“What Ireland Needs To Nurture Its Soul” With Mark Hederman in Smock Alley


Running from 7:30pm to 9pm on Weds Nov 22nd in Smock Alley. If you are a student please contact the office for a €15 discount.

The Sanctuary is hosting an evening of dialogue about how we are, individually and collectively, to nurture a relationship with that most important and indigenous part of us, our soul, as we move into the 21st century. We are fortunate to have one of Ireland’s most eminent thinkers, Mark Patrick Hederman, to give his perspective on key factors that have shaped us since the founding of our Free State and what we now need to sustain our inner lives and find meaning as we move forward. Emma Farrell and Justin McAleese will respond to Mark Patrick’s paper from the perspective of the challenges facing young adults in modern Ireland, for whom traditional religious practice has little, if any, relevance. The evening will then be opened up for dialogue with the audience, facilitated by Tony Bates.

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Come along for a night of shared wisdom and reflection.

Mark Patrick Hederman OSB:

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, we swapped British Rule for three alternative colonisations: a particular brand of ‘nationalism;’ a home-grown blend of ‘Catholicism;’ and the prevailing Western culture of ‘scientific realism;’ and we set sail into the century at breakneck speed. One hundred years later, when all three ‘isms’ have worn themselves away, we must go back to the beginning again and examine the footprints to see where we went wrong [if we did go wrong]; review the alternative routes which we may have avoided at the time; and, above all, gather the riches that, in our hurry, we may have left behind.

In our attempt to become modern, up-to-date, economically competitive, we have cut away the most important and indigenous part of ourselves: the part of our soul and our brains and our humanity, which has been described as ‘mytho-poetic.’ This should be the focus of our education system, the basis for our habitation of this island [where we would allow the actual landscape to teach us what it means to be Irish] and our guide towards our future.

Ireland, along with Greece and Norway [all with vast mythological archives] could provide a haven for that part of ourselves that is lost in the contemporary world. This talk will define and outline that particular area of ourselves and show how it is vital for retrieving our souls.

The talk will be followed by responses from special guests.

Justin McAleese

Justin is a PwC trained chartered accountant and is currently Director of Investor Relations at Granahan McCourt Capital and Head of Operations of one of its portfolio companies. In the period 2011 to 2016, Justin held various positions at Ryanair including Head of Investor Relations and Purchasing, and Executive Assistant to the CEO.

In 2015, Justin was actively involved in the marriage equality referendum, serving as joint constituency co-ordinator of the Yes Equality Campaign in the Dublin Bay South constituency. Justin is a council member of the President’s Award – Gaisce, an alumnus of the Washington Ireland Program and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Master of Accounting Degree from University College Dublin.

Emma Farrell

Emma has been working in the area of youth mental health for more than a decade. She is currently education and training officer at Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, an organisation she has been involved in since its inception in 2006. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin. Emma was awarded a Ph.D. from the School of Education Trinity College Dublin for her research which adopted a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to understanding the lived experiences of people with mental health difficulties.

This work particularly focused on how individuals create meaning from what are often the most complex and unknown of human experiences.