Friday, October 30, 2009

Saturday evening lecture time change

Saturday evening's lecture, by Prof. emeritus Eileen
Barker (LSE) will now take place at 7.30 instead of
8 as previously announced. The title of the lecture
is "Cults, sects and / or new religions: 'Curioser and
curioser!' cried Alice. 'Well, yes and no,' replied the

Admission for non-conference participants is €15, or
€10 with student / unwaged etc. ID.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Evening lecture changes

Prof. Paul Heelas, one of our two guest speakers, has
had to cancel for personal reasons. We are happy to
announce that Dr Carmen Kuhling has kindly agreed to
step into her shoes.

Dr Kuhling is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the
University of Limerick and Ireland's leading researcher
on the New Age, having published among others "The New
Age Ethic and the Spirit of Postmodernity".

Her lecture, entitled "From the parish hall to the
shopping mall: consumption and re-enchantment in
post-Celtic Tiger Ireland", will take place on Friday
evening at 8 pm.

Prof. Barker's lecture, "Cults, sects and / or new
religions: 'Curioser and curioser!' cried Alice.
'Well, yes and no,' replied the sociologist…",
will now take place on Saturday evening, also at 8 pm.

Both lectures are open to the public and can be attended
separately from the main conference. Admission (on the
door) is €15 or €10 for students, unwaged etc. with ID.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

List of poster presentations

The deadline for poster presentations closed on Friday 23rd. The posters accepted are:

Joantine Berghuijs (Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Utrecht University
Unaffiliated spirituality and social engagement

Markus Davidsen (Leiden University / Aarhus University)
"Fiction based religions": a study of new religions based on religions embedded in fiction

Ronan Foley (NUI Maynooth)
Therapeutic landscapes, ownership and spiritual health

Kerry Gallagher (NUI Maynooth)
Imported Catholicism: the role religion plays in the integration of Polish immigrants into Irish society

Gladys Ganiel (Trinity College Dublin / Irish School of Ecumenics)
Auditing Ireland’s religious diversity: perspectives on diversity, immigration, reconciliation and ecumenism

Brigitte Veiz (Dept. of Social psychology, University of Munich)
The Rainbow Family: rituals and circles in a neo-tribal, global subculture

Poster presenters will be with their posters for discussion etc. during conference registration, between 10.30 and 12.30 on Friday morning.

The full conference timetable is available here.

Getting to the conference

These instructions are quite detailed, because people often get lost trying to find the conference venue. So if you're not familiar with Maynooth village, or with the campus, please take the time to find out how to get there in advance! We will do our best to have notices etc. up but can't guarantee their visibility, particularly in bad weather.

Getting to Maynooth village
There are directions to Maynooth online at

If you're coming by air, the simple thing is to take a bus to Dublin and get off at one of the stations. If you get the 746 (normal fare) you can ask the driver to let you off at Drumcondra train station (after 30 – 45 minutes depending on traffic), from which there are trains to Maynooth (sometimes these go further, to Longford or Sligo but it is only one line so you can't go far wrong!) every half hour or every hour, depending on when you arrive (travel time 35 minutes). The train will cost about 2.70 one-way.

Alternatively you can get the 747 or 748 express buses for €6 to Bus├íras, the central bus station (travel time between 45 – 90 minutes depending on time of day) from where it is about two minutes walk to Connolly Station, the head of the line to Maynooth (travel time about 40 minutes). There are many other possibilities but this is the most straightforward. There is little or no direct public transport to Maynooth from the airport, and taxis are expensive (expect to pay at least 40, probably more, and take an hour or so).

Finding the conference
Our central location is the Auxilia Building, home of the Sociology department. This is on the north (new) campus, which may be helpful if you get lost. We strongly suggest you print out some of the maps which are online at, because people do often get lost. (There will also be a film festival happening in a different building nearby, which may or may not help – if you get to that building instead, you are within 2 minutes of the conference.)

From the train station, it takes 10 – 15 minutes to get to Auxilia.

There is an overall map of Maynooth at Getting off at the train station, make sure you exit through the station building, and then turn left to take the footbridge over the canal. If you turn right and just keep going straight, you will curve around the canal, go down an often busy lane beside a pub and a police station, then across the road at the traffic lights and past a string of shops. Keep going (over another bridge) and turn left around the shopping centre. Go down this road for a hundred meters or so and cross at the pedestrian lights (you can see a footbridge over the road ahead).

If you go through the gap in the wall you are now on the north campus. There is a map online at On this map, this entrance brings you in around the P in the top right-hand corner of the map. The footpath divides in two almost immediately: take the left-hand fork until you come to the internal road, and then follow that around to your right. Take the first turn left off this road (past what is currently a building site) and Auxilia is the first building on the right (you go through a small car park).

For those of you staying in Maynooth, you may find the map at useful.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sunday bus tour: Tara and Loughcrew

Conference participants are invited to join us on an optional bus trip on Sunday, November 1st which will take in the Hill of Tara and Loughcrew megalithic cemetery, both in Co. Meath.
The Hill of Tara, currently in the news because of protests over the building of the M3 motorway through the Tara / Skryne valley, was a sacred site from Neolithic times until the Celtic period, with surviving monuments including a passage tomb, several ring barrows, standing stones, a cursus, and a hilltop enclosure. In early medieval times it was used for the coronation of High Kings and figures in various legends; it was a key site for Irish cultural nationalism and remains important for archaeological research, popular interest and pagan groups.

Loughcrew is the largest of Ireland's four megalithic cemeteries, with over 30 Neolithic passage tombs spread over two hillsides. It is noted for its petroglyphs, including those inside Cairn T, which is aligned so that the sun illuminates these on the equinoxes (see for a video). Wewill have access to the inside of this cairn.

The bus leaves Dublin city centre at 9 am, with a pickup in Maynooth at 9.45 (exact locations TBA). After visiting Tara, we will have lunch in the recently-restored Loughcrew Gardens ( After visiting the Loughcrew Cairns, we will return to drop people off inMaynooth around 5.30, at Dublin Airport around 6.30 for those needing to catch a flight, and Dublin city centre around 7 pm.

Price €15, €10 for students / unwaged / OAPs with ID (lunch not included).

Bookings can be made in advance through Olivia Cosgrove <> or at the conference.