A successful second Global Irish Diaspora Congress has just come to an end in Durban, South Africa.
Many local and foreign scholars met at the three-day Congress, with outstanding participation from some of the leaders of the Diaspora.
The event was hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), with the support of the Global Irish Diaspora International Committee based in University College Dublin (UCD).
The historian Prof. Donal McCracken, author of "The Irish in South Africa", a three-volume book, was the head of the Local Organizing Committee, with the support of the Irish Embassy and the Irish South African Association.
The Congress opened with an inaugural speech from Prof. Nhlanhla Mkhize, Deputy Vice Chancellor of KZN University.
Later, keynote speaker, Guillermo MacLoughlin (Argentina), currently the editor of "The Southern Cross", the Irish-Argentine newspaper founded in 1875, delivered a lecture about "The History of the Irish Press in South America".
Bill Mullingar (Murray State University, USA) and Darragh Gannon (Georgetown University, USA) were some of the well-known Irish diaspora researchers, who interacted with other researchers from Ireland, USA, UK, Australia, China, Zimbabwe, Argentina, and South Africa during the conference
The Irish Ambassador, Fionnula Gilsenan, launched an exhibition related to Irish presence during apartheid times and also paid tribute to the organizers of the Congress for hosting such an important event after the difficult times of the pandemic.
The Congress concluded with a two-day trip to the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boers wars, which took place in the old Natal and Zululand regions, visiting where the battles of Isandlawana (1879), Rorke's Drift (1879) and Talana (1899) took place.
With the guidance of Prof. Donal McCracker, the Congress researched researching the many Irish roots associated with the battles.
This second Global Irish Diaspora Congress follows the successful inaugural congress held at UCD in 2017, featuring a wide range of papers related to the Irish Diaspora from different parts of the world. A third congress is due to take place in Ireland in 2026.