The O'Brien Summer School (TOBSS)

In 2014, Ireland commemorated the millennium of the death of its famous first national monarch, High King Brian Boru. The public events surrounding this brought Irish history and heritage into the limelight and sparked the imaginations and interests of the many thousands of people who enjoyed participating in them.

Building on this, The O’Brien Summer School (TOBSS) founders envisaged and created an educational initiative to make Irish history and heritage more readily accessible to all. Founded by Patrons Lord James and Lady Cheryl O’Brien, TOBSS was supported through its initial stages by a voluntary Management Team comprising the founding patrons along with Lord Inchiquin, Chief of the Name, Conor O’Brien; Professor David Ditchburn, Head of the Medieval History Research Group at Trinity College, Dublin; Moira O’Brien, Board Member of the O’Brien Clan Foundation, Brona Moriarty, Community Liaison Officer at the Killaloe-Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre and Professor Howard Clarke, University College, Dublin. TOBSS expresses great gratitude for the input and practical help received from Team members. In the future, TOBSS founders will seek temporary Management Team members depending on the nature of TOBSS plans and activities.

TOBSS aims to organise non-profit events, on an ad hoc basis, when funds permit, themed around an era or aspect of Irish history. TOBSS long term aim is also to build synergy between those who invest effort into Irish historical matters, including career and hobby historians, heritage access providers, cultural tourism promoters, teachers, students and the general public - to add value to the common understanding of Ireland's extraordinary past and to publish where suitable. TOBSS website now also has a History Blog page where snippets of Irish history will appear.

The inaugural TOBSS event was its First International Symposium, covering ‘The Era of King Brian Boru, 10th-11th centuries’. This took place on 2-3 July 2016 in Killaloe, County Clare, the historic birthplace of King Brian Boru and home to his court. The event included talks from eight renowned experts in the field, an expert-guided field trip to local sites relating to King Brian Boru, a reception and a 'Brian Boru BBQ' with traditional Irish music and medieval mummery.