Treachery at Aughrim

Thu, Jul 09, 2020

The last conventional battle in Irish history was fought on Sunday July 12 1691 at Aughrim, Co Galway. It was by far the bloodiest. In less than 8 hours approximately 8,000 men were killed. Six thousand of them were Irish Jacobites.

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Catastrophy in the heat of battle

Thu, Jul 02, 2020

Week II

In the early days of July 1690 the citizens and merchants of Galway must have viewed with growing alarm the collapse of the Jacobite army at the Boyne, and the march westwards of the Williamite forces determined to strike a final blow.

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Catastrophy in the heat of battle

Thu, Jul 02, 2020

In the early days of July 1690 the citizens and merchants of Galway must have viewed with growing alarm the collapse of the Jacobite army at the Boyne, and the march westwards of the Williamite forces determined to strike a final blow.

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The boy who grew up beside a battlefield

Thu, Jun 25, 2020

As a small boy Joe Joyce played soldiers on the fields of Aughrim, a small village in Co Galway, between the towns of Loughrea and Ballinasloe. In his early years the games were fun, running among the ditches with his sisters Marie and Cepta, playing around the ruined castle, gazing across the flat east Galway countryside from Kilcommadan Hill, far from the reality of where bitter and often hand to hand fighting took place; and where just before dark, on that fateful wet Sunday July 12 1691, the fearless Scottish general Hugh Mackey led a one-thousand strong cavalry charge into the reeling Irish Jacobite infantry to win the day.

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‘A pale granite dream, afloat on its own reflection’

Thu, Jun 18, 2020

Mitchell Henry’s final days in Kylemore were sad ones. His adored wife Margaret had died at 45 years-of-age, and rested in a simple brick mausoleum in the grounds of his palatial Kylemore Castle. His political life, into which he put a great deal of personal effort, advocating on behalf of all Irish tenants the rights for them to own their own land, was out manoeuvred by Charles Stewart Parnell and the Land League. Henry described the Land League methods as ‘dishonest, demoralising and unChristian’. He probably was not surprised to lose his Galway seat in the general election of 1885. He blamed ‘Parnellite intimidation’.

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‘It is not our mistress we have lost, but our mother.’

Thu, Jun 11, 2020

When Mitchell Henry entered Westminster parliament in 1871 he went with hope in his heart and a mission to tell the British people the circumstances of the Irish tenant farmer. He reminds me of the Frank Cappa film Mr Smith Goes to Washington where a naive, idealistic young man has plans to change America.* Mitchell Henry, a liberal, kindly man, had however, walked into a political cauldron, waiting to explode.

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A fantasy of romantic days of yore

Thu, Jun 04, 2020

It must have been an extraordinary sight in the 1860s to see Kylemore castle rise from a bog in the heart of Connemara’s Twelve Pins, barely a decade following the devastation of the Great Famine. More than 100 men were employed, at a handsome wage of seven to 10 shillings a week, turning rough, soggy land, only good for shooting wild fowl and for fishing in its nearby lakes, into a magnificent building. Today it stands more like a palace than a castle, and is still a show-stopper on the Letterfrack road.

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Hearing voices in the wind

Thu, May 28, 2020

I have often wondered how the unusual name of Zetland found its way to the head of Cashel Bay in the heart of Connemara. It is, of course, the name of a well known hotel today. The hotel was founded in the closing years of the 19th century, by the son of a mountain farmer, JJ O'Loughlin, who had a canny instinct for business. The hotel was originally called The Zetland Arms, and before that The Viceroy's Rest. All these names allude to the hotel's distinguished patron Lawrence Dundas, Viceroy or Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1889 to 1902, in which year he became the Marquis of Zetland.

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‘That rapture of friendship that so possessed and satisfied me.’

Thu, May 21, 2020

In 1911 the successful and popular Theodore Roosevelt had recently completed his two-terms as president, but was still a man of incomparable influence, when the Abbey Theatre opened in New York on Monday November 27.

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The man from New York

Thu, May 14, 2020

The first time Lady Gregory met John Quinn was on Sunday August 31 1902 at a Feis Ceol she had partly organised in the memory of Ó Raifteirí the poet. The occasion also marked Lady Gregory’s first steps into the Celtic revival movement which would absorb her energies throughout her long life, and define her reputation for ever.

