Academy Audio Files


Public Lecture - Making Science Work - Sir Paul Nurse

Friday, 14 June 2013, Academy House

Sir Paul Nurse, President, The Royal Society, gives a lecture on Making Science Work.

The photo of Sir Paul Nurse is courtesy of the BBC.


Forum: Making Open Access Work for Ireland

The Royal Irish Academy and the Irish Research Council held a forum on Open Access on May 2, 2013.

Representatives from Irish researchers, public research funders, publishers and industry met in the Royal Irish Academy to discuss the implications of rolling out Open Access to all publicly funded research in Ireland, including making research freely accessible without charge on the internet.

Speakers at the Forum considered how Open Access can support the best research to reach not only the best scientists but also a wider public audience. They considered whether and how Open Access can encourage greater use of research by small and medium enterprises, and explore how Irish Open Access policies measure up against the proposed UK ‘Gold Model’ of Open Access and the European Commission’s proposed ‘Green Model’.

Click here for more details.


A Conversation with Professor Peter Higgs and Colleagues

Thursday, 2 May 2013, Academy House

On Thursday, 2 May 2013, in the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Peter Higgs was joined by University of Edinburgh colleagues, Professor Alan Walker, Dr Victoria Martin and Francisca Garay to explore four generations of research on the Higgs boson. Speakers explained how the Higgs boson fits into modern theories of particle physics, what it's like to work at the Large Hadron Collider and the Inspiration for the Higgs boson.

Finally, speakers looked at how the work of one scientist, Professor Peter Higgs, inspired generations of physicists to work in particle physics and how the Higgs boson was eventually discovered. The event was open to public.


Public Lecture - The Double Helix and Its Irish Forbearers - Nobel Laureate James Watson

(Response by David McConnell)

Monday, 29 April 2013, 6pm, Academy House 

On Monday 29 April 2013 a Public lecture by Nobel Laureate James Watson entitled “The Double Helix and Its Irish Forbearers” was held in the Royal Irish Academy.


Academy Discourse - Spatial Justice, Housing and the Financial Crisis - Professor Danny Dorling

(Response by Mary Kelly)

Monday, 22 April 2013, 6pm, Academy House

In recent decades, across much of the affluent world, when there were economic good times some benefited much more than others. It may not have been fair but even though the gaps grew, few complained. When the bad times hit, they again hit some harder than others, usually much harder. People complained, but by then it was often too late. At the heart of the current financial crisis are issues of housing. Our fears over not being well-housed and our aspirations to move on up may have been milked by those most interested in making a short term profit; but when did those fears first grow and why were such impossible aspirations stoked? These are aspirations for so many to leap frog over so many others. Only 1% can ever be in the 1%. Using data, stories, and arguments drawn mainly from the UK and USA, but also from countries where many are better housed, this talk will suggest a few answers to what went so wrong and how our children’s generation need not repeat the folly of their parents. Professor Danny Dorling is professor of human geography in the University of Sheffield.


Academy Lecture: The Role of the Literary Reviewer - Professor Linda Hutcheon

Chair: Professor Eve Patten
Additional: Denis Staunton
Respondent: Professor Terence Brown

Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 6:30pm in Academy House

Professor Linda Hutcheon, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto gives a public lecture on the role of the literary reviewer.

This event was a tribute to the important legacy of Caroline Walsh, literary editor of the Irish Times and a valued member of the academy’s committee for literatures in English.

This lecture will consider the role of the literary reviewer as a gatekeeper or arbiter within literary culture and on the vital influence of reviewing for the success of the contemporary writer. Professor Hutcheon is a leading figure and a specialist in postmodernist culture and in critical theory, on which she has published The Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction (1988); The Politics of Postmodernism (1989); The Canadian Postmodern (1989).


Academy Discourse: The Speed Gene - Dr. Emmeline Hill

(Response by Prof. Dan Bradley)

Thursday, 7th March 2013, 6pm, Academy House

Dr Emmeline Hill is a co-founder and Chairman of Equinome. She is one of Ireland's most prominent genomics scientists and leads the Equine Exercise Genomics research group at the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, where she is a lecturer in Equine Science. She joined UCD in 2002 with a B.A. Genetics (1995) and a Ph.D. in Molecular Population Genetics (2000) from Trinity College, Dublin.

In 2000, Dr. Hill and Prof. Patrick Cunningham published one of the first molecular genetic research studies of Thoroughbreds that identified errors in The General Stud Book. Her publication record includes articles in the leading academic journals Nature, Science, PLoS ONE, BMC Genomics and Animal Genetics. In 2004 she received a Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Young Researcher Award, Ireland's most prestigious award for young scientists. In 2009 she published the first description of the genes that contribute to the Thoroughbred athletic physique.


Academy Discourse: The Battle for Afghanistan - William Dalrymple

Wednesday, 13th February 2013, 6pm, Academy House

William Dalrymple’s discourse, based on the work he did for his new book The Return of a King, is a compelling analysis of the first Afghan war. With access to a whole range of previously undiscovered sources, including crucial new material in Russian, Urdu and Persian, and contemporary Afghan accounts including the autobiography of Shah Shuja himself, prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple's masterful retelling of Britain's greatest imperial disaster is a powerful and important parable of neo-colonial ambition and cultural collision, folly and hubris, for our times.

