Heritage Week 2016 – another success!

 

Midleton in early 1900s

Main Street, Midleton, around 1900.

Heritage Week 2016 has now ended but it started a day late as usual in Midleton. On Sunday 21st August some fifteen to eighteen people joined my early 20th century Midleton walking tour of the town. They were brave souls to ignore the Met Eireann weather warning and venture forth. (Youghal’s Medieval Festival was postponed for a week!)  In fact we only had a few showers of misty rain, some breezes and a grey threatening sky overhead, but we were actually fine! Given that I spoke about some of the bad weather in the period 1896 to 1918, the dull day was appropriate.

On Thursday evening, 25th August, Cal McCarthy spoke in Midleton Library about Spike Island in Cork Harbour as a prison in the 19th century . He was supported by the director of the Spike Island heritage site, Tom O’Neill, who encouraged us all to visit before the season closed at the end of October. We had an audience of about twenty for that event.

Saturday 27th saw my lecture in the same venue on ‘Living in Midleton a Hundred Years Ago’. Given that was a lovely day outside, and the last Saturday before the schools reopened,  we had a final audience of about twenty, which was a very welcome number.

Some twelve  people (and Mollie the Jack Russell!) joined the second walking tour on Sunday 28th August in glorious end of summer sunshine and heat. It was a bit difficult to talk about the great storm of 1903 in Midleton in that sort of weather!

I hope everybody learned something new and got a better understanding of Midleton’s (and Spike Island’s) history during the week!

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Life a hundred years ago – National Heritage Week 2016

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National Heritage Week 2016 will start on Saturday 20th August and run until Sunday 28th August. The theme this year is to celebrate a hundred years of heritage, but this can also mean celebrating life a hundred years ago. One might imagine that it would be entirely devoted to commemorating the 1916 Rising but the options are actually much broader than that.

There are a number of events in the East Cork area, including Cloyne, Castlemartyr and Youghal. Naturally Midleton will celebrate Heritage Week 2016 with FIVE events – two walking tours, two lectures and an intriguing musical recital. The events are free so do go along,. You will never know what you might learn!

Charles Street Midleton

Charles Street, now Connolly Street, Midleton, at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the background is the spire of St John the Baptist’s Church. The Potato Market was located in the yard behind the archway on the right. The granary building on the right was built to serve the former brewery which was only identified as a result of last year’s Heritage Week tour of the town! (Lawrence Collection, NLI)

Midleton Events for Heritage Week 2016 are:

Sunday 21 August, at 2.00 pm: Walking through Midleton in 1916. Meet at Midleton Library for this Walking Tour.

Thursday 28th August, at 7.30 pm: Too beautiful for Thieves and Pick-pockets. A free public lecture about Spike Island by Cal McCarthy. Venue: Midleton Library.

Saturday 27th August, at 12.00 noon. Living in Midleton a hundred years ago. A free public lecture about daily life in Midleton at the beginning of the twentieth century, given by Tony Harpur. Venue: Midleton Library.

Saturday 27th August, at 1.00 pm: What the Wild Geese heard – popular music from the 17th and 18th centuries. A FREE recital by the Hibernian Muse Early Music Ensemble. Venue: St John the Baptist’s Church..

Sunday 28th August, at 2.00 pm. Walking through Midleton in 1916. Meet at Midleton Library for this Walking Tour.

Other events in the Midleton area:-

Castlemartyr: Saturday 20th August, at 8.00 pm: John Saul, Horticulturist, from Castlemartyr to the White House. A public lecture by Conor Neligan, County Heritage Officer. Venue: Castlemartyr National School.

Cloyne: Saturday 20th August, 11.00 am to 4.30 pm: Discover Cloyne Cathedral. Including tours and guided visits. Venue: Cloyne Cathedral, Cloyne.

For further events in East Cork and elsewhere please consult:http://www.heritageweek.ie/whats-on

Bringing the Imokilly Fitzgeralds back ‘home’ to Kerry.

Dingle Peninsula

The spectacular coastal scenery of the Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry.

Last month (22nd July to 24th July) I took a trip to Ballyferriter in on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry to deliver a paper at a conference. The title of the conference was ‘The Fitzgeralds and the Earls of Desmond.’  The conference was opened on Friday evening by Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry. The first paper by Gerald O’Carroll considered the historiography of the Earls of Desmond. This was followed by Donal O’Cathain’s paper on the Gaelic sources about Gerald, the poet third Earl of Desmond (1335-1398). Sadly, the medieval Gaelic Irish sources are too often overlooked because too many scholars of medieval Ireland do not read Irish.

rahinnane-castle

Rahinnane Castle is built inside a ringwork or earthwork castle built y the twelfth century Anglo-Norman invaders. The ringwork itself may have been developed from an earlier Irish rath or fortified farmstead.

My own paper was delivered first thing on Saturday morning. A discussion on the descendants of Sir Maurice FitzRichard Fitzgerald, 2nd Knight of Kerry, in Imokilly might seem  heavy going for Saturday morning but I suspect that it came as a shock because few if any of the audience realized the profound influence the Kerry Ftizgeralds had on that little corner of south-east Cork. Joe Lennon then followed with a discussion of the Irish Fiants of the Tudor sovereigns as a source, particularly for the pardons given out after the Second Desmond Rebellion. He also revealed new information on the murder of the last Earl of Desmond at the end of the rebellion.

Joan Maguire then introduced the conference to the exciting Dingle/Corca Dhuibhne Interactive History Timeline. This can be downloaded here: http://www.dinglehistory.com/

This was followed by the launch of a poster for schools and interested groups: ‘The Geraldines and the History of Munster.’ The title is a little misleading because the poster refers to European historical events as well.

Gallarus Castle

Gallarus Castle is a later medieval tower house, probably missing its top floor. It is located just yards from the famous, and much older, Gallarus Oratory.

Saturday afternoon was spent touring three of the tower houses once held by the Knights of Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula. These were Gallarus, Rahinnane and Minard Castles. That evening a concert of traditional Irish music was laid on at the Blasket Centre. The music was played by a French family who love Irish music – it was hard to believe they were not Irish musicians!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend spent enjoyed good papers, interesting company, gorgeous scenery, fabulous food and lovely music. Oh, and the weather was great too, capped by the most spectacular sunset on Saturday night!

Minard Castle

Minard Castle perched on its knoll overlooking its storm beach and Dingle Bay. In the far distance to the right, across the bay, can be seen the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula – where the Ring of Kerry touring route is located.