

When he left school at the age of sixteen in 1825 , Charles Darwin said about himself that "I was considered by all my masters and by my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect". And yet when he died in 1882 his name was a household word. Today Darwin is arguably the most written about and most widely discussed scientist of all time. It could also be said that no other scientist in history was to cause such a dramatic change in how ordinary people understood themselves and their place in the world. This talk will review the life, times, and career of this extraordinary man Dr Peter Boyle is a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity. He was brought up in County Sligo in the house in which the famous Cambridge mathematician, Sir Gabriel Stokes (of 'Stoke's Law' fame) was born. He was educated in The King's Hospital School in Dublin and then in Trinity College, where he was elected a Scholar and then took a moderatorship in chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. He joined the academic staff of Trinity and was elected a Fellow of the College in 1972. He remained working in Trinity until his retirement, with periods abroad working in USA and Germany. In 2015 he published a new book on the Provosts of Trinity College.
TITLE - The Wood Wide Web: how trees communicate
Leader - Professor Carla Harper

Wed, 26/05/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

Forests are bustling with activity, most of which we cannot see. Trees, from oak, to birch, alder, hazel, and willow, have partnerships with underground microbial organisms. Millions of species of fungi and bacteria swap nutrients between the soil and the roots of trees, forming a vast, interconnected web of organisms throughout the woodlands. The partnership between fungi and trees is known as a ‘mycorrhizal symbiosis’ and occurs with(in) the roots of the tree; the fungus helps the tree take up nutrients in the surrounding soil that would otherwise be unobtainable through thread-like structures known as hyphae, and in exchange, the tree gives the fungus carbon (sugars). There are different types of mycorrhizal symbioses, two general categories include ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi which surround the tree’s roots and do not penetrate them and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi which are inside of the tree’s roots. The EM and AM fungi produce extensive networks of hyphae, which is collectively known as a mycelia, in the forest soil. One of the most fascinating functions of the mycelia within a woodland ecosystem, in addition to nutrient transfer, is that trees can use the fungal mycelia to ‘signal’ between different tree species. This phenomenon is known as the ‘Wood Wide Web’, coined by the ecologist, Suzanna Simard, that describes forest ecosystems as social and cooperative networks that communicate through the mycelia of mycorrhizal fungi. In this talk, we will explore the Wood Wide Web by looking at the basics of mycorrhizal fungi and their evolution, and asking what are the trees telling each other? Finally, we will examine the current status of mycorrhizal studies in Ireland and how these amazing fungi can help us in the future. Carla J. Harper is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science that started in the Botany Department, Trinity College Dublin in March 2020. She is a palaeobotanist with a specialty in palaeomycology, or the study of fossil fungi from the Palaeozoic (407–251 million years ago) and Mesozoic 251–240 million years ago) from European and Antarctic deposits. Dr. Harper received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas N. Taylor. Prior to starting at Trinity, she was an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellow in Munich, Germany, with Dr. Michael Krings, as well as held two U.S. National Science Foundation post-doctoral research positions. Some of her the key research areas in Ireland specifically include: (1) the study and documentation of Irish fossil floras and their microbial partners, (2) documenting the living fungi (mushrooms, microfungi, fungal parasites, and especially mycorrhizal fungi) and fungus-like biodiversity, and (3) comparing and contrasting living and fossil fungi in order to understand how fungi adapt to current and past global climate change.
TITLE - Visions and Strategies for Regional Planning in Ireland.
Leader - Jim Walsh, Emeritus Professor of Geography at Maynooth University

Thu, 13/05/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Jim Walsh is an Emeritus Professor of Geography at Maynooth University where he is also a member of the Maynooth Institute for Social Sciences (MUSSI). His research interests are in rural and regional development, demographic change and spatial planning. He has published extensively on these topics. In addition to his research he has extensive experience in leadership and project management in higher education as Vice-President of Maynooth University for twelve years, and in providing strategic advice on a wide range of policies over many years to government departments and other agencies that include the National Economic and Social Council; Dept of Environment on the National Spatial Strategy and the National Planning Framework; Dept. of Agriculture on the White Paper for Rural Development; and in more recent years the Dept of Community and Rural Affairs through membership of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas.
TITLE - Drawing Class on Zoom with the Intriguing Title of 'Drawing and Sex' to celebrate National Drawing Day
Leader - Brigid O'Brien, Artist & Bray Heads U3A Member

Wed, 12/05/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

NOTE: This class is on WEDNESDAY, 12 May With Ireland's National Drawing Day coming up on Saturday 15 May, our very own Group artist, Brigid O'Brien, has very kindly agreed to hold an advance event to celebrate the Day and the joy of drawing. This will be Brigid's second drawing class for the Group, but her first on Zoom. All members are invited to join and are strongly encouraged to do so. Brigid believes passionately that there is an artist in all of us and that we can all stretch our doodles into mini works of art by a few minutes of sketching everyday items that we see around us in our homes, gardens, towns and countryside. If you haven't already discovered the artist in you, Brigid will be showing us how to change this. There will be no need for any participants to be shy as there is no competitive element to this class, no-one will be pressed to display their work if they don't want to. The idea is to have a go and enjoy the experience in a relaxed atmosphere, and any displaying that is done will be strictly voluntary, intended simply to get some useful feedback and encouragement from Brigid about the work. In her first class, which around 40 members attended at Bray Golf Club, Brigid brought along a basket of different fruits and vegetables and our task was to select one of these and draw it and the hand in which we were holding it. It was great fun and the results were surprising! WHAT YOU'LL NEED: This time, we will not be able to dip into Brigid's basket, so class participants will need to supply their own object to draw and this is going to be: A TOMATO - so that's not too difficult! After that, all you need is a pencil (coloured if you like), a small notebook, drawing pad or pieces of paper, roughly A5 to A6 in size, possibly a sharpener - and a rubber only if you absolutely must. As for the title of this class of Brigid's - 'Drawing and Sex' - she is giving us no clues, so all remains to be revealed on the day. Photos - Clockwise from top left: Artist Brigid O'Brien; A Tomato drawing by her; A drawing of her's to celebrate National Writing Day in February this year; and a photo taken at Brigid's first Bray Heads U3A drawing class in 2019
TITLE - The role of the oceans in Earth's climate: natural cycles and anthropogenic change
Leader - Professor Peter Croot

Wed, 05/05/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

This talk is part of the Climate Action Sub-Group's Programme but all members of The Bray Heads are welcome to attend Most people when asked to describe the ocean likely start with waves on a beach or headland as this was their first introduction to the ocean and is the critical interface between land and sea. The ocean, however, covers 70 percent of the planet’s surface and most of this is beyond the sight of land. For this reason, perhaps, much of what the ocean provides for us, what scientists term ecosystem services, are also often overlooked in our daily lives. In this context, recent studies have shown that the ocean has absorbed around 9 percent of the excess heat due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations. The oceans are currently acting to offset atmospheric warming due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), as it takes more energy to warm water by 1°C than air and the oceans also transport this extra heat into the interior of the ocean where it no longer interacts with the atmosphere. The ocean also plays a role in moderating CO2 concentrations in the air, as seawater absorbs CO2 from the air, and it is estimated that the ocean has absorbed 30 percent of fossil fuel emissions. In his talk Professor Croot will present an introduction to the UN Decade for Ocean Sustainability, which started this year, as well as discussing the role of the Oceans in Climate with a particular emphasis on the implications for Ireland. Professor Peter Croot of NUI Galway is a marine biogeochemist whose research focuses on understanding the role of biogeochemical and physical processes on the concentration and distribution of trace elements and chemical species in the ocean. His work combines different strands of ocean observations (in situ and satellite, physical and biological), with laboratory studies to elucidate the kinetics and mechanisms underpinning the transformation of chemical species in the ocean from the surface to the deep. Dr Croot has extensive at sea experience in the oxygen minimum zones of the Tropical Atlantic and Pacific and in the iron limited Southern Ocean. In April 2017 he was the Chief Scientist for the GO-SHIP repeat hydrography survey along the A02 line in the North Atlantic, this marked the first time that an Irish research vessel had undertaken an international hydrographic survey.
TITLE - Notre Dame de Paris. Triumph and Disaster
Leader - Professor Roger Stalley, Emeritus Fellow, Trinity College Dublin

Thu, 29/04/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

The fire that broke out at Notre Dame two years ago was a horrifying spectacle, the world watching on TV as flames spread relentlessly along the building. Commentators spoke of complete destruction, finding it hard to believe that such a great monument was so vulnerable. In fact the disaster was not as catastrophic as it looked. When the fire was finally extinguished, the cathedral was fundamentally intact, the vast array of medieval sculpture unharmed, so too the stained glass that filled the giant windows. While some regarded this as little short of a miracle, the survival of the cathedral was a triumph for Gothic design, a direct result of the structural system adopted by the medieval builders. Fire was an ever-present fear in the middle ages and many great churches suffered a fate similar to that at Notre Dame. This talk will explain how the Gothic masons confronted the problem and will explore the unusual architecture of Notre Dame, a hybrid scheme that resulted from a series of modifications to the original design. The talk will also illustrate the damage caused by the fire and outline the decisions that have been made in organizing the restoration. Roger Stalley is a a fellow emeritus of Trinity College, Dublin, where he was Professor of the History of Art between 1990 and 2010. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was elected a member of Academia Europaea in the year 2000. His research interests lie in the field of medieval art and architecture. He has published over a hundred articles along with eight books, including the Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland (YUP 1987), (awarded the Hitchcock medallion by the Society of Architectural Historians), and Early Medieval Architecture (OUP, 1999). He is currently completing a book on early medieval sculpture in Ireland.
TITLE - Interesting Women in the Life of Frederick William Burton - Artist, Antiquary and Director
Leader - Dr Marie Bourke, former Keeper and Head of Education at the National Gallery of Ireland

