Lecture for November 14th 2016

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by Prof. Noël P. Wilkins.

County Galway and Galway Bay have more fishery piers and quays than every other Irish county. Why is this? The reason may not be as obvious as one might expect.

This talk told the story of some of them – of the laws that governed them, the stones that make them up, the kindness of strangers who financed them and the human stories of those who built them. All of these aspects are intertwined in the overall story which is based on historical documentary evidence and personal examination of the sites mentioned.   (more…)

Lecture for October 10th, 2016.

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The Annaghdown Doorway and King Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair: Loyalty and Patronage in Twelfth-Century Connacht.

Stacked in an alcove of the Augustinian Abbey at Annaghdown, County Galway, lie a group of beautiful sculpted heads from a lost mid-12th century doorway. These stones have been a puzzle, pre-dating the Abbey by as much as 40 years. Yet the doorway belongs to a group of exquisite Gaelic-Romanesque portals, including at Killeshin and Glendalough, often built by royal patronage. Though now out of context, it can be shown that the Annaghdown doorway came originally from the west end of a pre-Augustinian Gaelic church, whose west and south walls were later incorporated into the Annaghdown Abbey. (more…)

Lecture for April 11th 2016.

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Our Citizen Army; The 1916 Rebellion in Galway Town
By Dr. Conor McNamara

This talk explored Volunteer Thomas Courtney’s claim to the Bureau of Military History that ‘Galway town, was, and in my opinion, still is, the most shoneen town in Ireland.’

Following John Redmond’s offer to support the British War effort in September 1914, the Connacht Tribune announced: ‘Sinn Féin has hitherto been treated with generous tolerance in the city: it has grossly abused that tolerance … now take the attitude that tolerance has reached its limit. The puny plotters have only themselves to blame.’ (more…)

Lecture 14th March, 2016

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John Redmond and the Third Home Rule Bill 1912-1916
Mr. Dermot Meleady

John Redmond Irish Home Rule PartyWith the current saturation coverage of the 1916 centenary commemorations, one could be forgiven for thinking that modern Irish history began only with the rebellion 100 years ago. The great democratic and material advances in the lives of the Irish people before 1916, and the fact that a measure of self-government had already been signed into law and awaited implementation at the end of the Great War, are often forgotten.  This lecture will bring that lost potential back to life, detailing how a 40-year peaceful struggle for Home Rule was derailed by the events of 1914-18.

Dermot Meleady is a Dubliner, a former teacher who spent 12 years researching and writing his two-volume biography of John Redmond: ‘Redmond: the Parnellite’ (2008) and ‘John Redmond: the National Leader’ (2013).

Monday, 14 March 2016 @ 8PM at the Harbour Hotel. Dock Road, Galway

2015 Journal

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The publication of the 2015 GAHS journal has been delayed. It is hoped to have it available and delivered to all paid-up members later in 2016. All going well, the 2016 journal will appear as per normal at the year end.

Monday, 8th Feb 2016

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The Visions of Eoin MacNeill
By Dr. Mary Harris.

Presented as a collaborative event between NUIG/GAHS, and part of NUI Galway’s commemorative programme “A Nation RisingÉire á Múscailt”

Eoin-MacNeillFew figures in early twentieth-century Ireland were as interested in the nation’s past or as optimistic for its future. As scholar, Gaelic Leaguer, and advanced nationalist, MacNeill’s enthusiasm and drive were remarkable. Nevertheless, his scholarly insights were not matched by political acumen. While he contributed significantly to the forces leading to the 1916 Rising, his attempts to forestall it proved highly controversial. His role in the ill-fated Boundary Commission further tarnished his image but his return to full-time scholarship yielded rich results.  This talk will examine MacNeill’s perceptions of Ireland’s past, his role in promoting the language and his later move into the political sphere. It will consider his motivations, calculations and miscalculations, as well as later attempts to vindicate him.

Dr. Mary N. Harris is senior lecturer in History at NUI Galway.  Her teaching and research interests focus on early twentieth-century political and cultural history and Northern Ireland issues. She is co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s 1916 commemorative programme and a member of the government’s Expert Advisory Group on the Decade of Centenaries.

January 11th 2016

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The Rising Remembered – by Mr. Paul Duffy.

This talk will deal with how the Rising has been commemorated over the years and will be illustrated with a variety of commemorative postcards issued within weeks of the event, as well as philatelic and numismatic material issued from 1931 onwards.

Paul Duffy is a retired litigation and forensic engineer.

Survivors of the 1916 Rising

December 2015

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Friars of the mendicant orders
by Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe

Friars of the mendicant orders – Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and Augustinian – played a central role in the history of medieval Connacht. They arrived in the province while it was being settled by the Anglo-Normans in the thirteenth century, and they were instrumental in the Gaelic resurgence of the late middle ages. In this illustrated lecture their history in Connacht is outlined and the architecture of some of their friaries is explained.

Prof. Tadhg O’Keeffe is former Head of UCD School of Archaeology. One of Ireland’s best-known medievalists, he has published nine books and over 100 papers on aspects of medieval archaeology and history.

November 2015

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Managing the Windsor of Ireland:
Galway’s town council 1603 to 1653
by Dr. Bríd McGrath

Galway was a very wealthy town in the early 17th century; this paper explores the membership of Galway’s town council, the men who controlled and managed the city in the first half of the 17th. century.  This talk looks at who were the members, how many of them came from which of Galway’s famous tribes, how did they deal with the pressure to appoint protestant mayors and bailiffs, what do we know about these men and their wealth and their role within and outside the city.  The talk is based on Galway’s famous Liber A, the corporation records [see it online] and other material from archives in Ireland and some recently discovered letters from the famous Galway lawyer Patrick Darcy now held in the Huntington Library, California. (more…)