Our 2019 Festival took place on 8-11 August and the programme is listed below. If you would like to download a full version of our programme here, please click here

Where speakers names are highlighted in red, you can click through to see or hear a recording of their talk.

Friday 9 August – evening

The Festival opened with former Taoiseach John Bruton in conversation with Carl Dinnen, ITV News political correspondent. Their scussion covered Ireland’s relationship with European and trans-Atlantic partners and also considered some of the centenaries of 1919.

Saturday 10 August – morning

Many of our Saturday talks examined the triangular relationship between Ireland, Britain and continental Europe through different historical lenses, while others focused more closely on the history of Cork.

The Secret Garden

10:00-11:00:  Professor Thomas O’Connor: ‘Strangers to Citizens: the Irish in Europe before the French Revolution’.

11:00-12:00:  John Dorney: ‘Florence McCarthy and his Spanish connections’.

12:00-13:00:  Dr Sylvie Kleinman: ‘Framing the Irish Republic 1796-2016: A revisit of Tone’s exile in France for the Decade of Commemorations’.

The Arena

10:00-11:00:  Dr Brian Coghlan: ‘An exploration of the life of Percy Ludgate’ followed by the launch of an appeal for information on Ludgate.

11:00-12:00: HE Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the US: ‘Declaring Independence: America 1776, Ireland 1919’. Dan was introduced by James Kingston, Legal Advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Saturday 10 August – afternoon

The Secret Garden

14:00-15:00 Gerald O’Brien in conversation with William Casey: Daniel O’Connell and the Monster Repeal Meeting, Skibbereen, June 1843’.

15:00-16:00 Professor Clare Connolly: ‘Subject Waves? Towards an environmental history of the West Cork coastline’ in which Clare spoke about the Deep Maps Project.

16:00-17:00 Orla Murphy on ‘The Life and Work of Seamus Murphy’ with an introduction by Mary Leland on the cultural life of Cork City from the 1950s to the 1970s.

17:00-18:00 Miriam O’Donovan: ‘James Goodman’s Song Manuscript of 1857 in its Context’

The Arena

14:00-15:00:  Professor Brendan Simms: ‘From Back door to Back Stop. Britain, Ireland and Europe in historical perspective’.

15:00-16:00:  Professor John Horne: ‘At the Crossroads: Ireland, Britain and the International Context, 1919-1923’

16:00-17:00:  Professor Mary Murphy: ‘Europe and the British-Irish Relationship: Past, Present and Future’

17:00-18:00:  A panel discussion on the triangular relationship between Ireland, Britain and continental Europe, one of the major themes of the 2019 Festival, with Ruth Dudley Edwards, Professor John Horne, Professor Mary Murphy and Professor Brendan Simms.

Saturday 10 August – evening

Jessie Kennedy and Justin Grounds were joined by one of Ireland’s leading pipers, Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, as well as flautist and fiddler Johnny McCarthy in a concert of music inspired by the work of Canon James Goodman.

Sunday 11 August – morning

In both the Arena and the Secret Garden, the talks focused on the events of 1919 and their significance in the Decade of Centenaries.

The Secret Garden

10:00-12:00: A screening of the film Keepers of the Flame (2018) which draws on material emerging from the Irish Military Pension Archives.

The Arena

10:00-11:00:  Professor Brian Walker: ‘Southern Protestant Voices during the War of Independence and Civil War’.

11:00-12:00:  Professor Liam Kennedy: ‘The IRA and Irish Protestants, 1919-23 and 1969-98’.

12:00-13:00:  Professor Eunan O’Halpin on ‘Policing and politics: the RIC and the War of Independence, 1919-21’

13:00-14:00:  A panel discussion which reflected on the challenges which lie ahead in the Decade of Centenaries, with professors Liam Kennedy and Eunan O’Halpin and Dr Ida Milne.

Sunday 11 August – afternoon

The Secret Garden

15:00-16:00: Jim Herlihy of The HARP Society on ‘The Royal Irish Constabulary – A Forgotten Force – the case for a Memorial.’

16:00-17:00: Stephen Collins of the Irish Times: ‘Why the State should commemorate the RIC/DMP – a personal perspective’.

The Arena

15:00-16:00:  Ida Milne & Ian d’Alton on ‘Protestant and Irish: Opening a different sort of conversation?’

16:00-17:00:  Ruth Dudley Edwards reflected on attitudes in southern Ireland to Northern Ireland.

17:00-18:30:  Our closing speaker was screenwriter and novelist Daisy Goodwin, who wrote the hugely popular TV series ‘Victoria’ on the life of Queen Victoria. She spoke about writing Victoria and her own West Cork connections.