Thu, 15/04/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Join Marie Bourke, for an illustrated talk on the career of one of Ireland's favourite artists - Frederick William Burton, who was born in Wicklow but spent his childhood in Clare. Dr Bourke will shed light on this leading water-colourist, renowned for 'The Meeting on The Turret Stairs', 1864, NGI (which was voted Ireland's favourite painting and which appears in Photo 1), and she will mention some of the women in his life, including his fiancée, Mary Palliser from Waterford. Dr Marie Bourke is the former Keeper and Head of Education at the National Gallery of Ireland and one of the highly successful exhibitions which she curated was: 'Frederick William Burton: For the Love of Art at the National Gallery of Ireland' (2017-18). A former Adjunct Professor in the School of Art History & Cultural Studies at UCD, she is the author of many publications including, The Story of Irish Museums 1790-2000 (2011, 2013). She is an Assessor on the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme and Vice-Chair of the RDS Arts Committee. Photos: 1. Frederic William Burton (1816-1900), Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864, Watercolour. NGI.2358. Copyright the National Gallery of Ireland 2. Dr Marie Bourke
TITLE - The Ancestral Stomping Ground – Our second visit!
Leader -

Wed, 07/04/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

Our second trip to The Ancestral Stomping Grounds will be guided by Siobhán Quigley – A Love Story Grace McEvoy – A New Yorker returns to 19th-century Mountmellick Mary Ashall – The Kielta Vase Bill Grimson – Our Nobodies Wednesday, 7th April at 10.30. See you then! Thanks to our Speakers for their generosity of Spirit and a gentle reminder that the Team hopes to hear from all members who might like to make a contribution to our future sessions.
TITLE - Integrative COVID Medicine - Lifestyle Approaches To Staying Well During A COVID Pandemic
Leader - Dr Ceppie Merry, Integrative Infectious Diseases Consultant, St James's Hospital

Wed, 31/03/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS MEETING IS TAKING PLACE ON WEDNESDAY 31ST MARCH Our bodies are our autobiographies - they faithfully record the countless choices we make every day (what we eat/the way we move/our sense of purpose/our relationships/how we sleep). Allopathic western medicine is amazing but is even more powerful when combined with lifestyle, culinary and contemplative medicine. Learn the art & science of integrative medicine to optimise health, well-being & vitality during the COVID-19 pandemic Dr Ceppie Merry MB MSc PhD FRCPI graduated from Trinity College Dublin & did a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago. She spent 10 years working developing capacity in HIV pharmacology in East Africa. She is also a graduate of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona
TITLE - Recovering the Sacred Music of Medieval Ireland
Leader - Dr Ann Buckley, Medieval History Research Centre, Dept of History, TCD

Thu, 18/03/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Following the centralising Carolingian reforms of the ninth century, what is generally known as ‘Gregorian’ chant gradually became standard throughout the western Christian Church. And while certain local or regional practices continued for longer in areas more distant from Rome, surviving sources belong largely to a common international repertory. A striking exception is the saint’s Office, or Historia (the medieval term), the liturgy for Matins, Lauds and Vespers used on an individual saint’s feastday. This is aptly named because both the chant texts and related spoken readings involve stories about the life of the individuals concerned, accounts of miracles associated with them (involving mostly healing and acts of charity), and glorification of their memory. There are often references to specific localities too, revealing a close personal connection with these ritual songs and prayers on the part of those who sang, spoke and listened to them. Irish saints whose offices form part of this legacy include Brigit, Patrick, Colmcille, Canice, Brendan, Laurence O’Toole, Fursa, Columbanus, Gall, Kilian, among others. The talk will include a brief account of the work involved in breathing new life into this music, an important part of Irish hidden heritage which has been silent for some 600 years; it will be illustrated by a selection of recent sound recordings and images from the manuscripts. Biography Ann Buckley is a musicologist specialising in medieval studies, with interests in the music of medieval Ireland, European medieval Latin and vernacular secular song, and the history of musical instruments. Her current research, the Amra project, concerns chant for Irish saints, based on an exhaustive survey of manuscripts which survive today in libraries and archives across Europe. A graduate of University College Cork, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Cambridge, Ann Buckley has taught and presented seminars and guest lectures at an international level, including Western and Eastern Europe, and North America. A former Research Fellow of Darwin College Cambridge and Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne University, Paris, she has also held appointments at University College Cork, University College Dublin, Maynooth University and Queen’s University Belfast. She is currently based at the Medieval History Research Centre, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin. Ann Buckley has received awards in support of her work from the Irish Research Council, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, Foras na Gaeilge and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, among others. She publishes widely at an international level, and is also actively engaged in public lecturing and performance, as well as presenting radio programmes on various aspects of medieval music. Her most recent publication is an edited collection of essays, Music, Liturgy, and the Veneration of Saints of the Medieval Irish Church in a European Context (Brepols 2017: https://bit.ly/2FBbxDI), and she has recently completed another collected volume (co-edited with Lisa Colton) on Music and Liturgy in Medieval Britain and Ireland for publication by Cambridge University Press.
TITLE - The Ancestral Stomping Ground is visited by the Historical and Archaeological Sub-group.
Leader - OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS

Wed, 10/03/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

This session is open to Everyone and we hope that you will attend. The idea is to have short (about 10 mins), light-hearted contributions from our members about one or more of their forebears or any object that has its own ‘history’ within their family. Our forebears, rather like the Muirchú Dr Anthony Harvey was talking about, were very good at ‘corporate spin’ and often appeared to have lived their lives as models of exemplary behaviour but did they? Were they that lucky that they avoided unexpected and challenging events for which they felt ill-equipped? How did they respond to these? Dig a bit deeper and you never know what you may come up with. While light-hearted in its approach, this is not a frivolous exercise. When discussing challenges faced by earlier generations we are inevitably brought into the realms of local, social, economic, industrial and political history. A consideration of these aspects of society may lead to a greater understanding of our forebears and perhaps instil in us a greater confidence in how we approach our own challenges. Tom McNally has also very generously offered to answer specific questions on researching family history. If you would like to give a talk on your family member/s or any object important to your family the Team would love to hear from you and please let us know in advance at info@brayheadsu3a.ie
TITLE - St Patrick in the Digital Age
Leader - Dr Anthony Harvey, Royal Irish Academy

Thu, 04/03/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Not everyone realizes that there are two Latin works, still surviving, that can definitely be attributed to Patrick’s own authorship. Composed in the fifth century and preserved in manuscripts dating from the 800s onwards, these are the very oldest continuous texts, in any language, written in Ireland that are still extant. These texts prove that St Patrick really existed, because they allow us to define the historical Patrick as the person who wrote them. Reading through them, however, one may be surprised to find that there is nothing about Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland; nothing about victorious contests with the druids; nothing about overthrowing pagan idols and cursing kings and kingdoms – not even the shamrock is mentioned! But those elements are an important part of the popularly held image of Patrick. The point is that these elements and many others came to be attributed to the figure of Patrick in later times, beginning in the Middle Ages. That development is itself an interesting phenomenon: how and why was it that the two brief texts by the historical evangelist were subsequently extrapolated so as to project the better-known figure of hagiography and folklore? Modern scholarly Patrician study has twin topics: on the one hand the historical individual, on the other hand the ever-changing popular perception of him. Both topics are worthy of study; neither is well served by conflating them. To increase awareness of each and to facilitate research into them — as well as to help in disentangling the two — the Royal Irish Academy has overseen the development on the Internet of an intricately linked and searchable “hypertext stack” of reliable material and information relating to St Patrick. This is not merely a passive resource: the Stack aims actively to educate its audience at all levels, mediating to them the Saint’s writings and explaining to them the various kinds of contention concerning him. Today’s illustrated talk, by the leader of activity on the Stack, will introduce the resource, demonstrate its use, and outline the impact that it has made so far. Participants who wish to have a look for themselves, in advance of the presentation, should find the site freely accessible at www.confessio.ie. AJRH Dr Anthony Harvey is Editor of the Royal Irish Academy's Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources (DMLCS) and Project Leader of the St Patrick's Confessio Hyperstack activity (www.confessio.ie). He has been part of the DMLCS project since 1985 and Editor since 1990. He holds a PhD in early medieval Irish and British linguistics and literacy from Cambridge University's Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, where he had previously gained his MA, and has lectured and published widely on these subjects as well as on matters of Latin philology. He teaches conversational Welsh informally in Dublin, and has served as Chairman of the Classical Association of Ireland. He is currently on the advisory boards of several scholarly journals and dictionary projects at home and abroad.
TITLE - The Housing Crisis; Towards a new Philosophy and Affordable Homes for All
Leader - PJ Drudy, Professor Emeritus of Economics, TCD

