What is UISCE?,
UISCE, the Irish word for water, pronounced “ishka”, is an acronym for “Understanding Ireland, Socially,
Culturally and Economically”; a platform to help you experience and understand Ireland.
What is the history of UISCE?,
UISCE is the draws together many years work. Since 1980s to the present, UISCE’s founder,
Keith McNair, has been involved in delivering and managing a variety of Irish-based, tourism, community development,
cross-border and cross-community programmes, focussed mostly on young people.
In 1999 he established Discover Sligo as a day-tour and marketing organisation, which also led, in 2001, to
him providing bespoke, charter, all-Ireland educational and recreational group tours.
In 2003, he first published the Discover Sligo magazine, which has become the high-quality “coffee-table”
guide to County Sligo’s tourism, history and recreation; and will soon include North Leitrim in its brief.
Other publications will follow, including a research paper by Jason Gappa, into how Irish Secondary schools
engage with the Peace Process.
Keith’s primary interest is in understanding and taping into the challenges that affect cross-border and
cross-community relations. This led, in 2016, to him adding a special peace studies programme for
emerging leaders, called UISCE Leaders that focuses on the challenges within the peace process. Today,
UISCE offers three peace-studies programmes:
1. UISCE 1, based largely on Ireland’s East coast, covering Dublin to Belfast;
2. UISCE 2, on the West coast, covering L’Derry to Enniskillen and Sligo/Leitrim; and
3. UISCE Scholars, being opportunities for students who wish to research aspects of the conflict and
What is the vision of UISCE?
To understand our story, and how it connects with today, to equip us to purposefully shape tomorrow.
Ireland is an especially scenic island, possessing beautiful landscapes. It offers much we can explore and
enjoy and from which we can learn; from pre-Christian, through early-Christian periods right up to the
present day; a rich culture and often turbulent history that comprises seemingly intractable conflict.
Yet, in the same way that water can transform the greatest obstacle, a central perspective of UISCE is the
question of how we engage with such obstacles, or “resistance”.
When a person or organisation sets out to achieve an objective it often can encounter opposition or
“resistance”. Our response usually follows one of two routes, viz. “fight” or “flight”. In other words, the
challenges or resistances encountered will either be opposed or avoided.
UISCE holds that there is a third response, namely, to creatively and sensitively explore the resistance, to
understand it, to identify what it might contain, and to work with it for the common good, to radically
transform an apparently intractable situation.
What are UISCE’s objectives?
UISCE’s objectives are:
1. To assist people interested in experiencing and learning from Ireland, through tourism,
recreation and education with information, tours and accommodation.
2. To understand and work with resistances within the peace process to build peace.
What are the current activities of UISCE?
1. “Off-the-shelf” or bespoke educational tours for students and faculty from secondary schools /
high schools, colleges and universities, as well as community, cultural and theological organisations;
with particular focus on literature, history, performing arts and study abroad programmes.
2. Recreational and cultural tours for the members of any group or organisation interested in
discovering more about Ireland. This can include groups such as families, social organisations, golf tours
or even choral tours.
3. Peace studies programmes:
-UISCE 1, a 6-day East of Ireland peace studies and leadership development programme
UISCE 2, a 10-day West of Ireland peace studies and leadership development programme
UISCE 3, a month-long research peace studies programme.
1. Publications, specifically the Discover Sligo magazine, Discover Sligo website and social media.
2. Volunteer and scholarship programmes for under-graduates, post-graduates and other adults to
research components relating to Ireland’s peace process as well as local history.
3. TheTown House B&B , Manorhamilton, which is an ideal base from which to discover the
northwest of Ireland, with expert assistance from UISCE founder, Keith McNair and other UISCE faculty.
4. Engagement with strategic cross-border and cross-community projects such as Leitrim County
Council Peace Partnership, The proposed Sligo-Leitrim-Enniskillen Greenway.
What are the future activities of UISCE?
UISCE at present is working towards:
1.The development of a residential campus in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.
2.The next magazine edition and on-line media, to become “Discover Sligo & North Leitrim”.
3.Publishing research into How Irish Secondary Schools Engage with The Peace Process.
4.A variety of strategic projects that help build cross-border and cross-community understanding and
appreciation of difference, espcially at leadership level.
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