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Normal people disgusted at the Abbey Theatre’s Playboy.

Thu, May 07, 2020

Famously WB Yeats was giving a lecture in Aberdeen on Saturday evening January 26 1907, the opening night of the Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Just before his lecture started he received a telegraph from Lady Gregory to say the first act was well received.

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Dubliners watched the romancing of WB Yeats with glee

Thu, Apr 30, 2020

The final curtain came down on the relationship between Annie Horniman and the Abbey Theatre in the days following the death of Edward VII on May 6 1910. It was customary that on the death of a British monarch all theatres would close as a mark of respect. Dublin theatres were expected to uphold that tradition, and indeed they did, the only exception on this occasion was the Abbey Theatre.

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‘You have given me the right to call myself an artist’

Thu, Apr 23, 2020

Not only is it interesting to see the initials of the people Lady Gregory admired on her ‘Hall of Fame’, the famous autograph tree at Coole Park, Co Galway, it is perhaps more interesting to see the names she leaves out.

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Maud Gonne swept in and out of meetings

Thu, Apr 16, 2020

The most revolutionary play ever produced on an Irish stage was Cathleen Ní Houlihan written by WB Yeats and Lady Gregory. It was performed to a packed audience on a makeshift stage at St Teresa’s Hall in Clarendon Street, Dublin on April 2 1902. It was astonishing in its veracity.

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An affair to remember

Thu, Apr 09, 2020

‘Dearest beloved - It is such a beautiful morning that you ought to be here and we should be walking in the garden …and if we were, what more should we do where the bushes hid us?’ These intimate words were written by the British politician, later prime minister, Ramsey MacDonald, to Lady Margaret Sackville whose initials are on the famous autograph tree at Coole.

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Hidden lives on a Galway tree

Thu, Apr 02, 2020

In April 1902 Augusta Lady Gregory was working hard at her home at Coole, translating from Irish the myths and legends of Ireland. Somebody had dubbed Coole ‘the workshop of Ireland’, and the phrase went straight to her heart. Her pride in it glows in her letters to Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, her one-time lover and life-long friend, and admirer.*

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The names on the Autograph Tree at Coole

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

It may seem out of place that the name Robert (known as Robbie) Ross is associated with probably the best known literary monument in Ireland, namely the autograph tree at Coole Park. With the exception of two soldiers’ names, all 24 others are poets, writers and artists all of whom Lady Gregory believed were worthy to be included in her particular and original ‘hall of fame.’

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Was Bodkin’s severed hand a call to Rome?

Thu, Mar 19, 2020

Not only was the saintly Warden Bodkin’s hand in perfect shape and colour despite being lying in a vault for more than 140 years, when it was returned it was crudely ‘cut into pieces, the fingers off from the palm, split into pieces up to the wrist. The skin had been cut off at the breast’. Who could have done this sacrilegious deed? was it a fanatic Catholic seeking a return of St Nicholas’ Collegiate church to the Roman rite; or was it just an act of outrageous vandalism?

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Warden Bodkin’s right hand is missing…

Wed, Mar 11, 2020

During the afternoon and evening of Sunday July 12 1691 the people of Galway could hear the distant thud of cannons as two armies in the Cogadh na Dá Rí (war of the two kings) was nearing its climax. The Irish army, led by the inept French general, Charles Chalmont, Marquis de Saint-Ruhe, known as Saint Ruth, and the heroic Earl of Lucan, Patrick Sarsfield, had taken a stand on Kilcommodon Hill, below which lay the village of Aughrim, some 5km from Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

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The incomparable Jane Eyre

Thu, Feb 27, 2020

In the edition of the Galway Weekly Advertiser March 25 1843 extensive coverage is given to the funeral of George Frederick De Carteret, a young ensign in her Majesty’s 30th Regiment, who drowned when he fell into the docks on his way back to the Shambles barracks three days before. He served on the revenue cutter The Raven. After a ‘party of pleasure’ he was walking along the docks, ‘the night being pitchy dark and tempestuous’ he was blown over ‘the brink’ and drowned before his fellow officers could reach him.*

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E-paper

Read this weeks E-paper. Past editions also available from within this weeks digital copy.

 

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