Great day was had by all. The comference was fully attended and with all manner of interdisciplinary talks on how the dark may have affected people in the past – in all manner of ways. Dr. Robert Hensey, Prof. Richard Bradley, Dr. John Carey, Ken Williams (photographer), Tim O’Connell (Caver), Dr. Paul Pettitt, Brian Keenan (writer and captive in the dark for some years in the middle east), Prof. Muiris O’Sullivan, Dr. Sian James, Dr. Marion Dowd, Prof. Jack Santino, Fr. Colman O Calbaigh, Prof. (Emeritus) Ruth D. Whitehouse, Prof. Colin Richards and Prof. Gabriel Cooney all spoke over the day to a packed auditorium. I managed to get notes down during some – where there was enough light. Some had the lights off with only the projector on – Prof. Cooney gave his talk (last but by no means least) in complete darkness. So many elite in the one room was like going to a Police concert and finding them supported by Madonna, Ac/Dc, One Direction, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce. There was so much presented – some new ideas, some new finds, that it was hard to devour in one sitting, yet it was compelling. Trying to concentrate enough to pierce some of the accents made a person wish they were powerful enough to have anyone who coughed silently removed.
The two internal photos were taken in the morning before kickoff – and before we were asked to switch off our phones. Outside the auditorium Wordwell had set up a bookstall – all stock was related to the topic. I was delighted to get the last copy of The Irish Revolution, 1912 to 1923 SLIGO, by Michael Farry as well as a few other books. Handy, as on my entertainment side of reading I had just finished Joe Abercrombies Red Country. There was tea, coffee and biscuits with food stalls outside. On the timber and bookshelf side of things I came across a lady I hadn’t seen in a while. She keeps bees and sells their produce in so many ways. I understand she mixes and pours the waxes herself as well as makes the sweets and candles. Havn’t used the candles but the sweets and polish are top class. If you find her – go for the one labeled Polish if you need it for wood – she has a different mix for leather. Having looked at my photo, the text is fuzzy so here it is -(from the top) Direct from the Producer. Guaranteed Pure. Beeswax Polish. 60ml. Shanvaus Apiary, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Ingredients: Turpentine, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax.
So many things taken from that day – it will take a while for it all to settle in. What did I love most – John Carey for his use of manuscripts, Tim O’Connell for his obvious love of caves, Marion Dowd for presenting a deep command of her subject so well, Ruth Whitehouse for her subject and because I like Italy, Colin Richards, because Easter Island is so exotic to me and Gabriel Cooney for bringing us all into the dark. Those were the people. The papers presented will have to be studied and studied before I say anything there. But that is just at the moment – its all up in the air and something else may settle into focus over later dates (as I get to know the people and the subject) - way too early to nail that list to the door.
It was a very, very good day.