Lecture April 10th 2017

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

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)

Lecture for January 2017

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The Galway Archaeological & Historical Society AGM
1916 and the Fight for Independence
Impact on a Galway Family

The AGM was held at the Harbour Hotel on Monday, 9th January, 2017, and was preceded by a Lecture, given by Peadar O’Dowd entitled, “1916 and the Fight for Independence – Impact on a Galway Family”.  The family involved is the former Crowe family of Bohermore, in which Martin, Julia and William were active during the Fight for Independence, while their father, John, escaped death from English naval shelling during the 1916 Galway rebellion.  Martin was subsequently interred in Ballykinlar Internment Camp in County Down during 1921, and his story is contained in Vol. 48 (1996) of the society’s journal.

Peadar O’Dowd, a retired GMIT lecturer, is a historian and columnist, and is the author of several publications on Galway, city and county.

Lecture for December 2016

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Making a Manor
the Norman Settlement of Aughrim
Patrick Larkin

“The Barons of Ireland went to England, and little to Erin’s benefit did they accomplish there” – Annals of Connacht, 1236.

Throughout the 13th century, the English Kings, the Irish Barons and the Gaelic Chieftains in Connacht performed an un-choreographed dance around the river Shannon, each seeking to dominate the turbulent kingdom of Connacht. One hundred years after the Norman invasion of Ireland, following a generation of military prodding and political machinations, Connacht was finally invaded, opening the door for new Norman settlements.  The first stop was Aughrim, and a methodical plan was enacted to install the newcomers. Who they were and what they achieved are the subject of this illustrated lecture. The numerous names, and the standing of those people, speaks of the central importance of Aughrim in all that followed, during these attempts to produce a model settlement suitable for the Anglicization of the old kingdom.

Patrick Larkin is currently President of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society.

RIA & GAHS lecture 1 November 2016

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‘The Galway/Gaillimh atlas: perspectives on the historic town’ by Jacinta Prunty and Paul Walsh

The lecture took place on Tuesday 1 November 2016, at 6.30 p.m. at St Nicholas’s Church, Galway.

Jacinta Prunty and Paul Walsh are the authors of the new Irish Historic Towns Atlas, Galway/Gaillimh, which is published by the Royal Irish Academy. In this lecture the authors highlighted aspects of their research for the atlas. This event was hosted by the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and marked the launch the atlas. Galway/Gaillimh by Jacinta Prunty and Paul Walsh is no. 28 in the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) series, which traces the topographical development of Irish towns and cities through its publications. Galway/Gaillimh contains over thirty maps, views, reconstructions and photographs of the historic city with an accompanying text and gazetteer of urban sites. www.ihta.ie Series editors: H.B. Clarke, Anngret Simms, Raymond Gillespie, Jacinta Prunty.

Galway/Gaillimh is on sale in local bookshops or directly from the Royal Irish Academy (www.ria.ie) for €35.

Galway City and River 1685

Lecture for November 14th 2016

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EVEN THE STONES CRY OUT
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…)