To mark the selection this year (2019) of Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls trilogy as Dublin’s ‘One City One Book’, the History Ireland Hedge School considered the issue of censorship. Banned on its release in 1960, The Country Girls is often credited with breaking the silence on sexual matters in ‘Catholic Ireland’. While by the 1970s such censorship had been considerably relaxed, it was replaced by political censorship in the form of Section 31. That in turn has passed but we are still left with the censorship of onerous defamation laws, not to mention internet and social media ‘trolling’, which has added a new twist to the censorship debate. To discuss these and related matters, History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by Donal Fallon (Come Here To Me), Angela Nagle (Kill All Normies), Mary Kenny (Goodbye to Catholic Ireland) and Niall Meehan (Head of Journalism, Griffith College).
Seminar and History Ireland Hedge School held
@ Ballykisteen Hotel, Limerick Junction, Co. Tipperary.
Saturday 19 January 2019.
- National and international context—Noreen Higgins McHugh. Click here for recording
- December 1918 general election in Tipperary—Seán Hogan. Click here for recording
- ‘Deserters, spies and hirelings’ : perceptions of a January day. Des Marnane. Click here for recording
- Vindicating a democratic mandate for independence: physical force or passive resistance? Martin Mansergh. Click here for recording
- Irish police casualties, including the War of Independence. Jim Herlihy. Click here for recording
The Hedge School was chaired by Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland and includes all the speakers above.
recorded @ the Allingham Festival, Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon
6pm Saturday 10 November 2018
With good reason the December 1918 general election is regarded as a political earthquake. With a massively expanded electorate, including women over 30, the Irish Parliamentary Party, the dominant force in nationalist politics since the 1880s, was almost wiped out and replaced by Sinn Féin, whose MPs refused to take their seats in Westminster. Instead they assembled in Dublin’s Mansion House and declared themselves to be the first Dáil Éireann. Within a year the War of Independence would be in full swing. But was this sequence of events inevitable? Did it reflect a radical shift in the views of the electorate? How did the election play out at local level, particularly in Donegal? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by Brian Hanley(University of Edinburgh), Brian Walker (Queens, Belfast), Pauric Travers (Chair, BAI) and Margaret O’Callaghan (Queens, Belfast).
Supported by the Commemorations Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
recorded @ National Photographic Archive, Temple Bar
pm Tuesday 4 December 2018
History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by a panel of experts — Brian Hanley, Liz Gillis, Niamh Puirséil — for a discussion to coincide with the National Library’s photographic exhibition covering the turbulent years of 1918 and 1919. Covering the end of the First World War, the suffragette movement, the global flu pandemic, the first meeting of Dáil Éireann and the outbreak of the War of Independence.
Exhibition open Mon–Sat 10am–5pm
Sunday 12 –5pm
Closes May 2019
In Association with Dublin Port
Venue: Dublin Port HQ, Alexander Road, East Wall
Time: 2.30PM – 3.30PM
The popularity of Quinnipiac University’s travelling exhibition, Coming Home: Art & the Great Hunger(opening in An tSeaneaglais [Glassworks], Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Derry, in January 2019) and the recent release of the film Black ’47have renewed popular interest in the Great Hunger. For a reassessment of Europe’s greatest demographic crisis of the nineteenth century, History Ireland editor Tommy Graham was joined by authors John Gibney (ed, TheGreat Irish Famine, Pen & Sword/History Ireland, 2018), Patricia Byrne (The Preacher and the Prelate: The Achill Mission Colony and the Battle for Souls in Famine Ireland, Irish Academic Press, 2018), and Peter Gray (‘The Great Irish Famine, 1845–1850’ in J.Kelly (ed.) The Cambridge History of Ireland, Vol.3 Cambridge University Press, 2018).
recorded @ Bedford Hall, Dublin Castle
2.30pm Friday 2 November 2018
A hundred years ago women in Ireland (then part of the UK) got the vote. To mark a century of women’s subsequent involvement in politics and public life, Dublin Castle is hosting a special exhibition in the Coach House. In conjunction, History Ireland editor Tommy Graham hosted a Hedge School for teachers and schools with Sinéad McCoole (curator), Deirdre Mac Mathúna (President, History Teachers’Association of Ireland), Mary O’Rourke (former Minister for Education) and Joe Lee (Professor Emeritus, New York University).
