West Cork History Festival 2023

Our 2023 Festival (11-13 August) will be even bigger and better this year and we’re excited to announce that we’re moving to a new venue – the beautiful and historic Inish Beg estate between Skibbereen and Baltimore.

We’ll have the same fantastic history – local, national and international – and the same informal atmosphere. And we’re returning to our pre-pandemic format with a full programme across two separate venues, as well as our Festival concert and Festival field trips (scroll down for more details on this). Further details of our programme can be seen below, and tickets will be available soon via our website. We look forward to seeing you in August.

Our 2023 Festival has two main themes, firstly a focus on the Irish Civil War and the Decade of Centenaries and secondly Munster and Ireland’s mercantile connections in the 18th century, notably the trade and consumption of wine but also the Atlantic slave trade.

Friday evening (11th August)

Our opening speaker will be confirmed shortly

Saturday morning (12th August)

Professor Robert Gerwarth will speak on wider international comparisons of civil war

Dr Eve Morrison on ‘Trauma, Democracy and the Irish Civil War’

Dr Edward Burke on ‘Echoes of the violence of the 1920s in the 1970s’

Professor Caitríona Beaumont on her project ‘Afterlives of Activist Women’ looking at Ireland, Germany and Finland

Commander Daniel Ayiotis ‘Crests and Troughs: Preserving the Records of the Irish Revolution’

Professor Heather Jones ‘King George V and Ireland: Reform, Revolution and Royal Regret’

Dr Nicholas McDowell ‘The Poetry of Civil War: from Milton to Yeats’

Paul Lay ‘Three Irish men in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms’

Dominic Selwood on his book Anatomy of a Nation: A History of British Identity in 50 Documents

Saturday evening (12th August)

Saturday evening will be our Festival concert, curated by our long-term musical collaborator musician and composer Jessie Kennedy. More information to follow shortly.

Sunday morning (13th August)

A panel discussion looking at the Decade of Centenaries and how the commemorations were received by historians and non-historians

Sunday afternoon (13th August)

Professor David Dickson ‘Cork, the Caribbean & Complicity’

Dr Kate Hodgson ‘The Long Eighteenth Century, Munster connections and antagonisms’

Dr Tara McConnell ‘Prodigious Fine Dinners: Dining with Jonathan Swift’

Dr Patricia McCarthy ‘Ireland’s love affair with Claret’

Professor Charles Ludington  ‘Irish Wine Merchants and the Invention of Modern Bordeaux Wine’

We also hope to organise a wine tasting featuring ‘Wine Geese’ wines.

Festival Field Trips

We’re doing things a little differently this year, working with local partners to bring you an exciting range of options for Friday 11 August, as well as early morning on Saturday and Sunday. We will explore the waters of Castlehaven with Atlantic Sea Kayaking; hear tales of adventure and heritage as we walk the cliffs of West Cork with Gormú; use the beautiful church of St Barrahane’s to explore how local families have left their mark and important art; take a stroll through a West Cork village to discover its hidden histories; and – if you’re brave – take an early morning swim and pilgrimage. Tickets available soon.