RAF 100

2018 marks the centenary of the founding of the Royal Air Force and to reflect this aviation historian Guy Warner will speak on three First World War aviators with Cork connections, Mick Mannock, Robert Smith-Barry and John Carbery. The talk will take place on Sunday afternoon and tickets can be bought here

John Carbery grew up in Castle Freke, near Roscarbery, and his mother Lady Mary Carbery’s diaries have inspired the concert which Patsy Puttnam and Jessie Kennedy will give on Saturday evening. Find out more here

 

Two pioneering women at the West Cork History Festival

Hear about two pioneering women on Sunday morning of the Festival….

Agnes Clerke, born in Skibbereen, was an astronomer and science writer. She and her sister and brother were all home-educated and brilliant in their fields, Ellen and Aubrey in literature and law. In 1885, Agnes published her best-known work ‘A Popular History of Astronomy in the Nineteenth Century’.

Finola Finlay will speak about Clerke in a talk entitled ‘From Skibbereen to the Moon: Agnes Clerke and Nineteenth Century Astronomy.’

Margaret Clarke (nee Crilley) was a successful painter in her own right, but has often been over-shadowed by her husband Harry, Ireland’s best-known stained glass artist. After his early death, she managed his studio as well as bringing up their three children and continuing her career, mostly focusing on portraits. National Gallery of Ireland curator Niamh MacNally will speak about Clarke on whom she curated a very successful exhibition at the National Gallery in 2017.

The Wreck of the Santa Ana Maria comes to life….

Under a week to go until the Festival and to celebrate we’ve commissioned a very talented animator Delia Johnson, to create a piece inspired by one of our 2018 Festival talks, by Dr Connie Kelleher. Connie will speak at the Festival about ‘The 1627 wreck of the Spanish treasure galleon Santa Ana Maria and the fall of an empire’.

Connie is a member of the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) in the National Monuments Service (NMS), Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Delia is an illustrator, writer, presenter, performer and art historian and you can see more of her work here

 

History as mediated through art

On Sunday morning of the Festival (19 August) we have three fantastic talks all of which show how history can be mediated through art.

Peter Murray, former Director of Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery, will speak about George Victor du Noyer. Murray co-curated the exhibition about du Noyer at the Crawford earlier this year and then transferred to Dublin. http://www.crawfordartgallery.ie/Du-Noyer.html

Following Peter we have Dr Niamh O’Sullivan, curator of the very powerful Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger exhibition, currently at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen.This exhibition brings the largest collection of Famine-inspired art to Ireland from the Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in the US. https://www.artandthegreathunger.org/

And then we have National Gallery of Ireland curator Niamh MacNally speaking about the Irish artist Margaret Clarke (nee Crilley), about whom she curated a very successful exhibition at the National Gallery in 2017.

 

1918 centenary

We mark the centenary of the momentous year of 1918 with a number of talks and events. Our opening speaker is Professor Alvin Jackson, who will talk about Edward Carson and John Redmond, the centenary of whose death we mark this year. On the Saturday morning of the Festival, Professor John Horne will talk on ‘The War to End All Wars? International Perspectives 1918 – 1923’ followed by a panel discussion with Professor Eunan O’Halpin and Professor Louise Ryan on the eventful year of 1918 and its consequences.

Saturday afternoon sees Eunan O’Halpin return with ‘A catalogue of errors? British government and Ireland in 1918’. Louise Ryan will speak on Irish suffrage, in the year some British and Irish women gained the vote, specifically ‘Shining a light on secret aspects of Irish society – the Suffrage Movement and the Irish Citizen Newspaper’. Dr Ida Milne will follow with ‘Stacking the coffins: the 1918-19 influenza pandemic and Irish society’. Finally in this session we have Lar Joye on Weapons of the War of Independence, analysing how that impacted on the type of fighting that took place and in particular looking at the smuggling of weapons into Ireland and the role of the staff of Dublin Port (where he is now Port Heritage Director).

 

The Irish Times’ excellent 1918 supplement, published earlier in the year, copies of which will be available at the Festival.

