Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Romanes eunt domus | Racist attack in East Belfast | July 2014

Surprisingly, this is not the work of a member of the People's Front of Judea. It was carried out as part of a series of racist attacks on Romanian families last night (28th July 2014) in East Belfast – not far from my house. It’s dispiriting enough that we live in a society where such attacks are becoming relatively commonplace, but even more so when the perpetrators lack the basic education to even spell the name of the country they hate - much less realise that at least one of the families they terrorised was actually Slovakian!

My apologies, as this has precious little to do with the usual themes of this blog, beyond tickling my rather dark sense of archaeology-related humour. However, sometimes you have to take a stand and say – I do not support this, it is not done in my name: it is despicable and it is disgusting. Shame on those who carry out such attacks and shame on those who support them. Not that there's much that can be described as a ‘bright side’ to these attacks (Life of Brian references aside), but it does give the opportunity to see the culprits for what they are - illiterate thugs, willing to terrorise defenseless families in their own homes.

Worry not - my normal fare of archaeological wanderings, meanderings, and general madness will resume shortly.

PS: Those with a better grasp of Latin grammar will, of course, be aware that the correct translation for the term ‘Romans go home’ is Romani ite domum.

BBC report here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Waterford in the 17th century | Let's help get this poster printed!

Dave Pollock is a well-known archaeologist and illustrator working in Ireland. He’s currently trying to raise funding to print his rather excellent view of Waterford as it was in the mid-17th century. If, like me, you admire his work & think it’s a worthwhile thing to do, read on from Dave himself:

Waterford in the mid-17th century (click for larger version)

“I’m printing a wall poster (A1 size) of the bird’s-eye view of Waterford in the mid-17th century, with notes on some of the points of interest scribbled on, a bit like the draft I’m holding in the photo. It’s ready to print but I can’t cover the cost so I’m looking for sponsors. I’m looking for 50 people to contribute 20 apiece, in return for which they will have their names recorded in small print on the margin and they will receive a signed copy in the post. This is not an advertising opportunity, I won’t be printing the names of businesses, just 50 individuals, or couples. I don’t want money now, just an email with something like “my name is Pythagoras Widget and I would like to sponsor the Waterford poster for €20”. I don’t need an address either, only a name (which will be printed on the margin). I will reply to the 50 sponsors (i.e. the first 50). I can’t guarantee to reply to all the unsuccessful applicants, but I will post a note on Facebook immediately I’ve got the 50 sponsors. I’ll print the poster then and alert the 50 sponsors by email that the sponsors’ copies are ready to post. That’s when I will need the money and a postal address from each sponsor.
 To avoid the complication of foreign currency and overseas postage I’m only taking sponsors in Ireland. I think it will work; I’ve 6 sponsors so far. If you want to join the list please send an email to me at info[replace the piece inside the square brackets with the ‘at’ symbol]waterfordarchaeologist.ie"

While you're at it, check out his Facebook page here and his Archaeografix website here!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Reconnecting Ancient Learning With a Modern World: The Legacy of the Early Irish Monks

Clonmacnoise Summer School | Press Release
Location: Cluain Ciarán, Clonmacnoise
Time: Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th August 2014

1.15 REGISTRATION at Cluain Ciarán Centre. Tea/Coffee
1.55 Introduction to Summer School
2.00 ‘The spirit of the early Irish Monks’. Reverend Ray Simpson, Founding Guardian of the International Community of Ss Aidan and Hilda, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, UK
2.45 Questions and Comments
3.00 ‘Excavation at Clonmacnoise’ Heather King, Archaeologist, National Monuments Service. Introduction followed by Walk and Talk on site at Clonmacnoise.
3.45 Questions and Comments
4.15 Haunting music of days of yore on site in Clonmacnoise Noel Carberry, Uileann Pipes; Kirsty Naughten, Flute; Aideen Egan, Fiddle; Surprise guests
Tea / Coffee
A social get-together will be organized later this evening in Shannonbridge

10.00 Tea/Coffee
10.30 St Columban – Christian Missionary and First European - Fr Sean McDonagh - who worked in the Phillipines and Ireland and has written extensively on ecology and religion
11.15 Questions and Comments
11.30 The Mill at Kilbegly – Discovered 2007 on an esker connecting Clonmacnoise and Connacht Neil Jackman, Archaeologist; Abarta Audioguides
12.15 Questions / Comments
12.35 LUNCH BREAK. (Soup and Sandwiches at the Conference Centre)
1.30 Reconnecting with the Cross of the Scriptures; Dr Johnston McMaster, Lecturer and Co-ordinator, Education and Reconciliation Programme, Irish School of Ecumenics
2.15 Questions/Comments
2.30 Walk and Talk: The Wonderment of Nature. Elizabeth McArdle, Ecologist;
4.00 Feedback on the Walk and Talk
4.15 Concluding Remarks
4.30 Tea/Coffee
9.00 Get-together in Shannonbridge

9.45 Bus from Shannonbridge for guided tour of Athlone Castle
11.30 Return by Viking Ship from Athlone to Clonmacnoise with Talk by Skipper Mike McDonnell on The Ecology of the Shannon Callows . Tea / Coffee on board
1.00 Bus to Shannonbridge from Clonmacnoise
1.15 LUNCH (optional) Kileen’s Pub, Shannonbridge.

Conference Cost €80 incl Sat Lunch and Boat trip
Daily Rate €35

For further information: contact Brian on 086 2647719 and see the Clonmacnoise Summer School Facebook Page: here

Click for larger image of the conference flier:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Island Life | Part I | Boa Island

[** If you like this post, please make a donation to the IR&DD project using the secure button at the right. If you think it is interesting or useful, please re-share via Facebook, Google+, Twitter etc. To help keep the site in operation, please use the amazon search portal at the right - each purchase earns a small amount of advertising revenue **]

A little while back, I mentioned our family excursions to Fermanagh in the summer of 2013 and that I hoped to find a little time to put together a few lines about what we did and where we went – and (just maybe) why you should consider going for yourself!

Somewhere along the way, I had decided that the trips should have a common theme and we settled on the idea of islands. The first spot on our itinerary was Boa Island. The Island lies near the northern shore of Lough Erne and is connected by road bridges (A47) to the mainland – so no need to hire a boat or get your feet wet! If you’ve got even a passing acquaintance with Irish heritage, you’re likely to be familiar with the famous ‘Janus-figure’ of Boa Island. It’s known around the world as a one of the masterpieces of Irish and European art. You might expect that something so important is highly protected and that it forms the focus of a thriving local heritage industry along with a suitably tasteful visitor centre selling T-shirts and expensive coffees. You couldn’t be more wrong! This magnificent stone stands quiet and still in the disused graveyard of Caldaragh. There are no signs alerting the passing tourist to its presence other than a single one at the head of the road saying ‘Caldaragh Cemetery’. The Boa Island figure was discovered in this graveyard, but the smaller figure preserved beside it was discovered in 1939 on the nearby Lustymore Island and is, appropriately enough, known as the ‘Lustymore Idol’. Although frequently described as a ‘Janus figure’ the larger figure is more likely to be a representation of a Celtic god rather than a Roman one. The Wikipedia article on the site is well worth a read, and gives a great introduction to the site, the figures, and their background, so I’ll not try to better it here.

Just enjoy the photos of this beautiful site and consider coming to Fermanagh to see it for yourself!

Lustymore (left) and Boa Island (right) figureskeeping watch in Caldaragh cemetery

The Lustymore Idol - a possible precursor to Sheela-na-gig carvings 

Side view of the Boa Island figure, showing intertwining hair

Fragment of the Boa Island figure with portions of two hands.
Discovered by Richard Warner in 2003

Another view of the two figures

One of the Boa Island faces

An indentation in the top of the head of the Boa Island figure holds coins left by visitors

Suggested reading:
Hickey, H. 1976, 1985 Images of stone: figure sculpture of the Lough Erne Basin. Enniskillen.
Lowry-Corry, D. 1933 ‘The Stones Carved with Human Effigies on Boa Island and on Lustymore Island, in Lower Lough ErneProceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 41C, 200-204.
Warner, R. 2003 Two pagan idols - remarkable new discoveries Archaeology Ireland 17.1, 24-27.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Return of the Phantom Earthwork | a 'fake' ring barrow at Lissindrigan, Co. Galway

[** If you like this post, please make a donation to the IR&DD project using the secure button at the right. If you think it is interesting or useful, please re-share via Facebook, Google+, Twitter etc. To help keep the site in operation, please use the amazon search portal at the right - each purchase earns a small amount of advertising revenue **]

I'm being haunted ... and it's all the fault of modern technology.

I've been dawdling, not knowing how to start this post. Here’s the problem: Just about everyone who has ever written anything – from a school days essay, or a peer reviewed paper, to a bodice-ripper novel – knows that you need to have three things to make it work: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The middle and end aren’t a problem – I’ve got them nailed! It’s the beginning that’s giving me trouble. I’m like the opposite of Mr Spiggott, the one legged actor, applying for the role of Tarzan – it’s not that I am missing a beginning, it’s that I’ve got one too many.

Enough procrastination – I’ll pick one and see where it takes me.

A very fake ring barrow
I think I'll start with Academia.edu. I've often described Academia.edu as 'Facebook for nerds' ... and it sort of is. If you're not familiar with the site, it's a place where you can connect and interact with other students or professional academics in your chosen field. Rather than Facebook's ubiquitous posts featuring LOL cats and Star Wars trivia (I'm guilty on both counts), Academia.edu allows you to upload PDF copies of all your publications. It's an amazing resource for maintaining links with other professionals in your field and gaining exposure to the latest research.

But there's a dark side to this. The search capabilities of sites like this are now sufficiently advanced that they can scan other resources external to their own content, and then make suggestions on work you may have published, but neglected to add to the site. I think what's happened is that they've scanned the Archaeology Ireland section of JSTOR and they've come across my first ever published piece in that magazine I love so much. Every time I log on to the site there is a small, discrete notice suggesting that I upload a copy of this missing masterpiece.

Here's the problem ... and part of the reason that I wasn't sure where to start this piece. There’s another beginning. To understand my reluctance to upload a copy of this piece I have to go back a long, long way ... way back to when I was a young and impressionable undergraduate. I can't honestly remember the circumstances, but I do remember being part of a conversation (or, more accurately, hanging around on the edges of a post-grad bitching session trying to look knowledgeable), when the discussion turned to a certain rather pretentious individual. After all these years, I can't even remember who they were talking about, but I remember one sentence as clear now as the day it was uttered: 'I just can't stand him - he's such an arse! Do you know, on his CV he even lists all his published 'letters to the editor'!?' I may have forgotten the person and the circumstances, but this has stayed with me - one never – simply never – credits this form of ephemera.

Obviously, this is exactly my problem … my debut piece in Archaeology Ireland was just that – a letter to the editor! As much as it repulses me to formally acknowledge it and, intellectually, take it under my wing, seeing it pop up every time I log in to Academia.edu is just becoming such a bore. For this reason, you can now read it in all its glory on JSTOR and on Academia.edu. And right there, gently reader, we have evidence that cyber bullying has become automated!

To save you all the reading, my piece was in response to Victor Buckley. In a previous edition of Archaeology Ireland (Buckley 1998) he had told the story of being out one evening exercising the family hound on the communal green space near his home. At that time, he had lived in this development on the edge of Drogheda, Co. Louth, for 11 years, but it was only on this specific evening with the combination of the freshly mown grass and the new street light that he saw an exceptionally low-lying and previously unrecorded ring-barrow. At the time I read it, I thought it was a nice little discovery, but something just didn’t seem right. I’ve spent the majority of my professional career in commercial archaeology on building sites. Up until that time, I’d never seen the pieces of land that would eventually become the green spaces cordoned off and left untouched. From then, until I left commercial archaeology in 2011, I hadn’t seen it either. Then as now, I’m not saying that it’s not a genuine ring-barrow, I’m just advising caution above and beyond that normally applied to an unexcavated site.

For quite some time, Victor’s article passed from my mind. As I note in my response, it was only when I was out walking my own family’s dog – a beautiful, lovely, but immensely stupid red setter called Ross – that I noticed the pseudo ring-barrow at the side of my grandmother’s house in Lissindrigan, outside Craughwell, Co. Galway. My original description noted that it '... measures 5.49m N-S externally (3.28m internally) and 5.61m E-W (3.12m internally). The bank is on average 0.1m above the interior and 0.18m above the surrounding ground surface. The interior is also slightly dished towards the centre.’ Because, back then, I was that guy who went about with a measuring tape and note book in case of encountering any interesting archaeology, I was already part way through recording the ‘site’ when its true origin dawned on me. Back in 1978, my grandparents had decided to forsake the family thatched cottage for a modern bungalow, and just where my wonderful ring-barrow lay was where the builders had dumped their sand. To avoid getting soil mixed into the cement, the builders would have shovelled their sand from above ground level. Presuming that they judged their requirement for sand about right, the remains they would have left behind would have looked just like a small ring-barrow formed of a slight, sub-circular bank and having a dished interior. After the house was finished, the remaining sand was quickly colonised by advancing weeds and grasses. For many years after, my grandmother used this little area as the place she fed and watered her flock of chickens.

Somewhere along the line, Buckley’s discovery came back to mind. With a view to as much laugh at my own eagerness to identify/misidentify a site as to provide a caveat to Victor’s discovery, I penned a few lines for Archaeology Ireland and sent it off. An issue or two later it was published, along with a gentle rebuttal and further caveat from Victor himself (Buckley 2000).

THE END … and the middle, too ... just before that.

Except … that doesn’t cover the whole tale … there are other parallel ‘middles’ that never made it into the published version and there are other ‘ends’, too.

Here’s another middle: Back in 2000, I hadn’t published all that much and didn’t have much of a reputation within the industry. Victor Buckley, on the other hand, was well known, well liked, and well respected. He had organised the First International Conference on Burnt Mounds and edited the conference proceedings (Burnt Offerings: International Contributions to Burnt Mound Archaeology). Although, sadly, out of print you can still pick up reasonably priced copies, and it remains a standard text on the burnt mound site type. This was my first ever archaeology conference and it was an amazing experience to see and hear all these academics – many of whom I’d only known through their published offerings – standing up and talking about their work and research. It was an eye-opener in other ways too as I have a distinct memory of a well-known, tenured professor, flirting madly and lasciviously with pretty-much every female there, including his own students … but I digress. This conference was where I first met Victor. On the morning of the second day of the conference he appeared with a large bag of heat-fractured stone from a burnt mound he had excavated and proceeded to hand bits out as souvenirs to all the delegates. Judging by the entries in the Excavations.ie database, the material was from either Ballyremon Commons, Co. Wicklow, or Curraghtarsna, Co. Tipperary, both of which were excavated in 1980. Although I’ve seen way too many burnt mounds since [here | here | here | here | here], I still have that piece of broken stone. Because he seemed like a decent individual, and because every once in a while I attempt to overcome my natural inclination towards being an utter knob, I wrote him a letter to say that I’d penned this little piece in reply and that, if it was alright with him, I’d like to send it to Archaeology Ireland. From my records (and, yes, I am that kind of obsessive crazy), I see that I sent him the letter on March 8th 2000. When I’d not heard anything back from him by April 16th, I just thought: ‘To Hell with it! I’ll send it on to Archaeology Ireland and see if they’re interested’. They liked it well enough to publish with a brief response by Victor himself … the end!

The same non-ring barrow from the same angle
... just a different arrangement of ranging rods ...
because that's how I roll!
Here’s another ending: My little piece in Archaeology Ireland was published in Vol. 14, Issue 2 … around June 2000. At just the same time I accepted a job directing excavations on the new motorway bypassing Drogheda. To this end, I moved down to Drogheda and found a place to lay my head in The Green Door Hostel. It wasn’t a bad place to stay, and the camaraderie among the other archaeologists staying there was lovely (As an aside, i'd note that many of whom, I am honoured to call friends to this day). On the other hand, I had spent far too long out of the ‘shared accommodation’ scene and found the realities of a communal dormitory too much to bear. Within a week, I had been offered alternative accommodation in a colleague’s spare room and was damn grateful for it (even taking into account that the ‘let me show you around the house’ tour included an ‘Entrance to Narnia’ style wardrobe filled with pornography and the generous direction to ‘help yourself’ … but I digress). One evening after work, my new Landlord and I were enjoying a quiet pint in one of Drogheda’s finer hostelries. It was fairly quiet in there and the dim lighting, coupled with the cool pints of Guinness, provided much needed respite from the bright, loud, and dusty environment of the excavation and the construction activity on site. I didn’t notice the figure that had slipped quietly into a corner booth behind us until The Landlord nodded in his direction and asked ‘Do you know that guy?’ My memory is of seeing a clump of wiry hair peering over the top of an open copy of The Irish Times and a tweed-sleeved arm reaching out for the pint on the table before him. I couldn’t get a great look at the man, but he wasn’t ringing any bells for me. ‘C’mon, I’ll introduce you’ said The Landlord. With that glow of light-hearted and slightly light-headed amiability that comes from gulping half a beautifully cold pint on an empty stomach, I sauntered across the room, smiling happily. The Landlord made the introductions: ‘Vic – this is Robert Chapple. Bob, this is Victor Buckley.’ I think we both did a bit of a double take – neither of us was prepared to encounter the other in such circumstances as these. For my part, I had a terrible sinking feeling … I had no real idea how Buckley felt about my impertinence in challenging him. He’d certainly never replied to my letter and his, apparently good-natured, rejoinder could – to my increasingly panic-stricken mind – easily mask some anger and bruised feelings. I’m sure it only took a second before he smiled and shook my hand, but it felt like and age as I waited, scanning his face for some inkling of his feelings on being confronted by me in this manner. I needn’t have worried - Victor was absolutely lovely. He’d felt that I’d been more than fair in giving him a ‘heads up’ before submitting the note to the magazine and, as he was particularly busy, didn’t feel the need to reply. Rereading the letter I sent him, I see that I didn’t specifically ask for a yea/nay, so he did have a point. In any event, he was just delighted that people were reading what he’d written and were sufficiently engaged and interested to write back. Altogether, we had a delightful encounter … a couple more pints were had and some food, too. Unfortunately, I’ve only encountered Victor on a couple more occasions in the years since, but on every instance, it has been a joy. There have been occasional pints, along with jokes, stories, gossip, and all the news of the day in the archaeological world.

The End! … The two archaeologists arguing in print meet and find they get on pretty well. In a proper and well thought out movie – like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – the protagonists ride off into the sunset as the credits roll. Definitely the end!

Except …
                … there’s one more ending

Back in the late ‘90s, and even into 2000, I was pretty unfamiliar with email. Even though it was becoming more common, it was certainly not as prevalent as it is today. Back then, I certainly preferred the more formal letter to this new electronic upstart. Today, you’d just attach a PDF or an MSWord document to the email, probably with a photo or two, send the lot off … simples! What did I do? I sent them a paper version of the piece with my cover letter that included the ridiculously formal line: "Should you wish to publish it, please contact me and I will send you a disk copy and the accompanying photograph." … and then I waited. I waited so long that I presumed they weren’t interested in publishing it – not that I could blame them … it was hardly the stuff of legend, destined to set the archaeological world alight. The first inclination I got that the editor was interested in it was when I saw it in print. They’d obviously transcribed the text from the paper version … and they hadn’t asked for the photo. I always thought that this was a pity as my phantom ring-barrow really did look like the genuine thing. In anticipation of writing up this momentous paper, I’d returned to my Grandmother’s house, armed with a camera and a ranging rod and taken a couple of slides for posterity (another part of the middle). I remember looking up from straightening the ranging rods to see my Granny looking out at me from behind the net curtains, no doubt wondering what her eldest grandson was up to this time and why he was so interested in the place she fed her chickens. The slides came back after having been developed and I dutifully numbered and catalogued them and put them away in clear plastic envelopes (just so we’re clear: I’m that type of crazy). In the early part of 2012 I was ‘between careers’ and, as one of a number of measures to relieve the depression of receiving multiple rejection letters for entry-level positions, I set about transferring the slides to digital. When I came to these two photos, I thought: ‘I must write something about these … sometime’. So … here’s my final ending to this story: making these photos of my ‘phantom earthwork’ public, and (hopefully) adding a little to the communal pile of knowledge.

They found me ... now they want me to tag it!


… or maybe not …

Maybe reading this will help make a mental connection for someone, somewhere and help set of a line of thought and research that blossoms and bears fruit for them. Maybe they’ll report back that they’ve seen something similar, or maybe it’ll sit tucked away in the back of someone’s mind for many years and we’ll never hear of it. Maybe there will be new beginnings, middles, and ends, all interlinked parts of this and other stories … maybe you’ll be part of it!

The Beginning? …


If you’re interested in Irish archaeology, you really should have a subscription to Archaeology Ireland. Go and subscribe: here. If they have a space for comments, tell the good people at Wordwell Books that Chapple says ‘Hi’. I’ll not make any money off it and you’ll not get a better deal … but it may just bring smiles to the faces of the good folks who produce this fantastic magazine. Apart from the excellent periodical filled with the latest on all things related to Irish archaeology, every quarter you’ll receive a lovely ‘Heritage Guide’ card. As if this was not enough, you’ll receive access to the Irish archaeology portion of the JSTOR resource, so you can read all the back issues and other great works of Irish archaeology for free!

Buckley, V. 1998 'Walkin' the Dog' Archaeology Ireland 12.3, 4.
Buckley, V. 2000 'Of Folk Tales and Concrete Evidence' Archaeology Ireland 14.2, 44.

Chapple, R. M. 2000 'Phantom Earthworks: A cautionary Note' Archaeology Ireland 14.2, 44.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Aughrim Remembered Summer School | Press Release

The Aughrim Remembered Summer School is taking place on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th July 2014 in the village of Aughrim, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. The theme for this year’s Summer school is ‘From the Battle of Aughrim to World War 1’

The weekend event starts at 7pm on Friday 18th July in St. Catherine’s Hall, Aughrim, Ballinasloe with the local choir who will sing a selection of World War 1 songs. This will be followed by a series of talks ‘World War 1: some local connections. The first talk will be by Joe Loughnane and Colman Shaughnessy who will talk about ‘The Connaught Rangers and World War 1’. This will be followed by two short talks on by Helen Mannion, an Aughrim local who will talk about her father’s involvement on World War 1, while Kevin Goode, another local will also talk about his family’s involvement in the Great War.

This will be followed by a Two Act Play, entitled ‘March Away My Brothers’. The play has been written and will be performed by Brendan MacQuaile. March Away My Brothers is a one man show taken from the Book of the same name by Brendan MacQuaile; it follows the journey of a young Irish Lad, Lawrence Kelly from Bridgefoot Street in Dublin’s Liberties to the Christmas Truce in 1914, somewhere near the Messines ridge in Flanders where many Irish fought and died during the course of this terrible conflagration. But Larry’s story is not one of hell and damnation, let’s face it, he is already dead, blown to bits at the now infamous Passchendaele and remembered only as an inscription on the Menin Gate. Larry looks back with the excitement of the early call to arms still palpable, the Guinness Pals brigade forming after Kitcheners call to arms and the sheer chaos and melee of new troops arriving in France, gung ho, ready to serve the crown, and do their bit before it was ‘ Over by Christmas’.

Many of the popular songs of the time are included as an integral part of this fascinating tale. Songs such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and’ There’s a long long trail a winding’ were popular hits for singers such as John McCormack and Stanley Kirby during the war years and they are sung with Gusto in this performance. Some modern reflections in song are also included. And finally to the Christmas truce, an impromptu meeting of soldiers from both sides, on a bitter cold Christmas Eve in an area known as ‘no man’s land’. Shared cigarettes, and photos. Shared experiences that revealed similarities between the troops, similarities that the Top Brass would rather keep hidden.

On Saturday 19th July in St. Catherine’s Hall, full day of lectures will be held, the theme of which is Aughrim Remembered: Military History Perspectives. Dr. Joe Mannion will start off proceeding with a talk on ‘Aughrim, the O’Kellys, and Hy Many, 1541-1601: English Expansion in a Gaelic Lordship’. Dr. Mannion is a retired Principal Teacher who holds a PhD in history from NUI Galway, awarded for his dissertation on the Tudor lordships of Clanrickard and Hy Many. His published works include a biography of Galway’s earliest known ecclesiastic entitled The Life, Legends and Legacy of Saint Kerrill, as well as a range of journal articles and book chapters on the medieval and early modern history of the western region.

This will be followed by a joint lecture by Dr. William P. Kelly and Dr. Andrew Robinson, on ‘Lundy and Luttrell: traitors compared’. Dr. Billy Kelly holds a BA Hons in Modern History from the University of Dublin and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Dr. Kelly’s primary research interests are in early modern Irish and British history. Dr. Kelly is a lecturer in History at the University of Ulster. Dr. Andrew Robinson completed his Ph D at the University of Ulster in 2013 on the political and cultural milieu of Sir John Clotworthy during the Stuart Civil Wars’. He is currently working as the lead researcher and historical consultant on a project funded by Northern Ireland Screen, the Arts Council, the Culture Company, the Community Relations Council and Besom Productions entitled 'The Trial of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lundy'. It is planned to stage an interactive and theatrical 'trial' that would finally give the Unionist arch-traitor his day in court by examining his historical and cultural reputation and allowing the public to vote on Lundy’s innocence or guilt.

Ms. Ester Barrett will give a talk on the ‘Painting the Williamite War (cavalry)’. Ester Barrett finds inspiration in local landscape, especially around her home at Granagh Co. Limerick where the ‘Three Sisters Gallery’ is located. She is also inspired by animals, particularly horses. She is the recipient of several international awards. She has come to the painting of military scenes such as the crossing at Rosnaree, or the action at Aughrim Pass from her interest in horses. Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle will discuss ‘Seamus dall Mac Cuarta’s uireamh Somhairle Mic Domhnaill’. Dr. Nollaig Ó Muraíle is a lecturer in Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Among his many publications he produced an acclaimed edition of Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh's Leabhar na nGenealach in 2004. He was admitted to the Royal Irish Academy in 2009.

Mr. Seán Ó Brogáin will then speak on Painting the Williamite War (infantry)’ Seán Ó Brogáin lives and works in Donegal. He has a BA (hons) in "Scientific and natural history Illustration" from Lancaster University. Since 1995 he has worked on a variety projects for OPW, NIEA, Cavan County Museum, Osprey publication, Dungannon County Council, the History Press, Periskopia (Greece), Manchester Museum, Bessom Productions (NI), Arrowstorm films (USA), National Museum Ireland and produced artwork for An Post’s ‘Flight of the Earls 1607-2007’ and Christmas 2007 postage stamp issues.

Dr. Paul Naessens will speak on ‘Where are the Bodies Buried?’ Battlefield Archaeology and Geophysical surveying at Kilconnell. Dr. Paul Naessens is an archaeologist and his Ph.D thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach in examining the nature of Gaelic settlement in Iarchonnacht and other maritime Gaelic lordships in the later medieval period with particular reference to the Uí Fhlaithbheartaigh. From the time of their expulsion from Magh Seola in the later thirteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century they occupied the territories of Iarchonnacht to the west of Lough Corrib. His PhD research takes an in exploring the nature of Gaelic lordly settlement on the Atlantic seaboard. 

The last word of the day will be from Dr. Padraig Lenihan who will deal with Questions, Discussion and Focal Scoir. Dr. Pádraig Lenihan lectures in history at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His main research interest lies in European military history from the Thirty Years War to the War of the Spanish Succession, with special emphasis on warfare in Ireland. His publications include 1690 Battle of the Boyne. Currently he is writing a biography of Richard Talbot Earl of Tyrconnell (d.1691) and co-editing an Irish Jacobite epic poem (over 5,000 lines) with Prof. Keith Sidwell.

In addition to the above Aughrim Heritage Park will be the site of living heritage displays and presentations all day Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July. 

Living History will be provided by Oireas, Claíomh, North Irish Dragoons and others.
This will be a Living History bivouac in the Village Green.

We will have a number of Living History groups who will be displaying various aspects of Ireland’s long and distinguished military heritage and Irish military diaspora. Groups will provide an expert Interpretation of various military sites, personalities, weapons and much more. 

Tomás Ó Brógáin of Oireas will be looking at the Irish man of war of the late 17th to early 18th century, from their service in far flung locations such as Tangier under Charles II, to the battle of Sedgemoor 1685 and Aughrim 1691 (under James II), the glories of the Wild Geese from Marsaglia to Fontenoy and delve into the spectre of Rappareeism and the War of Outpost winter 1690-91. At 1pm and 3pm he will provide an interactive battlefield ‘walk through, talk through’ utilising the large 3d topographical map in the green. 

Dave Swift of Claíomh will be providing a display focusing on Montrose’s Irish who campaigned in Scotland during the 1640’s and 50’s, Claíomh will discuss their exploits such as, the battle of Tippermuir and Carbisdale along with much more. This formidable force is often neglected in the turmoil and confusing nature of the War of the Three Kingdoms, at Aughrim Claíomh will be bring this fascinating subject back home and back to life. 

North Irish dragoon will be displaying a Williamite war / Cogadh na Dá Rí themed camp this will allow the visitor to experience the day to day life of a Soldier in Ireland during the three long years of conflict (1688-1691). Pike drill, Musket drill, camp discipline, exercising in the sword, pike and bayonet for the infantry man. 

Meet Ricardo ‘the Spaniard’, a member of the Spanish Tercio, these were the most feared opponent one could encounter on the battlefields of Europe from the 16th to mid-17th Century. Their tactics and formation referred to as the Tercio (Third) remained virtually undefeated from its inception in the 16th century until the battle of Roc Roi in 1643. If an Irish man went to serve in Spain, it was in one these Tercio he campaigned. 

We will also have some other surprises in store at the event, so come along to an action packed family day out in our Living History area. 

Open Saturday 11am-4pm and Sunday 11am -3pm.

Saturday evening dinner will take place at Valerie’s, Aughrim, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway at 7.00pm and is called ‘Bully Beef and Biscuits’ The after dinner speech is: In Flanders Fields: A personal journey: by Joe Loughnane. To book this dinner ontact Valerie Seale Tel: +353 (0)90 9673734 or Mob: +353 (0)86 2830673 or email valeriesofaughrim@gmail.com 

Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre will be open all weekend and there will be an av presention running all day at the centre. On Friday at 1pm Ms. Carmel Duffy, Athlone Castle will give a talk entitled “The Siege of Athlone” & “Connections with Aughrim”. This is a free lunch time event and all attending will get to hear the talk and have a free light lunch after the event. This is part of the Visitor Centres ‘Heritage Bites’ lunchtime talks that takes places each Friday and are free of charge.

On Sunday 20th at 2pm there will be a free puppet show called "The Little Red Battle Of Aughrim". It will be performed by Little Gem Puppets this will be followed by paper bag puppets making . Puppet show sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Credit Union, Ballinasloe. In addition to this there will be free craft displays in the centre over the weekend. All the events in Aughrim Heritage Park and the Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre are free of charge on Saturday and Sunday.

For further information please contact:
Ms. Julie Cruise, Manager, Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre, Aughrim, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Phone: 00353 9096 73939 or email jcruise@galwaycoco.ie 

Ms. Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Forward Planning, Áras an Chontae, Galway County Council, Prospect Hill, Galway. Tel: 00353 91 509198/087 9088387 or e-mail mmannion@galwaycoco.ie

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Three Sides Live | Professor Etienne Rynne Lectures | October 1994 | Part I

[** If you like this post, please make a donation to the IR&DD project using the secure button at the right. If you think it is interesting or useful, please re-share via Facebook, Google+, Twitter etc. To help keep the site in operation, please use the amazon search portal at the right - each purchase earns a small amount of advertising revenue **]

Prof. Etienne Rynne leading a UCG Arch Soc group on Scattery Island, Co. Clare, in 1996 (© Chapple Collection)

Prof. Etienne Rynne passed away on the 22nd of June 2012. Since that time I’ve wanted to write something about him for this blog. And herein lies the difficulty: Etienne and I had – to put it mildly – a tempestuous relationship … at times we were the best of friends … and at other times … less so. In the aftermath of his death I thought about putting pen to paper … but what could I write? The appreciation that appeared, from Terry Barry, in Antiquity is fine insofar as it goes, but it’s a rather dull affair, giving little more than a list of places and dates, publications authored and edited, and positions held. It’s all good stuff, but it hardly gives a deep sense of what the man was like in person. Nonetheless, Barry does note his ‘engaging style of public speaking that countless students had enjoyed in lectures in Galway.’ The obituary published in the Irish Times covers the same ground, only really enlivened by a couple of quotes from him and one from Prof. John Waddell. By far the best of Etienne’s obituaries is the one by Paul Gosling in the Summer 2012 issue of The Newsletter of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. It again gives the obligatory names, places, publications and dates, but also attempts to convey more of the personality of the man. Gosling makes particular note of ‘the vivid colours of his 35mm slides were matched by his breadth of knowledge and vibrant delivery’. And that’s where I left it! In the face of these three obituaries, I didn’t feel that I had much to add beyond a list of scurrilous stories that generally involved either alcohol or the two of us shouting at each other … quite often both together. I’m not ruling out ever recording a few of these … but not just yet!

