Welcome to a history lover’s paradise in the rolling hills of West Cork. Our programme – entertaining, erudite and engaging – brings together historians, journalists, commentators and opinion formers for a festival of intellectual delights. Some of our sessions have a particular theme, while others juxtapose local, national and international history and different eras to provide some surprising contrasts.
Everyone is welcome and alongside the history, some of West Cork’s fantastic food and drink will be available, as well as a selection of stalls selling books. At our Festival Dinner on Saturday night, the food will be provided by local award-winning restaurant Good Things Café, and diners will have the opportunity to meet the speakers in a more informal setting.
Please browse the programme details below and visit the Tickets page to join in. The Festival has two venues – The Arena and The Secret Garden – where events will run simultaneously. All events will take place in marquees, just in case the weather doesn’t co-operate!
Session 1 (The Arena & The Secret Garden): Friday 28th July 2017, 18:30-23:00
The West Cork History Festival opens with a keynote address by Roy Foster, authorised biographer of Yeats and the leading Irish historian of his generation. The Festival opens at 18:30, with Roy Foster’s lecture beginning an hour later.
19:30-20:30 – Introductory lecture by Professor Roy Foster (The Arena) on ‘”A Fair People”: antagonism and conflict in Irish history’
21:00-23:00 – Screening of the film Rebel Rossa, the recent biopic of O’Donovan Rossa (The Secret Garden)
Session 2 (The Arena): Saturday 29th July 2017, 10:00-13:00
10:00-11:00 – Dr William Sheehan on lessons in counter-insurgency from Ireland
11:00-12:00 – Dr Eve Morrison on ‘Cork Ghosts of the Irish Revolution’
12:00-13:00 – HE Ambassador Dan Mulhall ‘War & Peace: two Irish writers in 1917, Francis Ledwidge and AE’
The Skibbereen and District Historical Society’s Journal 2017 will be launched at 13:00 in The Arena – no ticket is required for this event and all are welcome.
Session 2 (The Secret Garden): Saturday 29th July 2017, 10:00-13:00
10:00-11:00 – Dr David Edwards on the Great Earl of Cork
11:00-12:00 – Dr Patrick Little on the second earl of Cork and his children
12:00-13:00 – Screening of the film An Tost Fada (The Long Silence) and post-screening discussion with Eoghan Harris, the writer and narrator
Session 3 (The Arena): Saturday 29th July,14:00-17:00
14:00-15:00 – Dr Andy Bielenberg on spies and informers in Cork in the War of Independence
15:30-17:00 – Professor David Fitzpatrick on ‘Protestant Depopulation and Upheaval in Southern Ireland, 1845-1950’
Session 3 (The Secret Garden): Saturday 29th July, 14:00-17:00
14:00-15:00 – Dr Terry Barry on Tower Houses in Ireland
15:00-16:00 – with a local dimension provided by Finola Finlay on Tower Houses in West Cork
16:00-17:00 – and in contrast Richard Butler on the architecture of Bishop Lucey’s churches in Cork
Session 4 (The Arena): Saturday 29th July, 17:30-19:00
Session 4 (The Secret Garden): Saturday 29th July, 17:30-19:45
Festival Dinner (The Arena): Saturday 29th July, 20:30-24:00
Festival dinner in The Arena with dinner provided by one of West Cork’s best restaurants, The Good Things Café, and a chance to meet some of our speakers. The three course dinner has been especially created for the West Cork History Festival by the inspirational Carmel Somers, owner of Good Things, and will include wine with each course.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you booking for the dinner and are a vegetarian.
Session 5 (The Arena): Sunday 30th July, 11:00-13:00
11:00-12:00 – Panel Session 1 on the First World War and Ireland – Participation: chaired by Carl Dinnen with panellists HE Ambassador Kevin Vickers, Lar Joye, Heather Jones, HE Ambassador Dan Mulhall
Session 5 (The Secret Garden): Sunday 30th July, 11:00-13:00
11:00-12:00 – Pat Crowley of Durrus History Society on ‘The O’Donovan Family of Muintervara, Durrus: Early Nineteenth Century Catholic Magistrates, Landowners and Political Activists
12:00-13:00 – William Casey on early Fenianism in Skibbereen
Session 6 (The Arena): Sunday 30th July, 14:00-16:00
Session 6 (The Secret Garden): Sunday 30th July, 14:00-16:00
Session 7 (The Arena): Sunday 30th July, 16:30-17:30
The closing speaker of the West Cork History Festival is Michael Dobbs, creator of House of Cards