Jeremy Irons to give poetry reading at West Cork History Festival

We are delighted to announce that West Cork resident and well-known actor Jeremy Irons will give a reading of revolutionary era and First World War poetry at the West Cork History Festival. This will take place on the evening of Sunday 19th August, at approximately 20.30.

The poetry reading is included in your ticket price if you have already bought a weekend, Sunday day or Sunday afternoon ticket for the Festival. And if you haven’t yet bought a ticket, we hope this addition to an already rich programme of talks and films will persuade you! 

Tickets can be bought here.

West Cork History Festival Concert

We are delighted to be staging a concert on the Saturday night of the Festival, featuring Jessie Kennedy and Lady Patsy Puttnam. The concert is a musical narrative inspired by the life and writings of Lady Mary Carbery, from the years 1898-1901 when she lived in Castlefreke on the coast of West Cork. This film gives you a taste of ‘The Carbery Songs’:

You can book tickets here:

Tickets

Jessie Kennedy

Acclaimed Irish singer, songwriter and composer Jessie Kennedy has most recently headlined shows at St. Barrahane’s Classical Music Festival in West Cork, Cork Opera House, and The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Jessie is a violinist with The Vespertine Quintet. She is about to release her fourth studio album, which follows her powerfully evocative 2015 record “The Carbery Songs”.

Last month, Jessie performed specially commissioned music at a collaborative event with Jeremy Irons, an event which formed part of the Coming Home exhibition.

‘Stories of the Revolution’

Terri Kearney of the Skibbereen Heritage Centre will speak at the Festival on Saturday morning on ‘Stories of the Revolution’, a schools’ folklore project collecting stories about the 1916-23 period in West Cork.

The project has been running for a number of years. Local children are asked to collect stories relating to the Revolutionary period from older relatives and people in the community. The project will run up to 1923 when the children’s essays will be uploaded to create a digital archive. The physical essays will go to Cork City Archives for posterity.

Terri Kearney is a native of Skibbereen and has managed Skibbereen Heritage Centre since it opened in 2000. She has published two books,  Lough Hyne: The Marine Researchers – in Pictures, Lough Hyne: From Prehistory to the Present as well as co-authoring Skibbereen: The Famine Story.

 

The War to End All Wars ?

Our opening speaker on the Saturday morning of the 2018 Festival will be Professor John Horne. A specialist in twentieth century French and European history, he is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin where he is Professor of Modern European History and Director of the Centre for War Studies, which he founded in 2007.

The title of his talk at the Festival is ‘The War to End All Wars? International Perspectives 1918 – 1923’. He comments that ‘the one safe judgment about the First World War is that it unleashed forces far greater than contemporaries could resolve. This unfinished aspect of the conflict helps explain why violence generated by the war continued in many parts of the world beyond 1918. In effect, a ‘greater war’ continued until the early 1920s.’ Horne’s lecture will explore why this was so in Europe and the Middle East and will conclude with some brief reflections on the implications of the argument for Irish history.

After his talk, Professor Horne will be joined by Professor Eunan O’Halpin and Professor Louise Ryan for a panel discussion on 1918 and its consequences.

 

 

Oh! What A Lovely War

On the Friday evening of the Festival (17 August) we are very pleased to be screening the influential film Oh! What A Lovely War, released in 1969. A musical satire about the events of the First World War, it was based on a stage play of the same name and uses many of the popular songs of the period.

Michael Attenborough, son of the film’s director Richard Attenborough, and himself an acclaimed theatre director, will discuss the film.

More information about the film is available here:

http://static.bafta.org/files/oh-what-a-lovely-war-programme-notes-2329.pdf

Carson & Redmond

Our opening speaker at the 2018 West Cork History Festival is Professor Alvin Jackson. In the centenary year of John Redmond’s death, Professor Jackson will speak on Redmond and Carson, the two men who are the subject of his recently published book Judging Redmond and Carson (Royal Irish Academy: 2018).

