Roscommon Castle, the Otherworld
and the True Cross
Prof. Tadgh O’Keeffe
Roscommon Castle’s site and situation have long been a puzzle, as they seem somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that the castle was a fortress intended to keep the native Irish at bay. This lecture offers a new perspective on the context of the castle’s construction and suggests that the explanation for its location involves both the Táin Bó Cúailnge and the relic of the True Cross.
Prof. Tadhg O’Keeffe is Head of UCD School of Archaeology. One of Ireland’s best-known medievalists, he has published five books and over 150 papers on aspects of medieval archaeology and history.
Monday 11th February 2019 at 8 pm
Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway
… Read the rest
Galway and the Spanish Armada
The first GAHS lecture of 2019 will be given by Peadar O’Dowd who takes a look at the sorry events surrounding the fate of the men and boys of the Spanish Armada in Galway. Around 300 Spanish sailors were murdered by the English authorities and buried in a mass grave at Forthill Cemetery. It is now marked by a plaque unveiled by the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland in 1988 on the 400th anniversary of the atrocity. The lecture will be followed by the society’s Annual General Meeting. The event is free of charge and all are welcome. We hope to see you there.
Extract from Hardiman’s History of Galway.
In order the more effectually to satiate his thirst for their blood, and to seize their rumoured treasures, the lord deputy himself [Sir William Fitz-Williams] made a journey into Connaught, where this sanguinary man arrived in June, 1589, and on the 20th of that month he came to Galway. Sir Murrough O’Flaherty, William Burke, the blind Abbot, and several others of the principal inhabitants of Mayo and Iar Connaught, came in and submitted; but were put under conditions to give hostages, disperse their forces, deliver up all the Spaniards and Portuguese to whom they had given refuge, pay fines, and make amends for all spoils which they had taken. Fitz-Williams, while he remained in town, caused several of the Spaniards, delivered up on this occasion, to be beheaded near St. Augustin’s monastery on the hill, amidst the murmurs and lamentations of the people and, having thus wreaked his vengeance on these unfortunate men, he departed for Dublin.
In all, 12 ships were wrecked on the coast of Connacht and c. 1,100 survivors were put to death.
Monday 14th January 2019 at 8pm
Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway
GAHS Annual General Meeting
A number of vacancies have arisen on the committee if you would like to serve on the GAHS committee please send a short email saying that you’d like to put your name forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you with more information.
The AGM will be held directly after the lecture on Monday 14th. All are welcome to attend.… Read the rest
World War I, its causes re-evaluated
“The Great War was entirely England’s fault”?
The next GAHS talk commemorates the centenary of the end of World War I and will look at the series of events which led to its outbreak. The origins of the war lie far previous to the now traditional explanations which are mainly confined to the 37 days of the July Crisis in 1914. The centenary of the war and related events has attracted much scholarly attention of late which has brought to the public attention that the “official” explanations of the causes of the war bear little resemblance to what actually happened. Some scholars have been particularly brave in challenging the conventional view like British historian Prof Niall Ferguson. The publisher’s summary of his book states, “The Pity of War makes a simple and provocative argument: the human atrocity known as the Great War was entirely England’s fault.” Challenging convention is an endeavour fraught with danger as English historian Dan Snow can attest due to receiving hate mail after arguing that glorifying the “awfulness and tragedy” of WWI belittles the service of every British soldier. There are also serious gaps in the popular literature as the authors of most books on the subject of the World War I, pay little heed to the actual causes of the war beyond the July Crisis and are in a great hurry to jump into a trench and get stuck into battles, tactics and gore.… Read the rest
Ruaidhri O Flaithbheartaigh and his books.
