Category: Previous Lectures

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Roger Casement & the Irish Language
Prof. Nollaig MacCongáil

Roger CasementSir Roger Casement presents us with one of the most interesting case-studies of the whole range of Irish history at the beginning of the last century. This lecture explored Casement’s introduction to, preoccupation and affinity with, and support for the Irish language and its speakers and promoters from the beginning of the last century until his death.

A native of Derry City, Prof. Mac Congáil received his Ph.D. at Queens University, Belfast in 1974. Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the National University of Ireland in Galway from 1994 to 2000, he has been Registrar and Deputy President since than. He has been author/editor of 23 publications, specializing in the areas of regional literature (especially Donegal), dialectology, modern Irish grammar, translation studies, bibliographical studies, history of Irish newspapers, history of Gaelic Colleges.… Read the rest

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William Bald in Connacht
by Paul Duffy

William Bald (1789 – 1857), Surveyor, Cartographer, and Civil Engineer par excellence was appointed at twenty years of age as Director of the Trigonometric Survey of County Mayo. His finished map, in twenty five sheets, is considered to be the finest county map ever produced. Bald also undertook work for the Bogs Commissioners in South Mayo and County Roscommon as well as estate surveys for private clients.… Read the rest

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Round Tower at Annaghdown
by Jessica Cooke

The Irish Annals say that in 1238 a round tower was built at the monastery of Annaghdown – the last recorded construction of such a building.

However when Oscar Wilde’s father, the surgeon, antiquarian, and writer Sir William Wilde went looking for it in the 1800s, the tower, or any remains of it, had vanished.

The lost’ round tower of Annaghdown will be the subject of the first Galway Archaeological and Historical Society talk of 2014, which takes place this Monday at 8pm in the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road.… Read the rest

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Connacht incastellated:
pre-Norman and Anglo-Norman
castles west of the Shannon
By Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe

Native pre-Norman kings of Connacht are known to have incastellated their lands from at least the 1120s. A more sustained period of castle-building followed the Anglo-Norman conquest of Connacht in 1235, most of it driven by Anglo-Norman lords from other parts of the Irish colony.  This lecture reviewed the linguistic, historical and archaeological evidence for these processes.… Read the rest

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Judging Irish neutrality during the Second World War in an international context: a comparison with Franco’s Spain by Dr. Barry Whelan

Even before the Flight of the Earls in 1607, Ireland and Spain had been linked by historical events and common associations. The sailors of King Philip II’s Armada Invencible had sought refuge off the west coast in 1588 hopeful that the native Irish antipathy towards Britain and the shared religious faith of Catholicism would establish a lasting friendship between Ireland and Spain. Fast forward to the twentieth century and little had changed. Both nations still shared territorial grievances with Britain – the Six Counties in an Irish context, Gibraltar in a Spanish. Both societies were fervently Catholic and rooted in traditional conservative values. Equally striking was the similarity between the two leaders of both nations. Eamon de Valera and Francisco Franco were two towering political figures in their time who strove to apply an antediluvian vision for their respective countries. It is the aim of this paper to investigate and contrast another similarity between Ireland and Spain and one that had a profound effect on the society and international standing of both nations for years to come – the shared experience of neutrality. Using archival research undertaken in Dublin and Madrid this paper focused on the common reasons why both chose neutrality over belligerency, whether the Hague Convention that defined the responsibilities of a neutral power were properly implemented and whether neutrality oscillated in both nations as the war ebbed and flowed. In concluding this paper an assessment of the role both leaders played in the formulation and application of their respective neutral policies will be compared that will add to the historical debate on neutrality during the Second World War.… Read the rest

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“An Aerial perspective of some
heritage sites in the West of Ireland”
by Dr. Eamonn O’Donoghue

Dr Eamonn O’Donoghue presented a talk on his ongoing archaeological aerial survey in West of Ireland on Monday January 14th at the Harbour Hotel. The main focus will be on the Barony of Clare, Co Galway referring to the 1901 paper of Col JP Nolan in the first Journal of Galway Archaeology and History Society and exploring the landscape surrounding Castles for evidence of preceding and associated occupation.

Aerial survey reveals a great richness of archaeological remains in the vicinity of many heritage sites throughout Connacht but continued destruction may result in lost research opportunity.  While new developments in LIDAR and Satellite imaging are transforming landscape study, traditional oblique aerial photography remains a valuable adjunct for exploring the contextual environs of known sites. It also allows a cost effective method to revisit areas of special interest in varying light and seasonal conditions. This presentation also looked at a variety of specific sites in the West of Ireland outside Clare Barony and introduced some recent discoveries.… Read the rest

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The Medieval Irish immram
and the West of Ireland”
by An tOllamh Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha.

The west of Ireland, and the Galway coastal region in particular, may stake a special claim to the medieval Irish Voyage Tale or immram (Modern Irish iomramh).  Typically, the seafarers in these Voyage Tales set out on their perilous journeys on the great ocean from somewhere in the west such as Inis Mór or Kinvara, having taken counsel from a holy man such as Éinne of Aran. They see marvels and have many uncanny experiences on their journeys, and some of them never return home.  For whom, and by whom, were these Voyage Tales written?  how did the reality of seafaring in the west of Ireland intersect with these narratives?  what is their modern legacy?  These and other questions were addressed in a lecture by Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, professor of Old and Middle Irish at NUI, Galway.… Read the rest

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Connemara – Early Monastic Heritage
by Rev. Anthony Previté

The Talk to Galway Archaeological & Historical Society was an illustrated and abridged survey and background of some of the 56 Early Christian Sites that are to be found on our offshore islands, Connemara and the Corrib Country.

Following a varied career in the commercial world Anthony Previté was ordained in 1988 in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Galway, where he served as curate until his appointment as rector of Clifden, Dean of Tuam and Archdeacon of Tuam. He has his origins across Co Galway from Oughterard to Merlin Park to Ballinsaloe. He has also lived and worked in England, the West Indies and West Germany, but is now retired and lives in Oughterard.… Read the rest

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The History of St. Mary’s College, Galway
by Peadar O’Dowd

As a contribution to the centenary celebrations of St. Mary’s College, Galway, former past pupil, Peadar O’Dowd, who is editing a history of the college, delivered a lecture entitled, “The History of St. Mary’s College” to the Galway Archaeological & Historical Society on Monday, 8th October. The lecture will covered aspects of St. Mary’s vast contribution to West of Ireland life since its specific foundation as the diocesan college for Galway in 1912.  The lecture will also include a short history of the initial St. Mary’s College, which operated in West House off St. Helen’s Street, Galway, between 1844 and 1849.

Mr. O’Dowd, contributes the heritage column to ‘The Connacht Sentinel’ and is the author of several books on the history of Galway, including his latest volume, ‘The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora – An Illustrated History”.… Read the rest

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