Cumann Merriman has a long tradition of exploring and reflecting on topical and pertinent societal issues. This year’s School in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, will take a close look at politics, society and culture in the two Irelands over the past 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement. Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin will deliver the opening lecture on Wednesday 14th August at 8.30 pm. The closing event on Sunday 18th August at 11 am will feature MEP Marian Harkin and Alliance MP Naomi Long and will be followed by a special Burren brunch featuring local growers, producers and chefs. In between there are over 30 speakers and performers, including Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Richard Clarke, former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sir Ken Bloomfield, Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics Geraldine Smyth and cultural critic Edna Longley. There's a special round table of young politicians from North and South on Saturday 17th in the afternoon. Cultural highlights include an evening of poetry with Nobel Laureate and patron of the Summer School, Seamus Heaney and his friend and fellow poet, Michael Longley; mid day readings by poets Leanne O’ Sullivan and Gearóid Mac Lochlainn; and a concertina recital by Jack Talty and Cormac O Beaglaoich. And of course there’s singing and dancing at Club Merriman in the evenings. There is no need to pre-register for the school, which is open to everyone. People may register for the full school but are also welcome to attend individual events. Those coming for a few days are strongly advised to book accommodation in advance. Full details of the programme and speakers are available on www.merriman.ie or by phoning 086 382 0671 during office hours.