Summer Talks in the National Library of Ireland 2016: Liam Breen – A history of Deaf Culture in Ireland.



The education of the Deaf has been important to the development of the Deaf community, which traces back to several centuries.

In 1816, Dr Charles Orpen opened a school the Claremont Institute for Deaf and Dumb in Glasnevin, Dublin. The educaiton of Protestant and Catholic children together, prompted the RC church to found the Catholic Institute for Deaf and Dumb in 1845.

In 1846 St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls was founded in Cabra in 1846, and in 1857, St. Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys was founded also in Cabra.

This talk journeys through the moving development of Deaf education in Ireland from the 19th Century to the present. The sources of the account were from the vast collection of artefacts, materials and records by the dedicated team of Deaf Heritage Centre.


Liam Breen is a native of Sneem,Co Kerry. He is current Chairperson of the Deaf Heritage Centre (DHC), which he helped to found it in 1999. He obtained a certificate in archival skills from Maynooth University, which allowed him to undertake the careful collection and storage of all available artefact, materials and records in the DHC exhibition and archives as well as creation of library. He regularly provides guided tours of the DHC and lectures of Deaf history to both Deaf and hearing people.

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