Galway to mark centenary of the First Dáil

Events and talks to be held in the city and county

Liam Mellows, Galway's 1916 leader, MP for East Galway, member of the first Dáil. Tragically he would be executed in the Civil War.

Liam Mellows, Galway's 1916 leader, MP for East Galway, member of the first Dáil. Tragically he would be executed in the Civil War.

In the UK general election of December 1918, 73 out of 105 Irish seats were won by Sinn Féin, and in a move to assert Irish sovereignty and the right to self-determination, those 73 MPs refused to take their seats at Westminster.

Instead, they formed an independent parliament, Dáil Éireann, the first meeting of which was in the Mansion House, Dublin, on January 21 1919, and among those who attended were the four elected representatives for Galway - Pádraic Ó Máille (Connemara, the constituency also included Galway city. He is pictured below, seated third from right ), Bryan Cusack (North Galway ), Galway's 1916 Rising leader Liam Mellows (East Galway ), and Frank Fahy (South Galway ). To mark this centenary, various events will take place around Galway city and county.

Events in the city

The Galway City Museum is hosting a guided tour of its Revolution In Galway exhibition this Saturday, which includes several objects belonging to Liam Mellows, and a screening of a short film it recently developed about the 1918 election, and which features contributors from NUI, Galway, such as Prof Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh and Dr Mary Harris. Admission is free, but places are limited so advance booking is essential through 091 - 532460.

A special commemorative discussion will be held in the Galway Mechanics Institute, Middle Street, on Monday January 21 at 8pm. Historians including Padraig Yeates, Mary Harris, and Sarah-Anne Buckley will consider circumstances surrounding the establishment of Dáil Éireann, including it's Democratic Programme, the roles of women and of labour in the 1918 election, the vision of Sinn Féin, and contemporary political developments in County Galway.

Admission is free. The event is held under the joint auspices of the Galway Council of Trade Unions, and the NUI Galway-based Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class. It is the inaugural event of a programme of public discussions and debates which will be taking place throughout Ireland and Britain during 2019, entitled ‘Labour and the Struggle for Independence, 1918-23’, a programme under the direction of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and NUI Galway historians, Dr John Cunningham and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley.

An Taibhdhearc will stage a special show recreating the First Dáil Éireann on Monday 21, at the Tower, Eyre Square Shopping Centre. A street parade leaving an Taibhdhearc at 2.50pm will be led by members of the Tulla Pipe Band, County Clare. Professor Gearoid Ó Tuathaigh will deliver a lecture on the First Dáil in an Taibhdhearc at 5.30pm.

Events in the county

The Galway County Council will commemorate the First Dáil on Monday January 21. The first event will take place in the Council Chamber, County Buildings, Prospect Hill, from 1pm to 3pm, when Dr Conor McNamara will give a lecture entitled ‘Revolution at the Ballot Box: County Galway and the 1918 General Election’, and Síobhra Aiken will discuss ‘From Suffrage to Soloheadbeg: Reflections on the First Dáil’.

The second event will take place later that day in The Waterdale Suite, Claregalway Hotel, Baile Chláir, when Dr McNamara and Ms Aiken will once again deliver these lectures from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Spaces for both lectures are limited and advance booking is essential via Gráinne Smyth, Forward Planning, Galway County Council (091 - 509121 or [email protected] ) or through Eventbrite.

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