Audio of 2017 WCHF

We’re gradually posting talks from the 2017 Festival on our website – click here 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.

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

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.

Press coverage of the West Cork History Festival

From the Irish Times on Sunday:

and on Monday

and visit The Southern Star’s Facebook page for lots of photos and videos of the weekend



Day Three – West Cork History Festival


Rabbi Julia Neuberger, one of the panel members for our second session on the First World War and Ireland, looking at Commemoration. 

Professor Marianne Elliott speaking to a packed tent on “Sectarianism in Ireland: Its History and Impact on the Northern Ireland Peace Process”

Lar Joye from the National Museum of Ireland talking about Duelling in Ireland – on the table in front of him is an 18th century duelling pistol which he brought with him, and which the audience were allowed to handle after the talk.

Michael Dobbs, our closing speaker, in full flow on “Life, Lust and Liquor: how House of Cards wrote itself” and other stories. The portraits of historical figures which can be seen behind him were specially produced for the West Cork History Festival by artist Harriet Selka


Michael Dobbs, Dee Forbes and David Puttnam at Lord Dobbs’ talk

Pointing the way out after a fantastic inaugural Festival …..



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.