Event Details
Date: 6 May 2022 - 7 May 2022

Location name: Kilkenny, Ireland

Location address: Kilkenny Convention Centre, Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny


The inaugural meeting of the Irish Head and Neck Society (IHNS) was an overwhelming success on all fronts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the third attempt at hosting the highly anticipated conference in person, with previous cancellations in March and September 2020.

Over 120 delegates attended the meeting, with representation from all of the IHNS subspecialties. A special attendee was Dr Olena Makaruk, a head-and-neck surgeon who joined us from Ukraine, having relocated to Ireland due to the war.

There was a star-studded international guest faculty with speakers from Europe and the United States, including Professor Wojciech Golusinski (Greater Poland Cancer Centre, and President of the European Head and Neck Society), Prof Sefik Hosal (University of Ankara, and General Secretary of the EHNS), Dr Michiel van den Brekel (Netherlands National Cancer Institute), Dr Bhuvanesh Singh (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Dr Nitin Pagedar (University of Iowa) and Professor Jo Patterson (University of Liverpool).

The meeting was opened on Friday morning by Professor Patrick Sheahan, President of IHNS. Highlights of the opening day included the ‘Survivorship Symposium,’ with a poignant opening talk by Mairead O’Sullivan (patient), followed by talks by Professor Jo Patterson, Dr Bhuvanesh Singh, and Dr Nitin Pagedar. This was followed by the ‘Oral Cancer Symposium,’ with state-of-the-art talks on surgical margins by Dr Michiel van den Brekel, and maxillary reconstruction by Professor Conor Barry.

Following this, there was a panel discussion on the systemic treatment of head and neck malignancies, with talks on biomarker testing by Dr Esther O’Regan, and immunotherapy for head and neck cancer by Dr Cliona Grant. The first day concluded with thought-provoking discussions from Professor James Paul O’Neill and Professor Wojciech Golusinski on the new horizons in skin cancer management.

After the day’s proceedings, attendees enjoyed a well-deserved drink at the wine reception and had the chance to mingle with some of our sponsors. The congress dinner took place on Friday night, in the stunning settings of the Lyrath hotel. At dinner, Prof Golusinski, President of the European Head and Neck Society, formally welcomed the IHNS to the European fold.

Proceedings continued on Saturday, with highlights including the ‘Unknown Primary and HPV Symposium,’ the ‘Larynx Cancer Symposium’ and finally, the ‘Stump the Faculty Finale' in which Professor James Paul O’Neill posed some extremely challenging cases to the visiting faculty.

In all, there were 27 oral scientific presentations, and 12 posters. The prize for the best presentation was won by David Curtin, Speech and Language Therapist from Northern Ireland, for his work on the development of a prehabilation clinic.

The meeting was considered to be an overwhelming success in terms of attendance, multidisciplinary engagement, scientific quality and from a social point of view. The venue and the audio-visuals were faultless. Plans are already underway for the second annual meeting to be held in the same venue in May 2023.

Dr Danielle James, ENT SHO, SIVUH, Cork.