Sam Maguire at the West Cork History Festival

As always, this year we’ve got some fascinating local history in our programme. The story of republican Sam Maguire and his legacy to the community of Dunmanway will be considered on Saturday morning in the Secret Garden. The work of the Reverend Cliff Jeffers in realising a project to install a new peal of bells named after Maguire is described in this article from Monday’s Irish Times. Reverend Jeffers will screen a film at the Festival on the same subject.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/bells-ring-out-for-local-hero-in-west-cork-church-1.3527034#.WyD3qIRgNL0.twitter

Kieran Connolly, author of Sam Maguire: The Man and the Cup, who features in Jeffers’ film, will also speak about his work on the enigmatic Maguire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the few known photographs of Maguire.

 

2018 Festival Dinner

Our 2018 Festival Dinner will be provided by Carmel Somers, award-winning restauranteur and Irish Times columnist. It will consist of three courses with wine and will be served from 18:30-20:30 on the Saturday evening of the Festival. Tickets must be bought in advance for this event via our Tickets page and cost €80.

This year there will also be more informal food and drinks available to buy on Saturday evening, for which no ticket is needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full details of West Cork History Festival field trips

WEST CORK HISTORY FESTIVAL
FIELD TRIPS AND WALKING TOUR 2018

DAY 1: THURSDAY, AUGUST 16

This field trip will take you from the Bronze Age (stone circle, rock art, solar alignments),
through the Medieval (stone fort, tower house) up to more recent history (Harry Clarke and
the Somervilles and Townshends, ecclesiastical history). It’s a taster, but with enough detail
to satisfy the avid historian. This is a full day, fully guided tour with stunning scenery,
knowledgeable local archaeologists and historians as guides and exclusive access to
private property.

Field Trip 1: History and Archaeology of West Cork
Early Bird: €45.00 per person
Regular Price: $50 per person
Max: 14 participants

10:00 Meet Bus at Skibbereen Market Grounds
Knockdrum Stone Fort and Rock Art, Castletownshend, St Barrahane’s, Harry Clarke
Windows, Somervilles and Townsends
12:20
Lunch Break (lunch is available at the Eat at the Castle. Range of options and prices. You
are welcome to bring a picnic if you prefer.)
1:00 Castletownshend Castle Tour
2:00 Depart for
Drombeg Stone Circle, Burgatia Boulder Burial, Castle Salem (Via Coppinger’s Court)
4:30 Tour ends, Skibbereen Market Grounds
Please wear shoes/boots suitable for a field trip – expect some rough ground and mud. Note that
Knockdrum Fort is accessed via a green road and a set of steep steps and that other venues
require the ascent of steps. The field trip will go ahead no matter the weather, so please dress
accordingly. No wheelchair access. No dogs allowed. Itinerary may be subject to change if
circumstances require.

Walking Tour 1: Walking Tour of Historic Skibbereen

Free, but booking essential
Max: 15 participants
Our guide is Philip O’Regan from the Skibbereen Heritage Centre. Philip’s walking tours of
Skibbereen are very popular, taking in key sites associated with the Famine, the Fenians, and the
development of Skibbereen from the earliest days. Tour takes approximately an hour and a half
7:00 PM Meet at the Skibbereen Courthouse, North Street.

DAY 2: FRIDAY, AUGUST 17TH

Field Trip 2 and 3, both offered on the same day, are identical except for the timings.
While the focus of these field trips is the Famine, they provide an unprecedented
opportunity to experience a major art exhibition from the United Stares (to be shown in
Ireland in only three locations), special access to a stunning and thought-provoking
sculpture garden, and a visit to one of the most moving Famine sites in West Cork. This is a
unique, full day, fully guided guided tour.

Field Trip 2: Famine/History/Art Focus

Early Bird: €45.00 per person
Regular Price: $50 per person
Price includes tea/coffee at Reen Sculpture Garden
Max: 14 participants
9:00 Meet at Skibbereen Market Grounds. Bus to Reen Sculpture Garden
Personal guided tour by internationally acclaimed artist John Kelly, followed by tea in the
garden.
11:45 Return To Skibbereen
The Abbeystrewery Graveyard Experience: A presentation by the Skibbereen Heritage
Centre
1:15 Lunch Break (Range of options available in Skibbereen, including Kalbo’s At Uillinn)
2:15 Guided Tour of Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger. The world’s largest collections of
Famine-related art, from Quinnipiac University, on view in Ireland for the first time.
3:45 End of tour, at Uillinn
Please wear shoes/boots suitable for a field trip – expect long grass, rough ground and mud. The
field trip will go ahead no matter the weather, so please dress accordingly. Reen Farm is a private
home and working farm, please stick to the paths and stay with the group. Abbeystrewery
Graveyard is accessed via steps. No wheelchair access, apart from Uillinn. No dogs allowed.

Field Trip 3: Famine/History/Art Focus

Early Bird: €45.00 per person
Regular Price: $50 per person
Price includes tea/coffee/snack at Reen Sculpture Garden
Max: 14 participants
10:45
Meet bus at entrance to Liss Ard Estate (Bus will pick you up at car park just inside the
gate. You can leave your car here.)
Guided Tour of Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger. The world’s largest collections of
Famine-related art, from Quinnipiac University, on view in Ireland for the first time.
12:30 Lunch Break (Range of options available in Skibbereen, including Kalbo’s At Uillinn)
1:30 Depart by bus for Reen Sculpture Garden,
Personal guided tour by internationally acclaimed artist John Kelly, followed by tea in the
garden.
3:45 Depart Reen Sculpture Garden
The Abbeystrewery Graveyard Experience: A presentation by the Skibbereen Heritage
Centre
5:00 End of tour, at Rosebank (Festival Venue, adjacent to Liss Ard)
Please wear shoes/boots suitable for a field trip – expect long grass, rough ground and mud. The
field trip will go ahead no matter the weather, so please dress accordingly. Reen Farm is a private
home and working farm, please stick to the paths and stay with the group. Abbeystrewery
Graveyard is accessed via steps. No wheelchair access, apart from Uillinn. No dogs allowed.

