The third and final conference of the series of events dedicated to rural Ireland took place on the 26th of September at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk. Co-operation Ireland and the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) were delighted that more than 80 delegates from across the Island attended from local authorities, central government, private sector and academia. The conference was chaired by Conor Skehan, School of Spatial Planning, Technological University Dublin, and with a range of speakers to include:

- Eugene Cummins, Chief Executive, Roscommon County Council; 

- Prof. Des McCafferty, Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick;

- Dr. Karen Keaveney, Assistant professor of rural development in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin;

- Colm McQuillan, Director of Housing Services, Northern Ireland Housing Executive;

- Kevin Murray, Director of Kevin Murray Associates, and a Founding Director of the Academy of Urbanism;

- Pippa Coutts, Policy and development manager, Carnegie UK Trust;

- Caroline Creamer, Director of International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD);

- Dr. David Meredith, Senior Research Officers, Teagasc.

This 1 day conference provided a timely opportunity for dialogue and debate on the future of rural Ireland, particularly our rural towns and villages, whilst looking at experiences and best practice at a regional and international level. This event considered the current nuances in rural policy and practice, and the imperatives of framing a new narrative for rural Ireland- without losing the 'essence' of place. It further emphasised that a shared challenge for central, regional and local government, together with rural communities, is to co-create vibrant, rural societies that embrace increasingly diverse rural economies and are sustainable into the future. As with previous events in this series, it recognised that framing the future of Rural Ireland requires a cross-disciplinary dialogue that has regard to the realities of 21st Century living, and the impact of this on both the built and natural environment.

Co-operation Ireland and the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD), in conjunction with the All-island Local Authorities Forum, wish to thank all those who contributed to our joint conference. We are most grateful to our funders: the Department for Communities (NI) and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (RoI), without whose support this event would not have been possible.

Conference Brochure- Death By Nostalgic sentiment or a New Narrative for Rural Ireland

At the conference, the proceedings document was launched from the previous conference, held in April 2018:

Rural Society in Transition- Proceedings Document

Presentations from the event: 

Eugene Cummins- Death from Nostalgic Sentiment or a New Narrartive for Rural Ireland

Prof. Des McCafferty- Looking Forward, Not Back; Nostalgia and the Rural Idyll vs Sustainable Futures

Dr. Karen Keaveney- The Rural Narrative- Stuck in Nostalgic Sentiment and Political Opportunism.

Colm McQuilllan- Thinking Rural- Reflecting on the Impact of Rural Proofing on Northern Ireland Policy.

Kevin Murray- Perceiving Futures in the Present: Exploring the Future Creativity of Place

Pippa Coutts- Valuing Towns- People Making the Difference

Caroline Creamer- Breaking Ground- European Approaches to Changing Rural Narratives

Dr. David Meredith- Rural Shrinkage- A New Narrative for Rural Ireland

Conor Skehan- Concluding Remarks- A New Narrative for Rural Ireland