Category Archives: Events

What’s happening

April Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will ake place on Wednesday, 10th April  at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library.

Our speaker this month is our chairperson, Sean Barden, who will be discussing:

Armagh datestones –what they tell us about the buildings and their builders

March Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will take place on Wednesday, 13th March at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library. Our speaker this month is Antaine Ó Donnaile, who will be discussing Séamus Mac Murphy 1720-1750: An Armagh Outlaw.

Antaine is director of Armagh-based production company Macha Media, which released the award-winning Irish language programme Séamus Mac Murchaidh – Díolta Faoina Luach about the famous South Armagh ‘rapparee’ in 2023.

February Meeting

Our monthly meeting will take place on Wednesday, 14th February at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library and Matthew McMahon will be discussing “A Planetarium for Armagh – a 25 year journey“.


Starting with Dr Eric Mervyn Lindsay’s ambitious plan to create a memorial to the service men of the United States who were stationed in Northern Ireland in 1943, and moving through the twenty five year long journey that saw many false starts and massive changes in the technology of planetaria, this talk will examine how a familiar community fixture came to exist, and the forgotten characters who made it possible. It will draw upon original letters, minutes and notes made by the parties involved on four continents over a period of thirty years.

January Meeeting and AGM.

Our meeting this month will take place on Wednesday, 31st January at 7:00 pm in Armagh County Museum,

At the meeting we will be launching this year’s issue of History Armagh .

We will start with our Annual General Meeting, and members will then be able to collect their free copy of the magazine. Please note that if you wish to purchase additional copies the price has risen to £4:50, but you do get more pages.

You can also pay your membership fee for the upcoming year.

November Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will take place on Wednesday, 8th November at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library.

Our speaker this month is Simon Chadwick, who will discuss Harpers in Armagh and beyond.

Simon has been researching the Irish harp tradition, focusing on the period from the end of the 18th Century through to the start of the 20th Century. He will discuss some of the traditional harpers who were active in Armagh over this period, including Patrick Quin and Patrick Byrne. He will show portraits of the harpers, photographs of their harps in Museums and private collections, and newspaper clippings detailing their events in the Market House and other venues around Armagh.

The talk will also be enlivened by a few tunes played on a traditional wire-strung Irish harp, to show how the old tradition is being revived and rediscovered here in Armagh.

The photograph of Simon is from his website (see below)

You can find out more at

October Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will take place next Wednesday, 11th October at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library.

Our speaker this month is Eoin Maginness, who will be discussing:

Gender and the Irish Revolution in County Armagh, 1918-1924: The case of Nano Aiken

Nano Aiken was born Annie Aiken on 11th August 1896, the daughter of James Aiken and his second wife Mary McGeeney. James Aiken was a successful farmer living in Carrickbracken, Camlough, and as such became a public figure. He held positions as chairman of Newry’s Board of Poor Law Guardians, chairman of Newry No 2 Rural District Council and Justice of the Peace for county Armagh.

James Aiken died in 1900 , and his wife Mary in 1913, Nano’s younger brother Frank became involved with the Caml;ough Volunteers in 1914, and by 1918 Nano and Roisin Ni Beirne were organising republican women in the Camlough area in Cumann na mBan.

To find out more come to the talk.

September Meeting

Our first monthly meeting after the summer break take place on Wednesday, 13th September at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library. Our speaker this month is Dr Patrick Gleeson, who will discuss:

Re-discovering Emain Macha: ritual, religion kingship in Later Prehistoric and Medieval Ireland’

This lecture will present new results from large-scale geophysical survey in the Navan Fort landscape and targeted excavation of new parts of the Navan Fort complex itself. The results of this work transform our understanding of the Navan Fort and its wider landscape and regional context. Discoveries to be discussed include new medieval activity,  Iron Age discoveries that transform our understanding of the Waterman excavations, and the identification and excavation of some of the largest and most complex monuments identified on the island of Ireland. Results will be contextualised in terms of how these discoveries illuminate the ‘royal sites’ as a group, and their wider Northern European comparanda.

May Meeting

Our May meeting will be take place this Wednesday 10th May at 7:00 pm at Armagh County Club (33 Upper English Street), where member John Shephard will meet us and give us a short talk about the history of the club.

The building has been renovated as part of the Armagh City Townscape Heritage Scheme. This is a National Lottery Heritage Funded Regeneration Programme. £6.3m in funding has been secured for the Armagh City Townscape Scheme which consists of monies from ABC Council, £2m, National Lottery Heritage Fund, £1.92m and the remainder from private property owners.

April Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will take place on Wednesday 5th April  at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library.

Our speaker this month is Rosie Hickey from the Strand Cinema Project .

She will be talking about local cinemas and her cinema project, which is now being extended across Northern Ireland.

Rosie has worked as Heritage Officer of the Strand Arts Centre since 2020. She manages the ‘Strand Stories’ project (Strand Stories ( which is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. In this role she combines two of her interests: exploring the nooks and crannies of historic buildings and collecting memories of Belfast’s past.

Rosie graduated with an MA (Hons) in Architectural History from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 and received a PhD in Architecture from Queen’s University Belfast in 2017. And since 2020 she has been a member of the Historic Buildings Council.

March Meeting and AGM

Our next monthly meeting will be take place on Wednesday 8th March in Armagh County Museum. We will start at the earlier time of 6:30pm with our Annual General Meeting, which will be followed by a talk starting at 7:30pm.

Our speaker this month is our Canadian member Sharon Oddie Brown. This year, Sharon will be speaking about Forkhill Jacksons: Kith and Kin.

Sharon will explore connections – with a dollop of humour and an unconventional approach to research – between various JACKSON families to the JACKSONs of Forkhill, including the alleged Armagh connections of Sir Thomas JACKSON (1839-1915) of Urker to Richard JACKSON of Forkhill.

Richard JACKSON of Forkhill had no children to inherit his estate, and the Forkhill Trust began thanks to bequests in his will. At the time, it took a fleet of lawyers to sort out various legal hurdles, but The Forkhill Trust continues to this day to support local charities.

Sir Thomas’ connection to the Forkhill JACKSON was claimed in 1912 when he donated money to the Forkhill Trust. The minutes of the Trust record: The Trustees thank Sir Thomas Jackson of Stansted house, Essex for helping build Creggan Schools. In his turn he thanked the Trustees for their contribution. He was a kinsman of the Founder, and was a banker in Hong Kong and had property at Urker, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh.  

But was Sir Thomas a kinsman of Richard of Forkhill? Possibly. Were other JACKSONs of Co. Armagh also related? Probably. There are several twists and turns to this tale. Come and find out.