Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

The Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative

The Irish-Scottish Academic InitiativeThe Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative (ISAI) was set up in 1995 to be a formal link between three universities in Scotland and Ireland involving three subject areas: history, Celtic studies, and literatures in the English language.

The Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative (ISAI) was set up in 1995 to be a formal link between three universities in Scotland and Ireland involving three subject areas: history, Celtic studies, and literatures in the English language. The initial institutional members -the University of Aberdeen, the University of Strathclyde, and Trinity College Dublin -were joined in 1999 by Queen's University, Belfast, and in 2002 by the University of Edinburgh.


Research partnerships and projects

Linking Ireland and Scotland: University of Aberdeen, University of Strathclyde, Trinity College Dublin, Queen's University Belfast, and University of EdinburghIreland and Scotland over the centuries have had a close relationship. Though that relationship has frequently been troubled, it has resulted in shared or parallel experiences which more than ever merit study. At a time when relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom seem ready to enter a new phase, and when the connections between the different parts of the United Kingdom are being reassessed, it is especially valuable to foster strong academic links between Scotland and Ireland.

History, Language and Literature lie at the heart of the two nations' relationship. Research in these disciplines serves both to highlight common problems - the need to preserve or construct an identity in the shadow of a powerful neighbouring culture for example - and differences between the two countries, whether intrinsic or attributable to uneven development of the economics of land usage, industrialisation, language, literary tradition or national sovereignty. The Initiative develops that potential into an internationally-recognised productive understanding of the past, present and future relations of Ireland and Scotland, within these islands, Europe, and the world.

Research students of the highest calibre from Britain, Ireland, Europe and North America have been attracted to this initiative and look to the emergence of the critical mass of key researchers (postgraduate, postdoctoral and current staff). Indeed, each discipline has already outlined joint research projects intended to develop (partly through staff exchange) innovative and important publication. ISAI also intends by means of public lectures, seminars, symposia and cultural events to disseminate this research to the widest possible public.


Aims of the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative

"The new Irish-Scottish relationship is not confined to the political arena. There has been an impressive flowering of academic links, pioneered by the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative, which has led to the establishment of a centre for Irish-Scottish studies in Trinity College, Dublin. That now parallels the earlier establishment of a dedicated research institute of Irish and Scottish studies at the University of Aberdeen, under the distinguished direction of Professor Tom Devine, a leading Scottish academic with a strong Irish background and author of the study, "The Scottish Nation".
Address by the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, TD to the Scottish Parliament, June 20th, 2001

The aim of ISAI is to promote research and scholarship in the fields of Irish and Scottish culture. In particular, it seeks to develop research in certain key areas; Irish and Scottish history; Irish literature in English and Scottish literature; and Irish and Scots Gaelic language and literature.

Distinctive aims of the Initiative are:
» A collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, which pools the resources and expertise available in the relevant departments of the four universities: Trinity College, Dublin; Queen's University, Belfast; the University of Aberdeen; and the University of Strathclyde.
» Academic exchanges, involving members of staff, postgraduate students and undergraduates in all four universities.
» Joint research projects, rendered possible by the critical mass of key researchers delivered by the Initiative.
» Enhanced supervision of research students, who have the opportunity to access the research resources and research cultures of four universities instead of one.
» Undergraduate exchanges, to encourage 'East-West' contacts in the younger generation.
» Public lectures, seminars, symposia and cultural events to reach out to the wider public in both Ireland and Britain.

ISAI holds a biannual conference, open to the public, the proceedings of which have been published. These collections include "Celebrating Columba: Colm Cille a cheiliuradh: lrish-Scottish connections, 597- 1997", drawing on the first ISAI conference held at the University of Strathclyde in 19971 Ireland and Scotland: "Nation, Region, Identity", which records the event of the 2000 conference at Trinity College Dublin, and a forthcoming volume in the established series "Belfast Studies in Language, Culture and Politics" that documents proceedings at the conference held in Queen's University Belfast in September of this year under the title Ireland (Ulster)/ Scotland.

The Department of Celtic at Aberdeen and the School of Irish and Celtic Languages at Trinity have held a highly successful joint seminar series while reciprocal staff and graduate student visits between the partner institutions are now established practice. At the Strathclyde University, Glasgow, recent research topics relevant to Scots-Irish Studies include W.B. Yeats, Millenarianism, James Macpherson, the image of the Irish in Scotland, Seamus Heaney, Contemporary Irish Poetry and many others: around half of Strathclyde University's 29 research students are working on Scottish or Irish topics.


Do you want to know more?

» The Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative (ISAI)
The aim of ISAI is to promote research and scholarship in the fields of Irish and Scottish culture. In particular, it seeks to develop research in certain key areas; Irish and Scottish history; Irish literature in English and Scottish literature; and Irish and Scots Gaelic language and literature.

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