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…)

October 2015

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Mayo Archaeology
by Bernard O’Hara

County Mayo has a rich and varied archaeological heritage. To date, over 8,500 monuments for the county have been recorded under 181 classifications on the national Site and Monuments Record database. These monuments represent all eras from the late Mesolithic period to recent times. This illustrated lecture presented examples of the main monument types reflecting change over 6,000 years of human settlement. (more…)

September 2015

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Some Elizabethan sheriffs of County Galway
by Dr. Joe Mannion

The province of Connacht was shired early in 1569, in preparation for the establishment of the provincial presidency later that year. The newly erected county of Galway comprised the territories over which the second earl of Clanrickard exercised some degree of control, nominal or otherwise, and its first sheriff belonged to a collateral branch of the Clanrickard Burke family. The significance of this appointment in Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney’s overall plans to anglicise the western region will be explored in this lecture in the first instance, as will its ultimate responsibility for the initial failure of the presidency. A subsequent change in viceregal policy saw the appointment of outsiders to the shrievalty of County Galway, many of whom apparently abused the position for their own material gain. But they were not alone in doing this, as one of the most notorious sheriffs of the embryonic shire was a native of the town of Galway, who predictably belonged to one of the celebrated fourteen ‘tribes’. The primary sources have not yielded a complete list of the sheriffs who served in the county under Elizabeth, but an assessment of the personalities and tenures of those on record broadens our understanding of the many new challenges faced by the Gaelic Irish of the region during the later Tudor period. (more…)

April 2015

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The Ballinlass evictions, 1846 –
‘AWFUL EXTERMINATION OF TENANTRY’

On Friday 13 March 1846, the sub sheriff of Co Galway accompanied by a large force of police constables and a detachment of military, approached the townland of Ballinlass, a townland of some 300 statute acres, situated some two miles to the north east of Mountbellew in Co Galway. The townland was in the ownership of John Netterville Gerrard and his wife Marcella, of Gibbstown House, Navan, Co Meath. The sub sheriff called upon the tenants to render possession ‘and forthwith the bailiffs of Mrs Gerrard commenced the work of demolition’. The evictions were a civil matter – a dispute between landlord and tenants. The presence of such a large contingent of police and military was there in anticipation of a breach of the peace. Possibly because of such a presence, the onlookers and tenants were intimidated and the 61 families, a total of 270 people, were evicted and their homes demolished. (more…)