Tag Archives: Current

November Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will take place on Wednesday, 9th November at 7:00 pm in the Observatory Library.

Our speaker this month is Dr Andrew Newby, who has already delivered two talks for us over Zoom on topics related to Irish / Finnish history. This time, he will be giving a talk in person on:

“The Evils Which Have Arisen In My Country”: Mary Power Lalor – A Female Landowner in Victorian Ireland.

Mary Power Lalor (née Ryan) was born in 1840 at Inch, Co. Tipperary, into a landowning family described as “one of the few Milesian Roman Catholic families to have retained their property.” Her mother, Catherine Whyte, came originally from Loughbrickland in County Down, and seems to have had a considerable influence on Mary’s later perspectives on self-help, education and philanthropy. After taking her husband’s estate upon his death in 1873, Mary Power Lalor became a significant figure in Irish life, involved in the New York Herald Relief Fund (1880), the relief of distress in Donegal (1883), and leading the Irish Distress Ladies Fund (from 1886), as well as being appointed Government Inspector of Lacemaking in Ireland (1887). 

This overview of Power Lalor’s life, highlights various interlinked themes in the economic, social and political life of late Victorian Ireland. Firstly, it demonstrates that philanthropy served a social function beyond altruistic engagement by the wealthier members of society: it contributed to the maintenance of the established social order. Secondly, the development of female participation in civic society, as well as the contemporary “self-help” ethos can be examined from her long involvement in philanthropic work. Thirdly, despite the “esteem and admiration” which Power Lalor may have received from some Nationalists, there were various points of turmoil during her life, especially during the Land War and the Pland of Campaign, underlining the impact of national politics on local landlord-tenant relations.

As a proud Irishwoman whose life was nevertheless securely anchored within the British imperial system, Power Lalor demonstrates that national identity in nineteenth century Ireland was not always polarised between “unionist” and “nationalist” as might be assumed.

October Meeting

This month’s talk will take place this Wednesday 12th October at 7:00 pm at Armagh Observatory in the library.

Our speaker this month is Brian McDonald, who will speak about The letters of Michael Haughey.

Michael was born in Armaghbreague, South Armagh in 1820 and the letters were written to his daughter, Allice, who emigrated to America.

The letters begin in 1888 and end in 1905; they are formally addressed and dated, beginning with “My Dear Allice” and end with “Your Affectionate Father – Michael Haughey”. In practically every letter he pleads with Allice to come home on a visit, but she endured hard times in America (5 of her 10 children died in infancy) and she didn’t make it home until1904, 24 years after she had left.

The letters contain details of family information, births, deaths and marriages and give us an insight into the customs at the time. Arranged marriages were very much the order of the day and a ‘fortune’ was paid to the groom by the family of the bride. There are a number of references to marriages, the negotiations and the amounts paid. 

Michael was first and foremost a farmer and he gives seasonal accounts of the farming year, from ploughing in January and February right through to the potato harvest and threshing the following winter. He reports on the crops he grows, years of good and poor harvest and prices gained for farm produce, such as potatoes, flax, butter and eggs, which he sold in the local markets.  We also get an indication of wages, the price of cattle, the price of land and rents paid to landlords.

The period of Michael’s life was a very interesting time in Irish history and he was active in politics throughout his life; he collected O’Connell’s ‘Catholic Rent’, was a Repeal Warden during the Land Wars and  acted as personating agent for Edward McHugh – MP for South Armagh (1892 – 1900)

When he was born the Penal Laws were still in force, he lived through the famine but by the end of his life Catholics could vote, sit in parliament and own land. He heard Daniel O’Connell speaking in Dundalk in 1843 and attended O’Connell’s funeral in 1847. He refers several times to Home Rule, which was the big political issue in the 1890s and was optimistic it would become a reality.

One of the most interesting aspects of the letters is his style of writing and the, almost, poetic phrases he uses in practically every paragraph. Michael well read as the letters are full of quotes from people like Thomas Moore, Goldsmith, Dickens, Thomas Gray and other lesser known authors.

The last letter is from John, informing Allice of the passing of their father in 1905.