Lebor na hUidre Conference

Lebor na hUidre is the oldest manuscript we have that is written entirely in the Irish language. The library recently held a conference to look at this important manuscript. Most of the lectures were recorded and are now available to listen to below.  For more in depth coverage including accompanying handouts and powerpoint presentations where they were used click here.

2012 Autumn/Winter Lunchtime Lecture Series

The 2012 Science Lecture Series was organised by the Academy Library as an integral element of an exhibition Science at the Royal Irish Academy: ‘Uniting whatever is pleasing with whatever is useful’: an exhibition: July 2012-May 2013. For more information on the lecture series please click here.


A Yankee in de Valera’s Ireland - Interview with Paul Bew

Liam Kennedy interviews Paul Bew about his life and work at the launch of his book A Yankee in de Valera’s Ireland.


Academy Lecture: Accountability, Excellence and Success in Universities

Baroness Onora O’Neill, Thursday 27 September 2012, 6pm

Onora O’Neill is a prominent political philosopher, who has written widely on ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. She also works on questions of trust and accountability in public life. O’Neill has occupied numerous academic posts, and is a former President of the British Academy, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation, and Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University. She was appointed to the British House of Lords in 1999 as a crossbench, or unaffiliated, member. In the Lords, she is particularly interested in constitutional reform, higher education, medical ethics, languages, and publishing. She is a foreign honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and chair of the Academy’s 2012 Strategic Review Committee.


Academy Discourse: Maria Edgeworth, Edmund Burke and the First Irish Ulysses

Professor James Chandler, University of Chicago, Friday 22 June, 6pm

James ChandlerJames Chandler is the director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities and holds the Barbara E. & Richard J. Franke Professorship in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. He is the author of two books on English Romanticism: Wordsworth's Second Nature (1994) and England in 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism, which won the 2000 Gordon J. Laing Award for distinction in academic publishing

Listen to Professor James Chandler's  Lecture(please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Listen to Mary Corcoran, one of the editors of Reflections On Crisis, being interviewed by Myles Dungan on the Pat Kenny show.

Can we think our way out of a crisis? At a time of economic collapse and beleaguered morale, do intellectuals have something to offer? Or are the views of economists, novelists, playwrights, sociologists, historians, political scientists and civil servants dismissed and ignored? Are we anti-intellectual? Reflections On Crisis reflects on the ways in which critical thinking, imagination and ideas can create a national conversation.

Listen to the show here



RIA and Science Media Centre Event: Introduction to the News Media for Ireland’s Geoscientists

Thursday, 17th May, 13:30 - 18:00, Academy House

Introdction to the News Media for Ireland's Geoscientists


Fiona Fox – Chief Executive, Science Media Centre


  • Clive Mitchell – Press Officer,
  • British Geological Survey
  • Tom Sheldon – Press Officer,
  • Science Media Centre

More details

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Alien world New discoveries of exotic lifeforms & volcanic metal chimneys in the deep ocean

Dr. Andy Wheeler, UCC (Chief Scientist) & the Irish-British VENTuRE survey scientific team., Tuesday 24 April 2012

Andy Wheeler led a groundbreaking Irish-led marine research mission aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer investigating life at 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea on the ‘45o North MAR hydrothermal vent field’ using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1. These vents, which spew mineral rich seawater heated to boiling point by volcanic material in the earth’s crust below, are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals.

Listen to the Dr Andy Wheeler's Lecture(please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Seamus Heaney and Olivia O’Leary in conversation:
‘The isle is full of noises’

Thursday 2 February 2012
Seamus Heaney

On the 2nd of February the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Literatures in English hosted a public interview with Seamus Heaney and Olivia O’Leary in St. Ann’s Church Dawson Street. The interview opened a two day  event run by the RIA entitled ‘Voices in the Ether: Irish Writing on the Radio’ and was attended by around 270 people.



Listen to the Seamus Heaney Interview (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Academy Discourse: Count Dracula and Bram Stoker

Wednesday 19th April 2012

Terry Eagleton

The lecture considered Bram Stoker’s Dracula in the context of some traditional notions of evil, including the very different presentation of the idea of evil in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. It also raised the question of Stoker’s Irish Protestant background and its relevance to his fiction.


Listen to Terry Eagleton's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Academy Discourse:God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says
Thursday 16 February 2012

Professor Michael Coogan, Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum and Lecturer on Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School.

Opposing sides on abortion, same-sex marriage, and other so-called “family values” often appeal to the Bible in support of their contradictory positions, as though the Bible were an authority beyond question. But the Bible speaks with many voices, not one, and some of its values are no longer ours. A close look at the story of David and Bathsheba, one of the most famous and most ambiguous biblical narratives, will illustrate these issues.
Listen to Professor Coogan's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Academy Discourse:The End of Ageing

Monday 12 December 2011

Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Mercer's Institute for Successful Aging, St James's Hospital and Neurosciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin

In this discourse Professor Roseanne Kenny explained what is happening in age prevention, and shows how we can lengthen our own life spans. Professor Kenny also looked at how and why people are living longer than ever before; the social, biological and scientific changes that are increasing our life spans; and how Ireland is leading the way in the development of age prevention technologies.
Listen to Professor Kenny's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Academy Discourse: Molecules that changed the world 

Thursday 3 November 2011

Professor K. C. Nicolaou, University of California, San Diego

Professor K. C. NicolaouProfessor K.C. Nicolaou is a Cypriot-American chemist known for the total synthesis of natural products.

