Cultural Day
Townley Hall - 11th & 12th November 2017

This enjoyable event provides an opportunity to partake of three talks, a Key Note address, a musical performance and a choice of dance or Tai Chi demonstrations and lessons.
No previous knowledge of the subjects is required.
Each talk is presented in an easily accessible manner designed to entertain and inform with time for questions and lively discussion.
Admission: €50. This includes all of the above, a three course lunch, refreshment breaks and car parking. Alternatively coach travel is available from Northumberland Road - see booking form for details.


THE METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD CRISIS There is a growing sense across the western world that something has gone terribly wrong, be it economic uncertainity, war and terrorism, moral confusion and relativism, increasing internal divisions within society and other phenomena. Is there a common denominator in all this, perhaps even a single cause? The underlying cause is metaphysical - how we conceive of reality. In this talk we will explore the philosophical-historical background to the contemporary world crisis and propose that any lasting solution must involve getting our metaphysics right.
Speaker: Dr. Brendan O'Byrne


Ten years ago, before the economic collapse brought on by insane greed and a mindless devotion to the principles of endless 'growth', Professor Dillon of Trinity College Dublin produced a pamphlet called 'Platonism and the World Crisis', focussing on what he discerned as the three main menaces facing civilisation, the ideal of endless, linear 'growth', the conflict between religious systems (particularly the 'Abrahamic' ones), and the increasing unwillingness to acknowledge legitimate systems of authority. This talk will be a meditation on how things have gone in the last ten years on these three fronts, but it will also identify some other menaces not addressed, notably the destruction of jobs caused by high-tech automation, and the danger of being taken over by machines.
Speaker: Professor John Dillon


    Socrates was asked "Could it be that asking questions is teaching?" In these turbulent times in which we live, what role does the teaching of philosophy have to play in the education of young people and in particular how can the Socratic method of Dialectic be used to help train the mind?
    Speaker: Professor Brendan Tangney

    "Would you go and seize another man's lands and turn him off? Would you wilfully reduce a man into poverty and see his children uneducated and ill clad? You would not do any of these things, knowing that you were doing them, but we are doing them and we must cease doing them; that would be justice." Leon MacLaren
    The growing inequality in the world is for all to behold and seemingly beyond our control. Yet for over one hundred years we the people have collectively refused to address the key underlying cause. Sometimes by ignorance, sometimes by conspiracy, sometimes by choosing other injustices that are less threatening to champion solutions for, sometimes by creating confusion - we blame God and each other but never look the problem in the eye.
    Speaker: Dr. Camillus K. Power

    All human beings share the desire to be happy. Yet when we look at the world this desire often appears sadly unfulfilled. This talk looks at how ancient wisdom, now backed up by modern scientific studies, can lead us to discover the true nature of happiness.
    Speaker: Shea Kelly

    In a world marred by fake news and an incoherent world order, this talk considers the importance of belonging and why we need to take a reasoned step back from the relentless drive of modern society which has perfected the art of making people feel unnecessary.
    Speaker: Stephen Dunne

    This talk will give a general understanding of Islam and Islamic beliefs, rituals and misconceived concepts, e.g. hijab, jihad, gender equality, etc. in a way appealing to non-Muslims, and particularly to the Western mentality. It will cover many aspects of Islam including the meaning of Islam, freedom of religion, Original Goodness, the purpose of life, the six articles of faith in Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam.
    Speaker: Dr. Ali Selim

    The world population is at 7 billion and rising fast. We need to take radical action now; otherwise future generations will see the earth plunge deeper and deeper into an environmental crisis the like of which could be devastating for all life on this planet. How can philosophy guide us in this crisis? Where do my personal responsibilities lie? How do I choose to live? How should I live? At whose expense?
    Speaker: Susie Spratt

    Who is our enemy?
    We may not fnd ourselves having to negotiate with international terrorists on a daily basis, however, we may meet situationsof potential conflict which can create considerable disharmony in our interactions with others. This talk explores the challenging proposition that it is our own internal enemies which create the external enemies.
    N.B. Sunday only. Not available on Saturday.
    Speaker: Brian McGeough

    Dance is integral to the culture of people all around the world. It unites people like no other activity creating harmony and peace. Experience this unity, harmony and fun by participating in dance classes where you will learn the basic steps of the Tango or Ballroom dancing.
    (Select which class you would like to attend on the booking form).
    Monina Paz (Tango Ireland)
    Maria Donnelly (Learn to Dance - Ballroom)

    Tai Chi is often described as "meditation in motion" it might well be called "Medication in motion". There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. Try it for yourself in this class aimed at beginners.
    (Select this class if you would like to attend on the booking form).
    Monina Paz (Tango Ireland)
    Maria Donnelly (Learn to Dance - Ballroom)

    Through the years composers have been greatly inspired by the changing seasons. Join this duo for performances and discussions of selected works depicting the cyclical nature of the earth, from the stark Winters of Vivaldi to the bright summer sunshine that streams through Ravel's Duo Sonata. This is a rare opportunity to hear violinist Aisling and cellist Julie-Anne Manning and not one to be missed.
    Musicians: Aisling & Julie-Anne Manning

For full details, download Cultural Day Brochure 2017

Advanced booking required.
Admission includes attendance at four talks, 3-course lunch, refreshment breaks, wine reception and car parking. (Bus available from the school - €15 return.)

