Coole Park hosted a conferring ceremony for graduates of the NUI Maynooth certificate in local history last weekend, the first ceremony of its kind to be held at the park. The course was run as an outreach programme at Coole by the NUI Maynooth department of modern history, in association with the university’s adult education office. Nineteen students were conferred on the day.
The NUI certificate in local history examined the local dimension of Ireland’s past under course tutor Dr Gabriel O’Connor of Tuam. The heritage office of Galway County Council facilitated registration and advertising of this course. All expenses including fees and administration of the course were funded by Galway Rural Development.
Graduates and their guests and the officials were greeted by Coole Music’s Kyle na No Quartet on arrival at the ceremony on Saturday. Ronnie O’Gorman, chairperson of the Friends of Coole and master of ceremonies at the event, said the NUI Certificate was in keeping with Lady Gregory’s interests as a folklorist and writer.
Hilda MacLochlainn, NPWS head guide at Coole, welcomed everyone to Coole and complimented the graduates on achieving their qualification. Martina Moloney, Galway county manager, paid tribute to Coole Park and remembered how she used to visit Coole as a child from her neighbouring home county of Clare. Conor Newman, chairperson of The Heritage Council, complimented the graduates on their work and said that this was the kind of ethos that the Heritage Council likes to promote and that hopefully the project work of the students could become widely available.
Mayor of County Galway Jimmy McClearn said he was delighted that Galway County Council was associated with the course through the Heritage Office and the work of Co Galway heritage officer Marie Mannion. Course tutor Dr Gabriel O’Connor paid tribute to all the students and the tremendous effort they put into the project work. Dr Raymond Gillespie, professor at the NUI Maynooth department of history, said he always delights in new studies in local history and hoped to see some of the graduates continuing their studies. Professor Marian Lyons, Head of Department of History, NUI Maynooth gave a wonderful speech addressing each of the graduates individually about their projects.
The project work of the graduates ranged from individual research on local townlands, parishes, and towns to research on people and institutions. The graduates were: Sean Bermingham and Paddy O’Grady, Ardrahan; Helen Tully and Mary Duffy, Athenry; Patricia Johnston, Ballinasloe; Mark Green, Clarinbridge; Margarita Donohue and Peter Dolan, Craughwell; Eamonn Fitzgerald and Fidelma Creaven, Galway; Mary Teresa Coen, Gort; Helen Fahy, Kilcolgan; Zena Hoctor, Kinvara; Raymond Gately and John O’Dea, Loughrea; Fionán O’Higgins and Michael John Burke, Oranmore; and Anne Tierney, Tuam and Bernadette O’Grady, Tubber.
Coole Winter Programme
Eleanor Feely will perform The Changing Moon — Women in Irish History, Literature, and Legend at Coole today (Thursday ) from 8pm to 9pm as part of the Coole Winter Programme of cultural events. Feely, an award winning producer, actor, and writer, has written this one-woman show which explores five characters from the 16th century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, through the denizens of The Midnight Court, to the Famine and tragicomedic rural 20th century Ireland. Questions will be welcomed at end of the show.
On Monday November 22 the Reading and Understanding the Coole Landscape course will feature lectures on the biodiversity of Coole Park by Dr Caitriona Carlin, postdoctoral researcher in the NUI Galway applied ecology unit; and Management of the Coole Park Reserve by Raymond Stephens, NPWS conservation ranger, from 9pm to 10pm.