There’s an exciting programme of talks and other events this autumn, all events in the City Library, Grand Parade.
Date Title Speaker / Key person
10 September Commemoration & reconciliation Prof Tom Dunne
1 October “Ireland, as distinct from her people is nothing to me" Theo Dorgan
2 October Launch of James Connolly Songbook
7-26 October Canon Sheehan exhibition
22 October What about the women? Dr Carmel Quinlan
19 November Unionism, the Ulster Covenant Prof Brian Walker
7 December “They have rights, who dare maintain them” Gerry White
Commemoration and Reconciliation: a challenge for historians
Professor Emeritus Tom Dunne
Prof Dunne is the author of Rebellions: memoir, memory and 1798, Theobald Wolfe Tone: colonial outsider, and has edited, and contributed to, many other important works including James Barry, 1741-1806: ‘the great historical painter’.
Commemorations have the potential to sharpen historical divisions but also to promote reconciliation. Systematic attempts at reconciliation through the development of a shared history have marked many European conflicts zones from the end of World War 2 to the present. No such attempt has been made in Ireland, and this talk will ask why, and discuss some of the issues involved.
“President Michael D. Higgins in a number of speeches combined the need to commemorate ‘in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect’ with making ‘historical accuracy a cornerstone of commemoration’. That is where historians must take the lead. Fear of causing offence, and obsession with ‘balance’ and all the other manifestations of this damaging ‘political correctness’ can only lead to a bland, meaningless history that may get political establishments to the end of the decade but will do nothing to promote greater understanding”.
"Ireland, as distinct from her people, is nothing to me”
Theo Dorgan is a poet, activist, sailor, and has been Co-Director of the Cork Film Festival, and Director of Poetry Ireland. His poetry collections include The Ordinary house of love, What this earth cost us, and Greek; Time on the Ocean and Sailing for home are accounts of his ocean voyages.
James Connolly was not content with merely hoisting “the green flag over Dublin Castle”. Using Connolly’s well-known assertion – “Ireland, as distinct from her people, is nothing to me” – as his text, Theo Dorgan will reflect on what Connolly hoped for from the revolution, and how today’s Ireland compares to those hopes.
Cork launch of Songs of Freedom: the James Connolly Songbook (plus CD), edited by Mat Callahan. Foreword by Theo Dorgan.
Canon Sheehan: an exhibition on the life and times of Canon Patrick Sheehan of Doneraile 1852-1913
What about the women? How Irishwomen dealt with the Age of Revolution
Dr Carmel Quinlan
Dr Quinlan’s research interests include the nineteenth and early twentieth century Irish women’s movement, early birth control, and the history of sexuality. She is the author of Genteel Revolutionaries: Anna and Thomas Haslam, Pioneers of Irish Feminism, CUP, 2002.
Irishwomen had campaigned, with some success, for reforms in the fields of education, property and political rights since the second half of the nineteenth century.
This talk will look at how women in Ireland of different backgrounds and allegiances dealt with the many political and social questions which surfaced in the second decade of the twentieth century.
Unionism, the Ulster Covenant and Irish politics, 1912-14
Professor Emeritus Brian M. Walker
Professor Walker, Queen's University Belfast, is author of Ulster politics: the formative years, 1868-86, Dancing to history's tune: history, myth and politics in
Ireland, and A political history of the two Irelands: from partition to peace, among others.
His lecture is entitled 'Unionism, the Ulster Covenant and Irish politics, 1912-14'. He will examine developments in Ulster leading up to the signing of the Ulster Covenant, looking at some of the key politicians and events of 1912. How did they justify their actions? The consequences of these developments for Irish politics over the next two years will be examined. He will also consider the attitudes of members of both unionist and nationalist communities in Cork to these events inUlster'.
Brian’s great grandfather, Robert Orr, was a first cousin of John Lonsdale, M.P. for Mid Armagh and secretary of the Irish unionist parliamentary party during this period. Curiously, Robert Orr was also related, by marriage, to Richard Hazleton M.P., secretary of the Irish nationalist parliamentary party.
They Have Rights Who dare Maintain Them
An exhibition and talks on the formation of the Irish Volunteers
Gerry White and others
The day will feature two talks:
Wednesday 2 October 7.00pm
Cork launch of Songs of Freedom: the James Connolly Songbook, ed. Mat Callahan. Foreword by Theo Dorgan.