Category Archives: Events

What’s happening

November Meeting

The November meeting of Armagh & District History Group will be held on Wednesday, 8th November in the Irish and Local Studies Library at 7:00 p.m.

The speaker will be one of our members, Tom Duncan and his topic: ‘The man from God knows where.’  A poem that tells some of the story of Thomas Russell, who organised in County Down for the United Irishmen in 1795. Thomas Russell was later hanged at Downpatrick Jail on 21st October 1803.

October Meeting

The October meeting of Armagh & District History Group will be held on Wednesday, 11th October in the Irish and Local Studies Library at 7:00 p.m.
The speaker this month is Chris Hamill, a researcher at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge who is currently investigating the issue of contested architectural heritage in contemporary Northern Ireland.  His subject of research is Armagh Gaol and the title of his talk is ‘Troubled Legacy: the difficult history of the prison and its impact on re-use’.
The talk will centre around his research into the history of the former HM Prison Armagh, situating it in the relevant contexts; primarily the architectural and cultural evolution of prisons generally, the development of the urban fabric of Armagh itself and the political contexts which make this building perhaps more interesting as a heritage asset than simply its architectural merits would imply.

This would then segue into a discussion on the issue of ‘contested heritage’ that is; issues surrounding the re-use of buildings such as this which have difficult and troubled pasts. This would be in conjunction with the architectural difficulties which arise from trying to find alternate uses for a building form as specialised as a prison.

It is hoped that there might be a bit of a question and answer / debate session after this, as with this sort of work, it is always extremely useful to get feedback, especially from local experts.

September Meeting

The monthly meetings of Armagh & District History Group will resume on Wednesday, 13th September in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the earlier time of 7:00 p.m.

Those who attended the June meeting will recall that we had a very interesting talk by Dr Pauline Prior on ‘Gender, crime and mental disorder in 19th century Ireland’.

Dr Prior has kindly agreed to return to deliver the September talk on the same theme, ‘Guilty but insane: the cases of Mary Reilly 1887 and Dr Terence Brodie 1886’.

Dr Pauline Prior, BSocSc, MSc (Econ), DPhil, CQSW, taught Social Policy at Queens University Belfast for twenty years. Her first degree, in Sociology and Social Policy, was gained at University College Cork. Before joining academia, she worked as a community development worker in Zambia and Ethiopia, and as a social worker in Northern Ireland. She holds an MSc (Econ) and a social work qualification from the London School of Economics and a DPhil (on mental health policy in Northern Ireland) from York University, England.

Her research covers different aspects of mental health policy, including gender, law, and historical trends in mental health services in Ireland. She has published six books – Mental Health and Politics in Northern Ireland (Avebury, 1993); Gender and Health Care in the UK: Exploring the Stereotypes (with B. Hayes) (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003); Globalisation and European Welfare States: Challenges and Change (edited with R. Sykes and B. Palier) (Palgrave, 2001); Gender and Mental Health (Macmillan Press, 1999); Madness and Murder: Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in nineteenth century Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2008); Asylums Mental Health Care and the Irish: Historical Studies 1800-2010 (edited collection, Irish Academic Press, 2012).

Annual Outing – Enniskillen

This year the History Group’s annual trip is planned for Friday 15th September to Enniskillen.

Enniskillen Castle

The itinerary for the trip  is as follows:

10:00 am – bus will leave Armagh City Hotel car-park

11.15 am – arrive at Castlecoole and time for coffee/eats

12.15 pm – guided tour of Castlecoole

1.30 pm – leave Castlecoole for Enniskillen Museum

2.30 pm – guided tour of museum

There may be time for a browse around Enniskillen town before travelling to the Killyhevlin Hotel for a meal and we hope to be back in Armagh around 8.30 – 9:00 pm.

The cost to cover bus and admission/tour expenses is £5 for members and £15 for non-members. Food and drink are at one’s own expense.

