July 2021

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July 2021 

News and updates on the programme of commemorations relating to the events in Irish history that took place between 1912 and 1923.  If you would like to inform us of any suitable material for future newsletters – anything related to the Decade of Centenaries – please feel free to email [email protected].   

1. Lectures (some require registration)  

Commemorating the Truce, 1921
Lecture series [starts tomorrow, 6th July] 
The Truce, which called a halt to the War of Independence, was agreed in the Mansion House 100 years ago this July. To mark the anniversary, the Mansion House and Dublin City Libraries presents an online lunchtime lecture series from 6 – 9 July 2021. 
The free one hour talks will take place at 1pm each day, with contributions from Dublin City Council Historians-in-Residence and guest speakers. 
Booking essential. 

Monaghan’s War of Independence 

‘The War of Independence in Cork from both sides of the conflict’  To mark the centenary of the Truce between Britain and Ireland that brought hostilities in the War of Independence to an end, St. Peter’s Church in North Main Street in Cork are hosting an evening of history with historians Dr John Borgonovo and Dr William Sheehan.

The Irish War of Independence: The Galway Centenary Conference   
The Irish War of Independence: The Galway Centenary Conference Galway July 10th 
IRA Chief of Staff Richard Mulcahy dispatched the following message to all operational IRA Battalions: “In view of the conversations now being entered into by our Government with the Government of Great Britain, and in pursuance of mutual conversations, active operations by our forces will be suspended as from noon, Monday, 11 July.”As the first bell of the Angelus rang out The Irish War of Independence 1919 – 1921 had come to an end. The Galway Centenary Conference Saturday July 10th 2021 will explore a variety of topics relating to the Irish War of Independence and examine its legacy. The conference will be broadcast live on Zoom and Facebook and later added to a specially designated YouTube channel for posterity. 
Speakers and Topics
Níall Mc Nelis Introduction                                  
Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna The Races Must Run: Máirtín Mór and the Galway Races During the War of Independence 1920-22
Paddy Mc Menamin Belfast Pogroms 1921-1971 Kilmainham to Long Kesh
Dr. Elizabeth Stack American Support at the Time for the War of Independence
Mark Lohan Partition, Peace, and UnityTowards a Green Dawn – The Screeb Ambush, April 6th 1921 A documentary by Mícheál ó Maoileáin 
Damien Quinn The War in The West
Jim Ward The Aftermath – Life in the New State for ex-Volunteers.
Stephanie Klapp Our Gallant Allies
Cormac Ó Comhraí The Irish Language and the Revolution: Unanswered Questions
Ian Kenneally Censorship and Propaganda during the Irish War of Independence
Dr. John Cunningham Incendiarism and State Building in Glenamaddy 1921         

The Military Archives and the Military History Society of Ireland’s 2-Day Seminar: Military Aspects of the War of Independence, 1919-1921

West Cork History Festival  WCHF 
Draft Programme for 2021 Festival (6-8 August) Some events are live, some will be posted to the website on the relevant day of the Festival, check website for further details.  
FRIDAY 6 August Introduction from founders Victoria & Simon Kingston, discussing the Festival’s themes of Ireland in 1921 and Ireland & Empire
The Execution of Bridget Noble – Sean Boyne
A family on both sides of the 1921 Rosscarbery RIC barracks attack – Flor MacCarthy
4pm: Panel discussion
Let’s talk about the Black and Tans. How should the actions of Crown Forces be remembered and understood in Ireland and in the UK? with Dr Marie Coleman,
Dr David Leeson, Dr Edward Madigan, Professor John Horne (Chair)
6.30pm: Live talk
Ireland after 1921 – Why the Free State had to be a Catholic State – Mary Kenny 

SATURDAY 7 August In the wars: military and imperial culture in nineteenth century Ireland – Dr Aoife Bhreatnach
Echoes of the Zulu Wars in West Cork -Robert Harris
Irish soldiers in the British Army during Empire – Lar Joye
An unsinkable constable makes an arrest: the Newmarket Men who policed colonial Hong Kong – Patricia O’Sullivan
Irish Imperialists & their influence on Imperial and Dominion thinking – Dr Donal Lowry The Irish in polar exploration – Dr Claire Warrior
Colonial objects at home in Ireland: how do they make us feel – Dr Briony Widdis
2pm: Live talk
Ireland, Empire and the Early Modern World – Professor Jane Ohlmeyer
4pm: Panel discussion
When did Partition happen? with Professor Paul Bew, Dr Niamh Gallagher, Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Dr Margaret O’Callaghan
6.30pm: Live talk
Partition – the experience of Southern Protestants and ‘left overness’ – Professor Roy Foster
8.30pm: Festival Concert
Hope On, Hope Ever: a musical response inspired by elements of the Franklin Expedition
Jessie Kennedy, Tess Leak & The Vespertine Quintet 

