News and Views

The Irish-American civil war, marriage in Ireland, the Cork Public Museum & Skibbereen’s own Southern Star

Slightly longer than a week since our last round-up but never mind – links to lots of interesting historical content here

Of course the best history available at the moment to watch and listen to is our 2020 digital Festival, which is right here on our website, but here’s some other stuff too!

Here’s our weekly round up of interesting historical content – lots to read and listen to.

Some really interesting reads and listens here, including the DIB on Irish explorers such as aviator Lady Heath (pictured), sheela-na-gigs and the power of literature in a time of global pandemic.

American Independence Day and architect & designer Eileen Gray

The Irish archaeological story of the year was published by Nature magazine last week. Genetic analysis by researchers at TCD showed that an adult male from the Neolithic period whose body was found inside Newgrange was the product of first degree incest. This may indicate he came from a ruling social elite who married within […]

Our selection is a little later than usual – we’ve been busy planning digital content to go up on our website the weekend the Festival should have been…. (7-9 August): There has been lots of media coverage this past week of the RTE programme Hawks and Doves, in which former British cabinet minister Michael Portillo […]

Festival contributor Ronan McGreevy wrote in the Irish Times about links between Ireland and the slave trade, in the context of the targeting in the UK of statues of individuals associated with slave trading. From 19th century statues to 19th century stuffed animals… the blog of the CSHIHE (Centre for the Study of Historic Irish […]

The Irish Times published another of its excellent Decade of Centenaries supplements this week, this one looking at 1920. Articles that particularly caught our eye were Festival contributor Andy Bielenberg’s piece on the contested and difficult subject of ‘disappearances’ by the IRA, many of which took place in Cork, Linda Connolly writing about violence against […]

We are sad to annouce that we have decided, after much discussion, to cancel the History Festival this year.  We had hoped that by delaying the decision we might have been able to find a way of making the physical hosting of the Festival possible in August. It is now clear that is very unlikely […]

Another assortment of interesting articles, podcasts and videos on historical themes. And something about coffee too ….  Two anniversaries this week, both related to world wars. Firstly, on & May it was 105 years since the Lusitania was sunk off the Old Head of Kinsale by a German submarine, with the loss of 1,198 people. […]

On Poetry Day Ireland, listen to Ambassador Dan Mulhall at our 2017 Festival speaking about poets Francis Ledwidge (pictured below) and George William Russell, also known as Æ.  

Another of our (irregular) round-ups of interesting articles and websites to find historical and archaeological subjects: Today is Anzac Day and there is a fascinating article by Damian Shiels on his website about an Anzac by the name of Ambrose Haley who is buried in Midleton graveyard in east Cork. His cousin, an IRA volunteer […]

  Another of our (irregular) round-ups of interesting articles and audio on historical and archaeological subjects: An article on the Irish Georgian Society’s website caught our eye, as it highlights some of the historic buildings in the Cork town of Youghal. ‘From Warden’s House to Myrtle Grove’ was originally published in 2017 and its author […]

In 1922, Harry Clarke was commissioned to design six two-light lancet stained glass windows in the convent chapel of the Presentation Sisters in Dingle, Co Kerry. They were completed in 1924 and represent the life of Christ. The chapel is now the Díseart Institute of Education and Celtic Culture. The scenes below – which seemed […]

… why not listen to some historical context for our current troubles – Dr Ida Milne speaking about the 1918-19 flu pandemic at our 2018 Festival – click here to hear her talk. We also have lots of other fascinating talks from our 2017, 2018 and 2019 Festivals, all available on our website, covering the […]

Here are some articles on historical and cultural themes which caught the Festival’s eye recently ranging from the 21st century to pre-history: Seas of Ideas: Women and the Ireland-Wales crossing by Elizabeth Edwards posted on the blog of the Ports Past and Present project. This is headed up by Professor Claire Connolly of UCC, who […]

Lough Abisdealy is part of the Liss Ard estate, which neighbours Rosebank where the West Cork History Festival takes place. The Lough is up to 20 metres deep in places and writer Edith Somerville, who lived in nearby Castletownshend, is alleged to have spotted a mysterious long black creature in its waters.  

Listen to Festival contributor Professor Eunan O’Halpin on Newstalk discussing the recent controversy over plans to commemorate the RIC and DMP. Professor O’Halpin is a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations. And here is another Festival contributor, retired Garda Jim Herlihy, interviewed in the Irish Times about his recent experiences in relation to […]

A lovely short piece here in Toast Magazine about clementines at Christmas by Amy Bradford, with photographs (one of which is reproduced below) by Kim Lightbody.

The RTE Archives website includes this footage of Ballydehob, part of an episode of RTE’s ‘We Live Here’ in 1977. This clip focuses on the typography of the shop fronts, many of which are the same or similar today. To see the footage click here.        

The West Cork History Festival recently had a trip to Dublin, including a visit to the National Museum of Ireland’s Archaeology displays. Here are details of some beautiful gold collars in their collection. Both date from around 800-700 BC, one from Tipperary, the other from Clare. Read more about the Museum’s collections of prehistoric gold […]

  Professor Brendan Simms summarises his thoughts on Ireland’s position on Brexit and its historical context, a subject about which he spoke at greater length during the 2019 Festival.    Festival contributor Ruth Dudley-Edwards also reflects on this key theme for our 2019 Festival   Ambassador Dan Mulhall interviewed about his Festival talk, ‘Declaring Independence: […]

A selection of interesting articles related to Irishmen and women who served in the First and Second World Wars, posted on and around Remembrance Sunday: Festival contributor Ronan McGreevy on the largest execution by the Germans of Allied soldiers on the Western Front during the First World War, including of six Irish soldiers, in the […]

A really interesting post from Robert Harris at the Roaringwater Journal about the festival of Halloween, based around the goings on in Ballydehob…..  The pumpkin shown below was one of the best we saw, outside the Church Restaurant in Skibbereen.      

The 2020 West Cork History Festival will take place from 6-9 August. Check back to our website, follow us on social media or subscribe to our mailing list [by emailing] to get updates as we develop our 2020 programme.