Finance Minister Brian Cowen will launch this year’s Hyde Conference on October 26 th . Details of the programme for this year’s conference were revealed at the programme launch in the Douglas Hyde Centre in Portahard on Saturday last, September 29 th . Alan Titley, author and Professor of Modern Irish at UCC will co-direct the conference. Speaking at the programme launch, Mayor of Roscommon County Council John Kelly said that the conference gives the County Council an opportunity to provides a platform for contemporary Irish language writers in a programme that involves literature, music, folklore and heritage. The conference will examine the collective responsibility of both promoting and developing the Irish language and ask to what extent creative writing contributes to a vibrant minority language. Over the weekend these themes will be explored through panel discussions, lively debates, readings and performances in an informative and entertaining atmosphere. Contributors to the weekend include Professor of Folklore at UCD, Séamas Ó Catháin, Louis De Paor and John Spillane, Aran singer Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola and her father, writer and poet Dara Ó Conaola, writer and publisher Micheál Ó Conghaile, Maighread and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill; Director of Ireland Literature Exchange, Sinéad Mac Aodha as well as Welsh poet and former member of the Arts Council of Wales Meg Elis and Navajo poet Rex Lee Jim. The conference will be held in St. Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen on Friday and Saturday with the Sunday morning lecture at the Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre. The final lecture by Archaeologist, Dr. Kieran O Conor, looks at the medieval archaeology of the Shannon river basin and the field trip that follows observes early settlement patterns on the islands of Lough Key from the comfortable atmosphere of one of the river’s largest pleasure cruisers. The trip also provides the opportunity to visit Roscommon’s award winning flagship tourism project – The Lough Key Experience. Further information on the Douglas Hyde Conference is available from Dónall MacAodha or Philip Delamere on (090) 66 37259/85 or www.roscommonarts.com/hyde.