SUNDAY 8 August 
Ethics and Remembering Empire – Professor Nigel Biggar
The Tainted – writing fiction about Irish imperial experience – Cauvery Madhavan & Dr Ida Milne
English Memory and Amnesia about Empire – Professor David Reynolds
4pm: Panel discussion
Selective memories: Irish and British historians on the imperial past with Dr Aoife Bhreatnach, Professor Eunan O’Halpin, Professor David Reynolds
6pm: Live talk – Closing Act
What we choose to remember and how – Fergal Keane 
[The programme remains subject to final confirmation] 

2. Exhibitions   

Kilmainham GaolnThe Forgotten Tenn
The Forgotten Ten: The story of the War of Independence executions in Mountjoy Prison A War of Independence centenary exhibition at Kilmainham Gaol Museum 
As the War of Independence progressed throughout 1920 and 1921, twenty-four men were executed in Ireland by the British Administration. Fourteen were shot by military firing squad in counties Cork and Limerick, as both counties were under martial law at the time. In Dublin, however, where martial law did not apply, ten men were hanged in Mountjoy, which was a civilian prison. A new exhibition in Kilmainham Gaol Museum looks at these latter executions and the men who would become known as ‘The Forgotten Ten’ and was launched on 7 June, the centenary of the final two executions. Among the items on display are poignant last letters to loved ones, historic photographs and deeply personal items connected with the executed men. ‘The Forgotten Ten’ were: Kevin Barry (executed 1 November 1920), Patrick Moran, Thomas Whelan, Francis Flood, Bernard Ryan, Thomas Bryan and Patrick Doyle (executed 14 March 1921), Thomas Traynor (executed 25 April 1921) and Patrick Maher and Edmond Foley (executed 7 June 1921). Ranging in age from 18 to 40 years old, ‘The Forgotten Ten’ came from all over Ireland and from all sections of Irish society. Some had wives and children, while others were young men starting out in life. All had been court-martialled by the British military, charged with crimes such as murder, treason and levying war, and were sentenced to death. Their executions made international news and some would become household names. The description of them as ‘The Forgotten Ten’ did not refer to how they were remembered, but rather that they remained buried behind the high walls of Mountjoy Prison until their reinternment in Glasnevin Cemetery in 2001.  Among the items featured in the exhibition is a statue of the Virgin Mary held by Frank Flood at his execution [see above], and a shirt and collar returned to Thomas Traynor’s family by the prison authorities along with a box containing sixteen unsmoked cigarettes. One of the most moving artefacts is a box of chocolates originally given to Thomas Whelan by Lester Collins, one of the Black and Tans guarding him in Mountjoy. Whelan in turn gave them to 8-year-old Alicia Mann, his landlady’s daughter. He said that they would eat them together if he was reprieved, but if he was not, she was to eat them all herself. Alicia Mann kept the unopened box of chocolates for the rest of her life. The exhibition also includes many of the letters and poems written by the men in the run-up to their execution. Writing to his father-in-law, Dick Glynn, on 25 February 1921, Thomas Bryan expressed his worry about how his wife, who was pregnant with their first child, would take the news of his upcoming execution. He wrote “its [sic] our women who suffer the most.” Bryan had been held in Kilmainham Gaol prior to being transferred to Mountjoy, as had some of the other men, including Patrick Moran. Moran was part of the group who planned the famous escape from Kilmainham on 14 February 1921, but decided to stay behind at the last minute and face his trial. Included in the exhibition is the razor he used in Kilmainham and Mountjoy. He gave it to a fellow prisoner before he was hanged, saying “I don’t want this where I am going.” 
Speaking about the exhibition, the Kilmainham Gaol Museum Collections Curator, Brian Crowley, said: “This exhibition on ‘The Forgotten Ten’ features some of the most poignant and moving objects in the Kilmainham Gaol Museum collection. Set against the wider background of the War of Independence, these artefacts tell personal stories of unbearable loss and sadness. Some of them also reveal how, even in the midst of a bitter conflict, acts of kindness and human connection can still occur.”  
History Ireland article about Frank Flood *here*
EXHIBITION DETAILS HERE                           

