Archive for the ‘Irish History’ Category


 This statement was originally put on Auntie War’s Facebook Profile in early July 2014 at a few minues to 1pm on the 8th of July 

 This statement was obviously intendended for Irish news outlets (Papers,radio RTE,TV, blogs like mine and websites


 This statement was obviously intendended for Irish news outlets (Papers,radio RTE,TV, blogs like mine and websites

No member of the extended Farrell family participated in the making of the documentary, “An Unfinished Conversation…”, on the life and death of my only sister Mairead


This is a brief explanation as to why we felt compelled not to participate.


The unjust killing by the British state of Mairead on March 6th 1988 was the most harrowing experience to befall our family and it was one that in my own case has left deep scars. The dramatic nature of Mairead’s short life and brutal death attracted many seeking to document it in print and film. With the wise advice of our lawyer Paddy McGrory we learnt from earlier mistakes and became much more cautious when dealing with the miscellaneous branches of the media.


The author of “An Unfinished Conversation…”, Briona Nic Dhiarmada, had been working with Mairead on a book about her life at the time of the murder. In 1989 Briona produced a manuscript, which I was given the task by my parents of reading. In the family’s view this ‘biography’ was deeply flawed. The main thesis was that Mairead’s political activism from her joining the Republican Movement till her death in Gibraltar stemmed from her need to “fit in” amongst her peers in the Republican Movement. This was not the confident, extrovert, intelligent and determined Mairead we knew and we believed said more about Nic Dhiarmada’s inadequacies rather than those of my sister. For that reason we decided to give Nic Dhiarmada a wide berth.


The above thesis contrasts markedly with Professor (sic) Nic Dhiarmada’s new-found assessment of my sister’s life as reproduced on the website of the US Notre Dame University: “I strongly believe that Mairéad Farrell was a product of her environment and a product of Irish history.”


Where and when she had her Pauline conversion I do not know, nor do I care.


Enter The Republican Movement


In the Summer of 2012 while I was on holiday abroad I received a call from what I will loosely call a leading figure in the Republican Movement. He informed me that Nic Dhiarmada had teamed up with Dublin-based filmmakers with the goal of making a documentary of Mairead’s life. I expressed my serious reservations about Nic Dhiarmada, but agreed to discuss it further on my return to Ireland. However, it soon transpired that filming of the documentary was well underway. The “big shots” within the Republican Movement had already done a deal with Nic Dhiarmada et al without having the common decency to inform us straight away of the proposal. Faced with such a fait accompli I decided to have nothing to do with the documentary and asked family members to do the same.


During the 1990s the leadership of the Republican Movement created what they call the “Republican Family”. Being the brother of an IRA martyr I have found myself forcibly adopted into this “family”. It has meant receiving calls to establish my views on such absurd things as Martin McGuinness shaking hands with Frau Battenberg aka Elizabeth Windsor. But when it came to something close to my heart, my sister, I receive no call. Of course, such underhand, deceitful actions are par for the course with these “big shot republicans”. One thing is clear: the Republican Movement would not allow its members to participate in a documentary about the families of the “republican royalty” without first getting the assent of these “royals”.


The Documentary


The title of  Briona Nic Dhiarmada’s documentary “An Unfinished Conversation..” puts, as I expected, the filmmaker centre stage. It will no doubt improve her career and help fill the coffers of the Dublin company involved. That is why I believe “On Another Woman’s Wound” would be a more appropriate title for the documentary.





In the greater scheme of things the making of this documentary is of little importance. There are more critical issues to be focused on from Ireland’s participation in mass murder via Shannon airport to mass unemployment, mass poverty, mass emigration etc etc that exists in Ireland. My daughter, newly-elected Sinn Fein councilor Mairead Farrell, and I agree that it is more important that she concentrates on the concerns of her constituents than become involved in this saga.



The Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin and History/Ireland magazine is offering a prize of € 500 for the winning entrant in an essay competition on Gaelic Ireland.

Entry is open to all persons over 18 years who are NOT on the academic staff of a history department in any third-level institution.

Essay must be on any selected topic within the following areas: – the history of Gaelic Ireland (date-range 400 to 1690 A.D), Irish kingship, lordship, land-holding, genealogy, family history etc. It should be approximately 2,000 words in length and accompanied by full footnote references to sources used, with a bibliography at the end (footnotes and bibliography will not be counted as part of the word-length). It may be written in English or Irish.

Entries, with candidate’s name, address and contact details should be posted to:
‘Irish Chiefs’ Prize’
c/o History Department,
School of Histories and Humanities,
Trinity College Dublin,
Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland

or e-mailed as an attached MS-Word file to: by 1st May 2014

The prize will only be awarded for an entry deemed to be of publishable standard. Subject to editorial approval, a version of the paper should appear in a subsequent issue of History/Ireland. Both the winner and other entrants whose papers are deemed of publishable standard may be invited to contribute their work to a projected volume of essays on Gaelic Ireland, which is a central goal of the Chiefs’ and Chieftains’ competition.

