Category Archives: Events

What’s happening

December Meeting

The next meeting of Armagh & District History Group will be held on Wednesday 12th December at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library.

This month instead of our usual talk we will be launching the 2018 edition of our magazine, History Armagh. A light supper and a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee will follow.

November Meeting

Our next talk will be on Wednesday, 14th November in the Irish and Local Studies Library at 7:00 p.m.

The talk is by one of our own members, Eric Villiers and his topic is “Armagh: A Blue Plaque in Every Street?”

“The premise of the talk is that if buildings, places and spaces could talk they would tell you great stories about heroes and villains that most people have never heard: about important events and famous people who have been neglected by history or forgotten altogether.

It is only a slight exaggeration to suggest that there’s a building on every city centre street that could justify a blue plaque or a memorial of some kind”.

October Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 10 October at 7:00 pm in the Irish and Local Studies Library.

The speaker this month also will be one of our own members, Mary McVeigh and she will speak on ‘Irish women and the vote’.

September Meeting

Our programme resumes on Wednesday, 12th September in the Irish and Local Studies Library at 7:00 p.m.

Our speaker this month is one of our own members, Stephen Day and the topic will be “The Old Railway Network in Armagh and the Future of the Armagh-Portadown Line”. Stephen will talk about the layout of the old railway network in and around Armagh and there will be an opportunity for a discussion on the prospects of a future Armagh-Portadown railway line.

June Meeting

As the Robinson Library is hosting a talk on the evening the History Group normally meets we have decided to forego organising a meeting this month and accept the Robinson Library’s kind invitation to join them.

The talk is by Professor Michael Burton, Director of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and is part of the celebration of 50 years since the Planetarium was first opened.

May Meeting

The May meeting will be held on 9th May at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library.
Our speaker will be one of our own members Gerry Oates, his topic is ‘The Brehon Laws: Women and Marriage’.

Apparently under Brehon Law, there were between three and ten forms of marriage, each diminishing in importance, legal rights and desirability and sorted by degrees.

A first degree union takes place between partners of equal rank and property.

A second degree union in which a woman has less property than the man and is supported by him.

A third degree union in which a man has less property than the woman and has to agree to management of the woman’s cattle and fields by someone from her family.

A fourth degree union is the marriage of the loved one in which no property rights changed hands, though children’s rights are safeguarded.

A fifth degree union is the mutual consent of the man and woman to share their bodies, but live under separate roofs.

A sixth degree union in which a defeated enemy’s wife is abducted. This marriage was valid only as long as the man could keep the woman with him.

A seventh degree union is called a soldier’s marriage and is a temporary, primarily sexual union.

An eighth degree union occurs when a man seduces a woman through lying, deception or taking advantage of her intoxication.

A ninth degree union is a union by rape.

A tenth degree union occurs between feeble-minded or insane people.

April Meeting

Our April meeting will be on 11th April at 7:00 p.m. in the Irish and Local Studies Library.

The speaker will be Dr Myrtle Hill and the title of her talk will be ‘Seeking justice in a changing world: the life, times and example of Mary Ann McCracken’.

Born in Belfast in 1770, her father was Captain John McCracken, a Ulster Scot Presbyterian and a prominent shipowner; her mother Ann Joy, came from a French Protestant Huguenot family, which made its money in the linen trade and founded the Belfast News Letter. Mary Ann’s liberal and far-sighted parents sent her to David Manson’s progressive co-educational school, where ‘young ladies’ received the same education as the boys.

She was the sister of Henry Joy McCracken one of the founding members of the United Irishmen Society who was executed in Belfast in 1798.   After Henry’s execution in 1798, she and her sister Margaret opened a muslin manufacturing business at 27 Waring Street, Belfast.

She died in 1866 at the age of 96 years, and is buried in Clifton Street cemetery

March Meeting

Our February Meeting will be on Wednesday, 14th March at 7:00 p.m.

The speaker this month will be Roddy Hegarty,  Director of the Cardinal O’Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive, and his topic will be Irish Postal History.

Like many aspects of our everyday life the Post Office and the delivery of mail is something that almost occurs unnoticed, so seldom do we give it a thought. However, this sophisticated system of collections and deliveries ensures that life for many people and businesses goes on uninterrupted. We often only miss the service when it is suspended. This talk retraces the stages through which the modern postal system has evolved and will seek to explain the various contributions that were made throughout its history that brought us to where we are today.

The post box used to illustrate this page is a cast-iron wall box of the  V R Type, located at Dromod Station, Co Leitrim.

February Meeting

Our February Meeting will be on Wednesday, 14th February at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will start with the AGM followed by a talk by Tom Duncan and his topic is “The Earls of Leitrim”.

Earl of Leitrim was a title created in 1795 for Robert Clements, 1st Viscount Leitrim in the Irish peerage.

His father Nathaniel Clements  acquired the lease of the lands in Kilmacrenan in 1748 from the Hamilton family who held the lease from the turn of the plantation of Ulster. The lands were owed by Trinity College Dublin and covered most of north east Donegal, from Fanad to Glenveagh. Nathaniel Clements built his home in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, which was later purchased by the Irish Government and is the home of the president of Ireland.

His descendants were involved, once fatally, in many of the major issues of their times, notably the famine and the Land Act.

There were five Earls in all, the 5th Earl died without issue in 1952 and the Earldom of Leitrim died with him.

January Meeting

Our January meeting will be held on Wednesday, 10th January at 7:00 pm in the Irish and Local Studies Library.  The speaker will be Megan Henvey and her topic is The High Cross of Armagh.

Megan is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of York, she is currently  researching the high crosses in the North of Ireland for her PhD. Her research examines the iconography, history and theological import of these monumental early medieval stone sculptured crosses within their wider cultural contexts.