Supported by the Commemorations Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
@ National Maritime Museum, Haigh Terrace, Dún Laoghaire
7.30pm Sunday 7 October 2018
Just before 10am on 10 October 1918, east of the Kish Bank, two torpedoes fired by the German submarine UB-123 struck the 2,640-ton packet steamship RMS Leinster, en route to Holyhead, causing her to sink rapidly; over 500 lost their lives, out of a total of over 800. It was sadly ironic that only a few days previously the Germans had sent out peace feelers to US President Woodrow Wilson, and the war itself would be over within a month.
To discuss these and related matters, History Ireland Editor Tommy Graham was joined for a lively discussion by Philip Lecane (Torpedoed! The RMS Leinster disaster ), Michael Kennedy (RIA’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy), Jeff Kildea (Uni. of New South Wales) and Bernadette Whelan (UL).
Recorded on Friday, 27 APRIL 2018 at 7pm
Venue: @ CAFE Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, Cobh Library, Co. Cork
The twentieth century was the century of mass death and yet, contrary to popular perception, the greatest killer of all time was neither Hitler nor Stalin, but was an illness often mistakenly associated with the common cold—epidemic influenza. It infected one billion people around the globe and may have killed approximately 100 million.
To discuss its effects in Ireland and worldwide, History Ireland editor Tommy Graham was joined by Ida Milne, Guy Beiner, Patricia Marsh and Andrew McCarthy for a lively and informed discussion on this topic.
Sponsored by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Recorded on: Monday, 23 APRIL 2018 at 7pm. Venue: @ Liberty Hall, Dublin 1
On 23 April 1918 the Irish Trades Union Congress, and the ITGWU in particular, called a one-day general strike against the imposition of conscription and brought the country to a standstill. While it was the largest strike to date in Irish history, it was, uniquely, fully endorsed by both the employers and the Catholic Church. Support for the strike in the heavily industrialised but unionist-dominated Belfast was conspicuous by its absence.
To discuss these contradictions and other related matters, History Ireland editor Tommy Graham was joined by Padraig Yeates, Sarah Ann Buckley, Thomas Morrissey and Ethel Buckley.
Sponsored by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Recorded @ Kilkenny Medieval Mile Museum on Friday, 16 March 2018 at 6.30pm
The difference between history and archaeology is the difference between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens. The latter is more technologically advanced, and the former, although casually misunderstood, nevertheless boasts a bigger brain. Yet, it is hard to imagine one without the other’.
This tongue-cheek observation is attributed to Bethany Dean, then an undergraduate archaeology student at the University of Winchester. But what is the relationship between the two disciplines in developing our understanding of the past? How do they interact (if at all)? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a no-holds (or holes!)-barred discussion with medieval historians Seán Duffy (TCD, Atlas of Irish History) and Matthew Stout (DCU, Early Medieval Ireland 431–1169) and archaeologists Geraldine Stout (Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne) and Ian Doyle (Heritage Council).
This event was run in conjunction with Kilkenny Tradfest and supported by Costello’s Brew Company.
Recorded on Wednesday, 14 March 2018 at 7pm
@ The Officers’ Mess, Custume Barracks, Athlone
March 2018 marks the centenary of the death of John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, which had dominated party political life since the heyday of Parnell in the 1880s. It would all but be wiped out by Sinn Féin in the December 1918 General Election. Was that inevitable? To what extent was Redmond responsible for this change or was it due to circumstances beyond his control? Is it fair in hindsight to judge Redmond on the final few years of a long and eventful career? Was the Treaty settlement of 1921 to a large degree ‘Home Rule for slow learners’ in any case?
To discuss these and related questions History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by Martin O’Donoghue (National Library of Ireland), Brian Hanley (University of Edinburgh), and Dermot Meleady (Redmond’s biographer).