Thu, 18/02/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

PJ Drudy will first chat about philosophy. How do we view housing? Is it a commodity or a home? The answer will result in different approaches. Second, what is the problem? Is there a problem at all? What of unaffordable house prices? Why are prices so high? Is private rental the answer instead of purchasing ? Are there problems with private rental? Is the government justified in paying millions to landlords to house people on the Local authority waiting lists? What of the suggestion that “vulture funds” have purchased many apartment blocks, charge excessive rents and operate a virtual monopoly in relation to private rental especially in Dublin? What of those who cannot afford to buy or pay for private rental? Can these get housing provided by the Local Authorities or by Housing Associations? Is there a problem? What is the record in relation to such housing? Finally I will chat about possible approaches to resolving these challenges. P.J. Drudy is Emeritus Professor of Economics in Trinity College, Dublin. Also former Senior Dean and Bursar. He has written extensively on housing including the book, Out of Reach : Inequalities in the Irish Housing System and many book and journal contributions. He has acted as Consultant to many public and private sector bodies, including the European Commission Directorate General Regional Policy on the impact of cohesion policy. P.J. has argued that private developers have done little to provide affordable homes for our young people and that any government must play a far greater role in housing provision. His contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness stressed the need for “rent regulation” on European lines and this became government policy in 2017. P.J. has been an advocate for supported housing for people with disabilities over many years and he is Vice Chairperson of the St John of God Housing Association. He is active in the Parents Family and Friends Association of St John of God Dublin South East.
TITLE - The water beneath our feet: Groundwater and our future
Leader - Bruce Misstear

Wed, 10/02/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

This talk is organised by the Climate Action Sub-Group but all members of TBH are welcome to attend. Bruce will explain why the hidden resource of groundwater is important. It supplies half of the world's population with their drinking water and keeps our rivers flowing during droughts, but there are many threats to groundwater from pollution and over-abstraction. He will discuss how the large groundwater storages can help us cope with climate change and will also say a little about groundwater and cultural heritage (qanats, holy wells etc). Bruce is a member of The Bray Heads and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Engineering and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He has nearly 40 years’ experience in groundwater research and development, including projects in Ireland, UK, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Oman, Burma and Pakistan.
TITLE - Using Complementary approaches to health maintenance in a global pandemic
Leader - Professor Helen Sheridan, TCD

Thu, 04/02/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Dr Sheridan gave us a fascinating talk on Plants, Potions and Snails - The Central Role of Nature's Pharmacy in Modern Medicine (details in our archive) in 2018 and her second talk on "Complementary approaches to health maintenance in a global pandemic" is timely and promises to be just as interesting. She will discuss everything from vitamins to supplements to mindfulness and their role in helping us to stay healthy. She will tell us about Blue Cities and a town in the US, that defies cardiovascular disease, despite eating an American diet. It's a very interesting community of Italian descent, and the study has established that the social environment of living has a significant impact on longevity. 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 Investments following
TITLE - Robots: Past, Present and a Shared Future
Leader - Prof Kevin Kelly

Thu, 21/01/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

The word 'robot' has been with us for only 100 years and depending on context can evoke reactions of fear, delight, awe or amusement. Initially a concept largely confined to science fiction, robots have increasingly become part of the everyday experience - first as devices used in manufacturing and more recently in various forms of service and social robots. In this talk, Kevin Kelly will look back at the evolution of robotics and provide an overview of the state of the art in robotics today, interspersed with examples of work in his lab on robotic elements, systems and assistive technology. Finally, he will conclude the talk with a look at possible future directions and challenges and opportunities these present for society. Kevin Kelly is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. Following his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in University College Dublin, he worked as a research engineer in the Advanced Manufacturing Science research group until joining Trinity College Dublin in 2000, as part of an expansion related to the new Engineering with Management programme. Acting as director of this programme since 2005, he developed it to a 5 year integrated Masters programme, now established as the most sought-after Engineering programme on the island. As a multi-award-winning educator, Kevin is passionate about Engineering and Engineering Education as people-centred disciplines and is convinced that the most significant progress is achieved when we maximise our human capital within the engineering design process. He teaches a range of programmes from 1st year to 5th year, in engineering design and innovation - notably the "5E3 - Innovation in Product Development" programme which has and continues to produce an impressive array of start-ups and new products and services. Since 2015 he has been deeply involved in the E3 (Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technology) and Innovation District projects. The former brings together Engineering, Computer Science and Natural Sciences in a radical new collective to break new boundaries in terms of education and research, while the latter sees a redevelopment of an area in the Docklands to house the E3 research institute and a range of community, entrepreneur and industry collaborations. Beginning his research career in manufacturing, Kevin has gradually moved his focus to design innovation, engineering education (including gender issues) and robotics. He founded the Robotics and Innovation Lab in 2012 as an 'application-driven interdisciplinary research group that is focused on the development of novel and innovative technical solutions that address major societal challenges'. Projects that have had significant public attention include the robots 'Robbie' and 'Stevie', and 'WayToB' - a navigation aid for people with intellectual disabilities.
TITLE - Henry Grattan of the Irish Parliament & His North Wicklow Connections
Leader - Local Historian & Bray Heads U3A member, Brian White

Thu, 07/01/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

200 years after the death of Henry Grattan, Brian White will be tracking that legendary parliamentarian's connections with North Wicklow and many of the well-known families of the day - and since, including those of Arthur Guinness, David La Touche, Countess Markievicz, Lord Powerscourt, Percy French and President Richard Nixon. As with all Brian's talks, this next one of is will include extensive illustrations. 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; and World War One at Home for BBC Northern Ireland Radio. Last year he delivered a fascinating talk to the Bray Heads U3A Group on the World War 1 nurse from Bray, Josephine Heffernan and the story of how an ID bracelet which she lost during that war in France found ts way back to her family in bray many yeras later - thanks to Brian -, which had been the subjext of a France2 TV documentary.
TITLE - WISHING ALL OUR BRAY HEADS U3A MEMBERS, THOSE ON OUR WAITING LIST AND ALL IN OUR COMMUNITY IN BRAY A HAPPY & SAFE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
Leader -

Wed, 06/01/2021 from 00:00 - 00:00 in


TITLE - TBC: The Future of Farming in Ireland
Leader - TBC: Dr Alan Matthews, Emeritus Professor, TCD

Wed, 06/01/2021 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online


TITLE - The Group's Third Christmas Celebration
Leader - Bray Heads U3A Members

Thu, 17/12/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Undaunted by the necessary, but still annoying Covid restrictions to our 'normal' socially interactive lives, TBH U3A members have proven more than willing to bring some welcome Christmas Cheer into this zooming festive season! The morning of December 17th will offer a medley of music, musings, poetry and short stories directly to the comfort of our own homes! Whether to indulge in figgy pudding or mulled wine is entirely optional, but Wishing one and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year is absolutely essential and is the sincere wish of all the U3A team!
TITLE - NOTE - 2PM Start-Time: The American Election and its Aftermath: An Irish Perspective
Leader - Dan Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States

Thu, 10/12/2020 from 14:00 - 15:30 in Zoom Online

As a late addition to our Programme, we are delighted that Ambassador Dan Mulhall has kindly agreed to talk to our Group live from Washington DC at 2PM to present his assessment of the recent Presidential Election in the US, what comes next and how this is likely to impact on relations with Ireland and Europe. Immediately prior to his appointment to the United States in 2017, Dan served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2013 and before that to Germany (2009-13) and Malaysia (2001-05). Among various other roles in the course of his distinguished diplomatic career, he also served at Headquarters in Dublin as Director General of European Affairs (2005-09) and in a number of roles relating to the Northern Ireland Peace Process, including at the time of the Good Friday Agreement. Ambassador Mulhall was born in Waterford and, following his early education there, he undertook under-graduate and post-graduate studies at UCC, where he specialised in modern Irish history and literature, interests which he continues to pursue energetically. He is the author of A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900 (Cork, 1999) and co-editor of The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment (Dublin, 2016). In recognition of his considerable achievements while Ambassador to the UK, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and an Honorary Doctorate from the Univerity of Liverpool and he has also been conferred with the Freedom of his native City of Waterford. Dan is a wonderful speaker and we are sure that you will enjoy this very special and topical talk by him.
TITLE - The Bray Heads U3A Second Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Leader -

Thu, 03/12/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Our Group's AGM will take place on Thursday 3 December at 10.30. We hope that most of our members will be able to join us to review Group activities over the last year and plans for next year.
TITLE - Is zero COVID-19 possible?- testing, treatments, vaccines and population immunity
Leader - Professor Kingston Mills

Wed, 02/12/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Professor Mills will provide an up to date account of the situation regarding COVID-19. He will cover SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission, disease, testing, herd immunity, COVID19 vaccines, how they work, the different types and their evaluation and roll out. Kingston Mills is Professor of Experimental Immunology, Director of The Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin and Co-lead on the Trinity COVID-19 Research hub. He is a graduate of TCD and trained at as a Postdoctoral Fellow at University College London and the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill (now the Crick Institute), London, before joining the Scientific Staff of NIBSC, Herts, UK. He returned to Ireland in 1993 to take up an academic position at Maynooth University. He was appointed to a Personal Chair at Trinity College Dublin in 2001 and was Head of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology from 2008-2011. He heads an active research team focusing on T cells in infection and autoimmunity. He was named as Science Foundation Ireland researcher of 2020. In recent months, he has appeared regularly on TV and radio discussing the pandemic.
TITLE - Infrastructure required for a Zero-Carbon Economy - Gaining Public Support
Leader - Don Moore

