Hedge Schools Beyond the Shrubbery – Episode 3 – Bards and Monks


This episode concentrates on Bardic Schools, which existed right up until the late seventeenth century, and Monastic schools, which disappeared during the Henrician Reformation. These institutions were sources of inspiration for Hedge Schools. With that in mind, we will discuss their origins, day-to-day operations, and eventual demise.

Rita Larkin is a retired secondary school teacher of English and French and has an MA in the History of Art from UCD. Rita is a researcher on the Royal Irish Academy Art and Architecture of Ireland, Vol lll Sculpture. Art and Architecture of Ireland, published by Yale University Press and edited by Paula Murphy, is an authoritative and fully illustrated account of the art and architecture of Ireland from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century. Rita also contributed to The Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle: An Architectural History, edited by Campbell and Derham OPW, in a chapter titled ‘One guinea per head more’. The figurative ornament of Edward and John Smyth.



Dr Jimmy O’Connell is a graduate of UCD. He holds an MSc from Loyola College, Maryland and a PhD from DCU, Dublin. He has been writing and performing his work for many years and in many venues. Jimmy has been involved in the Smock Alley Scene + Heard festival in Shakespearian inspired productions, The Seven Ages – Like it or Not and A Fishy Tale of Sound and Fury. His poetry has appeared in The Baltimore Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Stepaway Magazine, Flare 7 & 10, A New Ulster, The Wexford Bohemian, The Ken Saro-Wiwa inspired Collection, Voices from the Land, & Books Beyond Borders Anthology. A collection of his poetry Although it is Night was published by Wordonthestreet in 2013. He recently published his first novel, Batter the Heart, see: buythebook.ie. His latest novel Death in Garrydangan set in a small village in Midland Ireland was published in April 2023. He is also working on a play called, The Trials of Margaret Cusack, based on the life of The Nun of Kenmare.

Series devised and produced by Berni Dwan with additional production support from Declan McGlade. Made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.