Prof. Richard Sharpe
“Roderick O’Flaherty, in Irish, Ruaidhri Ó Flaithbheartaigh (1629–1716/18), was an Irish aristocrat whose father Hugh held the castle and manor of Moycullen, Co. Galway. He was an eminent historian and collector of Irish manuscripts and, as author of Ogygia seu rerum hibernicarum chronologia (London 1685), he enjoyed a high reputation for his learning in the profound antiquities of Ireland. For this reason, the great Welsh scholar Edward Lhwyd (1660–1709), when touring Ireland in 1700, visited Ó Flaithbheartaigh at his home in Cois Fhairrge, Co. Galway.… Read the rest
The ‘auld stock’ take on the ‘strawmen’:
the 1918 General Election and political change in Galway Town
This lecture explores the key political personalities, rivalries and events in Galway Town during the divisive General Election campaign of 1918 which saw Sinn Fein take all four seats in County Galway. The rivalry between the Connacht Tribune’s editor, Tom Kenny, and his republican rival in the Galway Express, George Nichols; the departure of Galway’s outgoing MP, Stephen Gwynn; the Conscription crisis; and the new republican candidates will all be discussed in detail.… Read the rest
The re-edition of Amhráin agus Dánta Raiftearaí,
Dúghlas de Híde’s celebrated collection of the poems of Anthony Raftery
The year 1933 saw the publication of Abhráin agus Dánta an Reachtabhraigh, a collection of the songs and poems of the blind wandering poet Anthony Raftery, a native of Mayo who died near Craughwell, Co. Galway, in 1835. The book was the work of a remarkable, pioneering Irish scholar and patriot, Douglas Hyde (Dúglas de Híde); five years later, An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (to use the pen-name by which he was widely known) would be chosen as first President of Ireland. That 1933 book was an expanded and updated version of his bilingual work, Abhráin atá Leagtha ar an Reachtúire; or Songs Ascribed to Raftery, which first appeared in 1903.… Read the rest
Votes for Women and Political Citizenship: suffrage campaigners in the West of Ireland.
Mary Clancy from NUI, Galway examined how local and visiting suffrage organisers worked to claim political power and to define citizenship for women. It drew upon suffrage life-stories– such as that of Mary Donovan O’Sullivan, long-time editor of the journal – arguing that the campaign opened up new spaces for women’s political voices and actions, in Galway and further afield. In so doing, the talk showed how the West of Ireland influenced a social and political question of international significance.
The lecture took lace at the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway on Monday 10th September 2018 at 8pm.
Note, that all GAHS talks are held on the second Monday of the month during the season.
… Read the rest
Cherishing all the children of the nation equally? :
The NSPCC in Galway, 1916-1922
Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna will examine the activities of the Galway branch of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, in the period between the 1916 Rising and the establishment of the Free State. Established in 1911, with a remit encompassing the city and county, the branch’s first Secretary observed that the NSPCC “asked for but four things for children: adequate food, adequate clothing, a roof over their heads, and medical aid when necessary. “ But the attainment of such aspirations proved problematic in a Galway that was experiencing dire poverty and wretched conditions, with children the most vulnerable members of society. Appalling cases of neglect and child abandonment dealt with by the branch Inspector will be examined in the context of the aspirations of the NSPCC, and the founding fathers of the Republic in the 1916 Proclamation, to “cherish all the children of the nation equally”.
All lectures take place at the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway at 8pm
on the second Monday of the month during the season.… Read the rest
A reluctant guest of His Majesty
Some student days of Prof. Pat Larkin at UCG – 1920.
Once “detained at his majesty’s pleasure”, Professor Pat Larkin B.A., was the second holder of the Chair of Education at University College Galway (1925-67) and College Bursar (1946-65). Much research will be needed in order to do justice to his very considerable and lengthy contribution to the development of that department. His appointment as Professor was particularly welcomed by the students in 1925. The U.C.G. Annual of 1925/6, a publication of the Literary and Debating Society, wrote of him in its chronicle: ‘Remembering the active part which, as a student, he took in College affairs, we cordially congratulate him, and wish him every success in his new sphere of activity’. Alone in what was even then a complex Department, he built well on the foundation laid by Prof. Ó Ceallaigh before him. His contribution was essential in the success of the new Degree courses for … Read the rest
Angels and Angel Makers – A history of Child Protection.
Rhonda Willis was the last ‘Angel Maker’ to be hung in Britain in 1907. 129 years earlier in 1778, the King of Sweden decreed that no person convicted of infanticide was to be executed; instead, they were to be “perpetually imprisoned with a public whipping, once every year on the day upon which the crime was committed”. In times past, disease was also a big killer of infants but nowadays it is almost incomprehensible for us to believe that with our advanced technology and 21st century medicine, babies died at UK NHS hospitals at a higher rate than at the now infamous St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. One NHS hospital had a mortality rate of 43%, massively higher than any other maternity hospital in the UK.… Read the rest