Wed, 25/11/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

This talk is organised by the Climate Action Sub-group and all Bray Heads members are invited to attend. By 2030 Ireland plans to move away from fossil fuels to a future powered by electricity generated by renewables. Transport (cars, public transport) and heating (heat pumps, smart storage heaters). Nearly 10,000 MW of renewable energy, on-shore and off-shore wind turbines and solar energy are planned. Transmission infrastructure will be required to connect this new generation to the National Grid. Given the public opposition to any new transmission lines over the past 20 years how can this be done? Don Moore worked as a construction engineer on the Turlough Hill Pumped Storage Scheme and as a design engineer on the Poolbeg Oil-fired Power Station and midland Peat-Fired stations. He spent 25 years with ESB International (ESBI) working on energy projects in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and North America. He had a 20 year association with Vietnam as ESBI assisted in building its electrical infrastructure after the war. Managing Director of ESBI 2002- 2006. Served as President of the Irish Academy of Engineering and the Irish Exporters Association.
TITLE - Surviving 'the Group of Death': The winning by Ireland of a seat on the UN Security Council”
Leader - Ambassador Brendan Rogers, Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs

Thu, 19/11/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

The UN Security Council is the principal organ of the UN tasked with the preservation of international peace and security. It has the highest public profile of all the UN bodies, has 5 Permanent Members (P5) and 10 Elected Members (E10). E10 Members sit on the Security Council for two years and the seats are actively sought and elections take place each year. Competition amongst Member States is fierce and the campaigns last for years with the intensity of campaigns accelerating in the final two years. It has been described as a “UN Blood Sport”! Ireland was elected to the UN Security Council on 17 June and will take up the seat for two years commencing on 1 January, 2021. In his talk to The Bray Heads U3A Group, Brendan Rogers, Deputy Secretary General, who headed up Ireland’s Security Council campaign will give a taste of the successful campaign and place it within Ireland’s overall engagement with the UN and globally. Brendan Rogers is Deputy Secretary General at the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is from Co. Louth and has at various times studied at Coláiste Rís (Dundalk), Trinity College Dublin, Boston University and Harvard University/IPA. During his diplomatic career he has been based at the Irish Consulate in Boston, Ireland’s UN Mission in New York and has headed up Ireland’s Missions in Zambia, Uganda and Bangkok. He spent some time with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was also posted to the UNDP Mission in Zambia. Brendan was Director General of Ireland’s Development Cooperation Programme, Irish Aid for a number of years, during a time of phenomenal expansion and growth. In August 2018 Brendan returned from Bangkok where he was Ambassador to Thailand and Myanmar to head up Ireland’s campaign for a non-permanent seat at UN Security Council. Ireland was in competition with Norway and Canada in the so-called “Group of Death”. On 17 June Ireland’s campaign was brought to a successful conclusion when Ireland and Norway were elected to the Security Council. Ireland will take up the seat for two years on 1 January 2020.
TITLE - The Medieval Bray Project – Five Years of Exploration 2015–2020
Leader - David McIlreavy

Wed, 11/11/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Mary Hargadan, Secretary of The Medieval Bray Project (MBP) and U3A group member, will introduce our speaker, Dr David McIlreavy, archaeologist and Chair of MBP. Mary will first give an overview of the activities of the MBP. Our speaker, Dr David McIlreavy, building on the work of The Medieval Bray Project, will examine the early Irish tale Togail Bruidne Dá Derga (The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel) – a tale of kingship, treachery and otherworldly retribution. Through careful study of natural features, archaeological remains and placename analysis he will suggest locations in Bray where the action may have played out. This is a scholarly piece of detective work and not to be missed! David McIlreavy is a senior archaeologist with a private sector archaeological consultancy based in Co Wicklow. He has over 15 years experience in both private and public heritage management, with an enduring interest in medieval history and politics. He has recently published on Hugh de Lacy’s 1223 AD campaigns in Ulster (From Carrickfergus to Carcassone, Picard et al., 2018), excavations at Raheenacluig, Bray (Partnership and Participation, Baker, 2019), BBC and has a chapter on the Knights Templar preceptory at Ballyman, Co Dublin (The Crusades in Ireland, forthcoming). This talk, which is being organised by the History and Archaeology Sub-Group and which will be held on WEDNESDAY 11 November, is open to all Group members.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Swift and his world
Leader - Professor Andrew Carpenter

Thu, 05/11/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Jonathan Swift remains the most powerful satirist born in Ireland. The lecture begins with a short discussion of the social, political, literary and religious worlds in which Swift lived, and continues with a consideration of the nature and purpose of satire. The focus then changes to the texts of Swift's two most significant works, A Tale of a Tub (1704) and Gulliver's Travels (1726). Swift's uncompromising view of human behaviour remains as uncomfortable and as relevant for us today as it was in the eighteenth century. Andrew Carpenter is Emeritus Professor of English at University College Dublin and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has published many books and articles on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Irish poetry in English, as well as several on Swift. He is best known for two anthologies, Verse in English from Tudor and Stuart Ireland (2003) and Verse in English from Eighteenth-Century Ireland (1997). He was General Editor of the five-volume Art and Architecture of Ireland, published by Yale University Press and the Royal Irish Academy in 2014. His most recent publications are The Irish Poet and the Natural World: an anthology of Verse in English from the Tudors to the Romantics (co-edited with Lucy Collins, 2014) and an edition of The Poems of Olivia Elder (2017).
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: COVID19: update
Leader - Professor Luke O'Neill

Thu, 29/10/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

We have passed the grim milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID19, a virus that only emerged 9 months ago. What have we learnt in those 9 long months? What are the prospects for a vaccine or a therapy against COVID19? And what will the next twelve months look like? Luke O’Neill grew up in Bray and graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with a degree in Biochemistry before undertaking a degree in Pharmacology at the University of London. He has held the Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin since 2008. In the same year, he was appointed Chair of the Immunity and Infection panel of the European Research Council. An immunologist, his research is in the area of the molecular basis to inflammatory diseases, with a particular interest in pro-inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptors. He has published nearly 400 scientific papers and is in the top 1% of Immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. He has received many awards for his research and a company which he founded, Inflazome, has recently been bought by the pharmaceutical giant Roche for €380 million. He is the author of the best selling book ‘Humanology: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Amazing Existence’ (2018). In 2019, he published ‘The Great Irish Science Book’ for 10-12-year-olds. His latest book‘ Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science: A scientist’s guide to the biggest challenges facing our species today” will be published this month. In this thought-provoking book, he grapples with life’s biggest questions and tells us what science has to say about them. Described in a recent Irish Times article as "The people's professor, he is Ireland’s best known science communicator, appearing regularly on national radio and TV. He has been a voice of calm and reason during the pandemic.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement: History, Successes and Lessons for Future Action
Leader - Louise Fitzgerald

Thu, 15/10/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

In this talk, Louise will give an overview of the fossil fuel divestment movement, one of the most successful global environmental campaigns in recent decades. She will share her own personal experiences of being involved in the movement, as an active member of the Berlin divestment group. That campaign resulted in the Berlin parliament divesting its €750 million pension fund from fossil fuel companies and was one of the first big European divestment successes. Based on these experiences, Louise will reflect on the broader successes of the movement, and what potential lessons we can draw from this in facilitating action on climate, ecological, and justice issues. Louise Michelle Fitzgerald is a researcher and environmental justice campaigner. She has spent the last 7 years involved in various climate & environmental movements, including the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement, and groups highlighting the environmental & justice impacts of fossil fuels, particularly natural gas. Last year she launched Scientists for Future Ireland in support of the student climate strikers. She recently completed a PhD at the School of Politics & International Relations, University College Dublin, focused on how to develop socially just sustainable transitions.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: A book and a Bell: Glendalough on the morning of the 15th May, 1106
Leader - Mary Kelly

Wed, 14/10/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

A single extant folio from a much larger manuscript provides a glimpse of learning, love and loss in the monastery of Glendalough and the bell which tolled to mark that loss, once lost, now is found. Mary Kelly, U3A member, worked for many years as a guide for the OPW at the Glendalough Visitor Centre.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Wicklow’s Traditional Farmhouses: Rediscovering some of Wicklow’s hidden treasures
Leader - Christiaan Corlett

Thu, 08/10/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Until relatively recently, traditional farmhouses were an integral part of the Wicklow landscape. Since the 1960s new forms of buildings have dominated the countryside. However, these old farmhouses disclose a way of rural life that has disappeared but which remains vivid in our collective memory. Christiaan Corlett has extensively explored the Wicklow countryside and in his lecture reveals a form of vernacular architecture which is little understood, often overlooked and fast-disappearing. Christiaan Corlett is an archaeologist with the National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. He lives in Wicklow and has a particular interest in the archaeology, history and folklore of his native county. He has published extensively on on these subjects and has a lively accessible style. His lectures are always well-informed, entertaining and beautifully illustrated.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Biodiversity and the Programme for Government Targets
Leader - Steven Matthews, TD

Fri, 02/10/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Steven Matthews, Green TD for Wicklow, will give a Zoom talk, hosted by the Climate Action Sub-Group, entitled Biodiversity and the Programme for Government Targets on Friday, October 2nd at 10:30 am. He will include some background on what is included in the Programme for Government, the reasons for inclusion, targets in the coming years and related information. He is happy to answer questions from the audience. Steven Matthews is a Former Wicklow County Councillor and Founder and Co-chair of Climate and Biodiversity SPC on Wicklow County Council. He worked for Irish Rail for over 20 years in railway signalling engineering. He was elected in February 2020 as a TD for Wicklow and was recently appointed as Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Steven studied Planning and Environmental Management in DIT.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Observing and Conserving our Native Wildflowers
Leader - Finola Finlay

Thu, 24/09/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

We and our environment rely on our pollinators and they rely on flowers. Taking a habitat approach, Finola will illustrate some of our beautiful native flowers, as well as some of the alien and invasive species that can threaten them. She will cover some simple steps that individuals and communities can take to encourage wildflowers. Finola Finlay grew up in Bray but now lives in West Cork. With her husband, Robert Harris, she writes the popular blog Roaringwater Journal. She maintains the Facebook Page 'Wildflowers of West Cork' and regularly leads wildflower walks.