This History Ireland Hedge School was made possible by the support provided by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Recorded on Tuesday 27 February at 7pm in the National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
In Ireland in the revolutionary period, cinema was the latest form of mass entertainment. Previously ignored as a pernicious working class fad both by the British authorities and by their nationalist opponents, its propaganda potential was quickly recognised; in 1916 the British government sponsored the production of the documentary, The Battle of the Somme, which played in cinemas across Ireland; in 1917, within hours of the event, the Bohemian Cinema in Phibsborough screened footage of Thomas Ashe’s funeral. What effect, if any, did such interventions have on public opinion? How did both sides use the new medium?
To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by Kevin Rockett, Ciara Chambers, Denis Condon and Joanne Carroll.
@ Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
7pm Sat 11 Nov ‘17
Unlike Ballyshannon’s other famous son, Rory Gallagher, poet William Allingham (b. 1824) spent most of his adult life in his native town before moving to London in 1870. His lyrical and descriptive poetry, while somewhat out of fashion today, was a huge influence on W.B. Yeats and, later John Hewitt. Yeats made his observation shortly before Allingham’s death in 1889, but later softened his view. So where does Allingham stand in the pantheon of Irish poets? Was he any good as a poet? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a lively discussion with Anthony Begley, Moya Cannon and Pauric Travers.
@ the National Library, Kildare Street 7pm Tues 21 Nov
On 10 September 1967, Minister for Education Donogh O’Malley announced a scheme for free secondary education, much to the surprise of his cabinet colleagues, and of the Department of Finance in particular. But once word was out, there was no going back; expectations had been raised and the public response was hugely supportive. Within a decade participation rates at second level had doubled. But to what extent was the system subsidized before the announcement? To what extent has it been ‘free’ since? And beyond education, what was its effect socially and economically?
To discuss these and related questions History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by: John Walshe (TCD), Carole Holohan (TCD) and Frank Barry (TCD)
@ Dublin Book Fesitval, RDS Library, Dublin. 2.30pm Sun 5 Nov
As part of the Dublin Book Festival, Tommy Graham, Editor of History Ireland magazine, hosts a discussion with Joseph E.A. Connell Jr (author of Michael Collins: Dublin 1916–22, Wordwell 2017) and David McCullagh (author of De Valera (Volume 1): Rise 1882–1932), Gill Books 2017). Author Joe Connell contributes a regular column to History Ireland and David McCullagh is a presenter of RTÉ’s ‘Prime Time’.
Recording courtesy of the RDS library and with grateful thanks to Librarian Gerard Whelan.
@ St Werburgh’s Church, Werburgh Street. 7pm Wed 18 October 2017
Tommy Graham, Editor of History Ireland magazine, led a discussion panel to discuss the Reformation on the occasion of its 500th anniversary. Included on the panel were Adrian Empey (C of I Historical Soc.), John McCafferty (UCD), Alison Forrestal (NUIG), Gesa Thiessen (TCD).
@ Railway Heritage Festival, Eclipse Cinema, Bundoran, Co. Donegal 8pm Sat 30 Sept
2017 marks 60 years since the closure of the Great Northern Railway and the last train to leave Bundoran station. Tommy Graham, Editor of History Ireland magazine, led a Hedge School discussion panel that included Marc Geagan, Peter Rigney, Jonathan Bardon and Hugh Dougherty. They discussed the genesis, ramifications and consequences of the closure of the railway.
3pm Sun 3 Sept
The Bolshevik Revolution — in the dustbin of history?
In the face of claims of the total triumph of neo-liberal capitalism and a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, how should we mark the century of the Bolshevik Revolution? Should it be consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’ — or can it be recycled? History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a no-holds-barred discussion with John Horne (historian, TCD), Oliver Eagleton (playwright & activist), Brian Hanley (historian, Uni. of Edinburgh) and Frank Barry (economist, TCD).
14th September 2017
@ Cavan County Museum, Virgina Road, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.
When one thinks of folklore study and folklore collecting south of the border, the Protestant community is not normally the first sector of society to spring to mind. A major collecting project being undertaken by the National Folklore Collection, focusing on Irish Protestants as a cultural group, seeks to redress this imbalance. In this ‘decade of centenaries’ what does it tell us about Protestants in independent Ireland? Did the new state live up to the non-sectarian ideals of the 1916 Proclamation (‘cherishing the children of the nation equally)? History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a lively and enlightening round-table discussion by Deirdre Nuttall (National Folklore Collection), Niall Meehan (Griffith College), Críostoir MacCartaigh (National Folklore Collection), Malachy Hand (Loughcrew Megalithic Centre) and Ian D’Alton (TCD).
