Previous Lectures

March 2012

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John O’Donovan of Slieverue
by Professor Michael Herity

Professor Herity’s lecture dealt with O’Donovan’s life and achievements, with some reference to Galway.

John O’Donovan (1806-61)
JOHN O’DONOVAN was born in July 1806. A man of rare ability, he travelled in the years 1834 to 1841 as place-names officer of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland in every one of the 32 counties except Antrim, Tyrone and Cork, deciding the standard spelling of the names that would appear on the new six-inch map.  His resultant informal letters are marked by rare insight and brilliant wit and have been described as “a rich source of hints about Irish social and economic problems, cultural and religious preoccupations, departmental and scholarly relationships, the texture of life in town and countryside, and the hazards of travel in the 1830s.”  Plagued by disabling attacks of rheumatic fever all his adult life, he suffered a last attack in December 1861 and quietly breathed his last on December 10th. (more…)

Previous Lectures

January 2012

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Recent Excavations at Claregalway
by Mr. Brian Mac Domhnaill

The talk presented the preliminary results of an archaeological excavation undertaken at Claregalway, Co. Galway, on behalf of the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Galway County Council. The works were undertaken in advance of flood relief works on the River Clare. Finds included worked bone, glass, ceramic roof and floor tile, pottery, and range of metal and stone artefacts. Brian will outline the excavation process and how ongoing specialist input and scientific dating have contributed to post-excavation analysis and reporting. (more…)

Previous Lectures

November 2011

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History of the Diocese of Galway
by Peadar O’Dowd

A Lecture entitled, ‘History of the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora’ was delivered by Mr. Peadar O’Dowd to the Galway Archaeological & Historical Society in the Harbour Hotel, Galway on Monday, 14th November, 2011.  The lecture contained some details of the Early Christian Period from Patrician Times with its subsequent emphasis on monastic rather than diocesan authority prior to the Synod of Kells (1152).  The story of subsequent episcopal succession amid the vicissitudes of change from the advent of new religious orders in the aftermath of the Norman invasion, through to the English Reformation and subsequent Penal Times will be discussed. The erection of the wardenship of Galway leading eventually to the initial singular diocese of Galway and its subsequent amalgamation with those of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora will also be covered, as will the formation of the present four deaneries and forty-one parishes (sixteen at present within Galway City) in the modern diocese.  The lecture is based on O’Dowd’s current publication entitled, ‘The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora – An Illustrated History’ at present being distributed to churches in the diocese.

Mr. O’Dowd is an author of several publications on Galway and the West; is heritage columnist with the Connacht Sentinel; has written many articles on heritage, and has lectured widely in Ireland and overseas.  He has served as president, vice-president, and secretary of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and is a current committee member.… Read the rest

Previous Lectures

October 2011

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October 2011 West Connacht in the eyes of the Bogs engineers 1809-1813 by Dr. Arnold Horner

In 1809 the British government appointed commissioners to establish information about the bogs of Ireland and to explore the potential of draining and improving them for cultivation. During the next four years the commissioners divided much of Ireland into districts for each of which an engineer produced a report. Although the bogs were the main focus, many of these reports contain much other interesting information about local conditions. Most of the reports are also accompanied by a series of maps, some of which are of great significance because they show areas thirty years before the first Ordnance Survey maps.

This presentation revealed how the western parts of Counties Mayo and Galway were portrayed in the maps and reports of the engineers working for Bogs Commissioners of 1809-13. Four engineers, Richard Griffith, William Bald, J.A. Jones and Alexander Nimmo respectively reported on districts in north-west Mayo, south and east Mayo, the area east of Lough Corrib and in Connemara. Their commentaries, together with the maps provided for each of the districts except Connemara, offer many incidental insights to local life in west Connacht in the early nineteenth century.

The presentation is given by Dr Arnold Horner who teaches geography at University College Dublin. Dr Horner is the author of several articles and book chapters on the bogs commissioners. He has written extensively on many aspects of the geography of Ireland. He has a particular interest in maps and in the history of cartography (map-making) in Ireland. He has written three books on the mapping of Irish counties, the most recent being Mapping Sligo in the early nineteenth century, an introduction to William Larkin’s 1819 map of the county. This book has just been published by Wordwell. … Read the rest

Previous Lectures

September 2011

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The Rescue of the Passengers
and Crew of the Connaught, Oct 7, 1860”
by Dr. James Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell, a retired lecturer of NUIG, is a patron of the Society and a contributor to its Journal.