Link - roaringwaterjournal.com;


TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Building a Just Transition to a Zero-Carbon Economy
Leader - Sinéad Mercier

Wed, 16/09/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

The Climate Action Sub-group of the Bray Heads invites you to a presentation on a just transition to a greener future. What is a 'Just Transition' and where are we heading to? This talk will give an overview of the origins of the principle of just transition in climate action and outline examples of best practice in Germany, Australia and Scotland. Sinéad Mercier is a consultant on climate change law and policy with a special focus on just transition and human rights approaches. She is currently working with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and has previously worked for the National Economic and Social Council, the Green Party of Ireland and Philip Lee law firm. Her new book is 'Men Who Eat Ringforts' written with Michael Holly and Eddie Lenihan and published with Askeaton Public Arts
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk & Performance: An Illustrated Introduction to the Blues
Leader - Musician Frank Gallagher

Thu, 10/09/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Our first Group meeting after our summer break is going to be a very special musical one featuring 'The Blues', in an illustrated talk and performance by Frank Gallagher. The Blues is a music genre which originated in the Deep South of the United States, rooted in African musical traditions. The talk will provide a brief introduction to the various styles and the development of the form over the years. Frank, an experienced practitioner of Blues, will illustrate the forms and will be joined on this pre-recorded presentation, by renowned Blues harmonica player, Don Baker. Frank Gallagher has been playing blues and jazz in Ireland and in Europe since the nineteen seventies. Over the years he has performed regularly with the likes of Don Baker, Red Peters and Johnny Norris, to mention just a few. In the nineteen eighties he formed the Jitterbug Jug Band with Gerry Clarke. Since that time he has mainly performed solo or in small groups with Gerry Clarke. He has also lectured and written about blues and jazz, both in Ireland and abroad. He is a co-founder and the chairman for many years of The Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, Co Wicklow.
TITLE - NO GROUP MEETINGS IN AUGUST. NEXT ONE ON 10 SEPTEMBER
Leader -

Sat, 01/08/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in


TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: The Georgians: from country house to the ‘season’ in Dublin
Leader - Dr Patricia McCarthy

Thu, 30/07/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Every year ‘the quality’ in Georgian Ireland made the journey from their country houses to their Dublin townhouses for the ‘winter season’. Owned or rented, and well before their arrival, the house had to be made ready not just for the family, but for the entertainments that would be staged in it during those months. This talk will look at how these houses, from the rather plain-looking terraces around Dublin’s squares, to the freestanding houses like Leinster House, the Provost’s House at TCD and Ely House, were designed to facilitate entertaining on a grand scale. An architectural historian, Dr Patricia McCarthy has published widely on 18th and early 19th century subjects in a number of books and in publications such as the Irish Arts Review, Country Life and the journal of the Irish Georgian Society. She is the author of ‘A favourite study’: building the King’s Inns (2006), co-author of Farmleigh - a history of the government guesthouse, and has contributed to two volumes of the Royal Irish Academy’s Art and Architecture of Ireland (2014). With an interest in art from an early age, Patricia gained a diploma in the History of European Painting in UCD in the 1980s. In 1995, when her children were in secondary schools, she commenced a BA degree in the History of Art & Architecture in Trinity College. Some years later, she embarked on a PhD in Trinity which was awarded in 2009. Based on that research, her book, Life in the Country House in Georgian Ireland, was published by Yale University Press in 2016. After exhaustive research, her forthcoming book, on the drinking of claret in Georgian Ireland, will be published by Four Courts Press in 2021!
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: The EU, the Pandemic, the Challenges that the Union Faces - and Ireland
Leader - Former Ambassador, Marie Cross

Thu, 16/07/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

In her talk to The Bray Heads U3A Group, Marie Cross will be taking a look at the European Union as it is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, a range of internal and external challenges and at Ireland's role as a Member. A new strong team took over in the EU Council and the Commission in mid-2019. An ambitious Strategic Agenda was published by EU leaders shortly afterwards, undertaking sweeping new advances in all areas of the EU agenda. However, Covid-19 struck in early 2020 and the Commission has been battling to help Member States to overcome the virus. Fraught budget discussions in this context, international trade disruptions, political conflicts fracturing erstwhile allies and the threat of a no-deal Brexit are all now weighing heavily on the EU and its members. The talk will focus on how these challenges are being handled and Ireland's interests in this regard. Marie, who is from Clonmel Co. Tipperary, studied science at UCD and Trinity College, entered the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1970 and served in Irish embassies in the US, Belgium and Germany, before being appointed as Ireland's first Ambassador to the Czech Republic in 1995 and at the same time to Ukraine. She subsequently served in the important role of Ambassador to the European Union's Political and Security Committee in Brussels. Marie retired from a Director General post in the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2011 and, among many of her activities in retirement, she is a member of the Board of the Institute for International and European Affairs and Chair of the Institute's Future of Europe Group.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Margaret Thatcher and Ireland
Leader - Former Ambassador Frank Sheridan

Thu, 02/07/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

Frank's talk will focus on the story of the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. It will seek to show how a Prime Minister, who characterised Northern Ireland as being 'as British as Finchley', was persuaded to accept that another country had a right of engagement on its issues. It will outline the personalities involved in that process, how they engaged with each other, the role and impact of outside forces in convincing the British to move on previously entrenched positions and how likely opposition to the Agreement was managed. The presentation will seek to show what the Agreement achieved and what remained unfinished. In the course of his long and distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Frank was involved in Anglo-Irish affairs in various roles for over 15 years at home and abroad - including two years in the private office of Foreign Minister, Garret FitzGerald; three years as Private Secretary to Foreign Minister, Peter Barry, during the negotiations of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985; a year on the secretariat of the New Ireland Forum 1983-84; five years in the Embassy in Washington and 4 years as Consul General in Chicago. Later Frank's work with the Department focused on development co-operation and the Irish Aid programme, both inDublin and abroad, including as Ambassador to Zambia (1987-91), Mozambique (2005-10) and, prior to his retirement in 2014, Brazil. Post-retirement, Frank completed a Master’s degree in contemporary Irish history in TCD and worked as a researcher for documentary-maker, Maurice Fitzpatrick, on his film on the Nobel Peace Laureate, John Hume, regarding his work building an Irish lobby in the US to help promote peace in Northern Ireland. Then spent six months providing research material to the former Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, the late Seamus Mallon, to provide background material for his biographical memoir, ‘A Shared Home Place’; currently acting as researcher for a proposed television documentary or series by Maurice Fitzpatrick on the Irish Civil War.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: The Leslie Family in Love and War
Leader - Mark Leslie of the Castle Leslie family, Co. Monaghan, Architect and ''Exhibitionist'

Thu, 18/06/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

The Leslie family and its extended family circle - which includes the Churchills amongst others - will be the subject of our Group's virtual talk on 18 June. Given the extraordinary cast of highly colourful characters which this family has produced, and the speaker who will be delivering this talk, it is guaranteed in every respect to be informative, entertaining and exuberant. Not to be missed! The speaker is Mark Leslie, a member of that colourful family and very much in the tradition of larger than life characters himself. He is a nephew of the late Sir John (Jack) Leslie of Castle Leslie, grandson of the writer Shane Leslie, and a cousin of Winston Churchill, through his American-born grandmother, Leonie Leslie, née Jerome, who was the sister of Churchill's American mother, Jennie. Mark's presentation will include a large number of photographs and other material from the family albums and other sources. Mark qualified as an architect at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1977, founded Martello Media - an interpretive design company as the digital presentation arm of his architectural practice in 1986. He and the company have been involved in the creation of a number of highly-acclaimed and award-winning multimedia exhibitions in Ireland and internationally. These include: 'The Life and Works of WB Yeats' at the National Library; the GPO Witness History Visitor Centre commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising; the Glasnevin Museum; the Ireland Pavilion at Expo 2010, Shanghai; and the exhibition 'Churchill - the Power of Words', held at Morgan Library & Museum in New York in 2012, which was the recipient of an IDI Award.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Kipling's Kim and "The Great Game"
Leader - Professor Peter Lynch

