Dublin, 29-30 June!

In a bit more than two weeks, it’ll be time for the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin. It’s going to be excellent, you should go!

I know there has been some concern that Michael Nugent has been enabling certain abusers to mouth off, but as Ophelia mentions, we’ve been talking about it behind the scenes. We haven’t resolved all of our differences by a long shot, and there are still some substantial disagreements, but, and this is an important point of agreement, none of those differences are to be the subject of the conference, which is going to be tightly focused on women’s rights. We might be having some interesting arguments in the bar afterwards, but none of that will be on the podium.

Also, don’t forget that the conference is the work of Atheist Ireland and the always awesome Jane Donnelly, not just Michael Nugent. When Ophelia says now that she has much more confidence in the work of the conference, she has good reason. It think it’s going to be very productive and successful.

One other interesting observation. You may notice that there are men listed as speakers, including me. I think this is appropriate, since women’s issues should also be men’s issues (and vice versa). However, women clearly have priority here — and the way it’s going to work is that the men will be sprinkled throughout to provide that complementary male perspective, but in every case, women will be in the majority on all of the panels. We guys will be very careful not to talk over the women or to launch into mansplaining mode, I hope. The audience can be encouraged to fling rotten fruit at us if we do.

So if you’ve been waffling over whether to go, be reassured. It’s going to be good.

Oh, and if you’re stuck in the midwest and flying across the Atlantic is just a journey too far, don’t forget SkepchickCon, the skeptic track at CONvergence, is the weekend after Dublin. You’ll also be entertained by the spectacle of Rebecca Watson and me stumbling about jet-lagged from our European excursion.


  1. =8)-DX says

    Rebecca Watson and me stumbling about jet-lagged

    Aha! More proof of the inseparable nature of PZ-RW! Pity I can’t afford to go to any of these conferences =(.

  2. says

    Oh, and if you’re stuck in the midwest and flying across the Atlantic is just a journey too far

    I’ll be flying across the South China Sea and a good chunk of Asia, but nothing is too far to support the goals of this conference, which as you say, will be awesome and productive. And I’m more than happy to shut up and listen and learn, and let the women and their concerns and causes take center stage.

    Ireland is somewhat of a model of how religion poisons everything and is toxic to women, and I’m hoping we can get a strong message out with regards to that by the end of the weekend.

    Agree wholeheartedly wrt to the praise for Jane Donnelly, from what I can see she has done an extraordinary job.

    but, and this is an important point of agreement, none of those differences are to be the subject of the conference

    I do have a problem with that. Not that I’m not happy and prepared to ignore Vacula and any slymers roaming about at the Alex, but in the sense that it would seem to be non-trivial and somewhat important that a movement that wants to send out a strong signal pro empowering women through secularism, should be on the same page wrt empowering women through secularism. But there are currently people flying under the banner of atheism/skepticism who do reject this basic premise. That should not be a taboo subject.

  3. says

    Rorschach: I agree that it is an important discussion to have…but not at this conference. This event has a clearly defined goal of producing a consensus statement on the rights of women, and I will set aside other issues for the purpose of seeing that done.

    But I told Michael to expect some bar arguments.

  4. smhll says

    We guys will be very careful not to talk over the women or to launch into mansplaining mode…

    If this were a television show and I were a secret agent, I’d be somewhat tempted to set up video cameras in the bar and measure exactly how much men are silenced. (To be ethical, I suppose I wouldn’t use hidden cameras.)

  5. Sili says

    Since I’m going, I’ve decided to stay the week.

    Suggestions for where to go and what to see are most welcome, so I won’t end up staying in my hotel watching telly.

    NB: I can’t drive, so that puts some limits on my mobility.

  6. says

    Suggestions for where to go and what to see are most welcome

    I took walks to the port and river from the hotel last time, I even had breakfast in the city in designated food outlets. I got sick as a dog and spent 2 weeks on antibiotics. So this time, brekkie in the hotel, and ventures outside strictly only if necessary. Naturally, it can all be blamed on Rebecca Watson.

  7. says

    Me, I’m glad the harassment stuff is off the table at the conference (off it in the sense that it was never on it). It’s not as if there’s not plenty to talk about in relation to Ireland and women and secularism.

  8. says

    Well I don’t think you would if you tried it. With street view, you can find the places that have 360 degree photos, and drop yourself down in a chosen spot and look all around you. You get a real sense of what it would look like to be standing there. In Dublin that’s pretty much every street, and you can go into the grounds of Trinity College and look around.