Updated – Heritage from Home talks 3

Wednesday 14 September 2022 – March 2023

November talks have now been added.

Following the success of the last two Heritage from Home series of online talks, Libraries NI is organising a third series this autumn and winter. Heritage from Home 3 will run from mid-September to mid-March.

The general theme this time will be migration and we will be exploring the movement of people, contemporary and historical in, out of and across Ireland. The following themes will be explored by speakers with different backgrounds and interests: Culture, the Environment, Family History, Literature, and historical events.

All events will be delivered via Zoom and can be followed on PC, laptop, iPad and on most smartphones.

More information can be found on the LibrariesNi Website

September Meeting

Our meetings resume again after our summer break and our next meeting will take place on Wednesday 14th September at 7:00 pm.

The venue will be the library at Armagh Observatory and our speaker this month will be historian and former director of the Centre for Women’s Studies at Queen’s University Dr Myrtle Hill, who has already spoken to the group on a number of occasions.

This time she will be discussing Finding women in Irish history: some examples of research and realities.

May Meeting

Our May meeting will take place next week on Wednesday, 11 th May at 7:00 pm.

The venue will be the library at Armagh Observatory and our speaker this month will be historian and former director of the Centre for Women’s Studies at Queen’s University Dr Myrtle Hill.

Myrtle has already spoken to the group on a number of occasions. The title of her current talk is ” Finding women in Irish history: some examples of research and realities.”

Our February meeting is now on our YouTube Channel

The meeting held on Wednesday, 9th February at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom is now available on our YouTube channel

The speaker was Dr Andrew Newby, who delivered his talk from Finland. 

Dr Newby is Senior Lecturer in Transnational and Comparative History at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His research covers a wide range of topics relating to Europe in the “Long Nineteenth Century”, particularly in relation to land reform, famine and aspects of nationalism and national / regional identity. 

This time, he will be discussing the Irish and Finnish famines.

Follow the link to view the video: https://youtu.be/E5n6g9BC65o

April Meeting is now available on our YouTube channel

The meeting took place on Wednesday, 13th April at 7:00pm on Zoom and was recorded.

You can view the recording by following the link below.


The speaker was the Irish author and historian Dr Barbara Walsh, who discussed the role Irish servicewomen in World War One.

Her talk was based on her recently published Irish servicewomen in the Great War: from Western Front to Roaring Twenties (2020).

Previous publications include: Roman Catholic Nuns in England and Wales 1800-1937 (2002); Forgotten Aviator: Hubert Latham a High Flying Gentleman (2007); and When the Shopping Was Good: Woolworth and the Irish Main Street (2010).

You can find out more at: http://hubertlatham.com/barbara-walsh/

March Meeting

This month’s meeting will take place in Armagh County Museum at 7pm. It will start with our Annual General Meeting.

The AGM will be followed by a talk at 7:30pm. Our speaker this month is Fiona Byrne, Curator of History at the Ulster Folk Museum (National Museums NI). Fiona has been working in museums for over 15 years, focusing mainly on the Decade of Centenaries collections, especially World War One and 1916 material. More recently, she has been working on the Irish Folk Life collections and this continues to be her main focus and area of research. She has taken a particular interest in straw work collections, such as St. Brigid’s crosses. She will be discussing St. Brigid, objects and customs associated with her and why she still has such a strong following today.

January Meeting

For this month ‘s meeting we are returning to Zoom because of the current Covid situation. Our speaker this month will be one of our own members, Sean Barden will be talking about some of the street names that have disappeared over the years. The talk is entitled “The Search for Saltbox Court, Armagh’s small streets.”

The talk will be a week later than normal and will be held on Wednesday. 19th January at 7:00 p.m.

If you wish to take part in the meeting on Zoom please contact Catherine Gartland: e-mail secretary@history-armagh.org

Our 2021 History Armagh Magazine is now available

History Armagh 2021

Now available for sale in our usual outlets in Armagh at the usual price of £3.50. Members can collect their copy from Armagh County Museum. The contents of the magazine are listed below as usual many of the articles relate to the City but a number take a look back at what was happening around 100 years ago in the border areas as well as in the City.