Our connections as a county are without doubt one of our most important assets. Speaking at a recent Donegal Diaspora event, Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council Manager described the community of Donegal as consisting of not only those who live in the county, but also all with any connection to or interest in Donegal no matter where in the world they may be living.

The Donegal – Irish Diaspora Conference which will take place next Wednesday, June 4th at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology campus will explore these connections and will examine the diverse history of migration from Donegal and the impact that this has had on the Donegal Diaspora around the globe.

This conference will reflect on the very personal stories and experiences of the speakers and will convey findings from a variety of studies and ask the question ‘how we can connect with our Diaspora for our mutual benefit’.

This is the second year of the Donegal – Irish Diaspora Conference which follows on from a very successful inaugural conference in 2013. This conference is being hosted by Donegal County Council as part of the Donegal Diaspora and Hands of History project.

The day will be chaired by Professor Paul Arthur from the University of Ulster and the audience will hear from a range of interesting speakers including Kevin McKenna, Dr. Alison Cathcart, Niamh Hamill and John Concannon.

Kevin McKenna a native of Glasgow and well known columnist for The Observer describes his own experience as a ‘reluctant Irish man in Glasgow’ and will reflect on the difficulties that many Irish people faced in their new homelands and the resilience of the Irish community in overcoming these challenges.

Derry born Dr. Alison Cathcart, a 16th century historian will deliver an interesting address looking at ‘alternative Ulster Plantations’. Dr Cathcart’s previous researchhas focused on clan society in Scotland and she is currently carrying out research on connections between the west of Scotland and the north of Ireland.

Bundoran based Niamh Hamill, Director of the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland willpresent her award winning paper on Irish identity in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Niamh was the director of this year Drew University Transatlantic Connections Conference held in Bundoran and is planning for Transatlantic Connections 2 in 2015.

Other speakers at the conference include the creator of the Gathering Ireland 2013, John Concannon from Failte Ireland; Director of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies Ulster American Folk Park, Brian Lambkin and Liam O‘Cuinneagáin, co-founder and Cultural Director of Oideas Gael.

The Donegal – Irish Diaspora conference is being held as part of the PEACE III funded Hands of History project and provides a forum where we can unravel and understand the impact of our historical legacies whilst also maximising the potential that our global connections can bring to bear on our entire Donegal community, where ever they may be.

To book your place at this conference visit http://www.donegaldiaspora.com

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.