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Poetry Day Ireland 2020

On Poetry Day Ireland, listen to Ambassador Dan Mulhall at our 2017 Festival speaking about poets Francis Ledwidge (pictured below) and George William Russell, also known as Æ.


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Some interesting things to read

Another of our (irregular) round-ups of interesting articles and websites to find historical and archaeological subjects:

Today is Anzac Day and there is a fascinating article by Damian Shiels on his website about an Anzac by the name of Ambrose Haley who is buried in Midleton graveyard in east Cork. His cousin, an IRA volunteer killed in 1921, is buried nearby.

23 April marked the anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 – this website was developed in 2014 by Trinity College Dublin to mark 1000 years since this significant event and has lots of information about the battle and its context.

Two articles about very different periods of history in the Irish Times recently: Roger Stalley writing on high crosses – with some good photos including one from Monasterboice showing two men pulling each other’s beards – and Nathan Mannion on the ‘wine’ geese who left Ireland after the Williamite Wars and went into the wine trade, either producing or making wine. Cork-born Richard Hennessy is probably the most famous, but they also include Skibbereen-born wine broker Abraham Lawton, based in Bordeaux and from whom Thomas Jefferson sought advice on stocking his wine cellar.

The Roaringwater Journal always has interesting content, and its authors, Finola and Robert, post new things every Sunday on the history and archaeology of West Cork (we should declare an interest – they are on the Festival committee!)

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Some interesting things to read and listen to …


Another of our (irregular) round-ups of interesting articles and audio on historical and archaeological subjects:

An article on the Irish Georgian Society’s website caught our eye, as it highlights some of the historic buildings in the Cork town of Youghal. ‘From Warden’s House to Myrtle Grove’ was originally published in 2017 and its author is Peter Murray, who spoke at our 2018 Festival.

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has been featuring poems read by BBC correspondents and others. Here is Fergal Keane – who we are delighted will be at our 2020 Festival – reading from the Benedictus: Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue.

The Irish Story website is always worth a visit and is regularly updated (or you can sign up to their newsletter) – fascinating articles recently on General Henry Tudor by Sean William Gannon and Epidemics in Ireland by John Dorney. John is the editor of the Irish Story and spoke at last year’s Festival.

The Discovery Programme is a government-funded body that conducts advanced research in Irish archaeology and related disciplines, often using new technologies. They have published a series of short articles on some of their recent work called A Research Miscellany, which includes many intriguing projects. The piece on the aerial photographer Leo Swan is particularly interesting.

Dr Connie Kelleher, another Festival contributor, has just published her book The Alliance of Pirates: Ireland and Atlantic piracy in the early 17th century (Cork University Press) which we can highly recommend.

And finally, two articles that are not about history but both very enjoyable – Frank McNally in the Irish Times on bookshelves and Festival contributor Ronan McGreevy in the same paper on star-gazing during lockdown.

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This is quite some Easter egg….



Screenshot taken from The Big Demense Instagram account – our thanks to them for sharing this!

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Harry Clarke at Easter

In 1922, Harry Clarke was commissioned to design six two-light lancet stained glass windows in the convent chapel of the Presentation Sisters in Dingle, Co Kerry. They were completed in 1924 and represent the life of Christ. The chapel is now the Díseart Institute of Education and Celtic Culture. The scenes below – which seemed appropriate for this time of the year – are from the Agony in the Garden and Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene.

We are lucky to have our own Harry Clarke’s close by, in St Barrahane’s in Castletownshend, which depict St Luke, St Louis and St Martin, and a Nativity window behind the altar with St Brigid, St Fachtna and St Barrahane.

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Some interesting things to read, watch and listen to…


Here are a few articles and films on historically-related subjects that caught our eye recently:

20 March was the 100th anniversary of the killing in Cork of Tomás Mac Curtain, Lord Mayor of Cork by the RIC –  here are two accounts of his death, one from the Century Ireland website and the other from the Irish Examiner.

Damian Shiels’ You Tube film on Irish women who married US sailors during the First World War

The Church of Ireland Historical Society has put the proceedings of its 2017 Conference on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation online here

A list of the top ten Irish gothic novels in the Guardian 

The BBC website ‘discovers’ Eileen Gray

The Trinity Long Room Hub has put up a selection of lectures from its archives, chosen by Festival Honorary President Professor Roy Foster. He has included a lecture by the late Professor David Fitzpatrick, another Festival contributor.

BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time podcast on the 18th century gin craze – first broadcast in 2016, but really worth a listen