Thu, 11/06/2020 from 10:30 - 12:00 in Zoom Online

The novel "Kim" is Rudyard Kipling's greatest and best-loved novel. It tells the story of a young boy of Irish parentage, growing up on the streets of Lahore. Kim is clever and street-wise and comes to the attention of the British intelligence service. He is recruited to a role in "The Great Game". The action takes place against the backdrop of expansion of the Russian Empire, and British fears that an invasion might be in planning. The story of fifteen chapters is full of adventure and tales of derring-do. The talk will cover the background to the book, the major geographical locations and the key events in the story. Kipling was/is not universally loved, and the reasons for his controversial reputation will be considered. Peter Lynch is an Irish meteorologist and mathematician. His interests include numerical weather prediction, dynamic meteorology and the popularisation of mathematics. He studied mathematical science at UCD (BSc in 1968; MSc in 1969). In 1982 he was awarded a PhD by Trinity College Dublin for his thesis on dynamical instabilities in the Atmosphere. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Peter worked in Met Eireann from 1971 until 2004, where he was Head of the Research Division and later Deputy Director. In 2004, he moved to UCD as Professor of Meteorology in the School of Mathematical Sciences. He supervised several doctoral theses and numerous Masters students. He is now an Emeritus Professor at the School of Mathematical Sciences. Peter is the author of several books, including a monograph on the emergence of computer weather forecasting, a collection of mathematical essays and an account of a 13-year walk around Ireland. Since retiring from UCD in 2011, Peter has been writing a regular mathematical column in The Irish Times (on the first and third Thursdays of each month). He also posts weekly on his mathematical blog, ThatsMaths.com.
TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: "Who do we think we are?": Ancient DNA and Irish Origins
Leader - Dr Dan Bradley, Trinity College Dublin

Thu, 28/05/2020 from 10:30 - 12:00 in Zoom Online

The genome is the sum of all our genetic code and is the blueprint for our biology. It can also inform on our origins and family relationships. Due to new methods it is now possible to sequence the genome of people who lived thousands of years ago, such as those who were buried in our famous ancient megalithic monuments. This allows us to ask, who were these people, how did they come to our island and what is their relationship to us today? Did they have the same genetic characteristics as us, including those which code for diseases common in Ireland? How did they relate to other peoples in neighbouring parts of Europe? Dan Bradley spent his early years on a Co. Derry farm. After a degree in genetics from Cambridge University and PhD in medical genetics from Trinity College Dublin he subsequently started to work on the genetics of each species present on that farm, including Irish humans, and has done for over 30 years. With his colleagues he has combined analysis of ancient and modern humans and livestock to inform on their origins. He pioneered the molecular genetic analysis of Irish populations, particularly co-analysis with surnames. Recent research interests include: human genetic variation and history including ancient DNA. He holds a Personal Chair in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and is the holder of an Wellcome/SFI/HRB investigator award "Ancient genomics and the Atlantic burden” and an Advanced ERC award, “AncestralWeave”.

Link - Link to Article in 'Nature' Journal about new findings at Newgrange and other Irish archaeological sites - with PDF attachment of the research: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01655-4;


TITLE - Zoom Online Talk: Communism, Sex and all that Jazz - Popular Anxieties in 1930s Ireland
Leader - Professor Fearghal McGarry, Professor of Modern Irish History at Queen's University, Belfast.

Thu, 14/05/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Zoom Online

In August 1933, Jimmy Gralton became the first, and last, Irishman to be deported from Ireland. Condemned by local priests as a communist whose Leitrim dancehall had become a den of prostitution, Gralton's fate illustrates the deep anxieties provoked in 1930s Ireland by communism, jazz and sexual immorality. Why did these emblems of inter-war modernity cause so much alarm in a remote corner of Ireland's most rural county? Gralton's story illustrates the success of conservative and religious organisations in stifling modern impulses in independent Ireland. This talk asks what such moral panics, and how we remember them, tell us about the Ireland of then and now. Professor McGarry has written widely on twentieth century Irish history. He is the author of The Abbey Rebels of 1916: A Lost Revolution (2015), and, with Richard Grayson, editor of Remembering 1916: the Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland (2016) He is currently leading a major AHRC-funded project, A Global History of Irish Revolution, 1916-1923, which explores how the Irish republican struggle for independence was shaped by, and impacted on, wider international currents. He is currently working on a cultural study of anxieties about modernity in inter-war Ireland.
TITLE - Zoom Online Event: Everyone Has a Story To Tell: A Guide to Creative Writing
Leader - Writer Liz McManus

Thu, 30/04/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

Writer and Bray Heads U3A group member, Liz McManus believes that Creative Writing is a skill that can be acquired through learning and practice. In her talk on 12 March, she will be speaking about her own experience as a writer but mainly about the craft of writing, the lessons she has learned on the way and the benefits, in particular, of memoir writing. Joining her on a panel for an informal discussion will be two other members of our group - Richard Webb and Michael Gordon, who will be sharing their own experiences as writers. Liz McManus, who is well known for her long career in politics as a local Councillor, TD and Minister, was born in Canada in 1947. She worked as an architect in Derry, Galway, Dublin and Wicklow, before turning to writing, initially as a newspaper columnist from 1985 to 1993. Her first novel 'Acts of Subversion' was shortlisted for the Aer Lingus/Irish Times award for New Writing. Her second novel 'A Shadow in the Yard' was published in 2015 and she is currently working on a third novel. Liz has also received a Hennessy New Irish Writing award, Listowel Short Story award and Irish PEN award for her short stories. On top of all of this, she was awarded a MPhil in Creative Writing (with distinction) in 2012. We are delighted that Liz has so kindly agreed to draw on her considerable literary skills and success in her talk to our members and to Richard and Michael for joining her in a discussion panel. We hope it will inspire other members to pull out their pens or to get going on their computers to write a story of your own.
TITLE - Really Tackling Climate Change
Leader - Professor John Fitzgerald, TCD, and Chairperson of the Climate Action Advisory Council

Thu, 05/03/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

John Fitzgerald is an adjunct professor in Economics at Trinity College Dublin and in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCD. He is a former research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute. He is currently a member of the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland and Chairman of the Climate Change Advisory Council. Between 2003 and 2007 he was a member of the board of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation. John's talk will focus on: - the challenge which Ireland faces in terms of climate change and what it means for policy-makers. - the progress made with the government's Climate Action Plan issued last year and where we go next - the need for policy and actions to be seen to be fair - ensuring that those on low incomes or those especially affected by policy measures are looked after appropriately - getting the price of carbon right as an essential first step, along with a wide range of other related policy measures which will also be needed - the problems and possible policy measures across other areas, including - Buildings, Transport and Agriculture; and - it will conclude by considering some of the broader challenges we face in adapting to climate change.
TITLE - Universal Design: A transformative agent for a better future
Leader - Dr Gerald Craddock, Chief Officer at the Centre For Excellence in Universal Design

Thu, 20/02/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Universal Design has its origins in the USA coming from frustrations in the design and human build world where access to buildings for people with disabilities and older people was an afterthought. Through legislation, regulation and activism a significant movement has grown globally on requiring and insisting that not only buildings but urban spaces, products and services including technologies embrace the principles of Universal Design that enables all citizens from any age, size, ability or disability to fully participate in their homes and wider communities. That in short is that good design enables, bad design disables. The talk will cover where Universal Design is now from an Irish perspective with examples of good and bad designs covering buildings (public and home designs), products and technologies. The images to the right represent examples of the best in universal design and both were winners of RIAI awards. One shows the UCD Student Centre and the other is the Children's canteen in Barretstown.
TITLE -
Leader - Visit to the Seamus Heaney Exhibition 'Listen Now Again' & Workshop

Thu, 13/02/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

Visit date & Time: Thursday, 13th Febrary, 11.00 sharp Venue: Old Bank of Ireland, College Green, entrance under portico on Westmorland St. Meet at Bank. No Charge. Because our group is now 33 people we will be split into 2 groups as follows: 11.00 Group 1 (16) Close Reading Workshop Group 2 (17) Guided Tour 11.45 Group 1 (16) Guided Tour Group 2 (17) Close Reading Workshop Optional Meeting-up at Bray Bray Station for DART departure at 9.45
TITLE - Elderhood ... Finding a Place in Time
Leader - Brian Keenan

Thu, 06/02/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Intrigued - and possibly a little mystified - by the title of this talk? Brian describes it as follows: "What is known as 'the coming of wisdom with age' provides us with the 'sentinel signposts' into a meaningful and creative future. It is not history we need to understand - it is our Humanity! Age is not a redundancy - it is a vantage point". Still intrigued and maybe even a bit more mystified? Well come along on 6 February to hear Brian's reflections on the gifts of ageing, which we expect to be truly inspirational for us all. This is a talk that you will not want to miss. Brian Keenan, who grew up in Belfast, is a lecturer, broadcaster and author of one novel and four highly acclaimed autobiographical works. The first of these - 'An Evil Cradling', published in 1991 - is a magnificent account of his kidnapping in Lebanon in 1986, his horrific four and a half years as a hostage, and the remarkable friendship which emerged with fellow-captive, John McCarthy, which won four national and international awards. He is currently writing a collection of short stories, all based in Lebanon where he has returned several times since his release.
TITLE - The Brontës: Genius, Talent ... or Failure?
Leader - Anne Johnston & Valerie Hand