Roaringwater Journal

Our friends at the Roaringwater Journal have just published two fascinating and inter-connected posts, one on Knockdrum Fort, which is very close to us, and another on Boyle Somerville, naval officer and archaeologist.

https://roaringwaterjournal.com/

Brother of the well-known West Cork novelist Edith Somerville, Boyle was one of the first to suggest a link between the alignment of some ancient monuments and solar events at significant times of the year. This is now known as archaeoastronomy. Boyle and Edith explored Knockdrum together as children, and he later excavated and surveyed the site.

Boyle Somerville was murdered by the IRA in 1936.

 

The view from Knockdrum, January 2018

 

 

 

 

Audio of 2017 Festival

We’ve posted audio of more of the WCHF 2017 talks in the last few days here:

www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org/playback/

The audio that’s up so far gives an excellent view of the range of subjects and periods we cover, not to mention the fascinating line up of speakers we had in 2017.

  • Professor Roy Foster on ‘”A Fair People”: antagonism & conflict in Irish history’
  • Michael Dobbs on ‘Life, Lust and Liquor: how House of Cards wrote itself
  • Professor Eunan O’Halpin on commemoration 1919-1923
  • Professor Terry Barry on Tower Houses in Ireland
  • Lar Joye of the National Museum of Ireland on duelling in Ireland
  • Dr Connie Kelleher on Pirates in West Cork
  • Dr Dominic Selwood on the Knights Templar in Ireland

WCHF programme update – the 1918 influenza epidemic

Although the West Cork History Festival does not have one over-arching theme – we prefer to examine a variety of historical periods and locations – we do have some sub-themes, allowing us to devote one or two sessions to a particular subject. The centenary of 1918 is one such sub-theme this year, reflecting a hugely significant series of anniversaries. These include the First World War Armistice and the 1918 General Election, which had such major consequences in Ireland and Britain.

One of our recently confirmed speakers – Ida Milne – will look at the impact on Ireland of a global event in 1918 – the influenza pandemic. Ida Milne is an Irish Research Council Marie Curie Elevate Fellow at Maynooth University and in May 2018 will publish Stacking the Coffins: Influenza, War and Revolution in Ireland 1918-19 (Manchester University Press). The striking cover of her book is shown below.

 

In the press ….

We were delighted to see Skibbereen’s Time Traveller’s Bookshop featured in the Irish Times yesterday – Holger and Nicola Smyth have always been strong supporters of the West Cork History Festival. Their pop-up bookshop was a huge hit at the 2017 Festival and will be there again at the 2018 Festival.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/cork-bookshop-thrives-after-taking-leaf-out-of-online-giants-playbook-1.3398019

Also in the Irish Times last Friday was a moving article about cillíns (unofficial graveyards) which included the research work of William Casey, West Cork historian and a speaker at the 2017 Festival:

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/sinners-sailors-and-those-who-died-by-suicide-the-adults-buried-in-ireland-s-cillíní-1.3389630?mode=amp

 

Audio of 2017 WCHF

We’re gradually posting talks from the 2017 Festival on our website – click here http://www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org/playback/ to find them.

So far, we have

  • Professor Roy Foster on ‘”A Fair People”: antagonism & conflict in Irish history’
  • Michael Dobbs on ‘Life, Lust and Liquor: how House of Cards wrote itself
  • Professor Eunan O’Halpin on commemoration 1919-1923
  • Professor Terry Barry on Tower Houses in Ireland
  • Lar Joye of the National Museum of Ireland on duelling in Ireland

And more to follow …..

WCHF 2018 programme update

Although our full programme will not be released until after Easter, we will be posting some details before then. As with last year, there will be no one big over-arching theme, but a number of sub-themes are emerging. One is the events of 1918, in Ireland, Britain and the wider European perspective. In many countries, 1918 did not mean an end to war.

We are also looking at history as mediated through the visual arts, with confirmed speakers including National Gallery of Ireland curator Niamh MacNally on Margaret Clarke (nee Crilley), about whom she curated a very successful exhibition in 2017.

Peter Murray, former Director of Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery, will speak about George Victor du Noyer. Murray co-curated the fantastic exhibition about du Noyer at the Crawford which ends on 24 February.

http://www.crawfordartgallery.ie/Du-Noyer.html

We are also very honoured that we will be linking with the Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger exhibition, which will be at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen from July-October this year. This exhibition brings the largest collection of Famine-inspired art to Ireland from the Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in the US. Its curator Niamh O’Sullivan will speak at the West Cork History Festival

https://www.artandthegreathunger.org/

Dr David Edwards joins Festival Committee

We are delighted to announce that David Edwards of UCC has agreed to join the WCHF Festival Committee.

David Edwards is Senior Lecturer in History at University College Cork. He is a graduate of TCD and went to UCC in 1993, teaching and researching in the area of late medieval and early modern Ireland. His current principal project focuses on the career and estate of the ‘New English’ adventurer Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, whose land-grabbing activities in Munster and parts of Connacht and Leinster helped to transform the social and economic life of early seventeenth-century Ireland. He spoke on the first Earl at the 2017 Festival.

http://publish.ucc.ie/researchprofiles/A019/dedwards