Law and the Art of the Possible: The Fifth Province?

Law and the Art of the Possible: The Fifth Province?

A contemporary and Brehon perspective

Friday, 4th May – Sunday, 6th May 2018

Director: Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop


Burren Law School 2018 - 25th Anniversary

An exploration of law in its political and social context, the fifth province theme provides a creative focus for discussions around legal theory, justice and governance issues.

The old Irish term for Province is Cúige, meaning 'a fifth'; but Ireland has four geographical provinces on this island - so where is the fifth?

Ancient legend tells us that Ireland was divided into four quarters and a 'middle' or 'Fifth' Province. Tara in Co. Meath was the political centre of Ireland and Uisneach, the place of this Fifth Province. Its role was that of 'a second centre' - a necessary balance. (The symbol for Uisneach is the kidneys, which is the balancing function in the body).

In President Mary Robinson’s inaugural speech in 1990 she equated the Fifth Province as ‘an emerging Ireland of tolerance and empathy’.

Over the weekend of this year’s 25th Anniversary of the Burren Law School participants will weave between the ancient and the contemporary worlds of our legal systems, engaging with presentations from speakers who will stimulate, challenge  and energise our thinking on their chosen subjects in a time of great uncertainty in today’s world. We can explore and ask questions to include whether The Citizen’s Assembly or The Policing Authority, to name but two recent initiatives, could be viewed as a 21st century Fifth Province.

Join us in the Uisneach that is Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan in the pulsating heart of The Burren, when we will have discourse on 'a necessary balance' for 'an emerging Ireland of tolerance and empathy’.


Conference Programme

Friday 4th May 2018

18:45 Registration and reception

A plate of food for the traveler

20:00 Official launch of the 2018 school

Introduction to the weekend

A brief Brehon Welcome in Newtown Castle with Fidelma Ó Corráin

20:15 Opening session

Saturday 5th May 2018

7:30 Michael Greene Morning Walk
9:30 The Brehon perspective

"Therapeutic jurisprudence: an approach to law and psychological wellbeing"

10:15 Ó Corráin Memorial Lecture

11:15 Coffee break
11:30 Session 1 - The criminal justice system in the round?

13:00 Lunch

Food of the Arts Cafe

14:00 Session 2
15:30 Fieldtrip by coach to significant Burren sites
20:30 Conference dinner

Sunday 6th May 2018

10:00 Session 3

10:45 Coffee break
11:30 Session 4 - Brexit

13:00 Concluding remarks
15:00 Guided Burren hike

Advance booking is required


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Burren Law School, Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland.
+353 65 7077200

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