The absence of educators and students from some of the recent conferences held in Tralee, including the international Roger Castment conference, gives food for thought, and indeed raises concerns for the fate of history in the current curriculum, and not just history but philosophy and the other humanity subjects as well, indeed the fate of radical thought and dissent in our county.
Now that property prices are low again, I wonder if the time has come for groups like historical societies, language enthusiasts, philosophers and others to come together to found a learned institute, which they could call the Castment building, or the St Brendan Institute, and purchase an appropriate property in the county capital in which to house it.
I think also that the need exists to give a greater credibility to heritage values than tourism can provide, including some of the more locally based tourism initiatives of the last year or two.
The culture of celebrity in which the current youth grow to adulthood has no regard for the past and indeed threatens the very notion of community; and if we are seriously committed to values like mental health, then I believe we need to set up alternative communities, including centres of excellence like a learned institute. And I think there is an additional worry when celberity attaches to individuals we know locally.
I believe it will give cause for worry if educators take the view that events like the international Casement conference, one with local and international speakers, has nothing to offer to them. To about forty years ago a classical foundation to the curriculum still existed. But that is gone now.