See Cultural Day Booking Form Here

Please complete and return to:
   Cultural Day 2017, c/o School of Philosophy, 49 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4.
   telephone credit card details to 01 6603788 (Monday to Friday, office hours).

A Day With Plato
Townley Hall - Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June 2017

Book Online Now »

A Day With Plato is a celebration of the wisdom of Socrates as handed down to us through the writings of Plato.

Why Justice?

The population of the world is over 7 billion people. Global household wealth including financial assets and debts, land, buildings are estimated to be worth $270 trillion. However half of this global wealth is owned by the richest 1%. The richest 10% account for 87% while the poorer half of the global population are left owning less than 1%.
Recent studies reveal that the level of equality or inequality in a society is a better indicator of its general health than the overall level of wealth or poverty.

"There is sufficient in the world for mans need but not his greed" - Mahatma Gandhi

The Roman Emperor Justinian - "Justice is the constant will to render to everyone their due"

This provides a working idea of justice as "a fair portion of knowledge, happiness, health, freedom and prosperity for everyone"

In celebrating our 30th year of a Day with Plato we travel to Plato's Republic Books I and II, where we encounter Socrates as he makes that connection between a just life and a happy life.

Is the Just person happier than the unjust person?

Socrates explores the questions: What is Justice? And how does it relate to happiness?

The dialogue is a fascinating journey in search of the just life, as Socrates considers, firstly, if might is right and then proceeds to a thought experiment which considers an ideal city state so that themes of justice can be further explored.

During the day we will get to meet Socrates in a live drama in a modern yet timeless setting. The dramatisation is especially written for this occasion, and is based on the arguments in Plato's Republic. Group discussions will allow us to discuss all of these issues for ourselves.

"Injustice can never be more profitable than justice. - Plato's Republic Book 1"

One-Day Programme

The one-day programme on Saturday 17th of June is repeated the following day, Sunday 18th of June.

09:30 Registration and refreshments
10.00 Plenary meeting in the library
           Chairman Mr. Michael Ryan
10.10 Introduction by Dr. David Horan
11.00 Discussion Groups
12.15 End Discussion Groups
           Break before lunch
12.30 Lunch
           Tea/coffee in Lower Rotunda
13.45 Resume Plenary Meeting
           in the library
14.30 Discussion Groups
15.30 Afternoon tea/coffee
           in the Lower Rotunda
16.00 Lecture by Dr. Camillus Power - "Why be just?"
           in the Library
17.00 Reception in Front Hall
17.30 Departure
           Coach to Dublin leaves from front door

Townley Hall Open Day
Sunday 7th June 2015

Book Online Now »

Townley Hall Open Day is an exploration of the architectural and social history of Townley Hall and the work of its architect, Francis Johnston.

Townley Hall and Francis Johnston (1760-1829)
Townley Hall, built between 1794 and 1798 for Blayney Townley Balfour III, is widely considered to be Francis Johnston's domestic masterpiece and has been described as the perfect neo-classical house. Francis Johnston is after Gandon and Pearce, the greatest name in Irish architecture. He left so much work and such evidence of versatility that his place cannot be disputed. Born in Armagh in 1760 he began training, at aged eighteen, under Thomas Cooley, architect to Archbishop Richard Robinson, and Samuel Spoule, architect to the Wide Street Commissioners. He became well established in Dublin in the early years of the nineteenth century winning commissions for St. George's Church, Hardwick Place and for the conversion of the Parliament to Bank of Ireland at College Green. Appointed Architect to the Board of Works in 1805, projects included the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, The General Post Office as well as numerous institutional Buildings. As one of the fourteen founding members of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1821, he financed the design and construction of its first premises on Abbey Street. Johnston died on 14th March 1829 and was interred in the burial grounds of St. George's Church on Whitworth Road.

The Exhibition
Exploring a selection of Francis Johnston's most significant projects through drawings, engravingsand archive photographs, the material for the exhibition is drawn from the collections of the Irish Architectural Archive, The National Library of Ireland, The Ulster Museum, The Royal Society of Antiquaries Ireland, An Post GPO Museum, The royal Institute of Architects of Ireland as well as the Country Life Photographic Archive.

The exhibition will also feature original portraits of the Townley and Townley Balfour family, paintings that once decorated the walls of the house. These works are on loan from a private collection for a rare public presentation.

For full details, download Townley Hall Open Day Brochure 2015

Bookmark this page:

Delicious Reddit Facebook StumbleUpon Digg

Upcoming & Annual Events

Events and activities organised by the School of Philosophy:

Cultural Day

at Townley Hall, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Saturday 12 November 2017

This enjoyable event provides an opportunity to partake of three talks, a Key Note address, a musical performance and a choice of dance or Tai Chi demonstrations and lessons.
No previous knowledge of the subjects is required.
Each talk is presented in an easily accessible manner designed to entertain and inform with time for questions and lively discussion.

Admission: €50
includes all of the above, a three course lunch, refreshment breaks and car parking.

Transport: €15
return transport, leaving 49 Northumberland Road 8:00am, leaving Townley Hall 5:00pm.