We were saddened to learn of the death of Professor David Fitzpatrick. David was a gifted, wide-ranging, and fearless historian. He brought rigour and a cool eye to the study of contentious subjects, too often clouded by the mythmaking of others. He transformed our understanding of the Irish Revolutionary period and the generations of his students who continue to work in this area are part of his legacy.
The West Cork History Festival owes David a particular debt. He delivered a fascinating paper on Protestant depopulation in Ireland at the first Festival in 2017. His analysis of events in West Cork, in particular, was enormously valuable. It also typified the man. Insightful, relentlessly focussed on the evidence, and with a wry sense of humour, he shed fresh light and opened up the subject. Characteristically modest and judicious, he, nevertheless, revealed the inadequacies and evasions of some treatment of the period. He was never uncritical, but also never unkind, he remains a model for other historians.
We remember him with gratitude and extend our sympathy to his family and many friends.
The 14th century ‘Dublin Apocalypse’ has been digitised and goes online today. One of the finest illustrated volumes held in the Library at Trinity College Dublin, it is a handwritten version of the Book of Revelation accompanied by vivid and lavish illustrations. This last book of the Bible is one of its most complex, full of symbols and visions including the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
This page shows the Witnesses ascending into Heaven as a city falls. The full digitised version can be seen here.
An interesting and important article by Professor Linda Connolly of Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute was published in the Irish Times earlier in the month, highlighting violence perpetrated against women both during the War of Independence and the Civil War in Ireland.
Professor Connolly’s talk at the 2018 Festival, on a similar subject, can be heard on our Playback page.
We are very pleased to have been included in the listings section of the Irish Times’ supplement ‘1919 – War and Peace’, which was published yesterday. It covers the events of that year at home and abroad, with special study guides for junior and senior cycle students, as well as details of centenary events happening throughout the year across the country.
Today marks the centenary of the Soloheadbeg ambush, often seen as the first engagement of the Irish War of Independence. Here’s a short film from the Irish Times about Soloheadbeg made by Times journalist, and Festival contributor, Ronan McGreevy along with his collaborator Enda O’Dowd.
Simon Kingston, co-founder of the West Cork History Festival, and David Clarke, one of our Committee members, will both be contributing to the Killarney Economic Conference which runs 17-18 January. The Conference is an annual dialogue between political, economic and civic leaders from Britain and Ireland.
The conference takes place at the Brehon / INEC complex in Killarney and further details of the schedule are available here:
We are the Dark Night Ocean is the brilliant new album by Jessie Kennedy & Justin Grounds. Jessie is a great friend and supporter of the Festival. She gave a magical performance with Patsy Puttnam at our Festival concert in 2018 Festival and will be performing this year too.
Lord Franklin, one of the songs on the album, is historically inspired reflecting on Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845 expedition to find the North-West Passage.
An interesting article in Saturday’s Irish Times by Festival contributor Ronan McGreevy about the centenaries ahead and how they will be commemorated. Be assured the 2019 Festival, and the ones beyond that, will take a clear-eyed view of many of these centenaries and the issues around them.
At the 2018 Festival, we were very pleased to have Ronan screening the Irish Times’ film United Ireland: How Nationalists and Unionists fought together in Flanders on which he also answered questions.
This beautiful Nativity scene is part of one of the most richly decorated prayer books from the medieval period, now in the British Library in London and known as the Bedford Hours. It was given by Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford to her nephew, King Henry VI who was then eight years old. It has 38 large miniatures and over 1,200 marginal roundels, painted in Paris. Some of the Bedford Hours has been digitised and can be viewed here.
Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, announced this week that there will be a review of the decision to make history optional at Junior Certificate level, which came into effect in September. The decision has been widely criticised, including by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who addressed the subject at the West Cork History Festival in August, as reported here by the Irish Times.
Lar Joye, who spoke at both our 2017 and our 2018 Festivals, was previously at the National Museum and is now Dublin Port Heritage Director. The Port has released this fascinating film about the Dublin Dockyard Munitions Factory, particularly its female workforce. This is of course one of the most important themes of the last four years of commemorations, the hugely varied roles taken on by women in the conflict, both at home and on the fighting fronts.