No people’, wrote John Redmond in 1915, ‘can be said to have rightly proved their nationhood … until they have demonstrated their military prowess. Irish nationalists of Redmond’s day, and before, associated bravery on the battlefield with fitness for self-government and found comfort in a heroic narrative that depicted the ‘Irish Brigade’ or ‘Wild Geese’ as an élite corps of shock troops. The lecture will try to explain when, where and why this legend began with particular reference to the day-long street fighting in the Cremona in Lombardy in 1702.
Dr. Pádraig Lenihan lectures in history at NUI Galway. He has written a great deal on early modern military history and Monday night’s talk is based on an article recently written for Irish Historical Studies.
The talk will take place at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway at 8pm Monday 10th February 2020. All are welcome and admission is free of charge.
‘Galway’s Godless College: Language, Religion, Politics and the Kiltimagh Doctor Controversy of 1905’
From its foundation in 1893, among the objectives of the Gaelic League was the provision of certain public services through the medium of Irish to the people of the Gaeltacht. Gaelic League activists succeeded in persuading some local authorities to give preference to Irish speakers in medical appointments in Gaeltacht areas. This was the stated intention when, in 1905, a vacancy arose for a dispensary doctor in the East Mayo village of Kiltimagh. It was presumed that a high-profile Gaelic League activist from Galway, Dr. Séamus Ó Beirn, would be appointed. When it came to make an appointment, however, language policy collided with political and religious considerations, causing Kiltimagh to become the focus of intense local and national media scrutiny, and to provide a test case for Gaelic League policy at the beginning of the last century. This paper will examine the Kiltimagh controversy of 1905.
Dr Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh is a Lecturer in Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University and a native of Kiltimagh. He was educated at NUI Galway, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Edinburgh.
The talk will take place at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway at 8pm Monday 13th January 2020. All are welcome and admission is free of charge.… Read the rest
4. Proposal to amend the rules of the society. The committee of the society shall have to power to co-opt up to two members of the committee in excess of the limit of 12. The newly co-opted members would hold positions until the next AGM. Proposed by Eugene Jordan and approved by the committee Jan 2019
5. Any other business.
The AGM will take place directly after the lecture at approx 9:15.… Read the rest
‘Wilful and wholesale murder’ — war at sea around Ireland, 1914-1918 Dr Mark Phelan
The story of the British Army’s ‘Irish’ divisions during the First World War is nowadays well known, with sites such as the Somme, Messines, and Gallipoli all featuring heavily in the recent centenary commemorations. Yet knowledge of Ireland’s prominent role in the war at sea is limited in comparison, even though the coastal waters of this island were the focal point for Germany’s contentious policy of ‘unrestricted’ submarine warfare. Equally, Ireland provided refuge to the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy – then the largest and most expensive collection of warships ever assembled – while it also became an important base of operations for the U.S. Navy from 1917. This lecture looks at these events in detail, while also recounting the Irish experience of maritime disasters that shocked contemporary opinion, and which played a crucial part in determining the outcome of the First World War.
The lecture will take place at the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway at 8pm on Monday 9th December. Admission is free and All are Welcome to attend… Read the rest
There is no doubt that Dr. Noel Browne is one of Ireland’s most controversial historical political figures and his legacy lingers to this day. He is also one of the country’s most revered politicians enjoying a reputation which he created through lionising himself. However, all that glitters is not gold and even a cursory glance at the evidence reveals that Dr. Browne has taken or was given credit for achievements which were not his to claim. Moreover, he has the fairly unique distinction of having to resign from three political parties, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Clan na Phoblachta. It hints that while he could be charming and charismatic, there was also a cantankerous side, which rubbed many people up the wrong way. Such was his talent for creating enemies that he was once labelled “the master of the art of revenge”. Dr. James Deeny, Chief Medical Advisor to the government wrote “Browne was ruthless and much more calculating that people had thought and indeed possibly vindictive.” As a consequence of Brown’s behaviour, senior officials at the Department of Health drew up procedures intended to protect the staff from Browne.
The historical evidence is at variance with the popular image most of us have of Noel Browne but the time has now come to ask, was Noel Browne the best minister for health or the worst minister for health in the history of the state?
The talk will be given by Eugene Jordan, the President of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Monday 11th November, 8pm at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway. All are welcome to attend and admission is free of charge.… Read the rest
The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Campaign: a search for a new strategy
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the official start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The first casualty of war is the truth and over the decades, the story of what caused the Troubles has been lost to the quagmire of Northern Irish politics. Dr. Mary Harris from the Department of History at NUI, Galway will examine the ways in which groups with different agendas in Northern Ireland took inspiration from international protests in the 1960s and embarked on courses of action with outcomes some had not envisaged. The rapidly changing dynamics of the conflict left leading figures in the movement marginalised despite their considerable idealism, charisma and talents.
Harbour Hotel, Galway 8pm Monday 14th of October 2019 Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.… Read the rest
The first GAHS lecture of the new 2019/20 season will take place on Monday 9th September at the Harbour Hotel.
In medieval times, the saying that ‘a man’s home is his castle’ was a reasonable reflection of reality. This was entirely apposite in the case of the aristocracy and merchant classes whose warrior culture would identify with the defence possibilities offered by castles as residences. Over time, such castles evolved with changes in culture, and the way they were used changed too. Galway’s town castles were no different, and this illustrated talk will explore the evolution of the town castle as demonstrated in the city of the tribes.
A first for GAHS! Despite it being one of the most popular forms of entertainment for many centuries, in our 119 year existence it looks like we have never looked at the history of dancing. Hubert Jennings will guide us on a whistle-stop tour through the ages on the subject of Irish Dance – its changes and development. It will cover the dance masters of the 19th century, their flamboyant demeanour and modus operandi.
The talk will sketch the main social, cultural, economic, religious, political, legal and technological influences brought to bear on the development of our traditional dance and the reciprocal impact on those characteristics of society from the first ceilí in London in 1898 to Riverdance 1994.
There will be an outline on traditional dance development in Galway City from the 1930s and some of the main players who promoted this part of our cultural heritage for recreation and competition.
The lecture will take place at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway on Monday 8th of April at 8pm.
Admission is free of charge and all are welcome to attend.
January 2019 marked the centenary of the inaugural meeting of the first Dáil Éireann. Dr. Séan Ó Duibhir, will discuss the practical, and symbolic, features of the Irish State’s ‘foundation moment’. This lecture will also consider aspects often overlooked within popular history: such as the preparations for the Dáil’s first meeting in the Mansion House on 21 January 1919; the nature and importance of the four documents adopted by the (limited number of) delegates present; and the rationale behind the decision to largely model Ireland’s ‘revolutionary’ parliament on that of the ‘old enemy’ at Westminster.
The lecture will take place at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks, Galway on Monday 11th of March at 8pm.… Read the rest
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