West Cork History Festival starts tonight

We’re getting ready for the first ever West Cork History Festival, starting this evening at 19.30 with our opening lecture by Professor Roy Foster on “A Fair People: antagonism and conflict in Irish history” and then a screening of the film Rebel Rossa. A few tickets are still available via our website, today from 11-2pm in the Arts Festival Box Office in Skibbereen Town Hall and on the door on the day. Please note all parking is at Liss Ard, the property adjoining Rosebank where the Festival is taking place.


Historical guided tours in and around Skibbereen

As part of the Skibbereen Arts Festival, our friends at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre will run two guided walks over the weekend of 28th-30th July.

Lough Hyne – archaeology, history and folklore – 28th July, 2pm

A two hour walk around Lough Hyne with Terry Kearney. Meet at the base of Knockomagh Hill.

Walking tour of Skibbereen Town – 30th July, 12 noon

Guided by Philip O’Regan. Meet at the Courthouse, North Street.

No charge for either event, but booking is essential on 028 40900. If the weather is inclement, please call to verify the event is still taking place.


The Skibbereen Heritage Centre


Ireland & the First World War – Commemoration

Our second session focusing on Ireland and the First World War will look at commemoration. The panellists are writers Kevin Myers and Ruth Dudley Edwards, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Professor Nigel Biggar and Professor Eunan O’Halpin.

Professor Eunan O’Halpin is Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely on aspects of twentieth century Irish and British history. A founding co-editor of the series Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, he is also a member of the Irish government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations (2012-).

Professor Nigel Biggar is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, at the University of Oxford. He was previously Chair of Theology and Ethics at Trinity College, Dublin.

Julia Neuberger is a rabbi, British crossbench peer, social commentator and writer. She is Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue and one of the first two female rabbis in the UK.

Ruth Dudley-Edwards is a prize-winning writer whose most recent book is The Seven — The Lives and Legacies of the Founding Fathers of the Irish Republic. She has written for almost every national newspaper in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Kevin Myers has been a newspaper columnist since 1981 – but has been writing about the Irish involvement in the Great War since 1979.  He reported on the Northern Troubles in the 1970s and the Bosnian Civil War in the 1990s.



Ireland & the First World War – Participation

The Festival will see two sessions focusing on Ireland and the First World War. The first, on participation, will be chaired by Carl Dinnen, Political Correspondent for ITV, and the panellists will be:

  • the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers (who is also speaking at the Festival on Irish-born Canadian soldiers in the Great War)
  • Dan Mulhall, until recently Irish Ambassador to Britain and soon to be Irish Ambassador to the US
  • Lar Joye, Curator of Irish Military History at the National Museum of Ireland and responsible for the award winning Soldiers & Chiefs exhibition
  • Dr Heather Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), who is a First World War specialist

Image from Imperial War Museums

Some of our speakers in the news …

Both Dan Mulhall and Kevin Vickers, who are both speaking at the Festival, have been in the news recently. Mulhall has just left his post at Irish Ambassador to Britain to move to the even more prestigious position of Irish Ambassador in Washington. However he will stop off in West Cork en route westwards to speak about ‘War & Peace: two Irish writers in 1917, Francis Ledwidge and AE’  (Session Two, Saturday morning) and to join a panel on the First World War and Ireland (Session 5, Sunday morning). Read the Irish Times’ recent profile of him here:


Kevin Vickers, the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, welcomed his country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau on a state visit to Dublin this week, where Trudeau was received with wild enthusiasm. Hear Vickers at the Festival speaking about Irish-born Canadian Soldiers in the First World War (Session 6, Sunday afternoon) and join another panel, on the First World War, this time looking at Commemoration.