The conference takes place in the small town of Leuven in Belgium. Leuven is the home of one of the oldest universities of Europe: the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, founded in 1425. Hence, our mediaeval town is littered with old university buildings and crowded with students. The venue for the conference is one such old building: the ‘Irish college’, founded by Fransiscan friars in 1607.
It has recently been refurbished as a conference centre and hotel (The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe) and we are happy to be able to host the conference in such a beautiful building. All the paper sessions, lectures and readings will take place here and you can also book a room here.
From Brussels Airport (Zaventem)
After you have collected your luggage and gone through customs into the arrivals hall, go to your right towards the escalators. Take the escalator down to Level -1 where you find the train station. There are currently three platforms and ten ticket desks. A ticket to Leuven costs €8.90. If you are buying a return ticket (€17.80) you will need to specify your return date. You will be given two separate tickets for a return ticket. The train to Leuven usually leaves from platform 3. On weekdays, trains to Leuven leave at 18 minutes and 39 minutes past the hour. During weekends and public holidays, there is only one train per hour at 37 minutes past the hour. If you are running late and there is a queue for tickets, just board the train. However, you must indicate to the conductor as you board the train that you don’t have a ticket and you wish to pay on the train. The journey is 14 minutes and Leuven is the first stop. The destination of the train on the screen will say either ‘Leuven’ or ‘Landen’.
On arrival in Leuven, make your way to the front entrance of the station where you will find the taxis. Depending on which platform you arrive, you may have to walk through an underground passage. If so, follow the passage uphill and turn left into the main square. The main entrance to the train station and the taxis will now be to your left, beside the war memorial. A taxi journey to the Irish College should cost no more than €10. If you wish to walk it should take about 20-25 minutes (see directions below)
From Leuven train station
Take Bondegenotenlaan (the big shopping street) which is the long straight street right ahead of you as you come out of the station. Continue on this road and you will see St Peter’s Cathedral and the town hall as you approach the end of the street. As you enter the Grote Markt- you will see the Town Hall in front of you. Keep St Peter’s Cathedral on your right and the town hall on your left.
Exit the square at the far left corner, with café The Capital right opposite you. You will then pass the McDonalds on your left. You are now in the Oude Markt (the Old Square). In the Oude Markt, walk to the very end and turn right onto a short downhill slope and then turn left onto Parijsstraat. Follow Parijsstraat- you’ll see ‘‘Cafe t’Vervolg’’ at the end of the street. Walk towards this until you come to Pater Damiaanplein (small square on your right).
Go to the bottom of the square and take the small street on your left-hand side. The Leuven Institute is the first building on the left. It is a redbrick building with a glass door. You will need to ring the bell on the right-hand side to gain entry.