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Wexford’s culturally curious and deep thinkers prepare to flock to Waterford for 11th Robert Boyle Summer School

The life and legacy of a world-renowned scientist who is considered the ‘Father of Modern Chemistry’ and the most important scientists ever born in Ireland are being celebrated through a weekend-long Summer School where science fact and science fiction collide and debate and discussion flow…

The 11th Robert Boyle Summer School runs from June 22 to 25 in Waterford city and in Boyle’s birthplace, Lismore and is again expected to draw support from Wexford.

The long-awaited, four-day event draws hundreds of people with an interest in science, history, culture, debate, discussion and deep thinking to the region. Registration is now open and the full programme of events can be viewed now on

Multiple events run over four days and the theme for this year’s boutique festival which comes almost 400 years after Boyle’s birth is ‘Science Writing/Writing Science’.

Key in the cultural and scientific mix on the extensive programme is  ‘A Science in Fiction’, an open session featuring renowned authors Marianne Lee of A Quiet Tide and Andrew Hughes, The Coroner’s Daughter which is the One Dublin One Book 2023.

Picture: Patrick Browne Eoin Gill of CALMAST in the South East Technological University pictured in the gardens at Lismore Castle ahead of the Robert Boyle Summer School which runs from June 22 to 25 in Waterford city and in Boyle’s birthplace, Lismore.

Eoin Gill, Director of CALMAST, STEM Engagement Centre with South East Technological University (SETU) and Summer School curator, will deliver a light-hearted and fascinating session, on Sherlock Holmes as a scientist and his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle’s links to Lismore. It’s a further example of the eclectic mix of events that make the Robert Boyle Summer School a must for the culturally curious and science buffs alike, he says.

“Ours is a boutique festival which brings together a great mix of people from all walks of life. If you relish a lively debate, revel in a good discussion and also want to engage your light-hearted side, then this year’s Robert Boyle Summer School is an absolute must.

“It’s not all about the Science. It’s also going to appeal to those with an interest in history and culture, writing, science facts as well as science fiction. Many of our participants make this weekend an annual pilgrimage of sorts. We will be following in the footsteps of a natural philosopher with like-minded people for the duration and you’d never know where the debate might lead us.

“And while the Robert Boyle Summer School traditionally draws a nationwide audience, with particularly strong support from the Dublin region, we’re particularly urging people from across the southeast to join us this year and see what it has to offer. It is more important than ever that we celebrate Robert Boyle’s legacy, particularly as the 400th Anniversary of his birth in Lismore in 1627 looms,” Eoin Gill said.

The 2023 Robert Boyle Summer School opens on Thursday 22 June with an event in City Hall, Waterford. Friday’s morning programme will focus on Robert Boyle and his sisters and includes sessions with Prof Michael Hunter: The Writing of Robert Boyle and Dr Ann-Maria Walsh: The Correspondence of the Boyle Sisters.

The Afternoon will feature presentations from artist Nuala Clarke giving her perspective on reading science and Prof Jim Malone giving a scientist’s perspective on art. Summer School participants will be back in Lismore on the Saturday of the festival. The morning theme is Writing Science for the Public and will include contributions from and debate with Prof Peter J Bowler: Popular Science Writing in the 20th Century and Dr Brian Trench: Mary Mulvihill and the Development of Science Writing in Ireland.

Saturday afternoon’s programme will include a debate and discussion on Science in Fiction and an opportunity to engage with Marianne Lee, author of A Quiet Tide and Andrew Hughes, writer of  The Coroners Daughter. Eoin Gill concludes Saturday’s programme with Sherlock Holmes, the Archetype Scientist and the Lismore Connection.

For many, the highlight of the weekend is the evening Social Event at Lismore Castle and those with an appetite for even more have a Waterford City Heritage event to look forward to late on Sunday morning to close out the 2023 Summer School.

The Robert Boyle Summer School is organised by Calmast STEM Engagement Centre at South East Technological University and the Lismore Heritage Centre. It was established to commemorate the life and works of Robert Boyle, examine the role of science in our world and assert the place of science in our culture.

The Robert Boyle Summer School is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and Waterford City & County Council.

Wexford Weekly
Wexford Weekly

This article was published by a member of the Wexford Weekly team.

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