  9. kieran says

    Botanic gardens are a bus ride away, Guinness brewery tour is good, a wander around trinity is free as are most of the museums and galleries in Dublin. We’ve had our summer (one and half weeks) so bring a rain coat or an umbrella. The hop on hop off tour of Dublin is also good.

  10. Funny Diva says

    Google Maps has the street view functionality, too, Sili! Good luck and have extra fun for me!

  11. birgerjohansson says

    If you are a Luddite, you should travel to Ireland with a Vickers Vimy.

    And if you run into hungry aliens* on Ireland, remember to stay plastered.

    Good luck in Dublin!

    *as per the film “Grabbers”.

  12. latsot says

    Looking forward to it. We’re staying the week too, but we’re hiring a car and planning to tour about a bit after the conference. I’ve been in Dublin and Belfast quite often, but I’ve never seen any of the Irish countryside, which seems like a crime.

    Sili, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Dublin, but if you go to the National Leprechaun Museum I will HUNT YOU DOWN.

  13. Sili says

    Shouldn’t be too hard, latsot, if we’re both there.

    Can I ask for a lift, or are you sleeping around?

  14. latsot says


    Apparently we are heading to somewhere near Galway. If you’re heading in that direction, you’re more than welcome to a lift. If I remember correctly, that journey goes more or less straight across Ireland from east to west, but we might take some detours if they look like fun.

    Anyway, by all means come along if you like. Either way, I’m sure we’ll find you in the bar.

  15. Sili says

    Thanks, but I’ve booked a room in Dublin all week. I was just wondering if you’d keep a base in city and return daily.

    But I’m sure we’ll get to talk over a stout so you can mark out places of interest on a map for me.

  16. latsot says

    Sili, nod.

    Ophelia’s suggestion of just walking around the place is a good one. You’ll find plenty to see and do. But it would be cool to meet up and talk about it, see you there.

  17. says

    I’ve been to Dublin a couple of times now, and I tried that “just walking around” thing, but there’s a pub on every corner! Serving Guinness on tap!

    So “walking around” is typically, “half a block, now let’s get some refreshment.”

    Also, the hotel isn’t that big, the hotel bar is roomy and comfortable, so it’s really easy to meet up with other conference attendees.

  18. says

    Ooh, and Galway was my favorite place in Ireland. When I got there it was gray and rainy, and there was a lovely harbor with a lot of chop, and it felt just like home.

  19. says

    Galway is the best!

    PZ, while you are there, take the ferry out to the islands. Head off down the nearest country lane and seek out the cottage of one of the local knitters. They are incredibly awesome and sell Aran sweater/ jerseys for not too much money. You have not lived until you have worn such a jersey. Also, they have a very fine pub.

    (They have magical runes woven into the wool. Use this power wisely.)

  20. latsot says

    PZ is right. Going into Dublin pubs isn’t fun at all. And there are hardly any pubs in Dublin. Sorry, it’s going to be a difficult business for everyone concerned.

    But as PZ says, nothing wrong with the hotel bar. It’s not even very expensive. And there are a couple of good bars and restaurants just down the road.

  21. says

    Also, the hotel isn’t that big, the hotel bar is roomy and comfortable, so it’s really easy to meet up with other conference attendees.

    You can even see the elevators from the bar. Or so I’m told. Look forward to seeing everyone there!

  22. sarah1138 says

    Most of Dublin’s museums are free, which is great considering everything else here is so expensive. The museum of Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks is great, contains really varied collections from Asian tapestries to an exhibition on the history of Irish mercenaries. The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle is amazing. I’d also suggest a visit to Kilmainham Goal, it’s less than ten minutes by bus from the city centre and it has a huge part in Dublin’s history. Newgrange is awesome, a tour there is something everyone should try to do. If it’s sunny (it’s been known to happen) you could hire a bike just inside the entrance to the Phoenix Park, it’s huge, peaceful and home to a fairly tame herd of deer! Tripadvisor lists all of the interesting touristy things on the first couple of pages. The Dublin free event guide (not sure of the policy of posting links here?) is super, it’s published on Friday and lists all the free events for the coming week. There are always a few interesting lectures taking place in Trinity college, the National Gallery or the Science gallery. Free lunchtime concerts are also common. The film institute show free films at lunchtime as well on certain days. Anyway, I realise I’m starting to sound like a tourism rep, so I’ll stop! I’m just excited about the conference. :P

  23. Sili says

    Links are welcome.

    I’d forgotten that hte Beatty Library is in Dublin. Do they have any of their papyri on public display, or are they too rare for that?

    Science Gallery sounds good, and free lectures and concerts are great – not least since I’m missing out on going to the Bath Music Festival as usual.