Search Results for 'William Gregory'

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A mad time of year in Galway

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I do not think that it is a coincidence that the famous Galway Races coincide with the ancient festival of Lughnasa, celebrated on Garlic (Garland?) Sunday or, in the west, on the last Sunday in July. Máire Mac Neill, in her epic and scholarly study*, tells us that the date marked the most important farming benchmark of the year, the harvest, and it was robustly honoured. There were many Lughnasa gatherings throughout Ireland. Perhaps the most famous one in Connemara was at Mám Éan in the Maamturk mountains. People would camp out for days, musicians and hawkers would entertain the crowds; but the main event was a massive faction fight often resulting in serious injury or death.

The Irish sang When Johnny Comes Marching Home...*

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Stephen Speilberg’s magnificent film Lincoln made it clear that the Northern States of America, the Union, had justice and right on its side, when it came to deal with the cotton-based slave states of the south. Washington had objected to their attempt to enlarge its slave industry further west. Southern states were enraged at this interference. In an appalling miscalculation some states began to leave to Union, set up their own Confederacy (eventually including 11 states), and prepared to fight for its freedom to choose its own destiny.

The really ‘cultivated classes’ were the Irish themselves

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“ We are no petty people. We are of the great stocks of Europe. We are the people of Burke; we are the people of Swift, the people of Emmet, the people of Parnell. We have created most of the modern literature of this country. We have created the best of its political intelligence...." so spoke out WB Yeats proudly, during a passionate debate in the senate in June 1925.

What more could a landlord do?

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Despite some honourable exceptions the conduct of most Galway landowners to their tenants during the latter part of the 19th century was a disgrace. It led to disastrous social consequences. Although ultimately, the landed class were removed from their houses and lands, as a result of the Land War and acts of parliament; in many cases the peasantry too was decimated, demoralised and scattered to the winds.

What more could a landlord do?

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Despite some honourable exceptions the conduct of most Galway landowners to their tenants during the latter part of the 19th century was a disgrace. It led to disastrous social consequences. Although ultimately, the landed class were removed from their houses and lands, as a result of the Land War and acts of parliament; in many cases the peasantry too was decimated, demoralised and scattered to the winds.

The pursuit of love among Galway’s landed society

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Although rarely heard of today, ‘ breach of promise’ cases in the 19th century were quite common. A successful prosecution was a source of saving face, and social embarrassment; and could be of considerable monetary value if you were from the upper classes. All sorts of intimate details were revealed as the case dragged on, which provided delicious gossip for newspapers and their readers.*

Hectic programme of events for Halloween week at Coole Park

Families across the Galway region should reserve a few hours for the ‘Deireadh an Fomhair’ celebrations at Coole Park during the October Bank Holiday weekend. The line-up of events commences on Sunday October 28 with a multitude of activities to appeal to children collectively known as ‘Spooky Stuff For Kids’. Spooky Stuff For Kids consists of smelly spell cocktail and stick skeleton making, with an eerily themed scavenger hunt to finish the day. Children are invited to arrive bedecked in a Halloween costume but they do not have to dress up. The fun begins at 2.30pm and ends at 4pm.

Coole lady

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COOLE LADY, a play which reveals the character and feelings of Lady Augusta Gregory, comes to County Galway next week for performances in Loughrea and Gort, on May 18 and 19.

Celebrate autumn at Coole

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Coole Park will be celebrating autumn with woodland walks and other events taking place at weekends throughout October.

Has Sir William Gregory been brought in from the cold?

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Sir William Gregory of Coole, Co Galway, and the husband of Lady Augusta in his later years, has been vilified unfairly by historians and commentators, said Brian Walker, professor of Irish Studies at Queen’s University last weekend. As the member of parliament who introduced the so called ‘Gregory clause’ as the Great Famine raged through the land, he did so for humane motives; but it was exploited by some ruthless landlords to clear their land.

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