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Fénechas III - Third Annual Brehon Law Symposium

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Fri.-Sun. 24-26 January 2003:

Third Annual Brehon Law Symposium:  "Law on the Frontier"

Venue:  Trinity College Dublin

Organised by:  Brehon Law Project

Further information:
Vincent Salafia, Brehon Law Project

Tel. +353-87- 996 3098

E-mail:  fenechas3@yahoo.com 

Websites:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fenechas/  ;    http://ua_tuathal.tripod.com/testdefault.html  

Microsoft Word version of brochure

Fénechas III


“Law on the Frontier”



January 24th – 26th 2003

Fénechas III

…we both know that the conflict isn’t between caricatured national types but between two deeply opposed civilizations, isn’t it? We’re really talking
about a life-and-death conflict aren’t we? Only one will survive.

-Hugh O’Neill to his wife Mabel, in Making History by Brian Friel

Fénechas III, the third annual Brehon Law Symposium will be held in in Dublin at Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy, January 24th – 26th, 2003. The theme will be ‘Law on the Frontier’. This is partly inspired by the recent discoveries made during recent excavations at Carrickmines Castle, in South Dublin, which bordered the frontier between the palatine jurisdiction of Dublin (the Pale) and the native Leinster septs of the Wicklow hills.

Brehon Law (early Irish law) is the indigenous Irish legal system, which began in the pre-Christian oral tradition, and blossomed into a manuscript tradition in the sixth century. From the arrival of the Norman’s in 1169, until the ‘Flight of the Earls’ in 1607, when England had military control of only parts of Ireland, Brehon Law and the English Common Law existed side by side. Just as Carrickmines Castle shows evidence of interaction, despite obvious conflict, between the two cultures, history now shows that there was a degree of interaction between these two systems. In the end, legal conquest followed military conquest, and Brehon Law was completely abolished, surviving now only in roughly one hundred vellum manuscripts.
Today, barely half have even been translated.

Fénechas III is a week-end-long event, beginning at the Royal Irish Academy on Friday January 24th, lasting until Sunday January 26th, 2003. Leading figures from Ireland’s leading profession, such as The Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman, Supreme Court of Ireland, join with an array of historians, archaeologists and linguists, such as Donnchadh Ó Corráin, University College Cork. The Brehon Law Symposia are organised by Fénechas, the Brehon Law Project, an academic legal history association. This year’s event is sponsored, in part, by Law and Medieval History departments at Trinity College.

Participants will be given a tour of the libraries housing surviving manuscripts at Trinity College Dublin and The Royal Irish Academy. In addition, there will be an inter-faith service and a tour of the Wicklow Hills, stopping at Carrickmines Castle on the way.


- Hon. Justice Adrian Hardiman, Supreme Court of Ireland
- Dr. Emmet O'Byrne, Dictionary of Irish Biography
- Dr. Howard Clarke, University College Dublin
- Prof. Donnchadh Ó Corráin, University College Cork
- Dr. Sean Patrick Donlan, University of Limerick
- Dr. David Edwards, University College Cork
- Mr. Raimund Karl, University of Wales
- Dr. Katharine Simms, Trinity College Dublin
- Mr. Kenneth Nicholls, University College Cork
- Dr. Mary Maxwell, Unaffiliated
- Mr. Damien Shiels, National Museum of Ireland


FRIDAY 24th Jan: Royal Irish Academy

1.00 – 5.00 Lectures
5.00 – 6.00 Manuscript tour
6.00 - 7.00 Official Reception
7.00 – 9.00 Lectures
9.00 Music session

SATURDAY 25th Jan: Trinity College

10.00 – 1.00 Lectures
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch
2.00 – 4.00 Lectures
4.00 – 5.00 Manuscript tour
7.00 – 9.00 PLAY: Making History by Brian Friel.
9.30 Conference Dinner –

SUNDAY 26th Jan:

10.00 Interfaith service (location to be announced)
11.30 Bus tour to Wicklow Mountains


FULL: 40 Euros
Friday only 25 Euros
Saturday only 25 Euros
Sunday Free

TICKETS INCLUDE: Admission, symposium booklet, handouts, bus tour, tea/coffee, reception. Tickets do NOT include lunch, dinner, or entrance to play.


Fénechas – the Brehon Law Project, is greatly in need of sponsorship. In
return for contributions we are offering:

- Space in the symposium booklet
- Honourable mention/opportunity to speak at events
- Inclusion in press statements/releases
- Recognition on web site, and electronic journal, Brehon Law Review
- Acknowledgement in book of published proceedings
- Free admission to all events

Please contact:

Vincent Salafia
Fénechas – The Brehon Law Project
Tel. +353-87- 996 3098

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