Author: Séan Ó Duibhir

The Caherconnell Cashel in the Burren, Co. Clare, a settlement built in the late 10th century AD and used continuously through to the start of the 17th century, was home to prosperous local rulers. Their wealth was built on successful farming, allowing them to engage in fine craftworking, military pursuits, external trade, games, music, and literacy (as evident in, amongst other things, the discovery of the earliest ink pen in Ireland). In this lecture, Dr. Michelle Comber of the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Irish Studies at the University of Galway will discuss recent archaeological excavations at the site. As those who constructed Caherconnell likely had familial connections with Brian Boru, the evidence unearthed  provides us with a fine example of how native nobility negotiated the turbulent years of Viking and Anglo-Norman activity in western Ireland. Dr. Michelle Comber is a native Galwegian and a lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Galway, where she has been teaching since the mid-90s. Her research interests lie primarily in the archaeology of Ireland’s Early Medieval period (approx. 5th to 12th century AD), especially its fine metalwork, economy and settlement, and in tracing social and economic change over broad spans of time. Dr.… Read the rest
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The contributions of women religious in Galway city and county are areas of increasing interest, with historians and the public eager to engage with the longstanding histories of religious orders. Groups whose names are familiar to Galwegians, such as the Poor Clare, Dominican, Augustinian and Carmelite foundations, all trace their origins to the seventeenth century. In this lecture, Dr. Bronagh McShane will explore the numbers and identities of women who joined these orders and elucidate where possible their family connections. Situating the experiences of these women within the broader context of conflict and upheaval that characterised seventeenth century Ireland, and within the wider context of European monasticism, new light shall be shed on this important but often overlooked dimension of local Galway history and heritage. Dr. Bronagh Ann McShane is a historian specialising in the history of women, religion and confessionalisation in early modern Ireland and Europe. Her research has been funded by the Irish Research Council, the National University of Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy. She has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals including, British Catholic History, Archivium Hibernicum and the Journal of Historical Network Research. Her monograph, Irish Women in Religious Orders, 1530-1700: Suppression, Migration and Reintegration… Read the rest
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What can fiction tell us about everyday life in Ireland and Northern Ireland during the 1930s, 40s and 50s? And perhaps just as importantly, what does it not tell us? Did male authors differ from female authors? Did the works of Catholics differ from those of Protestants? These, and other questions, will be explored by Dr. Caitriona Clear in this lecture. Novelists such as Patrick Purcell, Sheila Pim, John D. Sheridan, and Patricia O’Connor, are just a sample of those whose books will be considered. This presentation shall seek to ignite memories of, or stimulate curiosity about, these vivid and accomplished story-tellers; some of whom remain fondly remembered, whilst others are undeservedly forgotten. Dr. Caitriona Clear is a member of the Galway Archaeological & Historical Society, and lectures in history at the University of Galway. She has published widely on various aspects of Irish history, ranging from Women Religious in the nineteenth century, to women’s magazines in the twentieth. Dr. Clear was an invited contributor to the Irish President’s Machnamh 100 Seminar Series on Irish history in 2021, and is currently engaged with a number of projects, of which research on the contribution of Irish fiction to the analysis of… Read the rest
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For many decades, historians and commentators avoided examination of the Civil War, regarding it almost with embarrassment. So it was within families and communities too, where the ‘War of the Brothers’ was often discussed only in hushed tones, if at all. However, since the arrival of Michael Hopkinson’s ground-breaking Green against Green in 1988 things have changed, and authorities such as Tom Garvin, Bill Kissane and – most recently – Diarmaid Ferriter have published books on the subject. In this lecture, Professor Michael Laffan, will examine how our views of this conflict have evolved in recent years. A graduate of University College Dublin and Trinity Hall Cambridge, Professor Laffan lectured at the School of History and Archives at UCD for over three decades. A former president of the Irish Historical Society, and a sought-after contributor on matters historical for the national media, he has also published extensively on Ireland’s Revolutionary Period. His seminal work on the original Sinn Féin organisation, The Resurrection of Ireland: the Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923, remains the definitive text on that subject; whilst his more recent biography of W. T. Cosgrave successfully addressed a previous dearth in academic examination of the first leader of the independent… Read the rest
