Fáilte – Welcome

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The Galway Archaeological and Historical Society (GAHS) was founded in 1900 to promote the study of the archaeology and history of the west of Ireland. Since 1900 the Society has published 67 volumes of its Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. See our “Journal” tab for details. The first 55 volumes of this journal are also available for purchase on CD-ROM at a cost of €50.00 inc post and packing. (Current special offer price €30)

The Society also runs a lecture series in Galway City, as well as outings to various sites of interest during the summer. It is also involved in liaison with national and local authorities in relation to heritage matters relating to the City and County of Galway.

We invite you to become a member. All members get a free copy of the GAHS Journal normally issued near the end of the calendar year.

Lectures – Current Season

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Date  Season 2017 and 2018 Lectures Speaker
September 11th Archaeology of the Slieve Aughty Mountains Dr. Christy Cunniffe
October 9th  A History of the Irish Education System Dr Patrick Farren
November 13th …tanners, toners, tricksters and tinkers… Paul Duffy
December 11th  Exploring Mayo Bernard O’Hara
January 8th An academic guest of His Majesty
followed by the AGM
Patrick Larkin
February 12th A History of Child Protection Eugene Jordan
March 12th TBC
April 9th Cherishing all the children of the nation equally?: The Galway branch of the NSPCC, 1916-1922. Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna

All lectures take place at the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway at 8pm on the second Monday of the month during the season.

Lecture 11 September 2017

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Recovering the lost Archaeology of the Slieve Aughty Uplands

A glance at the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) would suggest that there is little by way of archaeology in the Slieve Aughty uplands. The majority of monuments recorded in the region are located in the lower slopes. However, fieldwork undertaken by the Community Archaeologist as part of his work to create greater archaeological awareness challenges that view. The (more…)

Field trip to Portumna June 17

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The GAHS field trip to Portumna takes place on Sunday 11th June 2017. Our PRO and Galway County Community Archaeologist Dr. Christy Cunniffe will be our expert guide while the Irish Workhouse Centre tour will be conducted by the museum manager Steve Dolan. Please let us know you are coming by sending and email to webmaster@gahs.info. (it’s not essential)

The tour starts in Portumna at the Workhouse Centre. The plan for the day looks like this…

11.00 Arrive at the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna
Tea / Coffee on arrival
11.30 Tour of Irish Workhouse Centre
12.30 Depart for Portumna Bridge
1.20 Lunch – bring a packed lunch or eat at one of the local food outlets.
2.20 Depart for Portumna Dominican Priory
3.30 Arrive at Portumna Priory
4.30 Leisurely walk through the grounds of Portumna Castle taking in the Viewing Tower / Lady’s Tea House, pass site of the Black Castle, see rare aluminium “Saorstát Éireann” OD point, see the last Mulberry tree and hear about its significance arrive at the back of Portumna Castle. See its well preserved Ha-Ha hear about “Poor Fury” the dog and see his memorial plaque. Walk back to priory via the foundations of the bawn wall, ice house and courtyard buildings.
5.00 End of event.

2016 Journal – Vol 68

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We are currently experiencing production difficulties with the 2016 journal. As many of you know the journal normally appears at the end of the year but it has been delayed for the last few years. GAHS is currently working to solve these problems and it is hoped that the 2017 journal will appear on time.

Everyone who paid their membership in 2016 will receive a copy of the journal when it is printed. Please accept our apologies for the delay.

Eugene Jordan,
President of GAHS

Lecture April 10th 2017

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Portraits, family and estate papers of the
Eyres of Eyreville, Kiltormer, Co. Galway
by Donal Burke

Donal recently acquired the family and estate papers relating to the Eyre family of Eyreville, county Galway, junior branch of the Eyrecourt family. The documents date from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and this evening’s talk relates to some new aspects of that family’s history derived from the same papers. (more…)

Lecture March 13th 2017

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The Drowned landscape of the Galway Coast

Harbour Hotel Dock Road, Galway @ 8pm Monday, March 13th 2017

delelic cottage in conemarra

‘Our coastline from Kinvarra to Inishbofin is one of the most varied and extensive in all of Ireland. Together with over 50 islands and Ireland’s only fjord at Killary Harbour, it offered a huge diversity of settlement options over the last eight thousand years. This talk will highlight some of the hundreds of new sites that have been identified and outline the research opportunities that these discoveries present. Among the new discoveries is one of the largest complexes of shell middens yet documented along the sheltered bays of inner Galway Bay. In the same area, aerial photography has revealed one of the largest and best-preserved seaweed farms in the country and an early tidal mill complex. To the west along the tangled coastline from Cois Fhairraige to Inislackan near Roundstone, winter storms have thrown up numerous examples of stone axe from a now submerged Mesolithic landscape that still survives beneath the shallow sheltered waters of Ceantair na nÓileáin. The same storms revealed a bronze age trackway at lippa and a range of early monastic and medieval burial grounds. Important early field systems and later harbours have been discovered on Aran and Inishbofin and hundreds of vernacular quays from the boom time of the Kelp Age. With scores of intertidal holy wells, at times accompanied by stone boats and  intertidal saints roads are illustrative of a living Pilgrimage tradition. All of these sites combine to give us an unrivalled Maritime Heritage’.

Michael Gibbons is hugely experienced field archaeologist. (more…)

February Lecture, 13-Feb-2017

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Monastic Ireland – A gift of the Nile?

Christ and saint Mena Deseert fatherAlf Monaghan’s illustrated talk looks at the history of early Irish Christianity from a different perspective – a Mediterranean perspective. It provides a tantalizing glimpse under the veil of history. It asks many questions and confounds some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland. It traces links with ancient Egypt, connects Irish monasticism with the Desert Fathers and the early Irish Church with the Egyptian Coptic Church. Recent Irish discoveries such as the Fadden More Psalter – Egyptian papyrus found in an ancient book of psalms from a Tipperary bog – are clues pointing to a more substantial Eastern Mediterranean influence in early Irish Christianity, than has been acknowledged to date.

ALF MONAGHAN is from Carrick-on-Shannon has spent most of his life working abroad.

For 20 years he has worked with the world’s leading consultancy firms, as an advisor to governments and development agencies in; Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South & West Africa. Recently based in the Middle East he has spent more than 10 years living and working between Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan & Egypt. Always interested in history, his time in Syria and Egypt in particular, sparked off a deeper interest in early Christianity and the influence of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, on Irish Christianity – much of which is now ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’.

Harbour Hotel, Galway on Monday, February 13th, at 8.00pm

Lectures are normally held on the second Monday of the month during the season (Sept-Apr)