Keith McNair, Founder, UISCE
UISCE draws together many years work that stem from the 1980s when its founder, Keith McNair, had been involved in delivering and managing a variety of Irish-based tourism, community development, cross-border and cross-community programs, focused mainly on young people.
As a career development in 1999, Keith established Discover Sligo, a day-tour and marketing enterprise which led him to develop bespoke all-Ireland educational and recreational group tours. In 2003, he first published the Discover Sligo magazine, which has become the quality “coffee-table” guide to County Sligo’s tourism, history and recreation, and is now set to include North Leitrim. Other publications will follow, including a research paper by Jason Gappa, from Berkshire School, MA, that explores how Irish secondary schools currently engage with the Irish peace process.
During the course of delivering educational tours in Ireland to US college students, Keith McNair and Jeff Neill, then a visiting teacher from Northfield Mounthermon School, MA, became aware of the potential for exploring how Irish history and the Peace Process connects with contemporary global issues. It was from this that the UISCE Leaders programme was developed for emerging young leaders, with a particular focus on exploring the challenges or “resistance” to peace. This programme was launched in Dublin by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in summer 2016.
As much as possible, UISCE uses Ireland as “an open air classroom” and get students “out and about” to the experience places of significance. Our faculty, or the people we call on to deliver the content of our educational tours, are renowned leaders in their respective fields, and drawn from the full political and social spectrum in Ireland, both mainstream and at either end of the spectrum. Students can be sure of having opportunity to explore, discuss, debate and engage with a wide range of thought and experience.
Our Values and Programmes
Educational & Recreational Tours
Ireland is a world-leading location for a variety of pursuits, including literature, history, geography, archaeology and performing arts. It is well-recognised for outdoor activities, such as golf, hill-walking, and angling. UISCE’s extensive network and knowledge base enables it to offer quality group tours for each of these areas, both for the academic and the more casual traveller.
Keith’s primary interest is in understanding and tapping into the issues that affect cross-border and cross-community relations. In 2016, this led to the provision of a special peace studies program (UISCE Leaders) that provided opportunities for emerging leaders to engage with challenges facing the Irish peace process. Today, UISCE offers three peace-studies program: UISCE East and UISCE West, which explore regional aspects of the conflict, and UISCE Scholars, which provides individuals with research opportunities.
UISCE works closely with client group leaders to design and deliver tour programs that “meet the mark.” UISCE is renowned for its access to a wide spectrum of expertise: local, national, political and social, which distinguished us from the many other tour organisers.
We are glad to enjoy lasting friendship with our client group leaders who often make repeat visits over the years.