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(Monday 11 April 2022) For many decades, historians and commentators avoided examination of the Civil War, regarding it almost with embarrassment. So it was within families and communities too, where the ‘War of the Brothers’ was often discussed only in hushed tones, if at all. However, since the arrival of Michael Hopkinson’s ground-breaking Green against Green in 1988 things have changed, and authorities such as Tom Garvin, Bill Kissane and – most recently – Diarmaid Ferriter have published books on the subject. In this lecture, Professor Michael Laffan, will examine how our views of this conflict have evolved in recent years. A graduate of University College Dublin and Trinity Hall Cambridge, Professor Laffan lectured at the School of History and Archives at UCD for over three decades. A former president of the Irish Historical Society, and a sought-after contributor on matters historical for the national media, he has also published extensively on Ireland’s Revolutionary Period. His seminal work on the original Sinn Féin organisation, The Resurrection of Ireland: the Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923, remains the definitive text on that subject; whilst his more recent biography of W. T. Cosgrave successfully addressed a previous dearth in academic examination of the first… Read the rest
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Léacht (Luan 14ú Márta: Harbour Hotel ag 20:00/8i.n.) Léargas ar an bpobal a mhair sa gceantar seo sa naoú haois déag ó thaobh cén uair ar tháinig siad ann, cé leis a raibh siad ag íoc cíosa, cén chaoi ar mhair siad ar muir is tír agus na hathruithe a bhí ag tarlú de réir mar a bhí an tréimhse sin ag dul ar aghaidh.  As Tír an Fhia sna hOileáin í Áine Ní Chonghaile. Thosaigh sí a saol oibre ag teagasc agus ansin chuaigh siad leis an aistriúchán, ceird ar chaith sí an chuid ba mhó dá saol oibre.… Read the rest
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The Arms Crisis of 1970: The Plot That Never Was(Monday 21 February 2022) The Arms Crisis of 1970 was one of the most controversial political events in twentieth century Ireland. The circumstances of the affair, and the infamous trial which captivated the Irish public, remain contested territory for historians, political scientists, and journalistic commentators today. Towering political figures of the time were swept up in the drama. Men such as Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney faced career making, and career breaking, challenges. In subsequent years, the semi-official narrative of ‘good guys versus bad guys’ has faced increased scrutiny.In this lecture Dr. Michael Heney draws upon a stimulating thesis from his recent best-selling book, where he challenges long-held assumptions with respect to who knew what, when, and why? Dr. Michael Heney is an historian and journalist. His career within both the print and broadcast media spanned four decades, having worked at The Irish Times, RTÉ Radio and finally with RTÉ Television. His investigative journalism resulted in the production of numerous award-winning programmes on subjects as diverse as ‘The Tallaght Two’, the Sallins Mail Train Robbery of 1976, and the Balkan Wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. In 2017 he was awarded… Read the rest
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Boland & Tom Barry 1973 Crossbarry memorial
Aontacht Éireann (1971-1976): The ‘Real’ Fianna Fáil? In May 1970, Taoiseach Jack Lynch dismissed the Minister for Finance, Charles Haughey, and the Minister for Agriculture, Neil Blaney, from Government. This action precipitated the public unveiling of what is generally referred to as the ‘Arms Crisis’, and threatened to tear the Fianna Fáil organisation apart. Outraged by Lynch’s actions, the Minister for Local Government, Kevin Boland, resigned from the Cabinet, and ultimately from Fianna Fáil. In 1971 he established a rival organisation, Aontacht Éireann. Despite initial enthusiasm, this new party would have little electoral impact and by 1976 had lost many of its founding members. In this lecture, Dr. Séan Ó Duibhir will provide an overview of Aontacht Éireann’s brief history. A number of its key political, social, and economic policies will be considered, and compared with the foundation principles of Fianna Fáil. Importantly, our audience will be presented with an interesting question: from 1971 onwards, were the members of Kevin Boland’s Aontacht Éireann, rather than Jack Lynch’s Fianna Fáil, the true inheritors of the original ‘Fianna Fáil’ philosophy? Note: start time revised to 9pm Direct link: https://youtu.be/3bUlDb4rw5g All Talks are available on the GAHS YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9qEeN8kuF80wWuRd1BT3aw    … Read the rest
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The Dáil Éireann in session in August 1921
Click here to visit GAHS on YouTube In this commemorative lecture, Dr. Séan Ó Duibhir, discusses a number of the practical, and symbolic, features of the Irish State’s ‘foundation moment’. The lecture was hosted by the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society at the Harbour Hotel, Galway, in 2019. Presented with audio and slides Subscribe to the GAHS YouTube Chanel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9qEeN8kuF80wWuRd1BT3aw… Read the rest
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A diplomat with a special connection – the incredible story of Leopold Kerney, G2 and German Military Intelligence during the Second World War Dr. Barry Whelan The March GAHS talk be given by Dr Barry Whelan who is a historian in DCU specialising in 20th century Irish and European history. He completed his doctoral thesis on Ireland and Spain during WWII and has since then published in a variety of academic journals, websites, newspapers, magazines and encyclopaedias. Barry has also appeared numerous times on radio and television. He has recently completed a biography on Ireland’s first diplomat to Spain – Leopod Kerney entitled Ireland’s Revolutionary Diplomat: A Biography of Leopold Kerney with Notre Dame University. Monday 9th March 8pm at the Harbour Hotel, Galway. All are welcome to attend and admission is free of charge.… Read the rest
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