This History Ireland Hedge School was supported by the Commemorations Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and hosted by Cavan County Museum.
@ Richmond Barracks gymnasium, Inchicore, Dublin 8. 7pm Thurs 27 July
‘[I was] astonished by the brilliance of that eye and that had looked at the fields of Meath and seen there all the simple birds and flowers, with a vividness which made those pages like a magnifying glass, through which one looked at familiar things for the first time.’
So wrote Lord Dunsany, patron of the poet, Francis Ledwidge. How had this self-educated labourer, the eighth of nine children, who left school at 13, emerged as one of Ireland’s most notable war poets? What were the contradictions in the life of this trade unionist, Gaelic Leaguer and Irish Volunteer, who ended up joining the Royal Enniskilling Fusiliers and dying in the Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917. To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a lively round table discussion with Michael O’Flanagan, Eunan O’Halpin, Miriam O’Gara-Kilmurray, and Liam O’Meara.
Three of Ledwidge’s poems set to music were performed by Mezzo soprano Miram O’Gara-Kilmurry, accompanied by Irish composer and pianist Michael Holohan and Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw on the cor anglais (English Horn).
Supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
@ Micheál Ó Clérigh Summer School, Franciscan Friary, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal
3.45pm Sat 13 May
Declán de Breadún (Irish Times), Alan Titley (UCC), John McCafferty (UCD), Mark Empey (NUIG) joined Hedge School master Tommy Graham of History Ireland to debate this topic
@ the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street
recorded at 7pm Tuesday 23 May
The centenary of the entry of the United States into the WWI provides a timely opportunity to review the ‘unique relationship’ with Ireland. But it was not always close or cordial. The 1916 Rising had cast Ireland’s ‘exiled children in America’ in the role of potential subversives, in league with Imperial Germany. After the war, to their great disappointment, Irish nationalists discovered that President Woodrow Wilson’s advocacy of self-determination did not apply to the subject nations of the victorious Allied powers. Relations reached their nadir with US ambassador David Gray’s ‘American note’ of February 1944, implicitly threatening violation of Ireland’s neutrality unless Dublin’s Axis missions were expelled. Things only improved in the wake of JFK’s 1963 visit, and, notwithstanding continuing popular opposition to US foreign policy, particularly during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bushe, reached their high-point with the ‘shamrock diplomacy’ of the Clinton era. But where stands the ‘unique relationship’ in the wake of the election of the xenophobic and protectionist Donald Trump? To discuss these and related matters join History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, fwas joined by Michael Kennedy (RIA’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy), Bernadette Whelan (UL), Patrick Geoghegan (TCD) and John Borgonovo (UCC).
1917 was the pivotal year of the First World War. At its outset German U-boats were inflicting huge damage on Allied shipping, while in the land war the loss of one ally, Russia, was not compensated by the gain of another, the United States. How did the Allies swing the balance in their favour by the year’s end, particularly at sea? How central was Ireland (and Cork in particular) in this conflict? To address these and related questions History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham was joined by John Borgonovo (UCC), Michael Kennedy ( RIA’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy), Jennifer Wellington (UCD) and Michael Martin (Titanic Trail).
Recorded @ CAFE Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, Cobh Library, Co. Cork
7.30pm Thur 4 May
(100th anniversary of the arrival of the US navy into Cork)
This History Ireland Hedge School was supported by the Commemorations Unit, DAHRRG
@ Mechanics Institute, Middle Street, Galway
(in association with the Women’s History Association of Ireland)
Recorded on Friday 21 April at 8pm
One of the features of last year’s 1916 centenary commemorations was the extent to which the role of women in the national movement was acknowledged. Their role intensified in the immediate aftermath of the Rising, particularly since hundreds of male activists were in jail. Why then were women subsequently marginalized? Did they voluntarily step back into the shadows or were they elbowed aside? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham was joined by Mary McAuliffe (UCD), Linda Connolly (NUI Maynooth), Elaine Sisson (IADT, Dún Laoghaire), and Conor McNamara (NUIG).