Professor Jackson is a leading historian of Ireland and Britain, and has written seven books, including the Redmond and Carson publication, and The Two Unions: Ireland, Scotland and the Survival of the United Kingdom 1707-2007 (OUP: 2013): he has also edited the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History (OUP: 2017).  He has been Sir Richard Lodge Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh since 2004.

 

Francis Ledwidge

On this day in 1917 poet Francis Ledwidge was killed at the Battle of Passchendaele. Born in County Meath in 1887, he was known as the “poet of the blackbirds”.

At the West Cork History Festival last year, Ambassador Dan Mulhall gave a fascinating talk about Ledwidge and fellow poet Æ (George William Russell). You can hear the talk here:

2017 Playback

 

Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock

On this day 100 years ago Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock was killed in action flying over the Western Front. Hear more about this extraordinary man as military aviation expert Guy Warner speaks at the 2018 WCHF about Mannock and other First World War airmen with Cork connections including Robert Smith-Barry and Lord Carbery.

Mannock was one of the most decorated Allied pilots of the First World War. He was also a complex and contradictory man. Born in 1889 to Irish parents he spent some of his childhood in India, where his father was serving in the British army. His father later abandoned Mannock’s mother and their children including Edward himself.

Mannock went out to work to help alleviate the family’s poverty and in 1914 was working in Turkey, overseeing cable-laying. When war broke out he was trapped and interned along with other Britons. After a harsh term in jail he was returned to Britain, sick and malnourished but eager to fight. Initially serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps he then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.

Coming from a poor background, and with socialist and nationalist views, Mannock was unlike most of the other, more privileged pilots and initially found it hard to fit in. However, as his confidence and flying skills improved he gained the respect of his squadron and quickly became an air ace.

Mannock’s last flight was on 26 July 1918. After attacking a German plane he was strafed by ground fire; the left wing of his plane detached and he spiralled out of control, crashing in a ball of fire. It is not known whether he jumped out or burned to death in the plane and neither his body nor his grave has ever been conclusively recovered.

Unlike some air aces, Mannock was little known in Britain. It took much lobbying by those who had served with him for Mannock to receive a posthumous VC, awarded for the nine German aircraft he shot down in June and July 1918.

 

Citizen Lane

We are delighted to be screening the film Citizen Lane at this year’s West Cork History Festival. The film, released earlier this year, mixes documentary and drama to provide a vivid portrait of Irish aesthete, collector, dealer and philanthropist Hugh Lane, one of the most fascinating figures in modern Irish history.

Citizen Lane was directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, with the drama written by Mark O’Halloran and it stars Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Hugh Lane. It is intercut with interviews from contemporary documentary contributors including Professor Roy Foster, who was our inaugural speaker at last year’s West Cork History Festival.

The film is included in your ticket price if you have already bought a weekend, Sunday day or Sunday afternoon ticket for the Festival. And if you haven’t yet bought a ticket, we hope this addition to an already rich programme of talks and films will persuade you.

You can see the trailer for Citizen Lane here:

Lady Mary Carbery’s West Cork Diaries, 1898-1901 – A Musical Narrative by Jessie Kennedy and Lady Patsy Puttnam

This special concert for this year’s West Cork History Festival is a musical narrative created by Jessie Kennedy and Lady Patsy Puttnam. It is an original work inspired by three years in the life of Lady Mary Carbery, from the years 1898-1901 when she lived in Castlefreke.

Lady Puttnam comments:

Lady Mary’s story told through her journal was first introduced to me by Jessie. Our collaboration on the Carbery Songs stemmed from that moment and became uniquely special to both of us. Perhaps because in the solemn spaces of Rathbarry Church, Rosscarbery Cathedral and the Sprigging School we sat and talked through the project that had deeply touched both our hearts. The diary of a young woman who had made the journey from the English countryside and who was widowed too soon from the early death of her beloved husband Algy. Mary became the remarkable mistress of Castlefreke bringing up her two boys, It became her Paradise and she fell headlong in love with the Castle, the ‘poor people’ living on the estate and the wild, desolate West Cork headland. Of course this story wasn’t lost on Jessie or me that I as an English lady had chosen to make our family home in West Cork. That I too had been captivated by West Cork’s magnificent landscape, it’s painter’s light and the resilience, creativity and strength of the Irish people, who I too fell in love with.”