Spike Island ‘Imprisoning a Nation ’A new exhibition entitled ‘Imprisoning a Nation’, which tells the story of the 1921 prisoners held on Spike Island during Ireland’s War of Independence, has been opened by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley. 
The exhibition, which is funded by Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and media, tells the story of the 1200 men held on the island for their Republican activities in 1921. Ireland was engaged in a bloody struggle for independence, and common law completely broke down in the 6 counties of Munster and Wexford and Kilkenny. The situation was so bad that the British authorities declared Martial Law, or Military Law, to restore order. Thousands were arrested and convicted of ‘levying war against the King’, while thousands more interred without trial.  Many would see the inside of Spike Islands notorious fortress, which had been used as a prison during the time of Oliver Cromwell, and again during the famine years, when the fort became the largest known prison in the world, with 2300 convicts.The exhibition contains a number of new artefacts donated by the families of the men held on the island. These include coins shaped into badges and pins, prisoner carved wooden artefacts, and there are several diaries and autograph books kept by the men. These detail what life was like for the prisoners and internees, and share their feelings towards the struggle, their incarceration and daily life. A stunning and fortunate new find was an old audio cassette recording, made in the 1980’s, of 1921 Spike Island internee Jeremiah Herlihy, who details daily life in the prison, and recalls the hunger strike and a prisoner shooting.The exhibition is the culmination of over a decade of research by the island heritage team, and in particular historian Tom O’Neill who has worked on the island since the 1990’s. Regular enquires about the lives of the men held on the island in 1921 led Mr O’Neill to begin researching the details of the men held on the island, which is kept in locations like Dublin and London. After ten years of research, the names and imprisonment details of 99% of the 1200 rebels are now available to see on the island, searchable by name, county, trial and other details. [SEE BELOW FOR NEW SPIKE ISLAND PUBLICATION]
The exhibition ‘Imprisoning a Nation’ will run until the end of 2021 before it will join the island’s permanent ‘Independence’ exhibition, which details the road to Irish freedom from 1914 to 1922, and the islands role in that journey.  Spike Island was used to train British troops in the early years of World War one, and the crew of the gunrunning ship the Aud were held there during the failed attempt to arm the Easter Rising.  Organisers Austin Stack and Con Collins were also held on the island. The island’s use as a prison in 1921 is now well documented, and the island was an intrinsic part of the Treaty negotiations as one of three ‘Treaty Ports’, controversially retained by the British until 1938. Winston Churchill, who visited Cork Harbour in 1912, proclaimed the forts ‘the sentinel towers of the defences of Western Europe’, and fought tooth and nail to retain them in 1921, and again in 1938.  He was unsuccessful on the second occasion, and Spike Island returned to Irish control in a ceremony held on July 11th, 1938. 
 EXHIBITION DETAILS HERE                                          

3. Podcasts  

‘George V’s opening of the Northern Ireland parliament’  NEW History Ireland Hedge School PODCAST ‘George V’s opening of the Northern Ireland parliament’ On 22 June 1921 King George V officially opened the Northern Ireland parliament, thus confirming the existence of Northern Ireland as set out in the 1920 Government of Ireland Act. Moreover, since the formation of the Ulster Special Constabulary in autumn 1920 it also had the means to defend itself. To discuss these and related matters tune in to History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, in discussion with Elaine Callinan, Seán B. Newman, Mike Rast and Brian Walker. This Hedge School is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.

 Mná100 is a new online women’s initiative, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme and continues the work in highlighting the role of women in the revolutionary period. 
AVAILABLE HERE                                              

5. Publications 

New History Ireland issue out this month – available in shops or by subscription *here*  

Historian Tom O’Neill has undertaken his latest publication; a look at Spike Island and the 1000 plus Republican prisoners and internees held there in 1921. ‘Spike Island’s Republican Prisoners, 1921’ describes the background to the prison, the escapes, hunger strike and the riots that took place, as well as the fatal shooting of two internees. This is the first comprehensive history of individuals and events on Spike Island during that turbulent year.  BUY HERE

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