Further Details

History has recently created a new social media presence. After discussions with Zara Sheerin of the Press and Information Office, NUI Galway History decided to set up a Facebook page, a twitter feed and a blog. It is hoped that they will help publicise the activities and interests of staff and students both within NUI Galway and to an external audience.

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blog, edited by Kevin O’Sullivan ( Head of B.A. (Single Honours) History ) and Niall Ó Ciosáin,( Head of 1st year Joint-honours B.A) features posts by members of staff and associates on themes of historical interest. The initial entries included musings on the relationship of the Corrib to the city of Galway, an old vinyl recording of De Valera, a Festschrift from 1913, as well as notices of book launches and conferences. Check it out at the link below!r Their Full-time administrator, Helena Condon, has created a very colourful Facebook page. While it will not replace Blackboard as the primary tool of communication with students, it will help make current and former students aware of what is happening in History. We already have over 200 likes! Helena is also responsible for the twitter feed, which directs traffic to both the blog and the Facebook page.

This is a follow up blog plost to my tweet of last friday :

“Because the prescribed topic in LC Staire for 2014 & 15 is Sovereignty And Partition. History  teachers  free book :)”

The Documents in Irish Foreign Policy, a project of the Royal Irish Academy, is proud to announce that its first eBook on the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 is now available for free download.

One of the prescribed topics for the documents-based study in the Leaving Certificate 2014 and 2015 is ‘The Pursuit of Sovereignty and the Impact of Partition, 1919-1949.’ Included in the three case studies for this topic is ‘The Treaty negotiations, October – December 1921’ and as such, the chapter on the Treaty negotiations in Volume I of the Documents of Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) series ( will be immensely beneficial to history teachers. With this in mind, DIFP decided to embark on a new venture and put the material from this chapter into an eBook for teachers and students.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty eBook makes accessing documents relating to the Treaty as straightforward as possible. This selection of documents contains crucial correspondence between the main political figures involved in the negotiations and shows the problems and stresses of negotiating an international agreement. The documents are structured chronologically and provide a gripping and accessible account of a key moment in modern Irish history.

The National Archives’ online exhibition on the Anglo-Irish Treaty, can be found at

Date & Time 28 April 2013 4pm – 6pm

Venue: Cnoic Suain,  Connemara

Join Cuirt 2013 for a special afternoon of music, history and literature in the atmospheric surroundings of Connemara

Contributors to The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (published by Cork University Press, 2012) will speak and give presentations on their work. They will be joined by singer Áine Ní Dhroighneáin in the wonderful hill village of Cnoic Suain. Attendees on the day will have the opportunity to walk around the village. A bus will leave Galway city from the Cathedral at 3:15pm on the day (transport is included in the ticket price).

William SmythWilliam J. Smyth

William J. Smyth is Professor Emeritus of Geography at University College Cork, where he held the Chair of Geography since 1977. He has lectured at many universities, including Syracuse University, N.Y., California State at San Fernando, Los Angeles and University College Dublin . He was elected a member of The Royal Irish Academy in 1999.

A former editor of Irish Geography and co-editor of Common Ground: Essays on the Historical Geography of Ireland (1988), he has published widely on Ireland’s social and cultural geography. His prize-winning book Mapmaking, Landscape and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c. 1530-1750 was published in 2006. He is co-editor of The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (University College Press, Cork) with John Crowley and Mike Murphy.



Cathal PorterCathal Póirtéir

Cathal Póirtéir is a broadcaster and writer. He was a Senior Radio Producer with RTE Radio 1 and RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta for 30 years, working on a wide range of programmes, including a number of series on the Great Irish Famine. He is the editor of several books in Irish and English on folklore, social history and literary topics. He has produced a number of features, documentaries and radio dramas for RTE, now available on CD.

He holds an MA in Folklore for UCD and now works as an independent researcher and writer on folklore. In 2012 Oireachtas na Gaeilge awarded him their Buaic-ghradam Cumarsáide or Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also won Gold and Silver in the annual PPI Media Awards.



Áine Ní DhroighneáinÁine Ní Dhroighneáin

Áine Ní Dhroighneáin is from An Spidéal, Co. Galway. She began singing sean-nós from an early age, being taught local songs from local singers such as Pat Phádraig Tom, Máire Pheitir Uí Dhroighneáin and Peaitsí Ó Ceannabháin. At the age of nine, she was asked to sing for the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, during her visit to the area. She has appeared at many traditional music festivals at home and abroad, including Feile Cois Cuain, Mayo, and the Pan-Celtic Festival in Lorient.

Áine was appointed Sean-Nós singer in residence in NUIG from 2004-2005. She has also performed with other artists, including Máirtín O’Connor, Steve Cooney and The Keane Sisters. She took part in a televised singing contest in 2006, where she sang a variety of songs and styles; she finished second and raised €75,000 for charity.