Festival volunteers wanted

The West Cork History Festival will run from 8-11 August 2019, just outside Skibbereen in West Cork.  Now in its third 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.

As well as help during the Festival, we will be running a Festival Box Office in Skibbereen in the weeks beforehand. We would love some volunteers to help sell tickets and spread the word about the Festival in our local community.

Our 2019 programme can be seen here.

If you are interested please email Victoria Kingston – westcorkhistoryfestival@gmail.com




Professor Claire Connolly

We are delighted that UCC’s Professor Claire Connolly will speak at our 2019 Festival on the Deep Maps project, which explores West Cork’s coastal cultures from the mid-18th century. Earlier this year she gave the Charles Stewart Parnell Lecture at Oxford University with the intriguing title  “Too Rough for Verse? Sea Crossings in Irish Culture”. A version of the lecture was subsequently published in the Irish Time and you can read it here.

The Lusitania camisole

104 years ago today, the Cunard liner Lusitania was sunk off the coast of Cork by a German submarine. The ship went down in only 18 minutes, and more than 1,100 people died, while around 760 survived. One of those who died, and whose body was never found, was the Irish art collector and dealer Sir Hugh Lane. We screened the excellent film Citizen Lane about him, at the 2018 Festival.

One of the most impressive Lusitania artefacts is the one pictured below, held at the Imperial War Museum in London. It’s a camisole worn by Margaret Gwyer on the Lusitania. After the ship was torpedoed, she fell out of a lifeboat into the water and was sucked into one of the ship’s funnels at it sank. An explosion in one of the Lusitania‘s boilers blew her back to the surface and she was eventually picked up and reunited with her husband, who she had married a month before. She kept the oil-stained camisole as a reminder of her ordeal.