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The Visions of Eoin MacNeill
By Dr. Mary Harris.

Presented as a collaborative event between NUIG/GAHS, and part of NUI Galway’s commemorative programme “A Nation RisingÉire á Múscailt”

Eoin-MacNeillFew figures in early twentieth-century Ireland were as interested in the nation’s past or as optimistic for its future. As scholar, Gaelic Leaguer, and advanced nationalist, MacNeill’s enthusiasm and drive were remarkable. Nevertheless, his scholarly insights were not matched by political acumen. While he contributed significantly to the forces leading to the 1916 Rising, his attempts to forestall it proved highly controversial. His role in the ill-fated Boundary Commission further tarnished his image but his return to full-time scholarship yielded rich results.  This talk will examine MacNeill’s perceptions of Ireland’s past, his role in promoting the language and his later move into the political sphere. It will consider his motivations, calculations and miscalculations, as well as later attempts to vindicate him.

Dr. Mary N. Harris is senior lecturer in History at NUI Galway.  Her teaching and research interests focus on early twentieth-century political and cultural history and Northern Ireland issues. She is co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s 1916 commemorative programme and a member of the government’s Expert Advisory Group on the Decade of Centenaries.… Read the rest

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The Rising Remembered – by Mr. Paul Duffy.

This talk will deal with how the Rising has been commemorated over the years and will be illustrated with a variety of commemorative postcards issued within weeks of the event, as well as philatelic and numismatic material issued from 1931 onwards.

Paul Duffy is a retired litigation and forensic engineer.

Survivors of the 1916 RisingRead the rest

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Friars of the mendicant orders
by Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe

Friars of the mendicant orders – Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and Augustinian – played a central role in the history of medieval Connacht. They arrived in the province while it was being settled by the Anglo-Normans in the thirteenth century, and they were instrumental in the Gaelic resurgence of the late middle ages. In this illustrated lecture their history in Connacht is outlined and the architecture of some of their friaries is explained.

Prof. Tadhg O’Keeffe is former Head of UCD School of Archaeology. One of Ireland’s best-known medievalists, he has published nine books and over 100 papers on aspects of medieval archaeology and history.… Read the rest

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Managing the Windsor of Ireland:
Galway’s town council 1603 to 1653
by Dr. Bríd McGrath

Galway was a very wealthy town in the early 17th century; this paper explores the membership of Galway’s town council, the men who controlled and managed the city in the first half of the 17th. century.  This talk looks at who were the members, how many of them came from which of Galway’s famous tribes, how did they deal with the pressure to appoint protestant mayors and bailiffs, what do we know about these men and their wealth and their role within and outside the city.  The talk is based on Galway’s famous Liber A, the corporation records [see it online] and other material from archives in Ireland and some recently discovered letters from the famous Galway lawyer Patrick Darcy now held in the Huntington Library, California.… Read the rest

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Mayo Archaeology
by Bernard O’Hara

County Mayo has a rich and varied archaeological heritage. To date, over 8,500 monuments for the county have been recorded under 181 classifications on the national Site and Monuments Record database. These monuments represent all eras from the late Mesolithic period to recent times. This illustrated lecture presented examples of the main monument types reflecting change over 6,000 years of human settlement.… Read the rest

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Some Elizabethan sheriffs of County Galway
by Dr. Joe Mannion

The province of Connacht was shired early in 1569, in preparation for the establishment of the provincial presidency later that year. The newly erected county of Galway comprised the territories over which the second earl of Clanrickard exercised some degree of control, nominal or otherwise, and its first sheriff belonged to a collateral branch of the Clanrickard Burke family. The significance of this appointment in Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney’s overall plans to anglicise the western region will be explored in this lecture in the first instance, as will its ultimate responsibility for the initial failure of the presidency. A subsequent change in viceregal policy saw the appointment of outsiders to the shrievalty of County Galway, many of whom apparently abused the position for their own material gain. But they were not alone in doing this, as one of the most notorious sheriffs of the embryonic shire was a native of the town of Galway, who predictably belonged to one of the celebrated fourteen ‘tribes’. The primary sources have not yielded a complete list of the sheriffs who served in the county under Elizabeth, but an assessment of the personalities and tenures of those on record broadens our understanding of the many new challenges faced by the Gaelic Irish of the region during the later Tudor period.… Read the rest

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The Ballinlass evictions, 1846 –

On Friday 13 March 1846, the sub sheriff of Co Galway accompanied by a large force of police constables and a detachment of military, approached the townland of Ballinlass, a townland of some 300 statute acres, situated some two miles to the north east of Mountbellew in Co Galway. The townland was in the ownership of John Netterville Gerrard and his wife Marcella, of Gibbstown House, Navan, Co Meath. The sub sheriff called upon the tenants to render possession ‘and forthwith the bailiffs of Mrs Gerrard commenced the work of demolition’. The evictions were a civil matter – a dispute between landlord and tenants. The presence of such a large contingent of police and military was there in anticipation of a breach of the peace. Possibly because of such a presence, the onlookers and tenants were intimidated and the 61 families, a total of 270 people, were evicted and their homes demolished.… Read the rest

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The Benevolence of a Quaker:
James Hack Tuke and the West of Ireland’

When James Hack Tuke arrived in Ireland in 1846, aged 26 years, with his fellow Quakers, William E. Forster and his father, to provide relief during the Great Famine it marked the start of a close relationship with the West of Ireland which continued for the rest of the century. Tuke displayed both sympathy and empathy for the poor of Connacht and in his pamphlet, A Visit to Connacht in the Autumn of 1847 he condemned the relief operations of the government and the landlords which brought him into conflict with the leadership of the Society of Friends Central relief Committee. In February 1880 Tuke returned to Ireland during the ‘Forgotten Famine’ of 1879-81’ and touring Donegal and the West of Ireland during the Spring of 1880 was convinced that no improvement had taken place in the intervening period, and poverty and destitution would remain a permanent feature in their lives because of over population and the unviable nature of their holdings. In 1881 he advocated that families be assisted to North America and in 1882 the Tuke Fund was established which sent over 9,500 persons from Connemara and Mayo to Canada and the United States over the following three years, the fares being paid by the British government and the Tuke Committee. In this three year period 15% of the population of Connemara and 14% of Belmullet was assisted. Tuke saw emigration as only a part remedy of the West of Ireland and the economic development of the region also needed to be addressed. While the assisted emigration schemes came to abrupt end in 1884 because of opposition from the Catholic bishops, Parnell and the Irish Parliamentary Party and local shopkeepers Tuke continued to work to improve the position of the people of the west and was instrumental in the establishment of the Congested Districts Board in 1891. His involvement in Connacht was because of his philanthropy and sympathy with the poor, but yet he has been largely written out of history.… Read the rest

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The O’Kellys of Hy Many, 1541-1601:
English Expansion in a Gaelic Lordship
by Dr. Joe Mannion

This lecture charted the advance of anglicisation in the South Connacht lordship of Hy Many in mid-to-late Tudor times. Beginning with the Butler-O’Kelly agreement of 1541 relating to the medieval manor of Aughrim in East Galway, the speaker will outline the major political developments of this crucial period in Irish history, and the strategic response of the leading O’Kelly lords to the determined extension of Tudor rule into their hitherto autonomous lordship. This involved some five decades of collaboration and cooperation with the government officials of the day; however, the ever-increasing demands of the crown and the ultimate failure of some segments of the clan to adapt to the alien English governmental structures led to discontentment and revolt in some parts of Hy Many as the sixteenth century drew to a close. An overview of O’Kelly involvement in the Nine Years War and the momentous battle of Kinsale in 1601 will conclude the presentation.… Read the rest

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