The sisterhood at The Royal Irish Academy

A fascinating series of lectures held recently at the Royal Irish Academy celebrating sisterhood and the lives and achievements of five families of sisters who made their mark on Irish life – you can hear them all here. They include the Gore-Booth and Yeats sisters, Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington and her sisters, and the less well-known Quaker Shackleton sisters.
A beautiful illustration from the RIA website associated with the lecture series.

On this day in 1509….

On this day in 1509, Henry VIII acceded to the throne. His prescription for relations with Gaelic Ireland was “sober ways, politic drifts, and amiable persuasions”. Easier said than done, but in 1541, Henry was proclaimed King of Ireland by a parliament in Dublin which included, for the first time, Gaelic as well as Anglo-Irish lords. He is one of a number of ‘bad’ English kings: John and Richard II being others, who were ‘good’ in Ireland, in so far as they paid more attention to the relationship than most. It was a lesson that has had to be relearned.


100 years since the Amritsar Massacre

It is 100 years today since the Amritsar Massacre in India, when British troops opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the Punjabi city of Amritsar, killing several hundred people.

Festival contributor Ronan McGreevy has written an interesting article in the Irish Times today about an Irish connection to the Massacre, through the figure of Sir Michael O’Dwyer from Tipperary who was governor of the Punjab at the time. Meanwhile here is the entry on O’Dwyer from the Irish Dictionary of National Biography, via the RIA. O’Dwyer was assassinated in 1940 by a young Indian nationalist, Udham Singh, who is thought to have been present as a child at the Amritsar Massacre.

Mary Swanzy at the Crawford Art Gallery

We highly recommend the Mary Swanzy exhibition at the Crawford, which runs until 3 June. A fascinating and very talented artist who painted in a whole variety of styles including Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Symbolism and Surrealism – perhaps that is why she is not better known? Find out more here.

Mary Swanzy’s Samoan Scene, painted in around 1923
Collection of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

The Great Famine on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time programme

Cormac O’Grada, Professor Emeritus in the School of Economics at University College Dublin, Niamh Gallagher, University Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the University of Cambridge &  Enda Delaney, Professor of Modern History and School Director of Research at the University of Edinburgh discussing the Famine on this week’s In Our Time programme on Radio 4 – hear it here: