Category Archives: Events

What’s happening

March Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday 11 March at 7:00 pm in the Irish and Local Studies Library, as usual.

The speaker this month will be Group member Lily Clifford, who will be talking about the Tonagh riots, which took place near Derrynoose in 1876.

She will be discussing the events and the subsequent court case.

February Meeting

Our next meeting will be taking place on Wednesday, 12th February in the Irish and Local Studies Library.

Please note that we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at 6:30pm, prior to the talk.

The talk will be starting at 7:00 pm and our speaker this month will be Iain Frazer, who will share with us his research on the history of the Drelincourt school.  He will also discuss education in Ireland in the 19th Century, and more specifically the Charter Schools.

January Meeting

Our next meeting will take place next week, on Wednesday 8th January in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:00 p.m.

One of our own member’s Stephen Day will be our speaker this month.  His talk will be about conflict and policing at the time of Partition and is entitled ‘From Arms Raids to Open Confrontation – Revolutionary Activity and the Police Response in the Newry/Armagh Border Area – January 1919 to January 1920.’

December Meeting

We are launching the latest edition of our magazine History Armagh in Armagh County Museum on Wednesday. 11th December at 7:00 p.m.

To celebrate the occasion, a light supper will be served with a glass of wine or soft drink.

The magazine will be available in local outlets soon after the launch.

If you wish to have the magazine mailed to you, you can find details under the Magazine link on the above menu.

November Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, 13th November at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library.

PSS Lord Blaney: the ghost ship of CarlingforsdLough

Our speaker this month will be one of our members Tom Duncan and the title of his talk will be ‘The night after the ghost ship appeared: a story of tragedy near a County Down beach in 1916.’

October Meeting – Cancelled

Wednesday, 9th October should have been the date of our next meeting; however, due to the closure of the library on that day, this month’s meeting has been cancelled.
The next meeting is now planned for Wednesday 13 November and details of that meeting will be published on the website closer to that date.

September Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, 11th September at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library. 

Aland Islands

Our speaker this month will be one of our members Gerry Oates and the title of his talk will be ‘Anecdotes from history including tales from Zanzibar, Crimea, the Aland Islands to Belfast, Carrickblacker and Kildarton’

June Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, 12th June at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library. 

Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum
Northern Ireland War Memorial

Our speaker this month will be Alan Freeburn, the Learning and Collections Officer at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum at 21 Talbot Street in Belfast.  Alan will talk about the origins of the museum, the work it does and the story it tells, particularly in relation to Armagh.

You can find out more about the War Memorial at their website

May Meeting

Our May meeting will take place on Wednesday, 8th May, at 7:00 in the Irish and Local Studies Library. Our speaker this month is Sharon Oddie Brown, and her topic is “The Olivers: Three Centuries in Counties Armagh & Tyrone”.

The Armagh roots of Canadian author, Sharon Oddie Brown, go back more than 300 years. Over the past decade, thanks to a mix of luck and dogged persistence, Sharon has found hundreds of records that complement those that exist in museums and archives. They have been shared by far-flung family members of the Irish diaspora. Taken together, all these documents weave together a tale that could not otherwise have been told. The recent development of ancestral DNA has confirmed much of this original paper trail.

The earliest of the Armagh and Tyrone Olivers started showing up near Armagh City around the time of the revocation of the Treaty of Nantes on October 22, 1685. They likely came from the south of France, possibly with a stopover in Dublin before heading north, possibly with other families such as the Menarys. Although the subsequent uptick in religious intolerance in France in the mid-1600s was France’s loss, it was also Ireland’s gain. The skilled craftsmen who left France had a major impact on the development of farming practices as well as on the linen industry of Northern Ireland.

The descendants of these early Olivers were initially predominately Presbyterian, and their names can be found in the registers of the First Armagh Presbyterian Church. Over time, many of them became quite prosperous and some began to align themselves with the Church of Ireland. The births, marriages and burials of these Olivers can be found in the archives at St. Marks.  These days, the records for most of the Armagh City Olivers can be found at the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive. The shift in religious alliances was not merely personal. It also reflected the impact of various social and economic changes as they played out over three centuries in the region.

Sharon is known for the work posted on her Silver Bowl Website as well as on her Silver Bowl Blog. In these posts, one can eavesdrop on the ancient squabbles between family members, track bankruptcies and shed at least some light on why certain people flourished when others didn’t. Court cases from generations long past, specially one which was fought over a sack of potatoes, reveal surprises about how members of the Oliver families not only saw themselves, but also what they felt they could expect of their lot in life.

The stories which continue to capture Sharon’s attention are the untold stories of both rich and poor, and of both the powerful and the powerless. Her talk will include time for a collaborative look at printed charts – some of which are up to fifteen feet long – of a half dozen family trees of the Olivers who lived in counties Armagh and Tyrone.

April Meeting

Our April Meeting will take place on Wednesday, 10th April at 7:00 in the Irish and Local Studies Library. The speaker will be Sebastian Graham and this is what he said about his talk.

” My talk will be about mills around Armagh. It will take in their development from corn mills to the growth of flax in the country and finally the larger spinning and weaving factories that appeared in the area. Mills formed a vital role in the development of communities and helped shape the history of localities across Northern Ireland. A suitable title is the “The Development of Mills in Armagh”,

I became interested in mills whilst working at Wellbrook Beetling Mill outside Cookstown. This led me to pursue the task of identifying mill sites in Northern ireland and making it accessible to a wider audience. As a result of this for the past five years I have mapped out a total of 3400 sites in N.I each with individual attributes and records. it can be accessed at

 I am nearing completion of the preliminary research which aims to identify the industrial and manufacturing sites of Belfast from the Valuation Revision Books. This will be completed in April 2019. I am studying for a Masters in History at QUB and my dissertation research focuses on flax scutchers across Ulster. It is entitled Scutchers, Tow shakers and mischief maker’s – Combining oral history, memory and local history to reconstruct the role of the rural scutcher in Ulster. I have interviewed a total of 8 scutchers across Ulster and have rediscovered many lost words and phrases tied to localities as well as preserving the heritage of the scutcher. ”