Thu, 23/01/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Anne Johnston describes the talk which she will be delivering on the Brontës as her personal take on this 'family of genius, talent, sadness and failure', about whom so much has already been written, reminding us that this is 'a story that begins - and ends - in Ireland'. There are few literary families with more than one successful writer but the Brontës produced three of the most acclaimed writers in the English language and some of the world's finest and favourite classic novels - especially Emily's remarkable 'Wuthering Heights', Charlotte's 'Jane Eyre' and Anne's 'Agnes Grey', writing during their short lives in their father's draughty parsonage on the windswept Yorkshire moors, alongside their black sheep of a brother. It is a fascinating story and, no matter how much we already know about the Brontës and their works, Anne's perspective on it, along with Valerie's readings, can be guaranteed to be both enlightening and enjoyable. Anne (Annie) Johnston was born in Surrey, England and after ‘the full World War 2 experience’ during her childhood, she joined BBC Television, where she met her Irish husband on a Fanny Cradock cookery programme. She moved to Dalkey 1973, where she helped to found the Dalkey School Project National School which led to the Educate Together movement and, long after her own children were educated, she studied for a Humanities degree, which she received, with Honours, in 2004. Amongst a wide range of other activities, Annie has served as Company Secretary of The Abbeyfield Foundation Dublin promoting community welfare; she has recorded books for the blind for the NCBI Tape Library in Cork; she has been the Chair of the Dalkey Library Book Club since 2004; and she was the Co-Founder of the Dún Laoghaire/Dalkey/Killiney (DLDK ) U3A group in 2016, serving first as Secretary, then Vice Chair and Planning Director. Annie’s friend Valerie Hand – who will be reading Brontë poems as part of Annie’s talk - joined the Bank of Ireland after leaving school but had to resign when she married. She had met her husband playing Bridge, an activity which has been an important part of her life, including playing Bridge for Ireland and serving currently as a Trustee of Dun Laoghaire Bridge Club, and also as a Tournament Director. Additionally in her busy life, Valerie is a volunteer at Play Group, Meals on Wheels, the Inter Faith Migrant Group and at her church in Dalkey and also finds time to play golf; sing in a choir and train singers; and play the piano.
TITLE - Pencils to the Back - the Many Lives of a Foreign Correspondent
Leader - Journalist Conor O'Clery

Thu, 09/01/2020 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Conor O'Clery was Foreign Correspondent for The Irish Times for 25 years, serving in London, Moscow, Washington, Beijing and New York. He has published a number of books, including a memoir, 'May you live in Interesting Times', and most recently, 'The Shoemaker and His Daughter', an account of the life of his Russian wife, Zhanna, and her family in the Soviet Union and in modern Russia more generally. In his talk to The Bray Heads U3A Group, Conor will be looking back on his fascinating life and career and recounting stories from those times - and no doubt he will be telling us about those mysterious 'pencils to the back', which intriguingly feature in the title of his talk! Photos - Clockwise: 1. Conor with fellow-journalist, Quentin Peel of the Financial Times on China's Great Wall, 1987 2. With Margaret Thatcher in Zagorsk, Russia, in 1997 3. With President Bill Clinton in 1997 4.Conor and his Russian wife Zhanna in their garden in Stepaside - she and her family are the subject of Conor's latest book: The Shoemaker and his Daughter
TITLE - The Bray Heads U3A Group Second Christmas Celebration
Leader - Group Members

Thu, 12/12/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club


TITLE - A Century of Irish International Diplomacy 1919-2019
Leader - Dr Michael Kennedy, Royal Irish Academy

Thu, 28/11/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

One hundred years ago in 1919 Ireland took its first steps on the world stage seeking admission to the post-World War One Paris Peace Conference as an independent state. This lecture, which takes the form of a photographic essay using many previously unseen or rarely seen photographs, chronicles Ireland’s place amongst the nations from 1919 to 2019. It looks at the 1919 to 1922 Dáil Éireann foreign service and attempts for recognition of Ireland as an independent state, the 1921 Treaty, membership of the League of Nations, Anglo-Irish relations, Second World War neutrality, the place of the UN in Irish foreign policy and the impact European integration has had on Irish foreign policy. Dr Michael Kennedy is the Executive Editor of the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series. In addition to overseeing the editing of 11 volumes on the DIFP series he has published widely on twentieth century Irish foreign policy and military history. Dr Kennedy’s latest publication is a forthcoming centenary history of Irish foreign policy co-written with Dr Kate O’Malley and Dr John Gibney. Photos: 1. Dr Michael Kennedy, Executive Editor of the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series 2. Minister Plenipotentiary of Ireland Josephine McNeill presents her credentials in Berne in 1955 (NAI). 3. Ireland’s 1956 delegation to the United Nations (l-r) Sheila Murphy, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Paul Keating, Frederick H Boland, Eamonn Kennedy, Liam Cosgrave (UN). 4. Taoiseach Jack Lynch, Minister for Foreign Affairs Patrick Hillery and Ireland’s EEC entry negotiating team, Brussels, 1973 (EC Commission Archives).
TITLE - Sustainable Energy Technology for our Country & our Homes: Some Practical Advice
Leader -

Thu, 21/11/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

It is now very clear that climate change requires us all to reduce our energy consumption at global, national, local and individual level. A speaker from EirGrid will present an overview of the relevant policies with a particular emphasis on Ireland's Climate Change strategy. Other speakers will explain what each of us can do individually to reduce our carbon footprints and energy consumption of our homes together with information on the grants available from Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEAI). Actions include attic insulation, external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, use of heat pumps and solar panels. Members of The Bray Heads will explain what they have done in these areas and the results. Indicative costs will be given.
TITLE - The Art of Falconry and Why we Should all Love Birds of Prey
Leader - Dr Maurice Nicholson

Thu, 14/11/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Maurice Nicholson will present the history of falconry down throught the ages and explain how man can interact with one of nature's wildest creatures. His work in the Middle East brought him into contact with falcons and the sport of falconry which have become his abiding passions. Maurice Nicholson was born on Ireland's South coast. Educated at Clongowes Wood College and University College Dublin, he has worked for most of his life as a veterinarian in Ireland, the United Kingdom and in Arabia. His work in the Middle East also introduced him to the arid and mountainous regions of the Arabian Peninsula and further fueled his love for wild places, wherever in the world they may be. He published his first novel "Call down the Hawk" in 2011 and has since adapted it as a screenplay.
TITLE - The EU/ US Relationship: Still Close but Increasingly Complicated
Leader - Anne Anderson, former Irish Ambassador to France, the EU, the UN (Geneva and New York) and, most recently, the USA

Thu, 31/10/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

We are sure that Bray Heads U3A members will be greatly enjoy the opportunity to meet Anne Anderson - former Irish Ambassador and one of Ireland's most impressive and successful diplomats of recent times - and to hear her perspective on EU/US relations, informed by her extensive diplomatic experience both in Brussels and in Washington. She will discuss recent developments in Europe and in the US and how these contribute to a changing dynamic in the relationship. She will also reflect on the question of where the relationship goes from here. Anne Anderson served in the Irish diplomatic service from 1972 to 2017. Her forty five year career included five Ambassadorial postings: Permanent Representative to the United Nations Geneva (1996 to 2001), Permanent Representative to the European Union (2001 to 2005), Ambassador to France (2005 to 2009), Permanent Representative to the United Nations New York (2009 to 2013) and Ambassador to the United States (2013 to 2017). Her career achievements have been recognised with multiple awards and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the National University of Ireland and Fordham University, New York. Since retirement from the foreign service, Anne has continued her involvement with the United Nations , serves on Boards both at Georgetown University and New York University (NYU), and is also a Board Member of Druid Theatre, Galway. She is a Non Executive Director of the Smurfit Kappa Group.
TITLE - Keeping Safe at Home and Beyond
Leader - Bray Community Garda, Suzanne Byrne & Greystones Fire Brigade Station Officer, Ciaran Hayden

Thu, 24/10/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Garda Suzanne Byrne of the Bray Community Gardai and Ciaran Hayden, Greystones Fire Brigade Station Officer representing the ambulance and fire brigade services, have kindly agreed to come along and provide advice to Group members about keeping safe and sound in our homes and our lives more generally and to tell us about the services and support which are available to us if we ever need them. Their very useful talk will cover issues such as: - First Aid and Health - Emergency Services - Crime Prevention - Securing your Home while on Holiday - Neighbourhood Watch - Marking Valuable Property - Safe Online Shopping - Personal Safety - Bogus Tradesmen Callers; and - Elder Abuse There will also be an opportunity for members to raise other issues of concern or interest with Suzanne and Ciaran at the end of the talk. We would encourage as many members as possible to avail of this opportunity to receive invaluable advice from the professionals about protecting our homes, our property and ourselves and information about what to do in an emergency or dangerous situation.
TITLE - William Trevor - The Writer and his Work
Leader - Dr Dolores MacKenna, author of a critical biography of William Trevor