June Meeting

Our June meeting will take place on Wednesday, 14th June in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

Our speaker will be Dr. Pauline Prior who along with our January speaker, Dr Elaine Farrell contributed to the Mad or Bad exhibition held earlier in the year at Armagh County Museum. The exhibition explored mental health, crime and gender in Ireland during the last half of the nineteenth century. Her talk is titled “Gender, crime and mental disorder in 19th century Ireland”.

Dr Pauline Prior, BSocSc, MSc (Econ), DPhil, CQSW, taught Social Policy at Queens University Belfast for twenty years. Her first degree, in Sociology and Social Policy, was gained at University College Cork. Before joining academia, she worked as a community development worker in Zambia and Ethiopia, and as a social worker in Northern Ireland. She holds an MSc (Econ) and a social work qualification from the London School of Economics and a DPhil (on mental health policy in Northern Ireland) from York University, England.

Her research covers different aspects of mental health policy, including gender, law, and historical trends in mental health services in Ireland. She has published six books – Mental Health and Politics in Northern Ireland (Avebury, 1993); Gender and Health Care in the UK: Exploring the Stereotypes (with B. Hayes) (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003); Globalisation and European Welfare States: Challenges and Change (edited with R. Sykes and B. Palier) (Palgrave, 2001); Gender and Mental Health (Macmillan Press, 1999); Madness and Murder: Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in nineteenth century Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2008); Asylums Mental Health Care and the Irish: Historical Studies 1800-2010 (edited collection, Irish Academic Press, 2012).

May Meeting

Our May meeting will take place on Wednesday, 10th May in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m. This month instead of our usual talk we will be having a light-hearted, informal quiz on People, Places and Events pertaining to Armagh and District.

There will be no prizes and no one will be under any pressure as the idea is for an enjoyable evening.

To whet your appetite does anyone know where this object is situated?

“On a grassy verge”, while correct, is not an acceptable answer.

April Meeting

Our April meeting will take place on Wednesday, 12th April in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

The speaker is Keith Haines and his talk is entitled “The Macans of Armagh, at home and in India”.  The central focus of the talk will be on Turner Macan (1792-1836) of Carrive, (pictured opposite in a contemporary painting by George Chinnery) but will also include the full dynasty.  A memorial to Turner Macan was erected by his widow in the Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh.  The family connection to Armagh is maintained today through the Macan Trust for the Blind, whose purpose is to provide financial assistance to organisations in Armagh City and surrounding district who support the blind in their local communities. Some of you may remember the Macan Asylum for the Blind on Cathedral Road.

Keith was formerly Head of History at Campbell College (1977-2000) and then Archivist (2000-2015).
He also served on the management committee of, and as Hon Treasurer of, the Federation for Ulster Local Studies from c.1995-2007. He has written a number of books, including a biography of Turner Macan.

March Meeting

Our March meeting will take place on Wednesday, 8th March in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

The speaker will be Dr John Butler,  Emeritus Research Astronomer at Armagh Observatory and the title of his talk is “Armagh Observatory in Four Centuries”.

John has worked in the Observatory for four decades and among other projects has written a short history of the observatory.

AGM + February Meeting

Our February meeting will take place on Wednesday, 8th February in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

The meeting will begin with our Annual General Meeting followed by a talk by Gerry Oates entitled ‘The Corvans of Armagh’ – An illustrated talk on this family of Armagh origin beginning in the late medieval period and tracing the fortunes of various Corvans /Corvins and Corvens up to the early 20th century.  Including “Cat Gut Jim” pictured here.

January Meeting

Our January meeting will take place on Wednesday, 11th January in the Irish and Local Studies Library at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

The speaker will be Dr Elaine Farrell from the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University. The title of her talk is “‘She was large in the family way a week before the fair’: The infant murder mystery in Markethill”.

Elaine contributed to the Mad or Bad exhibition currently on show at Armagh County Museum which explores mental health, crime and gender in Ireland during the last half of the nineteenth century. The exhibition focuses on how and why women who had committed crimes were treated differently from men.