Uncomfortable history and collective memory

Fri, Sep 16, 2022

I have been talking a lot recently about public or collective memory. The series of commemorations that began two years ago illustrates that while we may have different interpretations of the events that gave rise to the birth of our nation, it is clear that the happenings of 1919-1923 are firmly embedded in the collective conscience. We will never agree on the finer detail of the roles played by the principal protagonists involved in the Treaty negotiations of 1921.

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Mayo County Prison after the Battle of Castlebar 1798

Fri, Sep 02, 2022

The sound of artillery and musket fire has died away. Dead combatants and military ordinance are scattered on the Green in Castlebar. Outside the County Prison on the Green, the blood-soaked body of a lone Fraser Fencible lay dead on the steps – bludgeoned to death by French infantrymen.

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Gaelic football and the press

Fri, Aug 26, 2022

If recent press reporting tells us anything about the state of Gaelic Football, it is that in the 138 years since the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), none of the passion first witnessed and recorded all that time ago has receded. Games this summer exhibited all the magic, drama, and controversy first captured in reports of meetings between Mayo clubs such as Belcarra, Ballyglass, Cornfield, Carnacon, and Towerhill in the 1880s.

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Belcarra: A seventeenth-century assizes town

Fri, Aug 19, 2022

Belcarra was bathed in the sunshine last Friday. The air conditioning in the car was insufficient to combat the record-breaking temperatures, so a stop off at Cunningham’s Costcutter for a cold drink on the way to the historic Ballinafad House was required. The beauty and tranquillity of this carefully manicured, quiet, rural hamlet belie the fact that Belcarra was at the centre of the justice system in the county for a brief time in the seventeenth century.

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Captain Gallagher – Highwayman

Fri, Aug 12, 2022

Nineteen-year-old Anthony Gallagher was hanged on the Green in Castlebar on 29 August 1818. In 2018, I spent time at the National Archives searching for Gallagher while researching my history of prisons and capital punishment in County Mayo (Anatomy of a County Gaol).

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The Great Gathering of Donkeys – Castlebar Workhouse, 1848

Fri, Aug 05, 2022

On the morning of 30 June 1848, word spread quickly of a large movement of people from the direction of Balla towards Castlebar. The newspapermen who went to view the procession recorded that numerous donkeys accompanied the multitude.

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The Imperial or Daly's Hotel

Fri, Jul 08, 2022

In November 1842, Castlebar businessman Martian Sheridan was declared bankrupt. Dublin auctioneer John Littledale published a list of Sheridan's assets to be sold by public auction.

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Micky Lavelle – The Gold King of Kolar

Fri, Jul 01, 2022

Earlier this year, The Hindustan Times published an article about Tesla Motor's decision to select the upmarket Lavelle Road in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India, as the location for their new office.

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Big George & The Four-Faced Liar

Fri, Jun 24, 2022

Focal points in public spaces in towns and cities across Ireland take many forms. Many of them speak to a specific moment in time.

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Boarded-Out Children

Fri, Jun 10, 2022

Sarah Shaughnessy was ten years old when she gave evidence and allowed herself to be subjected to cross-examination in the trial of William and Margaret Roche at Castlebar Petty Sessions on 14 June 1916. The case is remarkable for Sarah's courage and the insights it gives us into the system of boarding out workhouse children.

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Walk, wheel or run to support St Anthony’s new sensory rooms

Sat, Jun 04, 2022

St. Anthony’s Special School in Castlebar is growing and expanding with the provision of a brand new two-classroom extension due to open in September 2022.

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Verdict of ‘accidental death’ returned in R116 inquest

Sat, Jun 04, 2022

A verdict of accidental death has been returned in the inquest into the deaths of the four members of the Irish Coastguard team who perished when their helicopter crashed in Blacksod Bay in March 2017.

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