Armagh Diocesan Historical Society

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The revolutionary generation of 1916 is the topic of April lecture

The forthcoming history lecture hosted by Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha will discuss the development, aspirations and motivations of some of the leaders of the Easter 1916 rising.

The paper will be presented by Dr Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, lecturer in Roinn na Gaeilge in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, on Wednesday 6th April at 8pm in the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive in Armagh.

The precise title of the lecture, ‘The Pearses, the Irish arts world and the revolutionary generation’ goes beyond the politics of 1916 to revisit the worlds of art, theatre and Gaelic revivalism which formed the identity of the Pearses, Patrick and Willie. Plays, both in Irish and English which were staged in St Enda’s and elsewhere, poetry, literary criticism in An Claidheamh Soluis and short stories show the bohemian influences the Pearses embraced in the years before the Rising.

As Dr Ní Ghairbhí has written elsewhere ‘this allows us to enter an exciting and turbulent period of Irish history from a different angle, to take a journey that is itself a fascinating one or a path less trodden into the rich cultural world of Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century.’

The lecturer, Dr Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, is a native of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, with family connections to Kerry. She has a PhD from NUI Galway where she was active in An Cumann Éigse and An Cumann Drámaíochta, taking part in various drama festivals as actor, director and author of Irish language plays. She is a frequent contributor to media on various aspects of research. Member of Board of Imram (Irish Language Festival of Literature and Culture) and active in Conradh na Gaeilge.

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Lecture on the Easter Controversy prompts consideration of a complex subject

The problematic evidence underlying our understanding of the history of the seventh-century Irish Easter controversy was a subject which generated a most interesting discussion in the latest lecture sponsored by Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha.

In opening the theme of the presentation at the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive in Armagh, Dr Immo Warntjes, Lecturer in Irish Medieval History, Queen’s University Belfast, explained that the Easter controversy was ‘the most vibrant controversy in western Europe’, the lonest lasting (from 300 to 800) and certainly the best recorded of the theological disputes of Late Antiquity of the Early Middle ages.

Dr Warntjes’ exploration generally centred on the ‘Irish phase’ of the Easter controversy covering the period c.AD 620-720.’ It revolved around the different methods of determining Easter used in Rome, the east and western Europe, arising from the instruction that ‘Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox’. READ MORE »

March 2016 lecture to look at the 7th-century Easter controversy

The forthcoming history lecture on Wednesday 2nd March, hosted by Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha, will discuss the problematic evidence underlying our modern reconstruction of the history of the seventh-century Irish Easter controversy.

The paper will be presented by Dr Immo Warntjes, Lecturer in Irish Medieval History, Queen’s University Belfast, in the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive in Armagh at 8pm.

In the lecture, entitled The Easter controversy and history writing in seventh-century Ireland’, Dr Warntjes will discuss the question of how to calculate Easter and detail the way that this sparked a vibrant controversy in the seventh century. From Ireland to Rome, intellects debated the theological and political implications. Some religious groups were accused of heresy. In Ireland, the conflict created a major rift between ‘Roman’ south and a ‘Celtic’ north.

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Poems of Blathmac the subject of Armagh lecture in February 2016

The new season of lectures organised by Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha gets under way on Wednesday 3rd February 2016 at the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library and Archive in Armagh. Dr Brian Lambkin presents a paper on the Poems of Blathmac with a particular reference to the archdiocese of Armagh.

The talk will highlight a contribution to the appreciation of Blathmac’s international importance by a priest of the archdiocese of Armagh, Canon Diarmuid Mac Íomhair. He became an expert on the history of Fir Roís – the Louth/Monaghan kingdom to which Blathmac belonged – during his long period of almost fifty years serving the Louth parishes of Togher (1936), Dunleer (1936-40), Ardee (1940-60) and Faughart (1960-81).

Canon Mac Íomhair was among the first to review Professor James Carney’s 1964 edition of the poetry in the journal of the County Louth Archaeological and History Society. Before that he had published two major articles on the ‘boundaries’ and the ‘history’ of Fir Rois (1962, 1964) and Dr Lambkin’s lecture will show how Mac Íomhair’s contributions remain extremely valuable. One fascinating part of this research is Canon Mac Íomhair’s daring suggestion that the territory of Fir Rois contains a stone circle, like that at Newgrange, but ‘on an immensely vaster scale’.

The speaker is Director of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park in Tyrone and a former Principal of Lagan College in Belfast. Dr Lambkin believes that ‘in the treasury of Irish religious literature, the eighth-century Poems of Blathmac deserve to be as well-known as the Book of Kells’. The fiftieth anniversary of Dr Carney’s edition of the peoms was marked by a seminar and a new book, The Poems of Blathmac son of Cú Brettan: Reassessments (Irish Texts Society 2015). Dr Lambkin has contributed a chapter to that latest publication.

The lecture begins at 8pm with free admission and everyone welcome.

New volume of Seanchas Ard Mhacha launched

The latest volume of Seanchas Ard Mhacha was launched before Christmas by Kieran McConville in the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library and Archive. He noted that it was the ‘golden jubilee’ 50th issue of the Journal and applauded the quality of the articles, Chronicle and reviews.

Members are in the process of receiving their copies of this Journal which includes articles on the placenames research of Seán MacAirt of Keady, the Celi Dé, deans in the 19th-century Maynooth College, the famine in Cooley, the attrition of the Gaelic lords of Ulster after 1600, libraries in 19th-century Armagh and the life and career of the author, John O’Connor.

Seanchas Ard Macha – 2015 Cover

Welcome to the new website for Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha

Welcome to the new website of Cumann Seanchais Ard Mhacha / Armagh Diocesan Historical Society which we have established to mark this historical year of 2016 which commemorates not only the centenary of the Easter Rising but also the 400th anniversary of the death of Hugh O’Neill in Rome.

The website will contain details of lectures and lecturers for 2016, details of the 2015 journal contents and information on joining the Society.