All posts by Richard

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.

History Armagh 2016 magazine launched.

The Lord Mayor, Garath Keating (pictured above with our chairperson Mary McVeigh) launched the 2016 edition of History Armagh at our December meeting in the Irish and Local Studies Library. There was a good turnout on the night and members and visitors enjoyed the excellent refreshments provided. The magazine is available in the Irish and Local Studies Library and will be available in the usual local outlets in the next few days.

New Book “The Green Lady Mystery” by Sean Barden

The Green Lady Mystery by Sean Barden is a historical investigation into what happened to Bellina Prior a young Armagh girl convicted of murdering three-year-old neighbour Annie Slavin in 1888.
After Bellina was tried and found guilty but insane, she was detained in the asylum at the Lord Lieutenant’s pleasure. However, helped by her privileged background and mother’s influence she was released just four years later.
After discovering hundreds of Bellina’s letters the author has gained a unique insight into her troubled mind and subsequent campaign to expose alleged abuse she suffered while in the asylum.
The story ends as tragically as it began when in 1909 Bellina’s mother took her own life having just murdered her daughter by poisoning her.

The book is on sale at the museum and will soon be available in many local shops, price £7.99.

December Meeting

The December meeting of the Armagh & District History group will be held in the Irish and Local Studies Library on Wednesday, 14th at 7.30pm.

The Lord Mayor will be present to launch the latest edition of History Armagh at the meeting so please come along to collect your copy (free for members) and enjoy a light supper with tea, coffee or a glass of wine!

History Lecture Series – WWI and the aftermath.

Historical Lectures

Through its Good Relations Programme, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council will host a series of public lectures exploring WWI from 1916 onwards.

Series Chair – Dr. Eamon Phoenix. All talks begin at 7.00pm

17th November – Armagh County Museum
· Series launch by Dr. Eamon Phoenix with guest speaker Mr. Lar Joye, Curator of Military History at National Museum of Ireland.

24th November – Navan Centre, Armagh
· Dr. Eamon Phoenix – “The North Began: Ulster and the 1916 Rising”
· Film footage by Robert Kee.
· Mr. Patrick Toland – “Life & Times of Willoughby Weaving”

1st December – O’Fiaich Library, Armagh City
· Mr. John Killen – “Political Cartoons in Ireland 1912 onwards”
· Mr. Ashley Forbes – “Symbolism of WWI Period Postcards”.

12th January – Navan Centre, Armagh
· Guest Speaker Mr. Gary Sheffield, Professor of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton & Vice-President of the Western Front Association.
· Film screening – “The Battle of the Somme”.

19th January – Navan Centre, Armagh
· Dr. Eamon Phoenix – “Injured Return: Establishment of local hospitals”.
· Mr. Philip Orr – “Returning to a Transformed Island: The Experience of Irish Soldiers in a Dividing Ireland 1918-25”.
· Mr.Jim McDermott – “The Connaught Rangers & Irish Nationalist Soldiers 1914-25”

Admission is FREE but pre booking is advised by contacting Heather Wilson at 028 4066 0605 or email Seats will be reserved on a first come first served basis.

Dolores Donnnelly
Good Relations Officer – Craigavon (maternity cover)
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council
66 Lakeview Road
BT64 1AL

T: 028 3831 2400 ext. 1490

Armagh in O’Connor’s Time

johnoconnorThis talk by our Chairperson Mary McVeigh is part of the John O’Connor Literary Festival and it brings back to life the city of the 1940s and 50s which John O’Connor knew and loved. Remarkably, he would recognise much of the city today. Mary fills in the gaps where historic areas, including Banbrook Hill, Mill Row and other streets, have disappeared. A fascinating insight into growing up and working in Armagh between the wars and post-WWII.

The talk will be held in the  Irish and local Studies Library at 2.30–3.30pm on Friday 4th November. Admission is free.

For details of other events associated with the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival see

November Meeting

The Life and Times of Constable Charles (Charlie) McGee R.I.C.

charles-mcgee-ric Dr Méadhbha Ní Bhaoill is our speaker on 9th November, she is the grand-niece of Charlie McGee and is due to publish the story of his life and death as part of the 1916-2016 County Louth Commemorative Programme.

The following text sets the scene for her talk.

Many historical accounts have been written on the military aspects of the 1916 Rising in County Louth and on the participation of members of the Louth Volunteers in that event. However, there is a paucity of information on Constable Charles McGee who was fatally wounded in the village of Castlebellingham, County Louth on Easter Monday evening at approximately 7.30 p.m. It is somewhat ironic that a native Irish speaker from Donegal was to be the first member of the Royal Irish Constabulary to die in the Rising. The account reveals the complexities of Irish history and the network of relationships that linked counties Donegal, Louth and Antrim in 1916.

It is fortunate that Constable McGee’s story and the 100 years’ of society’s refusal to acknowledge the memory of members of the R.I.C., is finally being recognised in the inclusive 2016 Centenary Commemorative Programme.