The Carbery Songs album was first released in 2015 to great acclaim. Since their collaboration began over three years ago, Jessie and Patsy have performed the piece at Rosscarbery Cathedral, St. Barrahane’s Classical Music Festival, and headlined National Digital Week at Abbeystrewry Church. The original album was produced by composer Justin Grounds, and music legend Donovan also contributed to the record, co-writing ‘Autumn Song’ with Jessie.

The songs were debuted on a cold November day, within the bare stone walls of Castlefreke itself, at the invitation of Mary Carbery’s great grandson Stephen Evans Freke and for a select group of historians.

During her research for the record, Jessie unearthed lost hymns written by Mary Carbery, which had not been heard for a century. She reworked these hymns and they provide part of the musical backdrop to Mary Carbery’s words in the performance.

Jessie Kennedy

Acclaimed Irish singer, songwriter and composer Jessie Kennedy has most recently headlined shows at St. Barrahane’s Classical Music Festival in West Cork, Cork Opera House, and The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Jessie is a violinist with The Vespertine Quintet. She is about to release her fourth studio album, which follows her powerfully evocative 2015 record “The Carbery Songs”.

She provided the soundtrack to the National Geographic Wild Atlantic Way film in 2017 which was released world-wide.

This July 2018 Jessie will perform specially commissioned music at a collaborative event with Jeremy Irons, where the historic NM Cummins letter will be read as part of the Coming Home exhibition at Reen Farm, the home of artist John Kelly, in West Cork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

“A very fine album”

(In The Blue of The Night )- RTE Lyric FM

“Astonishing”

(Marty Whelan), RTE Radio

“Like a Fellini Movie”

(Jimmy McCarthy, Irish songwriter)

WCHF features in Irish Times and Irish Examiner today

The West Cork History Festival features in both the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner today, with a specific focus on Professor Linda Connolly’s talk on sexual violence in the Irish Revolution. Read both articles here:

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/wartime-sexual-violence-against-women-in-ireland-ignored-1.3556338

https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/violence-waged-against-women-by-both-sides-in-irish-wars-472678.html

and book tickets for Professor Connolly’s talk (on the Sunday afternoon of the Festival) here:

www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org/tickets

 

Volunteers wanted for WCHF 2018

The West Cork History Festival will run from 16-19 August 2018, just outside Skibbereen in West Cork.  Now in its second year, the Festival is for everyone interested in history, with a diverse and engaging programme including talks, discussion and film screenings. Our speakers include leading historians, journalists, curators and writers.

We are looking for volunteers with a passion for history to help us run the Festival. We can’t offer payment, but if a volunteer works a morning or afternoon session then they will have free access to all the talks and events for the other half of the day. If you need accommodation we might be able to help as well. Tasks volunteers will be expected to undertake include selling and checking tickets, helping visitors, stewarding one of the two Festival venues and escorting speakers.

Our full programme can be seen on our website:

http://www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org/programme/

If you are interested please email Victoria Kingston – westcorkhistoryfestival@gmail.com – with information on any previous relevant experience, and also letting us know on which day of the Festival you might be able to help.

Coming Home at Uilinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger is an exhibition of artwork from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, USA. This Museum has the largest collection of Famine-related art in the world. The exhibition has just finished at Dublin Castle and will open on 20 July at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen. We are delighted that the exhibition’s curator, Dr Niamh O’Sullivan, will speak at the West Cork History Festival on Sunday 18 August, and that additionally two of our field trips will include the exhibition and visits to Famine-related sites in and around Skibbereen.

For further information on our programme click here:

www.westcorkhistoryfestival.org/programme

Further details of all the events related to Coming Home can be found here:

http://www.westcorkartscentre.com/programme-of-events