Saturday 25 May 2019

Bumper weekend of great heritage events across the city and county

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer

Last weekend was a most special one from a heritage perspective with such a range of great events having taken place from the sixth Festival of History in Charleville to the inaugural Thomas Kent Weekend in Fermoy and indeed the Celebrating Cork Past Exhibition, which took place in the City Hall.

The Celebrating Cork Past Exhibition featured over 40 heritage groups and historical societies from throughout the City and County of Cork who came together to share a love for local history and heritage with one another and with the public who came along in their droves to learn all about local places and local communities throughout the City and County. The day was officially launched by Lord Mayor Cllr. Mick Finn and Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

With the support of the Creative Ireland Programme a recording of the day was undertaken and this will be made available for all to see within the coming month or so.

In Charleville the festival featured a range of outstanding speakers commencing with David Edwards and Colin Rynne who spoke of the Colonial World of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of the Cork - a household name of the 17th century in Ireland. The weekend featured many further great speakers as well as poetry workshops and traditional entertainment with acclaimed Seán Ó Shéa.

In Fermoy the weekend was also a most special one, having been launched by Deputy Micheál Martin T.D. who gave a fascinating introduction and overview of the place of history and its importance in a democratic society, prior to a most memorable talk by renowned Professor John Lee.

With the month of September behind the winter months beckon and the coming months have some very exciting events scheduled to warm the hearts and minds of any heritage enthusiast. One highly anticipated event is the inaugural Terence MacSwiney weekend in Kilmurry, taking place from October 19th to 21st. The weekend will feature such renowned speakers as Gabriel Doherty and Cathal Bruga and will include tours of Kilmurry and surrounding area, highlighting the key sites associated with MacSwiney, whose family hailed from the area.

On the Sunday of the weekend a very special piece of music, specially commissioned, will be performed by Peadar Ó Riada, which is not to be missed. The event largely takes place in the Kilmurry Independence Museum, which was opened by President Michael D. Higgins during Heritage Week 2016.

The museum, which is open from 2-5pm from Thursday through to Sunday each week, contains a great range of artefacts, many of course relating to the War of Independence given Kilmurry's proximity to a number of key ambush sites and of course its connections with Terence MacSwiney.

The Museum has also recently been added to the Fáilte Ireland website, which will ensure promotion of the museum's wonders to a much wider audience, both at home and abroad.

A few days earlier in Kilmurry, again in the Independence Museum, will be an evening gathering for all groups and people in Cork County looking to discuss commemorative ideas and plans for the coming Centenary years of the War of Independence and Civil War (2018-2023). The evening commences at 19:30 on Wednesday 17th October, and everyone with an interest in Cork's role during these pivotal years one hundred years ago is most welcome, and indeed encouraged, to come along.

Closer to the City and a few days earlier again on Monday 17th October, a most wonderful exhibition on Ireland's first female Botanist - Ellen Hutchins (1787-1815) from West Cork - will be launched in U.C.C., with said exhibition running up until Friday 21st December.

The exhibition will be opened by Prof. Sarah Culloty, Director of the Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork and Carrie O'Flynn, Historical Re-enactor, will be there in costume at the launch together with many of the Ellen Hutchins Festival Team.

More information on the exhibition and a number of Ellen Hutchins events scheduled for the next few months is available on

There are many further events scheduled for later in October and these will all be mentioned over the coming weeks.

One date, or indeed two, to put in the diary already for November is the 9th and 10th of that said month when the Creative Ireland County Cork Conference takes place in Baile Mhúirne. Already scheduled to speak is Peadar Ó Riada and Mairtín Ó Méalóid and it promises to be a most memorable two days.

The event will see the launch of the recently published County Cork Culture and Creativity Strategy (2018-2022) and will be of tremendous benefit for community groups and organisations throughout the length and breadth of the County who are all encouraged to come along. There will be much more on the conference in the coming weeks and for more information in the interim and indeed for updates as they are announced visit