His research is focused on a specialized field of organic chemistry called total synthesis, which involves the creation of organic molecules from scratch in the laboratory. This process allows rare molecules found in nature to be made in great numbers for study or to serve as the basis for drugs. Or, completely new types of complex organic molecules can be made from simpler precursor molecules. Through his work Nicolaou is developing new synthetic technologies and strategies that will advance the fields of biology and medicine
Listen to Professor Nicalaou's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Academy Discourse: Professor Hermione Lee, CBE

Friday 7 October 2011

Hermione LeeHermione Lee's previous books include biographical studies Elizabeth Bowen and Willa Cather, the internationally acclaimed biography Virginia Woolf, and Edith Wharton, long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. She is a well-known reviewer and broadcaster, and, in 2006, Chair of the judges for the Man Booker Prize. She is the first woman Goldsmiths' Professor of English at Oxford University, a Fellow of New College, Oxford, of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to literature.

Listen to Hermione Lee's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Learning from one another? US and European policies toward university-industry technology transfer David C. Mowery, 20 September 2011


Listen to Davic C. Mowery's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Learning from one another? US and European policies toward university-industry technology transfer.


CrCraig Barrettaig Barrett Lecture on Competitiveness, 8 February 2010

 8 February 2010 in the Mansion House





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The role of the University in a changing world, Drew Faust, 30 June 2010

In a speech to the Royal Irish Academy at Trinity College Dublin on Wednesday 30 June, Harvard president Drew Faust surveyed "the role of the university in a changing world." While she celebrated the expansion of education globally, she warned of the rising pressures threatening to undercut that trend. She lauded the career-defining role of higher education and defended the ongoing importance of the humanities. The event was co-sponsored by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Listen to Dr Drew Faust's Lecture (please note this file will take sometime to play/download)

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Celebrating Thinking Series, 2 - 30 March 2010


2 March 6 pm: Is thinking really good for us?

Featuring Kevin Mitchell; Maeve Cooke: Mary Corcoran and Myles Dungan.

Does a lively public culture of thinking make for a better society? Why we do celebrate our writers, artists, musicians, sporting personalities but not the achievements of our thinkers? Is critical thinking the great casualty of our educational system? Do we need more thinkers in public life? Is the unexamined life really that bad?

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9 March 6 pm: What's wrong with dumbing down? 

Featuring Olivia O'leary; Gavan Titley; Alan Gilsenan; Sheila Greene and Paul Drury.

Is there a relentless race to the bottom in the media and in Irish public life? Is there a continuous appeal to the lowest common denominator so that anything which is difficult, complex or unsettling is studiously avoided? Is the instantaneous soundbite culture hostile to any form of deep or searching analysis? Is the cult of the celebrity the ultimate triumph of style over substance?

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23 March 6 pm: The Decline of intimacy

Featuring Karlin Lillington; Kieran Keohane; Emily O'Reilly; Marie Murray and Caroline Fennell

From the prevalence of reality TV to widespread forms of surveillance, it seems that nothing much is secret anymore. Is this a good thing? Is the right to privacy or intimacy a fundamental value that needs to be protected? Is the quality of inner lives being permanently damaged by endless public exposure?

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30 March 6 pm: Are Small Nations Small-minded?

Featuring Luke O'Neill; Tom Arnold; Richard English; Doireann NĂ­ Bhriain and Ivana Bacik.

Do small nations engage in too much navel gazing? Do they remain obsessed with local concerns and fail to engage with the wider world of ideas? Do they need to radically change the way they think about themselves or to talk to others to have a fuller engagement with the world?

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Clare Island Lecture Series

Darwin, Praeger and the Clare Island Surveys Poster from exhibition

Clare Island Abbey and its paintings

Conleth Manning speaks about Clare Island Abbey and its magnificent wall paintings - a very rare, intriguing and charming example of an Irish medieval painted church interior.

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Clare Island: Ice ages and climate change

Peter Coxon brilliantly outlines the effects of ice ages and climate change on Clare Island and describes how these have shaped its remarkably diverse landscape.

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Assembling the home team: from A.G. More to R.I.I. Praeger

Declan Doogue unravels the influences and players in Irish natural history field studies from A.G. More to the present day.

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Talks from the Heron-Allen Society

Edward Heron-Allen gives a lively first-hand account of his time working on the Clare Island Survey in his journals. John Whittaker of the Heron-Allen Society discusses the journals and the memorabilia that Heron-Allen collected during his work on the Survey.

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Clare Island - the record of a 600-million year assembly line

Clare Island's dramatic and diverse landscape shows the evidence of 6000 million years of climate change. John Graham tells this fascinating story.

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