WalkTalkIreland, Temple University Philadelphia, USA and Nobel Prize winner John Hume

WalkTalkIreland did something different this year – we ran a 4 week course in Derry (The Town I Love So Well) for Temple University, Philadelphia, USA – it was part of their study abroad program.

We called it Building Bridges and Professor Ralph Young (author of “Dissent – The History of an American Idea”) brought over an extremely bright and enthusiastic group of students to study history, literature and music.

Some lectures were held in Magee University and others in the Rathmore Centre in Creggan where Garbhan Downey offered us superb facilities and made us very welcome.

Garbhan and Ralph

Garbhan and Ralph

Garbhan Holding Ralph's book with Gudrun, Ralph and myself

Garbhan Holding Ralph’s book with Gudrun,Ralph and myself

Naturally we also included 5 walks in the program – for many of the students these became the highlights of the course.

Temple students on KnockallaTemple students on Knockalla

During one of our lectures by former Irish Ambassador James Sharkey on Civil Rights in Northern Ireland, John Hume joined us and welcomed the students to Derry. This was indeed an honour for us.

Jim Sharkey, Ralph, John Hume, Gudrun, myself and students from Temple UniversityJim Sharkey, Ralph, John Hume, Gudrun, myself and students from Temple University

We were also lucky to have one of Ireland’s top musicians, Martin McGinley, who gave us an illustrated talk on the ‘jigs and reels’ – beautiful playing and wonderful singing by Sean O’Donnell.

Marin McGinley and Sean O'Donnell

Marin McGinley and Sean O’Donnell

Perhaps we now have renewed and strengthened the links between Philadelphia and Derry