The steamship Connaught, flagship of The Galway Line, left its home-port of Galway on Tuesday, September 25, 1860, bound for Boston, with 600 persons on board. Early on Sunday, October 7, with a gale blowing and the sea pouring in through a leak, the ship was found to be on fire. When all hope of survival seemed lost, a brig, the Minnie Schiffer, hove in sight and, having rescued all on board, landed them safely at Boston on Tuesday October 9.… Read the rest

Previous Lectures

March 2011

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The Census of 1911: the Western Dimension
by Dr. Catriona Crowe

The lecture looked at Galway city and county in 1911, with reference to selected census returns and contemporary photographs, dealing with political, social and economic life, sport and culture.

Catriona Crowe is Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She is Manager of the Irish Census Online Project, which has placed the 1901 and 1911 censuses online free of charge over the last 4 years. She is an Editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, which published its seventh volume, covering the period 1941-45, in November 2010.

She is Vice-President of the Irish Labour History Society, and a former President of the Women’s History Association.  She is Chairperson of the Irish Theatre Institute, which promotes and supports Irish theatre and has created an award-winning website of Irish theatre productions.… Read the rest

Previous Lectures

List of Previous Lectures

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Previous Lecture Series (2017):

January 9th 2017
Family Memories of the Irish Revolution in Galway Town. Peadar O’Dowd

February 13th 2017
Monastic Ireland – A gift of the Nile? Alf Monaghan

March 13th 2017
The Drowned landscape of the Galway Coast. Michael Gibbons

April 10th 2017
Portraits, family and estate papers of the Eyres of Eyreville, Kiltormer, Co. Galway Donal Burke

Previous Lecture Series (2012-2013):

10th September, 2012
The shiring of Elizabethan County Galway.  Dr. Joseph Mannion.
8th October, 2012
History of St Mary’s College, Galway.  Mr. Peadar O’Dowd.
12th November 2012
Connemara – Early Monastic Heritage. Archdeacon Anthony Previté
10th December 2012 
The Medieval Irish Immram and the West of Ireland.  An tOllamh Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha.
14th January 2013
An aerial perspective of some heritage sites in the West of Ireland. Professor Éamon O’Donoghue
11th February 2013
T.J. O’Connell, Galway TD, Labour Party leader and INTO pioneer. Dr. John Cunningham.
11 March 2013
A lost church in East Galway – the Abbey of the Cormicans. Mr. Patrick Larkin.
8 April 2013
The bridges of County Galway. Mr. Paul Duffy.


Previous Lecture Series (2011-2012):

12 September, 2011:

The Rescue of the Passengers and Crew of The Connaught, October 7,1860.   Dr James Mitchell.
10 October, 2011:

West Connacht through the eyes of the bogs engineers, 1809 – 1814.   Dr. Arnold Horner.
14 November, 2011:

History of the Diocese of Galway.   Mr. Peadar O’Dowd.
12 December, 2011:

Medieval Clonfert:The Genesis, Development and Decline of a Gaelic Cathedral Settlement. Dr. Christy Cunniffe.
9 January, 2012:

Recent Excavations at Claregalway. Mr Brian Mac Domhnaill.
13 February, 2012:

The Finances of Grand Juries in Ireland. Dr Aidan Kane.
12 March, 2012:

John O’Donovan of Slieverua and the Galway Ordnance Letters. Prof.Michael Herity.
16 April, 2012:

The History of Galway Docks. Brian Sheridan, Harbour Master.


Previous Lecture Series (2010-2011):

13 September, 2010:

Riaghail S. Clara (Rule of St. Clare) and the early history of the Irish Poor Clares;  Dr. Bernadette Cunningham.


11th October 2010:

Patrick Lyons–Antiquarian Policeman and “Indefatigable Colleague” of Hubert Knox;  Máire Lohan.


8th November 2010:

The Castles of Lough Derg – a pictorial survey; Patrick Larkin.     


13th December 2010:

Unlikely Radicals:  Irish Post-Primary Teachers and the A.S.T.I., 1909-2009; Dr. John Cunningham.


10th January 2011:

Piers and Harbours of County Galway; Prof. Noel Wilkins.


14th February Read the rest

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