Thu, 17/10/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

William Trevor is one of our most respected and beloved writers – a master in particular of the short story, including a gem such as ‘The Ballroom of Romance’. We are delighted that Dr Dolores MacKenna – who knew William Trevor for over 30 years and who convinced this famously limelight-averse author to co-operate with her on her book – has agreed to talk toThe Bray Heads U3A Group about the man, his writings and his less well-known, but prize- winning works of sculpture. Beginning with a brief look at one of Trevor’s last stories entitled 'The Piano Teacher’s Pupil' - a short but perfect example of his art, she will then move to the writer’s family background – not Anglo-Irish ascendency as often presumed, but middle-class Protestant, illustrating this with rare photographs . This will be followed by a brief evaluation of the literary influences and creative evolution of his work - with particular reference to some of his best known writing. Dolores MacKenna was born in Castledermot, Co Kildare. She studied at University College Dublin, obtaining a Masters degree in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama and was awarded a Ph.D. for her study of the author William Trevor. Subsequently a critical biography entitled “William Trevor – the Writer and his Work” was published by New Island Books. In 2001 she scripted and narrated a T.V. programme in the series Undercover Portraits, which was broadcast on RTE 1 TV. In 2007 she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the American Committee of Irish Studies in Washington State. Dolores MacKenna’s career was spent in education. In 2007 she retired as Principal of Loreto Abbey Dalkey, but continued to work for some years at third level. She has written and broadcast on a variety of literary and educational topics. She lives in Greystones.
TITLE - Courage to Move
Leader - Sister Orla Treacy, IBVM

Thu, 03/10/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

We are privileged to have as our speaker on 3 October, Loreto Sister Orla Treacy - whom we can claim to be at least partially a Bray girl - and who will tell us the remarkable and inspirational story of the life journey which brought her to South Sudan 13 years ago to educate girls in particular and support their nomadic community in one of the poorest and toughest regions of the world, ravaged by conflict and the effects of climate change. Her extrordinary achievements have won her international recognition, including the Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award in 2017 and this year her designation by the US State Department as an International Woman of Courage, an award which was presented to her by US First Lady Melania Trump in Washington DC in March. A traveller from a very early age, Orla has lived and worked in all four provinces of Ireland. Her secondary education was in Loreto Bray where she got to know the Loreto Sisters. During her school holidays she worked in Bray at the Westburn and Royal Hotels, Dunnes Stores and as a life-guard on Bray beach. She studied in Mater Dei, received a Bachelor in Religious Education there and became a teacher of religion and music. Her first job was teaching with the Presentation Brothers in Cork before joining the Loreto Sisters. When the Sisters decided to set up a new mission in South Sudan in 2006 as part of a global Loreto movement to revive the missionary spirit of one of their foundresses, Teresa Ball, Orla volunteered to go. She is currently head administrator of the mission, where the sisters have a boarding secondary school for girls, a large co-educational primary school and a mother and child clinic to support local families. Talking of the community which she serves in an interview with The Irish Times last year she said 'I work with people who live very much on the margins: life and death, hunger and despair. Every day they live on the edge. And yet in that you can still glimpse love and hope every day'. Photos show Sr Orla with girls from the Loreto girl's secondary school in Rumbek, South Sudan; child feeding and health programmes at the clinic created and administered by her; and Orla being presented with her US Department of State's International Women of Courage award by US First Lady, Melania Trump, in March 2019.
TITLE - Guided Tour of the Joyce Tower Sandycove
Leader - Dr Seamus Cannon

Thu, 26/09/2019 from 11:00 - 12:00 in

The tour is restricted to 25 members, we can arrange a second visit if necessary. To book a place, please sign up next Thursday, 19/09/19, at the AGM. Suggest meeting at the Tower itself at the latest 10:45. The most convenient Dart station is Glasthule, so allow yourselves time to enjoy the walk to the tower. Admission to the tower is free. It is manned entirely by volunteers, but needless to say, there are overheads so a voluntary contribution would be greatly appreciated! There is a contribution box close to the reception desk. Optional extra activity? Swim in the 40 foot?
TITLE - First Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The Bray Heads U3A Group & Membership Registration for the Year Ahead
Leader - Members of Bray Heads U3A Group

Thu, 19/09/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

Details to be confirmed
TITLE - The Search for Josephine Heffernan - and the Bray Connection
Leader - Brian White, Bray Historian & Bray Heads U3A Member

Thu, 05/09/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - GROUP SUMMER BREAK JULY & AUGUST, RETURNING 5 SEPTEMBER
Leader -

Mon, 01/07/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in


TITLE - Brian Maguire - A Contrary Viewpoint
Leader - Artist Brian Maguire

Thu, 27/06/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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)
TITLE - Visit to Alfred Cochrane's Woodland Garden at Corke Lodge
Leader -

Thu, 20/06/2019 from 10:30 - 11:30 in

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.
TITLE - The extraordinary world of plants
Leader - Dr Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens

Thu, 13/06/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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!
TITLE - A 400 million year history of climate change revealed from fossil plants
Leader - Prof. Jennifer McElwain, currently the 1711 Chair of Botany at School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin and Head of Botany within the School

Thu, 30/05/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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!
TITLE - Tour of Glendalough's Historic Monastic Site: Starting at the Visitor Centre there at 10 a.m.
Leader - Group Member, Mary Kelly

Thu, 23/05/2019 from 10:00 - 12:30 in Glendalough Visitor Centre

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!
TITLE - The Cochranes of Woodbrook House and Beirut
Leader - Alfred Cochrane

Thu, 16/05/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Visit to 1 Martello Terrace - Childhood Home of James Joyce, 1887-1891
Leader - Liz McManus

Thu, 09/05/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

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
TITLE - Beyond Harry Clarke: The Story of Stained Glass in Ireland
Leader - Finola Finlay

Thu, 02/05/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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

Link - www.roaringwaterjournal.com;


TITLE - Climate Change - Background, Consequences and What We Can Do
Leader - A Bray Heads U3A Group Discussion led by members Richard Webb, Jane Grimson & Siobhán Quigley

Thu, 25/04/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - What Happened to the Palestinians in 1948: Myth and Reality
Leader - Dr Conor McCarthy

Thu, 18/04/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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

Thu, 11/04/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

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.

Link - https://www.dublintown.ie/bank-of-ireland-cultural-space-opens-with-seamus-heaney-exhibition/;


TITLE - The Confidence Trick/Bridges to the Future
Leader - Professor Ian Robertson

Thu, 04/04/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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'.
TITLE - The Origin of Our World: Where Do We Fit In?
Leader - Christopher Stillman, Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Geology, Trinity College, Dublin, Volcanologist and Environmental Scientist

Thu, 21/03/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - An Inevitable Failure? Russia's experiment with Democracy and the Rise of Vladimir Putin
Leader - Judith Devlin, Professor Emeritus of Russian History, University College Dublin

Thu, 07/03/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Antarctica, Alaska and the Arctic: the amazing worlds of higher latitudes
Leader - Bray Heads U3A Members Jane & Bill Grimson

Thu, 21/02/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

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.
TITLE - Brigid's 'I Love Drawing' Class
Leader - Brigid O'Brien

Thu, 14/02/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in

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.
TITLE - J.S.Bach and His Music
Leader - Tim Thurston, writer, broadcaster and lecturer, best known for his wonderful Lyric FM programme "Gloria"

Thu, 07/02/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - The Holocaust - a Second-Generation Perspective
Leader - Oliver Sears

Thu, 24/01/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - The GAA in Irish Society - Past to Present
Leader - Mark Duncan

Thu, 10/01/2019 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.

Link - www.rte.ie/centuryireland;


TITLE - The Bray Heads U3A First Christmas Celebration
Leader - TBD

Thu, 13/12/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - The Good Friday Agreement 20 Years On
Leader - David Donoghue

Thu, 29/11/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Tracing Our Ancestors: An Overview of Online Geneaology Records for Ireland
Leader - Tony O'Hara

Thu, 15/11/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - The EU, Brexit and Beyond
Leader - Catherine Day

Thu, 01/11/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Windows on Interesting Times: A Half-Century in the Turbulent Middle East - Discussion & Book-Signing
Leader - Michael Jansen, Middle East Analyst & Correspondent for The Irish Times; author of 'Windows on Interesting Times'

Thu, 25/10/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.

Link - https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/we-understand-each-other-an-irishwoman-s-diary-on-ireland-and-the-middle-east-1.3670701#.W80_2wnBKdA.mailto;


TITLE - Who in their Right Mind would want to Read Joyce's Ulysses?
Leader - 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.

Thu, 18/10/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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 )

Link - https://www.blackrockec.ie/cpd-courses/search-result.html?search=ulysses&layout=table;


TITLE - Women and Politics in Ireland Since 1918
Leader - Prof Yvonne Galligan

Thu, 04/10/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Plants, Potions and Snails - The Central Role of Nature's Pharmacy in Modern Medicine
Leader - Dr Helen Sheridan, Associate Professor Pharmacy, TCD

Thu, 20/09/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Inaugural Meeting of The Bray Heads U3A Group & Talk on 400 Years of Kilruddery as the Home of the Brabazons
Leader - Fionnuala Ardee of Killruddery House

Thu, 06/09/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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.
TITLE - Open Preview of The Bray Heads U3A Group
Leader -

Thu, 21/06/2018 from 10:30 - 12:30 in Bray Golf Club

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..

Print Date: 30 Jul 2021