For a number of reasons, I recently found out that it is relatively easy to transfer audio tapes to digital files … so long as you have a working tape player! As I was hunting through my attic, looking for long unlistened to bootleg recordings of various artists, I was reminded that I was once given some recordings of a very different kind. In the period from 1993 to 1995 NUIG organised a diploma course in archaeology, aimed at non-archaeology graduates. A good friend of mine bootlegged almost the entire course, eventually passing on all the audio tapes to me. They’ve moved house with me several times and have gone from one storage area to another, unlistened to for almost 20 years. My understanding is that Etienne gave three lectures as part of this course, covering early monasteries, illuminated manuscripts, the Tara Brooch along with the Ardagh and Derrynaflan Chalices. In amongst the bag of recordings are two audio tapes with recordings on three sides made in October 1994 (hence the reference to the 1982 Genesis album).

The first of these, an introduction to the early monasteries, is presented here and the others will follow in due course. While the audio recordings are, obviously, missing the necessary visual accompaniment they do give a much richer feel for his near unique presentation style and manner in which he interacts with the audience. Throughout he notes that he is giving only the most superficial of introductions to these subjects and that with his regular students these topics would be covered in greater depth and over a much longer period. They also capture his sense of humour, the anecdotes that he studded his lectures with, his running misogyny, and sheer joy at baiting his audience. Insofar as I am aware, these recordings comprise a unique account of his public speaking style. I also see these recordings as having an importance beyond themselves in that they may be used as a rough baseline to judge more recent developments and discoveries in the field of Early Christian studies.

Former students who did not attend these specific lectures will easily recognise many of his jokes, anecdotes, and general mannerisms, along with his obsession with hand-outs, his continual war with the slide projector, and the general sense of mayhem that seemed to accompany him wherever he went. For those who did not know him and never had the opportunity to hear him speak, I hope there is still much to enjoy here too.

As an aid to understanding the structure and progress of the lectures, I’ve provided roughly time stamped notes on topics covered and, on occasion, quotes from both the lecturer and a number of audience members that can be heard in the background.

0:15 ‘Security is now on its way’ to open the projection booth
0:45 passing out the hand-outs
2:05 audience member: ‘Jesus, he’s a terrible fu*king schoolmaster’
3:23 Early monasteries … it’s all in the hand-out!
3:33 Early Manuscripts is going to be a rush job – nice picture show!
4:00 No bloody way am I going to do just the Ardagh chalice
4:40 I saw you come in late!
5:10 – still giving out hand-outs
6:10 Audience member 1: ‘Do you be at this sort of thing when you’re lecturing?’
                Audience member 2: ‘what?’
                Audience member 1: ‘Do you be at this sort of sh*t when you’re lecturing?’
                Audience member 2: ‘If I was quarter of an hour late there’d be nobody there!’
8:10 ‘if you want to see details in the Tara Brooch or details in the Book of Kells, I’d advise you sit as close as possible’
8:55 note about upcoming conference in Claremorris
11:10 ‘Come back to our mutton’
12:27 about those hand-outs
14:15 ‘let’s get back to what we were talking about – early monasteries!’
14:30 how to recognise an early monastery
15:25 the Vallum
15:55 ‘Because the Romans never came’
16:20 St Patrick & the Roman army
16:53 Holy wells
17:35 Navan Fort
18:30 St Bridget
19:02 ‘Round towers are not features of early monasteries’
20:00 ‘Celtic Church in inverted commas’
21:20 ‘everyone is a hermit’
21:41 ‘Anyone could be made a bishop – you didn’t even have to be intelligent’
23:10 ‘We got cut off from Rome by the influx of Barbarians everywhere except Ireland’
24:00 Circular vs rectangular enclosures & the Celtic love of curves
24:40 Grianan of Aileach & Dún Aonghasa as pagan Celtic cult centres
25:00 Inishmurray as pagan Celtic site
28:00 Cursing stones are not Christian
28:25 Nendrum as pagan Celtic cult site
30:01 Kells
30:15 Moyne
31:00 Kiltiernan
32:25 Church Island, Cork
33:02 ‘What did the churches look like?’
36:20 ‘We have one good description of an early church from the seventh century’
36:30 The Church of St Brigit, Kildare
37:00 technical difficulties
39:50 Athenry Rood Screen
40:02 Battles with slide projector: ‘That’s not working now … but ye saw it before, damnit!’
40:05 ‘that was taken in a Greek church in Paris … there’s a very nice little church there … on the rive gauche … well don’t go to mass in it! Well, I went to mass thinking it was a very handy, thinking I’d get a mass next to where I was staying … it went on and on and on ... and they were all singing and they were all marching around … never stopped … it was lovely but I didn’t have three hours to spare’
41:15 ‘I hope you have enough in your hand-outs …’

Prof. Etienne Rynne discussing a reused Romanesque fragment in the church 
on Scattery Island, Co. Clare, in 1996 (© Chapple Collection)

Part II | Part III >