A History Ireland Hedge School recorded at at Belfast Fest. of Ideas & Politics, Conor Hall, Belfast Campus, Ulster University, York Street
Sun 26 March
It is 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of his Wittenberg church, attacking the Catholic Church’s corrupt practice of selling ‘indulgences’ to absolve sin, setting in train the Protestant Reformation. But was that really about religion — or a cynical power-grab by some of the princes of Europe? Or was it an early manifestation of Brexit — disillusionment of the periphery with the perceived corruption of the cosmopolitan centre? What is its relevance today? Discussing these and related matters moderated by History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, were Hiram Morgan (UCC), Bronagh McShane (NUI Galway), Pat Coyle (Irish Jesuit Communications), and Revd Brian Kennaway (Irish Association, Former President).
@ National Library, Kildare Street
7pm Tues 21 Feb
(In conjunction with Beyond Leaving at the National Photographic Archive, Temple Bar)
In the c. 120 years after the Great Hunger, half of the people born in Ireland ended up somewhere else. In previous centuries there had been waves of inward migration — Vikings, Normans, English, Scots, Huguenots, etc. But Ireland is not unique — the history of humanity has been a history of migration, of coming and going. The Celtic Tiger years witnessed a net inflow of people to Ireland for the first time in centuries, whilst its collapse has seen a revival of emigration, the subject of David Monahan’s current photographic exhibition. Ffor this round table discussion, History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined by Mary Corcoran (Prof. of Sociology, Maynooth University), Susan McKeown (Grammy Award-winning singer & migrants’ rights activist), Joanna Siewierska (PolsksaEire festival).
@ the London Irish Centre, Camden.
7pm Wed 25 January 2017 .
At the heart of the past year’s commemoration of the 1916 Rising has been consideration of Ireland’s evolving relationship with the United Kingdom — from being an integral part of it, to Home Rule devolution (realised in the North but not in the South), to Commonwealth dominion, sovereign republic (albeit partitioned), and finally co-members of the European Union. An implicit assumption in this exercise has been the contrast between an Irish state of flux and the apparent stability of the UK. Brexit has now turned this assumption on its head, with major implications for the European Union, the Northern Ireland peace process and the UK itself.
To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor Tommy Graham was joined for a lively round table discussion by Dan Mulhall (Irish ambassador to the UK), Mary Kenny (writer & journalist), Michael Kennedy (Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy), and Martin Mansergh (vice-chair of the Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations).
@ The Kevin Barry Room, The National Concert Hall, Dublin. 6 pm, Saturday 19 November.
Tommy Graham with Dr Kevin Rocket (TCD), Jennifer Wellington (UCD), Lar Joye (National Museum) and Tom Burke (Royal Dublin Fusiliers Assoc. and UCD) discuss The Battle of the Somme film (1916) that was shown in the National Concert hall after this Hedge School. For more details see: http://www.somme100film.com/somme100film/
7pm on Tuesday 8 November 2016 @ the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street
The contrast between the apparent indifference (hostility even) of the public response to the Rising of Easter 1916 with the landslide victory of Sinn Féin in the general election of December 1918 seems to bear out the famous lines of W.B. Yeats. But was the change as dramatic as it seemed or the result of ‘a long gestation’? And if there was a change what were the developments that led to it? To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, is joined for a lively round table discussion by Mary McAuliffe (UCD Womens’ Studies), Brian Hanley (contributor, Atlas of the Irish Revolution), Fearghal McGarry (Queen’s University, Belfast), Padraig Yeates (A City in Civil War).
Saturday 5 November at the Allingham Festival, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Tommy Graham returns to his native Ballyshannon once again with the History Ireland Hedge School. This year’s topic has a particular resonance in a border town like Ballyshannon. He is joined by Brian Hanley, Jonathan Barden and Niall Meehan to discuss this difficult and contentious issue. Due to technical difficulties the recording ends just before the end of the discussion on 46 minutes.