Lecture series a must for history fans

Clare People, Tuesday, 18th September, 2007

By Shane Murphy

The Civil War executions of two Clare men, the discovery of rare photographs of post-famine west Clare and the built heritage of Clare’s coast will be among the subjects to be explored during a six-month series of lectures at the Clare Museum in Ennis.

The Clare Archaeological and Historical Society’s autumn/winter lecture series will get under way on October 8. The launch of the lecture series last Friday also marked the beginning of a new membership drive.

The society was founded in 1989 and lectures are held monthly from October-March, while day-trips to historical sites in Clare and beyond are conducted from April to September.

Commenting on the launch of a new membership drive, Society Secretary, Mary Kearns said it was aimed not only at encouraging new members to join but to encourage former members to renew their membership.

The purpose of the society is to bring together those persons who have a common interest in the history and heritage of Clare. New and former members are encouraged to support a growing list of activities and events, including the lectures, meetings, discussions and visits to sites of historical importance.

Membership forms are available from Clare Museum at Arthur’s Row in Ennis. According to Museum Curator, John Rattigan, the aim of the lecture series is to promote the study of matters of archaeological and historical interst.

Acting Clare County Archivist, Rene Franklin gets the lecture series underway with a talk on the recently launched ‘Vandeleur Photographic Collection’. The 300 photographs of different members of the famous Kilrush-based Vandeleur family date from 1857 to 1871, the post-famine years when west Clare was struggling to recover from the devastation of crop failure, evictions and starvation.

On November 12, Fr. Joe McMahon, OFM explores ‘The Perfidious Machiavellian Friars’ before the final lecture of the year on December 10 when Ellen Murphy presents ‘Still True to the Republic: the Executions of Con McMahon and Patrick Hennessy’.

On January 14, archaeologist Christine Grant will present ‘Current Research on Prehistoric Settlement of the Burren’, while on February 11, Dublin City Council Conservation Officer, Sarah Halpin will give a talk on ‘The Built Heritage of Clare’s Coast’.

The final lecture takes place on March 10 when Fr Michael McGrath will give “An Irish view of Counter-Reformation Rome: Tadhg O Cianain’s Turas na nIarlai’.

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